LETTER TO CONGRESS

To The Honorable Mississippi Congressional Delegation

(Staff: Please pass this important message to Senators/Congressmen)

Sirs:

Let's start with a question: “Why does it take DOD (agencies within DOD) so long to get the Survivor Benefits (SBP) to widows?” Three widows have called me within the last 24 hours to pose that question. Two of those widows live in the 4th Congressional District, of Mississippi.

These two Ladies are past 75 years of age, and without that first and subsequent SBP check they have a hard time making ends meet - as in “paying your bills”. The Husbands of these two widows paid into SBP for over 30 years, yet when it is needed it is not there in a timely fashion even if it is reduced to 35% at age 62.

The husband of one of these widows died in Feb. 2004. She has called to all agencies and she is being told, “It takes time”… “the computer is down”… “We don't have your paper work”… etc, etc. February to July is totally UNACCEPTABLY waiting on the U.S. Government bureaucrats to do their job.

The other widow's husband died the first part of June, She also has called many numbers and faxed in the necessary documents to no avail. Again this delay is totally unacceptable.

One of the Widows called a Congressional Office. She received a letter from the Congressman stating that they are looking into the problem. That was 60 days ago.

If there are two widows in Laurel, MS who have this problem, then I must suggest that the problem is widespread throughout the military retired community.

Agencies within DOD are responsible for administering the SBP program but there is neither oversight nor accountability within DOD or Congress.

Question such as this beg for an answer and an answer should be forthcoming - but it won't be from DOD or Congress. It appears that Capitol Hill has adopted an attitude toward military retirees - “Just another gripe, don’t worry about it.”

I would ask that you contact DOD and demand some answers about the length of time it takes to get the SBP checks started to widows. Simplify the process. Is that asking too much? I think not. Will I get a reply to this? Will the widows get an answer? I doubt it.

I urge you Gentlemen to take more interest in the well-being of your constituents. Is that asking too much?

This is being sent to my extensive email network for distribution as they see fit. Further, I am faxing this to all Mississippi Congressional Offices.

Please gentlemen don't file 13 this letter. These widows need some help.

You may reach me at 601-426-9734 or email me at mailto:jimw8869@megagate.com.

Sincerely,
Jim Whittington, MSgt, USAF (Ret.)
622 West 21st Street, Laurel, MS. 39440