Veterans’ questions answered

Q: VA recently said it would give benefits to the children of Vietnam veterans with leukemia. What kind of benefits? How do I apply?

A: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in the early stages of putting together a package of benefits for victims of a rare form of leukemia whose parents served in Vietnam. No one knows what those benefits will be.

It will take several months before veterans can begin applying for the new benefits. But two things are clear: First, the parent must have been physically present in Vietnam during the war. Second, the child must have a certain kind of leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). This is not the most common form of leukemia.

The Institute of Medicine reported April 19 that it has evidence that AML is more common in the families of Vietnam veterans than among their peers who served elsewhere during the war years. Researchers believe the disease in children was caused by a parent’s exposure to Agent Orange and other toxins in the combat zone.

Q: I got a "certificate of eligibility" from VA to buy a home using my GI benefits. Then the deal fell through. Do I have to get another certificate when I try to buy another home? Is there an expiration date?

A: The "certificate of eligibility" is the form that VA provides to show a veteran is eligible for the home loan benefit. Veterans can obtain the application for a certificate and information about where to send it by calling the VA at (800) 827-1000.

Generally, the certificates are valid until used. However, a certificate issued to a person while on active duty is only valid while the person remains on active duty. For persons qualifying based on service in the reserves or National Guard, eligibility expires Sept. 30, 2007.

For further information about VA financial payments, call (800) 827-1000, for information about VA health care, call (877) 222-8387, or visit VA’s Website at

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