Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Our Bill Outline For New Funeral Services Loan

Foot soldiers fightng for Veteran suicide postvention know that the strength of a Veteran family knows no bounds. Despite their sacrifice and paid-in-full status, paying the funeral expenses for an unexpected suicide is one challenge many can not meet. This bill outline is a critical step to fill this gap between the too-little, too-late Veterans’ Administration benefits and all or nothing standards of some funeral homes. Our local US Congressman John Rutherford, and his staff, continue to champion support needed for all American heroes. Their guidance will be critical to how far this bill can go.

magic mental health mushroom

Matt and Kristen Mahramus

You can see real love between these two. Matt left behind Kristen and their two children.

Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Fueled by PTSD, TBI, MST and more, Veteran suicides continue to rise. However, increased postvention support for the families has not. VA death benefits arrive too late and too many Veteran families can’t bury their Veterans with dignity. This modest guaranteed loan will meet that need and close this gap.

Veteran Family Postvention Issue

  • VA death benefits offer no specialized support for suicide’s aftermath
  • Suicide victims typically leave behind no life insurance or savings
  • VA benefits end and leave the families without breadwinners

Key Solutions

  • Congress must enact legislation to create program
  • Would provide up to $2,000 – $8,000 for post 9/11 Veteran suicide families
  • Would be paid directly to the funeral services providers

Reasons to Believe

  • Recent COVID-19 funeral relief via FEMA proves it is possible
  • This solves our most immediate Veteran suicide postvention failure
  • The program would be limited in reach and scope  
  • VA death benefits, if any, would be directly applied to the loan balance

For more information, contact

Dave Barbush dave@onceasolider.org

904477999

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ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:

 

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

 Cremation Information

The cremation process and legal requirements for it vary state by state and city by city. Please check your local legal requirements to ensure the safe processing of your loved one.

There are different parts to the cremation process including transportation, storage, cremation itself, and the return of the remains. You have an opportunity to have a viewing prior to the cremation process, as well. You may also be able to witness the cremation.

To start, the body will be taken to the funeral home or straight to the crematory. Before the cremation occurs, the body will be stored and secured in cold storage.

Next up for the cremation process, you must select a container or casket in which to cremate your loved one.  Their body will be placed in the container and brought to the crematory.

Before the cremation, personal items (jewelry, watches, etc.) are removed from the container/casket and returned to you/the family. For safety reasons, many items are not allowed to be cremated with the body because not everything is combustible. These items could cause damage to the crematory or the operator.

urn for ashes

How Long Does It Take To Cremate a Body?

The cremation process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than two hours depending on the size of the body and how much heat has been stored in the cremator’s chamber. The cremation process occurs at 1600 degrees F. Once the cremation process is complete, the cremated remains are swept out of the cremator into a cooling tray and brought to a processor. The processor breaks down the bone fragments until they are 1/8” or smaller in size. The cremated remains are put into a plastic bag and placed into an urn or temporary container. Throughout this entire process, your loved one’s identification is checked numerous times. The cremated remains are placed with paperwork and stored until the family, comes to retrieve them.

Adult cremated remains weigh between four and six pounds.

Remains Transporting

If you plan to transport cremated remains, you may need different documents (death certificate, certificate of cremation, etc.) and the help of a funeral director to make this process possible.

If shipping cremated remains by United States Postal Service (USPS), you must use Priority Mail Express service and Priority Express Mail International.  USPS’ Label 139 indicating “Cremated Remains” is not required but it is encouraged to help USPS workers know this package should be handled with care.

Most airlines allow the transportation of cremated remains either as a carry-on, checked luggage or air cargo. Check with the airlines to learn their rules about transporting cremated remains; some airlines need notice if something needs to be placed in the air cargo. You must carry the death certificate, certificate of cremation and other documentation with you.

If transporting the cremated remains internationally, you will have to contact the Consulate(s) of the country you are taking the remains to or from. You will find the forms and authorizations required. Your funeral director will likely have to complete many of the forms. This process can take a few weeks.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Three Stories For Three Years Working At Once A Soldier

Three Stories For Three Years Working At Once A Soldier

Their Stories Deserve Greater Awareness

With Congress, the VA, and major veteran service organizations all working to stop soldier suicide, our voice from the other side of preventions (postvention) is not as easily heard. Time will change that, but for now, we seem to be all that veteran families have in their time of need. As such, we hear the unfiltered messages of need and pain wrapped in the stories about what happened and why. The more people that hear these these stories, the faster the next family will get help.

