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by Abigail Van Buren

Cutting Her Apron Strings Is Painful for Mother and Son

DEAR ABBY: God bless you! You've done it again. In 2001, American Ex-Prisoners of War got 600-plus responses to your printing our POW VA benefit alert in your column. You helped many former POWs and their widows get the VA benefits due them.

As of today, your July 18, 2009, column about benefits available to widows of veterans who died of ALS has generated more than 2,000 e-mails and many letters and phone calls! I will be plowing through all these e-mails for weeks to come, but I'm afraid people will be waiting too long for my responses.

That's why I'm asking you to please help me again by letting your readers know that if their veteran husband died of ALS, they should call the Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 827-1000. This will get them to their nearest VA regional office. They should ask to speak with a service officer about their ALS claim for COMPENSATION, not pension. This will expedite the claim process.

Abby, thank you for reaching out to veterans with their service-connected health issues. God is blessing many through your unique column. -- FRED CAMPBELL, AMERICAN EX-PRISONERS OF WAR

DEAR FRED: I'm delighted that my July 18 column will help so many -- and I hope today's column will, too. Readers, please pay attention to this "heads up" because Fred is swamped!