For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, December 16, 2001

See also: In The Military

New or replacement headstones
provided free for deceased vets

Question: Does the Veterans Affairs furnish a headstone or marker?

Answer: Yes, at no charge to the applicant. A headstone or marker for the unmarked grave will be provided for any deceased veteran discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable. Service after Sept. 7, 1980, must be for a minimum of 24 months or be completed under special circumstances; for example, death on active duty. People with 20 years service in the National Guard or reserves who are entitled to retired pay subsequent to Oct. 27, 1992, are also eligible. Headstones and markers are provided for eligible spouses and dependents of veterans only when buried in a national, military post/base or state veterans cemetery. Spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery are not eligible for a government-furnished headstone or marker.

Previously furnished headstones and markers may be replaced at government expense when badly deteriorated, illegible, stolen or vandalized. A replacement is also available if the headstone or marker is different from that specified by the applicant or permitted by the cemetery, was damaged in transit or the inscription is incorrect.

Q: My father got a medical discharge from the military after World War II. He never applied for veterans benefits. Can anything be done for him now?

A: There are no time limits to apply for a disability compensation, Veterans Affairs pension or VA health care. It's not uncommon for the VA to see World War II veterans for the first time only now. VA health care facilities will treat any veteran. There may be an out-of-pocket payment called a co-pay unless the veteran holds the Purple Heart medal, qualifies for VA disability compensation or receives VA pension. Disability compensation is for people with medical problems traced back to their military service. They must prove the problem was caused or aggravated by something that happened while they were in the military. VA's pensions are for wartime veterans in poor health with few financial resources. Qualifying for VA pensions or disability compensation may take several months. For more information, call 433-1000.

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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