Suicide hot line is open 24 hours, year-round
What is the Department of Veterans Affairs doing about suicide prevention?
Answer: The toll-free hot line for veterans is (800) 273-TALK (8255). VA's hot line will be staffed by mental health professionals in Canandaigua, N.Y. To operate the national hot line, VA is partnering with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. The hot line will put veterans in touch with trained professionals at any time of the day or night, any day of the week. This year, the VA will spend about $3 billion for mental health. For additional information on VA's mental health care, call 433-0600.
Q: I have a family member who is a veteran in prison. What happens to his VA benefits?
A: VA disability compensation and pension benefits are restricted if a veteran, surviving spouse, child or dependent parent is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than 60 days. The disability compensation paid to an incarcerated veteran is limited to the 10 percent disability rate. For a surviving spouse, child, dependent parent or veteran whose disability rating is 10 percent, the payment is reduced by half. Any amounts not paid may be apportioned to eligible dependents. Payments are not reduced for recipients participating in work-release programs, residing in halfway houses or under community control. Overpayments for failure to notify VA of a veteran's incarceration will result in the loss of all financial benefits until the overpayment is recovered. As an additional note, VA disability compensation and pension benefits may not be paid to any veteran named on an outstanding felony warrant, or their dependents, until the veteran has surrendered to authorities or the warrant is cleared. For more information on how imprisonment can affect VA benefits, call (800) 827-1000.
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.