I married a retired military man, after 35 years 4 tours of Vietnam, loss of his spouse 5 years before I married him. We fell in love and got married. It was exposed to agent orange and had prostate cancer. Also some skin cancer. 3 months after we had married a skin cancer moved into his lymph knodes and he had surgery where they discovered a tumor on the base of his tongue. 2 months later he was dead. For 35 years he paid in out of his pocket to a spousal benefit...when we got married we had no clue he was going to die or that he had cancer. I received no benefits because of a "stupid" year stipulation of being married. Married a year or not we loved each other and he gave 35 years to the Military and wanted me to be taken care of....He also was an agent orange victim. I received nothing and I am struggling to survive I feel I need to fight the year stipulation why a year why not 6 months? Why not 18 months? What can I do?
State/Country relating to question: Montana
Sent letters to the Military, contacted my Senators which I had no response from .
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I don't know what information you need.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.Ma'amI wish I had better news for you. The one year rule is federal law. There is no waiver. You ask a great question..."why one year...why not 6 months"The answer is that Congress passed the rule making it one year.They can change that law. They can make it 9 months, 6 months, 3 months.They just need to vote on it.So your reaching out to your Congressman is the only way to solve this. Though I suspect that will be longshot at best. Since lowering the time limit means the costs to the federal government increase (the shorter the amount of time, the more money the government will pay out in benefits.Still, at this point the only way you can get benefits is if you can convince your congressional representative to change the law.I wish I had better news.Please let me know if you have more questions, if not please accept so I get credit for my work.
You did not address the fact that he died from as an agent orange victim his lifetime ws shortened because of agent orange I feel there should be some benefits to me had he not been an agent orange victim. WE should have had many more years together. Longevity is in his family ...there must be attorneys that fight for these things for spouses.
I note you gave me a negative rating. As I mentioned previously, I am very sorry that the law is what the law is...and that it as impacted you negatively. I would urge you not take out your anger on me.The problem you have is the law that covers this is very clear. You can see the law here38 CFR 3.54It says3.54 - Marriage dates.A surviving spouse may qualify for pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation if the marriage to the veteran occurred before or during his or her service or, if married to him or her after his or her separation from service, before the applicable date stated in his section.(a) Pension. Death pension may be paid to a surviving spouse who was married to the veteran:(1) One year or more prior to the veteran's death, or(2) For any period of time if a child was born of the marriage, or was born to them before the marriage, orMa'am, I am sorry that the law is set. The problem you have is that since the law is set, only congress can change it. A judge is not permitted to change the law. OK...you could hire a lawyer and sue to claim the law is not constitutional. But that argument is not going to go anyplace. It is a waste of time and money to go that route.Congress has the power to make the laws. If you want the law changed, you have to go through congress.Please let me know if you have more questions, if not please rate so I get credit for my work.
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