I’ll start with the most recent family. From the midwest, Missouri. Mark killed himself in his car. He had just paid it off. His sister Teresa called the next day. Mark’s body was in the medical examiner’s office in St. Louis. Teresa said, “I don’t know what to do next.” Her voice sounded much older than her picture on Venmo looked. Teresa was able to pullcall despite that fact that she was in the middle of a crying jag.

She was still crying and short of breath. Mark was 58 years old. Ex-Marine. PTSD and alcoholism played a part in his life for I don’t know how many years. When those two problems are there, they are there for everyone around him. He was living with his parents. Teresa described them as having lost their mental awareness. They were; however, able to call the police and get the postvention ball rolling. 

Mickey

Once A Soldier is the Nation’s Leading Time of Need Postvention Service Provider

Izzy ZaZa was living with her long-serving husband Robert in Arizona. He served in Afghanistan. He befriended a teenager who his unit hired as their interpreter in one village. His unit left and returned to find that teenaged boy hanging from a pole. Years later, Robert went into a bathroom at home to kill himself. Izzy followed him in and tried to stop him. She got shot through her left hand and fell back. Robert shot himself in the chest.

Finally, there’s Mickey Keeney. I have lots of pictures of him given to me by his sister. Two stick out in my mind. One is him pinning his son as he enters the Army. The other one, above, was taken two days before Mickey killed himself. He was completley alone in his PTSD pain and it shows. He killed himself on that same couch that he’s sitting on in the picture. His eyes as swollen as his face had become. Soon his pain would be over, and his families would move to a new level. 

With the promise of help from Representative Rutherford, we hope to bring these stories to life in the halls of Congress in 2021. Until then, we will continue to answer the calls and listen to their stories.

 

Financial Aid for Veteran Suicide from PTSD

Financial Aid for Veteran Suicide from PTSD

Postvention Monetary Assistance For Veteran Families

Once a Soldier Serves Those in Crisis

Once A Soldier is here for families who have suffered a Veteran suicide with PTSD as it’s root cause. With 17 soldier suicides a day (according to the updated VA research –  22 soldier suicides a day was originally miscalculated but latched onto by nonprofit organizations and others and branded), approximately 14 are Veterans. Active duty accounts for the remainder and that include all available services and reserves. Here are three calls to make after you get the news.

Mainly, we find that PTSD has a leading role in this sad story. We therefore typically gift, or offer financial assistance after the fact, to those Veteran families who lost their soldier in a battle with PTSD. If you’re exhibiting symptoms of PTSD and are looking for free and drug-free options, this article can help you now. Once a Soldier will gift all Veteran suicide families, therefore please keep us in mind or share this news with someone who needs our suicide postvention help.

Funerals are Expensive. Unexpected Ones are Devastating.

The mission is to help heal the emotional and financial scars left behind after a Veteran Suicide. We also offer time of need counseling for families who have just discovered that a tragic death has entered their house. Funeral homes and airlines do their best to offer aid and comfort to Veteran families, but sometimes their help can hurt in the long run. Families faced with a slew of decisions in a time of sadness and confusion will still make good decisions, but sometimes they aren’t presented with all the facts or options that are available. Our time of need counseling can make sure that the family doesn’t make the financial scar deeper than it needs to be. 

Average Costs of Veteran Suicide

Reported by the families that we serve, in general the costs range from $6,000 to $12,000. Funeral home costs make up to 80% of any total expense. More and more funeral homes can offer or are affiliated with another funeral home that can provide cremation services. 

Direct cremation is the most cost-effective option and you have every right to inquire about that service from whomever is holding your loved ones remains. If interested, here’s more on that.  

Secondarily, depending on where the Veteran took their life, transportation costs can add to that monetary burden immediately. Airlines require special handling of the body in addition to the airfare. Most will bend over backwards to help Veterans, but market price and demand can still keep a body tied up in a far away funeral home for what is an agonizing amount of time. 

Finally, for financial help for PTSD-related Veteran suicide victims or survivors, reach out to those local, military-centric nonprofits for additional help. Not just financial or emotional, but you never know what they can offer if you don’t ask. The national Veteran service organizations will have ways for you to connect but not local resources that you may need right after a Veteran suicide. 

Any questions or comments, please feel free to add to the conversation.

If you are a caregiver in need, check out this helpful resource.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.