SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) – Vince Smith was a Marine who was proud of taking care of his country, his wife and his two children. That changed after 21 years of serving his country, when he was diagnosed with a service-related disability. Suddenly, his wife, who was just 48, started taking care of Vince.
"It is extremely difficult for a Marine to lose their physical abilities and then to slowly lose their life," says Edie Smith, who is now 71. She was her husband's caregiver for 12 years before he died at age 60 in 1998.
Edie Smith has gone from caregiver to "Capitol crusader," as her son-in-law puts it. She's a member of the Gold Star Wives, a group of widows who have not only lost their spouses but also their annuity payouts from their Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP).
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