Advocating for Survivors of America’s Veterans

Post date: Aug 26, 2011 8:02:57 PM

By Debra Walker May 10, 2011 at 10:06 am

For everyone, the death of a loved one is a life changing event. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is here to assist survivors in making the necessary transition with benefits assistance, counseling and support during the weeks, months and years ahead.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said “Taking care of survivors is as essential as taking care of our Veterans and military personnel.” He added, “By taking care of survivors, we are honoring a commitment made to our Veterans and military members.” To this end, VA has a long tradition of assisting the survivors and dependents of America’s Veterans. Through education programs, health care, financial support and more, VA is honored to continue our relationship with the surviving families of America’s heroes.

In 2008 under guidance from Congress and VA’s own Working Group on Survivors, VA stood up the Office of Survivors Assistance (OSA). OSA works within the Office of the Secretary providing policy guidance to VA leadership on Survivor issues as well as outreach to the Survivor community. Over the years, VA has learned that many potential beneficiaries are not aware of what services are available to Survivors or the eligibility criteria for the various programs. As such, one of the steps taken by OSA has been the development of our website to provide users with helpful information, application forms, and other useful links.

If you are a spouse, child, or parent of a Veteran, we strongly encourage you to visit our website to learn more about what services are offered by VA to the Survivor community. Likewise, if you are a Veteran and would like to help your loved ones plan for the future, we invite you to our website.

Advocating for Survivors of America’s Veterans is our honor and privilege. It is our mission to make sure Veterans’ survivors do not fall through the cracks, as VA’s mission to serve those who have borne the battle is not over when Taps is played. The Office of Survivors Assistance is eager to help you during this time of profound transition and we offer our services with a spirit of excellence that we hope you will find to be beneficial.

Debra Walker is the Director of the Office of Survivors Assistance. An Army veteran, she serves as the primary adviser to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on all policies, programs, legislative issues, and other initiatives affecting survivors and dependents of deceased veterans and service members.