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  • 12 Jan 2018 2:45 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    BY RUTH KINGSLAND - Northwest Guardian

    Published: 01:43PM January 4th, 2018


    For those who have recently lost a military loved one or haven’t been a surviving spouse long enough to know all the ins and outs of rules and red tape, here’s an opportunity to get questions answered and learn what to do at specific milestones — Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Survivor Outreach Services is offering a milestone benefits conference call Jan. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m.

    The free dial-in number is 605-475-4120, access code 8475028.

    This is the first time the event has been offered, and it’s expected to save valuable time for clients who have a variety of questions for different agencies and don’t want to spend all their time calling one organization after another.

    “If you’ve been through trying to call Social Security or other agencies for hours, you can appreciate an opportunity to talk to everyone you need to in one call,” said Tina Mann, SOS financial counselor.

    “We’re doing (the call-in) because many survivors aren’t aware of certain milestones,” she said. “Sometimes survivors come in (to the SOS office on Lewis Main) and say their benefits have stopped, and they want to know why. This is something you need to mentally prepare yourself for, so you don’t miss the milestones.”

    A few of the milestones Mann refers to involve medical care. The surviving spouse receives TRICARE for three years before their care switches to retiree status, Mann said.

    “The child gets TRICARE until they age out,” she said.

    The event will be on a timed schedule, so it’s important to call in at the time a representative will be available for your specific need.


    1 to 1:30 p.m. Veterans Affairs representative — dependency and indemnity; the Marine Gunnery Sgt. John David Fry Scholarship — which provides GI Bill benefits to the children and surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty after September 10, 2001. Eligible beneficiaries attending school may receive up to 36 months of benefits at the 100 percent level; and remarrying.

    1:30 to 2 p.m. Social Security Administration representative — benefits for children when they turn 18 and are still in school; also widows benefits start at age 60.

    2 to 2:20 p.m. TRICARE — New changes for TRICARE and if benefits end if surviving spouse remarries.

    2:20 to 2:50 p.m. Retirement Services Officer — Survivor benefits for spouse and child. Benefits change when child turns 18; benefits for spouses who remarry.

    2:50 to 3:15 p.m. Exceptional Family Member Program — benefits continue for child and spouse when sponsor dies.

    3:15 to 3:45 p.m. Employment Readiness Program — Benefits for surviving spouse interested in getting into the Federal Government and services offered.

    3:45 to 4 p.m. General questions and answers.

  • 7 Nov 2017 2:58 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)



    During National Veterans and Military Families Month, we honor the significant contributions made by American service members, their families, and their loved ones. We set aside this month surrounding Veterans Day to hold observances around the country to honor and thank those whose service and sacrifice represent the very best of America. We renew our Nation's commitment to support veterans and military families. They deserve it.

    Our veterans are our heroes. Our Armed Forces have preserved the security and freedom that allow us to flourish as a Nation. They have braved bitter winters, treacherous jungles, barren deserts, and stormy waters to defend our Nation. They have left their families to face danger and uncertainty, and they have endured the wounds of war, all to protect our Nation's interests and ideals established during the Founding.

    Our military families endure many hardships along with those who defend our Nation. They are separated from their loved ones for months on end and frequently relocated across the country and around the world. They often live far from their extended families, and they know what it is like to celebrate holidays and milestones with an empty seat at the table. Many military spouses face the task of making ends meet while their loved ones are away and of securing new employment with each change in duty station. Children of service members often grow up living a nomadic life -- periodically calling a new place "home" and adjusting to different schools, trying out for new sports teams, and making new friends. In these lives of frequent change and transition, however, our incredible military families not only survive, they thrive.

    It is our patriotic duty to honor veterans and military families. As part of our efforts to answer President Lincoln's charge to care for those who have "borne the battle," I have asked the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to lead the Nation in a month of observances across the country to honor our veterans.

    As veterans and military families attend these events, they will see the reforms and improvements that we have made at the VA. Over the last 9 months, we have made important changes that enable better service for our veterans. We have increased accountability and enhanced protections for whistleblowers. We have improved transparency, customer service, and continuity of care. We are working every day to ensure a future of high quality care and timely access to the benefits veterans have earned through their devoted service to a grateful Nation.

    This month, in which Americans traditionally pause to give thanks for our blessings, it is fitting that we come together to honor with gratitude our extraordinary veterans and military families and their service to our country. May God continue to bless our Armed Forces and those families that love and support them.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2017 as National Veterans and Military Families Month. I encourage all communities, all sectors of society, and all Americans to acknowledge and honor the service, sacrifices, and contributions of veterans and military families for what they have done and for what they do every day to support our great Nation.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


  • 10 Oct 2017 8:44 PM | Debra Kraus (Administrator)

  • 14 Sep 2017 2:02 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    It is the time of year to renew your Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. membership.  Gold Star Wives needs you, your support, your ideas and your strength to continue to work on improving our benefits. 

    As a result of your dues and donations GSW has made much progress including:  

    ·   Effective January 2015, the Fry Scholarship which previously had been only for surviving children, has been extended to surviving spouses of those who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001.

