WWII Veterans Have Six Weeks Left to Apply for New, One-Time Benefit All Claims Must Be Received By USDVA Office by February 16, 2010

All claims from Filipino WWII veterans for benefits created by the 2009 Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 must be received by the U.S. Embassy’s Department of Veterans Affairs office (USDVA) by February 16, 2010. These one-time payments are all new benefits made available when the ARRA was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama in February 2009 to recognize the service of qualified veterans.

The new, one-time benefits are available to eligible veterans and widows of eligible veterans who applied before their death.  Any change in the law to provide these additional benefits to other survivors would require new legislation in the U.S. Congress. Every application is handled expeditiously so that qualified veterans receive their payments as quickly as possible.

As of December 29, USDVA has approved the applications of more than 11,300 eligible Filipino WWII veterans or their widows; these qualified veterans and widows have been paid a total of nearly P6.4 billion. Approximately half of the nearly P6.4 billion in one-time benefits paid out so far has gone to Filipino WWII veterans with American citizenship, and the other half to non-U.S. citizen Filipino WW II veterans.

There is no “master list” of eligible veterans for this new, one-time benefit.  Each claim is unique and decided on its own merits.  All veterans who feel they may be eligible are encouraged to apply immediately. The application process is free and simple, and there is no need to pay anyone to assist in completing the form, which can be mailed to the U.S. Embassy.  If sending the application by mail, veterans are encouraged to send the application early enough to ensure its receipt by USDVA by the February 16, 2010 deadline. Simply mailing the application by the deadline is not sufficient. It must be received by USDVA by the deadline.

Veterans can also submit their application in person to the USDVA offices at the US Embassy. Veterans can call USDVA at (632) 528-2500 or toll free outside Metro Manila at 1-800-1888-5252 for more information about this option. No appointments are necessary to file an initial application for this new benefit.#