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New program to help vets' families get benefits

Posted at 4:12 AM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 04:22:51-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- State health and Veterans' Affairs officials are teaming up in a new program aimed at helping veterans' families obtain benefits.

The Department of Health said Wednesday that Florida is one of the first states to develop a program giving funeral directors the ability to notify the certifying physician that the decedent may have a service-connected disability.

The veteran's spouse or other family members may be entitled to VA compensation and other benefits if the service-connected condition was the underlying cause of death or a contributing factor.

Survivors need a death certificate indicating the cause of death was service-connected when applying for the benefit.

Florida has one of the largest veteran populations in the U.S. with more than 1.5 million.