Disabled vets may qualify for VA pension
What are the eligibility requirements to receive a Department of Veterans Affairs pension?
Answer: Veterans with low income who are permanently and totally disabled, or are 65 and older, may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war. (Veterans who entered active duty on or after Sept. 8, 1980, or officers who entered on or after Oct. 16, 1981, may have to meet a longer minimum period of active duty). The veteran's discharge must not have been dishonorable and the disability must not be for the veteran's own willful misconduct. Payments bring the veteran's total income, including other retirement or Social Security, to a level set by Congress. Unreimbursed medical expenses may reduce countable income for VA purposes.
Congress establishes the maximum annual improved disability pension rates. Payments are reduced by the amount of countable income of the veteran, spouse or dependent children. When a veteran without a spouse or a child is furnished nursing home or domiciliary care by VA, the pension is reduced to an amount not to exceed $90 per month after three calendar months of care. The reduction may be delayed if nursing-home care is being continued to provide the veteran with rehabilitation services. For more information on VA pensions, contact the VA at (800) 827-1000.
Q: Do Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom veterans get special eligibility for dental services?
A: No. Recently discharged "combat" veterans have the same potential access to dental services within the 90 days after military discharge. Basically, if they make application within 90 days of discharge and have had no dental service completed while on active duty, they are entitled to a one-time course of dental care from the VA -- but this is a limited benefit. For more information on VA dental benefits, call the VA Medical Clinic at 433-0600.
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.