Important Vet Info Whether or Not You Plan to Live Forever

Each week The War Library receives calls from anguished family members trying to hurdle the VA maze to get burial info or benefits for a deceased veteran because they cannot find the vet’s Report of Separation or other military documents. Whether or not you plan to live forever you MUST make arrangements for your death should your privately made plans to cheat ‘The Grim Reaper’ fail to work out. It is both unfair and callous to frustrate family members who run into VA roadblocks because you failed to prepare all of the information they will need.

To spare your survivors the anguish of VA bureaucracy you should do the following NOW:

1. Prepare an 8-by-12 envelope containing the following veteran-related information to be left on a shelf or in a drawer that can be easily found after your death:

a. a photocopy of your DD-214 (or Report of Separation) and other important military-issued documents

b. a photocopy of your Social Security card

c. a photocopy of your driver’s license

d. the location of the nearest VA Service Office for burial assistance benefits

e. a duplicate set of your military medals to be buried with you

f. the address and phone number of your local newspaper(s) to post your obit

g. your military medal Last Will and Testament naming the person you entrust your primary medal set to

h. the names and addresses of fellow veterans or veteran organizations you want your survivors to notify

i. cassette tapes in your voice narrating your most memorable military experiences (these tapes will become monetarily valuable over time/generations… you can make your great-great-grandchildren rich)

j. if applicable… the name(s) and last known locations of prior spouse(es) / mate(s) or child(ren) from any previous marriage(s) or relationship(s) you acquired in the US or abroad

2. Include also a page containing the following websites…

Find a nearby VA Service Officer to assist with deceased or burial benefits:

Where to get basic info on VA burial assistance and entitlements:

Where to obtain duplicate medals sets for burial:

Where to obtain a Military Medal Last Will and Testament:

Contact Person for this posting: Roger Simpson, PIO
Public Information Office:
The American War Library:
16907 Brighton Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247-5420
Phone/Fax: 1-310-532-0634

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