Sunday, November 26, 2006

How veterans can get copies of "lost" documents,1,1344383.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true the Lost documents slow veterans' access to benefits LA Times ran an excellent article here for the purpose of showing the need for replacing your seperation papers commoningly known as a DD-214

Almost a million a year ask federal officials about retrieving papers they need to apply for valuable aid. Now forms are available online.
By Diane C. Lade, South Florida Sun Sentinel
November 25, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — Harold Brewster certainly earned the right to veterans benefits. He was aboard the battleship New Mexico when a kamikaze pilot slammed into its bridge, killing its commanding officer and 29 crew members during World War II.

But when the former sailor now living in Boca Raton asked about the free plots that would be available to veterans in the new South Florida National Cemetery, he found out he needed documents that had been lost years before. Brewster's military papers and five medals were taken when his household belongings were stolen 10 years ago.

"I didn't know what we were going to do," said Brewster, 80.

Almost a million veterans a year ask federal officials about retrieving lost military documents, papers they need to apply for valuable veterans benefits like housing loans and low-cost healthcare.

The process now can be expedited by applying online. But some veterans and their families still find it cumbersome and confusing.

"Most people don't have the ability to do it on their own," said Floyd White, section manager with Broward County Elderly and Veterans Services.

At least one veteran a week comes into the office for help replacing lost papers, White said.

Brewster's family turned to the Mae Volen Senior Center in Boca Raton, where Brewster goes for activities and lunch.

Administrative assistant Grace Ginsberg pulled up the forms online and, within a few months, had the papers, as well as replacements for the medals.

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