Compton: Offshore Agent Orange claims denied as legal battle ends

By George Compton
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Q. What happened to the court case about widows receiving SBP and DIC without an offset?

A. On June 12, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a summary judgment agreeing with the widows who sued the government in 2007 regarding the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset, and directed the Department of Defense to restore SBP annuities.

On Dec. 5, the Pentagon filed paperwork to appeal the decision. The Department of Defense does not have to restore the annuities until the appeal is heard and a final judgment is rendered.

Q. What is the income limit of Priority Group 7 for this year?

A. We will not get new limits until HUD data is provided, and that is usually done in February. There is some good news for some veterans because the VA received additional funds to raise the limit above HUD data.

Tentatively, the limit for Priority Group 7 will be raised 10 percent sometime in June or July 2009. HUD data is different county by county. If the increase took effect today, a single vet in Ventura County would have the limit raised from $48,000 to $52,800; a veteran with spouse would be raised from $54,850 to $60,335. Veterans above the limit without compensable service-connected disabilities are placed in Priority Group 8 and cannot be seen. At least the 10 percent is a start.

Q. My father is considering applying to the new veterans home in Ventura. I am afraid he would need more care than would be available. Can you explain what care will be provided?

A. The facility provides residential care for the elderly (RCFE). Members, who are age 62 and older or disabled veterans, may voluntarily admit themselves to this level of care with verification of their need for supervision with such activities as bathing, dining and/or taking medications. These members are also offered assistance with transportation to medical appointments and community activities. Typically, these members are active and mobile, and are encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves within the context of RCFE care.

— George Compton, a retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033, phone number 385-6366, fax 385-6371, or e-mail [email protected].

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