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The Beacon 2014 Spring Edition Upcoming Events for Surviving Families 5th April Gold Star Wives Day Memorial Park 11:30 am Dove Release & Refreshments More Info: Contact Cate on 253-967-7501

We Are Updating Our Records. Contents: Page 2: Survivors and Dependants

Stock photo courtesy of Assistance. Microsoft

Page 3: Survivor Benefit Plan Explained. Page 4: Spring Break Safety Tips. Page 5: Kids Corner. Page 6: Camp Erin. Page 7: Useful Resources and Tips

Please remember to update any changes such as your name, address, email and phone number with us. You can do this either by calling 253-9677501or sending an email to Ryki Carlson at This will ensure that you continue to receive any important updates, benefits information and news about upcoming events. There is also a form included at the end of this newsletter that you can complete and return. If you prefer to receive this newsletter via email or opt out of this mailing, please let us know. You can do this by calling 253-967-7501 and talking to Cate, or returning the form at the end of this newsletter.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~Walt Disney

Suicide Support Group We are about to start meetings for anyone who has been affected by a suicide in their Family. For more information and to join a meeting call 253-966-5047

10th April BRIDGES & Camp Erin Information Class 2:00 – 3:30 pm To register call: Cate on 253-967-7501 11th April Theatre Trip Broadway Centre for the Performing Arts, Tacoma To register call: Cate on 253-967-7501 23rd April Dine & Dial 5:00pm Identity Theft Minimization Techniques & Consumer Financial Protection. Phone: 626-677-3000, Access code 7681905 27th April Heroes Half Marathon More Info: 26th May Memorial Day More Info: 6th – 8th June Camp Erin Tacoma More Info:

The Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of Veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition. Type of Assistance

Survivors and Dependent Assistance

Benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Get the DEA pamphlet and information on the Marine GYSGT John David Fry Scholarship. Those eligible for DEA benefits may also be eligible for this additional assistance:

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Special Restorative Training VA may prescribe special restorative training where needed to overcome or lessen the effects of a physical or mental disability for the purpose of enabling an eligible person to pursue a program of education, special vocational program, or other appropriate goal. Medical care and treatment or psychiatric treatments are not included. Special Vocational Training VA may also approve these benefits for an eligible person who is not in need of special restorative training, but who requires such a program because of a mental or physical disability.

Section 301 of Public Law 109-461 adds a new category to the definition of eligible person for DEA benefits. The new category covers the spouse or child of a person who VA determined has a service-connected permanent and total disability; and is at the time of VAs determination is a member of the armed forces who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment; and is likely to be discharged or released from service for this serviceconnected disability. Persons eligible under this new provision may be eligible for DEA benefits effective Dec. 23, 2006, the effective date of the law.

Available Benefits and Eligibility You may receive up to 45 months of education benefits. Effective Oct. 1, 2013, some DEA beneficiaries may be eligible for up to 81 months of GI Bill benefits if they use the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance program in conjunction with an entitlement from other VA education programs. Eligibility You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:  A Veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the armed forces.  A Veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.  A Service Member missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.  A Service Member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.  A Service Member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective Dec. 23, 2006. Other Factors to Consider If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the armed forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions. If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the Veteran. If VA rated the Veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of three years from discharge, a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective Oct. 10, 2008, and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date. For surviving spouses of Service Members who died on active duty, benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

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Beacon 2014 ● Spring Edition ● WA State Survivor Outreach Services ● (253) 967-7501

It is important for Survivors to understand how the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) works. The Nature and Extent of the SBP Benefit The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) provides eligible beneficiaries with a monthly payment known as an annuity. The amount of the benefit is a percentage of the Service Member’s retired pay, and it depends upon whether they chose full or reduced coverage. The recipient of the SBP annuity is referred to as the annuitant.

Survivor Benefit Plan Explained

The Benefit's Duration The SBP entitlement begins upon death and ends either when the elected beneficiary becomes ineligible to receive the annuity or when the beneficiary dies.

