For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, November 4, 2001

See also: In The Military

Veterans Affairs can provide
automobile assistance
for disabled vets

Question: I am a disabled veteran and unable to drive a standard car. Does Veteran Affairs provide automobile assistance?

Answer: Veterans qualify for an automobile assistance benefit if they have service-connected loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands or feet, or permanent impairment of vision of both eyes. Veterans entitled to compensation for immobility of one or both knees, or one or both hips, also qualify for adaptive equipment. There is a one-time payment by VA of not more than $8,000 toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance. VA pays for adaptive equipment and for repair, replacement or reinstallation required because of disability, and for the safe operation of a vehicle purchased with VA assistance.

Question: I heard about a VA benefit for widows of veterans. My mother is a widow of a deceased veteran. Can you explain more about this?

Answer: Under the VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program surviving spouses, unmarried children under 18 and certain children and parents of service personnel or veterans who die because of service-connected causes are entitled to monetary benefits. In certain cases, entitlement can be established if the veteran's death is non-service-connected.

The monthly DIC rates are not affected by income for surviving spouses and children. Survivors Benefit Plan is not affected by receipt of DIC payments. If the veteran's death was not service-related, eligibility may exist if the veteran was receiving VA disability compensation for a total disability for the 10 years preceding death, or continuously since released from active duty and for at least the last five years. Eligibility also exists if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after Sept. 30, 1999, and who was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of at least one year immediately preceding death.

A spouse is eligible if married to the veteran for at least one year (if a child was born of the union, there is no time requirement), the marriage was valid, and the spouse lived with the veteran continuously until his or her death. Children are eligible if unmarried, under 18 or between ages 18 and 23 attending school.

The current monthly rate for a spouse is $911 per month, if the veteran died after Jan. 1, 1993. The amount before that date varies depending on the veteran's pay grade. Eligible dependent children receive an additional $229 per month.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

E-mail to City Desk

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