New law eases requirements for renovations for disabled
What are the benefits of the new veterans housing and benefits law?
Answer: There are grants between $2,000 and $14,000 to renovate a home in which a severely disabled servicemember is temporarily living. Previously, disabled veterans had to own their homes to qualify for a Department of Veterans Affairs adapted-housing grant. The law also allows servicemembers who have been legally determined to be totally disabled when they left the military to have up to two years from their separation date to apply for premium-free Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance coverage. The new law will enable them to convert their coverage to Veterans' Group Life Insurance, or an individual plan or policy, during the same two-year period. Taking advantage of the conversion option is critical for totally disabled servicemembers who, because of their disabilities, may not be insurable at commercial rates after military service. For more information, contact the VA at (800) 827-1000.
Q: I have relatives who live in American Samoa who are veterans. The VA has said a VA clinic will be built there. When will it open?
A: The VA hopes it will be taking care of patients by April 2007. With 156 hospitals and more than 700 community-based clinics, the VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the country. Other new clinics include South Orange County in California, Fallon, Nev., Miami-Globe, northwest Tucson, Ariz., southeast Tucson and Canyon County in Idaho.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.