Reasons Payment May Be Temporarily Stopped Each year annuitants are mailed a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The information requested on that form is used to determine an annuitant's continued eligibility for monthly payments. If the COE is not received by the deadline on the form, all payments will stop until a properly completed COE is received. If you have not received a COE recently and feel you should have, please call to request one at 800-321-1080. Reasons Payment Can Be Permanently Stopped Annuity payments stop when the beneficiary dies or becomes ineligible to receive the annuity. For example, payments stop for children covered under the SBP annuity when they reach age 18. Payments also stop for spouses covered under SBP if they remarry before age 55. Continuing Children's Benefits after Age 18 Payments typically stop for children covered under SBP when they reach age 18. If a child attends school in a full time status at an accredited college or university, the payments will continue until they reach age 22. Each semester, a Child Annuitant's School Certification form is mailed to verify the child is still enrolled. If the form is not received by the deadline listed, all payments will stop until a properly completed form is received. The SBP annuity will terminate at any time the child remarries. If you have not received a School Certification recently and feel you should have, please call to request one at 800-321-1080. Effects of Remarriage on an Annuity If the annuitant remarries before age 55, annuity payments will stop. However, if the annuitant's marriage later ends, for any reason, even after age 55, the annuity payment will restart from the date the marriage ends. The annuitant is responsible for notifying DFAS Cleveland of any changes to their marital status. Benefits from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is an award offered by the VA. Annuitants cannot receive both SBP and DIC concurrently. When DFAS is informed that an annuitant is eligible to receive DIC from the VA, DFAS will deduct the amount of DIC received from the amount of SBP. For example, if an annuitant receives a monthly annuity of $500 from DFAS and becomes eligible to receive a monthly DIC award of $400 from the VA, DFAS will deduct the $400 DIC from the $500 SBP and pay the remaining $100 to the annuitant. If the SBP is greater than the DIC award, a partial refund of premiums paid into the program during the service member's retirement will be made. If the DIC payment is greater than the SBP payment, SBP will be stopped completely and all basic spouse premiums paid into the program during the service member's retirement will be refunded. To receive concurrent SBP and DIC payments, the annuitant must not only be eligible for both, but the DIC entitlement must be a result of a remarriage after the age of 57. What initiates the SBP benefit and what will my beneficiary have to do? The designated beneficiary becomes eligible to receive SBP benefits on the day after the Service Member’s death. The first step a beneficiary must take to initiate receipt of benefits is to report the death. What happens if there is a delay in reporting a retiree's death? Late notification of a retiree's death may result in burdensome consequences, including delays in finalizing a member's account, payment of arrears of pay and the establishment of an SBP annuity. A retiree's entitlement to retired pay ends on the date he or she dies. Therefore, delayed reporting of a retiree's death may result in an overpayment that will be collected from a financial institution, the member's estate, or from the annuitant if the annuitant is found to be in receipt of the retired pay funds.

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Beacon 2014 ● Spring Edition ● WA State Survivor Outreach Services ● (253) 967-7501

Spring Break Safety Tips for Everyone

Spring break is a great time for the Family to get away from the cold, dark days of winter and have some fun in the sun. Before you head south for the warm sunny weather, make sure you are prepared to protect your skin and your health. Sun Safety for Babies   

Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats. Do not, at any time cover your baby’s stroller with a blanket or throw, as this can lead to dehydration even in the coolest of climates, and prevents air from circulating in the seating area of the stroller.

Sun Safety for Kids    

Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof. Before covering your child, test the sunscreen on your child’s back for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician. Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective. When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face. Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes. If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

Sun Safety for the Family          

The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours. The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas. Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days. When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words "broad-spectrum" on the label - it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Zinc oxide, a very effective sun block, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, and tops of the ears and on the shoulders. Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees. Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin. Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

Beach Tips      

Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty. Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard. Never swim alone. Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning. Watch out for traffic-some beaches allow cars. Most importantly have fun, and enjoy your Spring break!

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Beacon 2014 ● Spring Edition ● WA State Survivor Outreach Services ● (253) 967-7501

Fast Spring Facts 1. In the Northern Hemisphere Spring usually occurs during the months of March, April, May, or from the Vernal Equinox (March 20) to the Summer Solstice (June 21). The opposite is true for the Southern Hemisphere. 2. The first day of spring is also called the vernal equinox where there is supposed to be 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. 3. In spring, the Earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun, increasing the number of daylight hours and bringing warmer weather. 4. Severe weather most often occurs during the spring, when warm air begins to move up from the lower latitudes and cold air pushes down from the Polar Regions. 5. Benjamin Franklin was the first American to propose Daylight savings Time in 1784. However, it wasn’t fully implemented in the US until after the Second World War. The practice of Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday in March in the US started in 2005.

CALLING ALL BUDDING JOURNALISTS If you have an interesting story you would like to share or your own idea of what our Kid’s Corner page should look like or feature, send your story or page submissions to:

6. Spring fever is not just a myth – the body may experience changes because of an alteration in diet and temperature. The best submissions will be included in the future issues of the newsletter.

7. Children grow faster in spring.

All entries will need to be received no later than May 15th 2014. If you would like to theme your page entries, upcoming editions are summer, fall and winter.

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Beacon 2014 ● Spring Edition ● WA State Survivor Outreach Services ● (253) 967-7501

“Camp Erin® is a three-day camp experience, free of charge to its participants, and is facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers of BRIDGES. The camp is for children ages 617 who have experienced the death of a loved one.”