    ·   The creation of an Office for Survivors within the Department of Veterans Affairs (Moira Flanders, Director, 1-202-461-1077) to assure a continuity of equitable benefits and an improved delivery of benefit information to survivors.

    ·   Increased education benefits for an extra 10 years for spouses of active duty deaths

    ·   Reinstatement to receive DIC if you have remarried and that remarriage has ended in death or divorce. 

    ·   Retention of DIC upon remarriage after age 57.  If you remarry, report your new name and address to the VA.

    ·   TriCare for Life (TFL) with a prescription benefit for those over 65 and eligible for TriCare.

    ·   ChampVA for Life (CFL) with a prescription benefit for those over 65 and eligible for ChampVA.

    ·   ChampVA benefits for spouses who remarry after age 55.

    ·   Equal cost of Living adjustment (COLA) for DIC widows.

    In 2018, the Government Relations Committee is focusing on the following areas: 

    ·   DIC Increase

    ·   SBP/DIC Offset

    ·   TRICARE proposed fee increases

    ·   Education

    We continue to be available for your questions and concerns when you have “no place to turn.”  It is only with your continued fellowship, dues and donations that the above increased benefits have been accomplished. Without you there would be no Gold Star Wives organization to continue to reach out to new surviving spouses and to maintain our benefits as well as to seek new and improved ones.

    Thanks and best wishes, 

    Crystal L. Wenum
    National President

  • 31 Aug 2017 1:07 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    A video of Michael Reagan, speaker at the GSW 2017 National Convention, can be found online. 

    Link to video

  • 16 Aug 2017 10:32 PM | Debra Kraus (Administrator)      

  • 2 Aug 2017 11:03 AM | Maia Stanhope (Administrator)

    Dear Friends,

    This afternoon, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has now completed its review of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and will now reinstate full operations, with significant changes to the program that will affect policy and execution moving forward.

    Here are four things you need to know about the changes to the PCAFC:

    1) Veterans Health Administration Directive (VHA) 1152VHA Directive 1152 was issued to all PCAFC staff and posted to the US. Department of Veterans Affairs website. This directive will serve as VA policy ensuring consistent execution of the PCAFC, and will be applied uniformly across all VISNs. The directive outlines:

    • Program operations and staff responsibilities;
    • Veteran and caregiver eligibility requirements;
    • Procedures for discharges from the program, and available benefits.

    Highlight: “Family caregivers in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers are to be recognized as collaborative partners with the Veteran’s primary care team in ensuring the overall care and well-being of the Veteran.”

    2) PCAFC Discharge Letter:  The VA has developed a template discharge letter to be used when communicating program discharges to veterans and their caregivers. This letter will ensure a consistent message is sent to those veterans discharged from the program, while also providing plain language explanations for the reason behind the revocation.

    Highlight: the discharge letter now includes space for the CSC to list local resources that may help caregivers as they transition out of the program.

    3) PCAFC Roles, Responsibilities, and Requirements: The VA has updated its Roles, Responsibilities, and Requirements document that will be used in the execution of the PCAFC. This document, posted on the VA website, has been reviewed by the VA’s Privacy Office, VA’s National Center for Health Care Ethics and VA’s Office of General Counsel to ensure its compliance with current regulations. This version of the Roles, Responsibilities, and Requirements document will be used VISN-wide to maintain consistency across the program, and caregivers will have the opportunity to walk through the document with their CSC upon entry into the program.

    Highlight: Your CSC is there to explain any parts of the application process or Roles, Responsibilities, and Requirements document with you. If you have further questions about your eligibility and want to talk to an outside provider, we encourage you to contact your local VSO, who can walk you through all your options.

    4) If you would like more information on actions that the VA has taken to review the PCAFC, please refer to the Strategic Review overview developed by the VA. If you have questions about your case or eligibility status in the PCAFC, we encourage you to contact your Caregiver Support Coordinator, local VSO, or to email the Foundation.

    Find our full write-up on the changes to the PCAFC and future updates to the program here.

    Thank you for entrusting your stories regarding your experiences with the VA Caregiver Program to the Foundation. We will continue to advocate on behalf of military caregivers nationwide, and we welcome comments, questions, or concerns. Please feel free to contact us at


    Steve Schwab
    Executive Director

    If you are a caregiver to a veteran who served prior to September 11, 2001, we encourage you to visit to learn more about what we’re doing to advocate on behalf of pre-9/11 caregivers.

  • 24 Jul 2017 9:37 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Senators vote compensation tradeoffs that the House ...

    The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted to make permanent the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) set to expire next spring, and paid monthly to 63,000 ...

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Thank you to our 2021 Corporate Sponsors!

Gold Level 

Silver Level

Bronze Level

For additional information, or to become a Gold Star Wives Corporate Sponsor, please visit our sponsorship page.

Additional Sponsors:
Prince of Peace Catholic Church Knights of Columbus - Hoover, AL

Birmingham, Alabama Office
P.O. Box 361986
Birmingham, AL 35236
Phone: 1-888-751-6350

Washington DC Office
200 N.Glebe Road Rm 435
Arlington, VA 22203-3755

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)4 National Military Widow/Widowers Service Organization chartered by the United States Congress. Donations are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes but may be deductible as trade or business expenses. Copyright © 2021.

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