Camp Erin is a high-energy, fun camp with grief support and education woven in. Adult “Big Buddy” volunteers offer additional support and companionship for campers. The first Camp Erin of 2014 will be held at Camp Seymour, located 22 miles west of Tacoma. All campers will have the option to enjoy varied camp activities. These activities include:  Swimming  Boating  Arts and Crafts  Music  Drama

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Evening Campfires Outdoor Games Wall Climbing Archery

Other dates and locations for Camp Erin are:

August 22nd-24th

Camp Killoqua, Everett Contact Heather Sessions for more information

August 22nd-24th

Tall Timbers, Wenatchee Contact Elizabeth Tate for more information

September 12th-14th

Camp Korey Contact Chris Olson for more information christopher.olson@

Heather Neal will be giving an information class on Camp Erin and the Bridges program at the Survivor Outreach Services office on Thursday, April 10th at 2:00pm to 3:30pm. This will be a great opportunity for you to come along and ask any questions you may have. Light snacks and beverages will be offered. Please call Cate on 253-967-7501 to register.

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Beacon 2014 ● Spring Edition ● WA State Survivor Outreach Services ● (253) 967-7501

Useful Resources and Tips Financial Literacy Resources Federal Student Aid ( – U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid’s website that serves as the source for free information, guidance, and tools for federal student assistance. ( – The U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission’s website dedicated to teaching the basics about financial education. The site offers valuable information on budgeting, credit management, saving and investing, financial planning, financial aid, and loan obligations. Federal Trade Commission ( – The Federal Trade Commission’s website to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. This site gives examples of key questions to ask when considering a credit counselor and collects complaints about consumer fraud and identity theft. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ( – U.S. government website that has articles on how to become a smarter, safer user of financial services that will protect and stretch your earnings. The Bad Credit Hotel ( – U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website that offers the basics to maintaining good credit.

Potential Legal Resources for Survivors JAG resources for children: Legal services can be provided to children on behalf of a Service Member and the PNOK in a limited capacity. The Legal Assistance regulation, AR 27-3 paragraph 2-5 persons eligible to receive legal assistance (8) (a): (8) PNOK (as defined in AR 600-8-1, para 4-1a (20 Oct 94)), executors, personal representatives, administrators, and legally recognized estate representatives for matters relating to the settlement of estates of- (a) Active Army or RC service members who die while in a military duty status. Services are available for a child of a deceased member if the child has an ID card for entitlements; (this would include legal services. A guardian of a child can always come on behalf of the child for benefits, with the child's military ID. ) Note: JAG cannot probate estates and are limited to providing general legal advice on the probate process and giving the client a referral list. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project (MPBP): "MPBP will connect eligible, active-duty Service Members with pro bono attorneys to assist with the resolution of civil legal issues. Referrals are made only by military legal assistance (i.e., JAG) attorneys. If you need a referral from the MPBP, this referral must come from a legal assistance office. Individuals cannot contact the MPBP directly for a referral. If someone needs legal help, they should contact their legal assistance attorney, and he or she will determine whether they should be referred to the MPBP. Many referrals are based on a "needs" test. For example one must be financially need based) eligible for an MPBP referral. The JAG attorney may also consider other financial resources available to determining financial eligibility. For more information: Public Legal Resources

For more information on Potential Legal Resources for Survivors contact WA State Survivor Outreach Services

Dates for your diary 15th

May and 17th June, Estate Planning at 1:30pm McChord Library More Info and to sign up: Contact Cate on 253-967-7501

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Beacon 2014 ● Spring Edition ● WA State Survivor Outreach Services ● (253) 967-7501

Stress Less Tip Corner

WA Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) Joint Base Lewis-McChord AFCS Annex Bldg. 2166, Liggett Ave & 12th S. St. 253-967-7501 Ryki Carlson Army Reserve SOS Marysville 13613 N 40th Ave. 360-403-2316 Daniel Forsberg or 360-403-2338 Sandra Neuman National Guard SOS Western WA 253-512-1353 Jared Lathrop-Weber Eastern WA 509-734-7052 Shirley Schmunk South West Washington 503-584-2574 Darrell Beck Joint Base Lewis-McChord Casualty Assistance Office Waller Hall Bldg. 2140, Liggett Ave. 253-966-5890

This is your Newsletter, so we’d be really interested in hearing what you would like to see included in its pages.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Retirement Services Office Waller Hall Bldg. 2140, Liggett Ave. 253-966-5881

Also if you have suggestions for events or socials that you would like to see happen, send your suggestions to:

Contact Information Update Sheet

Please update your information in the sections below and then return it to the office, either by email or drop it by and have coffee with us.

Name: Address: Telephone Number: Email address:

If you no longer wish to be contacted by Survivor Outreach Services, please let us know.

SOS Beacon/Spring 2014  

Information and events for our military Survivors and their Families.