Staff being hired to aid seriously hurt vets
What is being done to assist seriously injured returning military personnel?
Answer: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense signed an agreement to provide federal recovery coordinators to help ensure medical services and other benefits are provided to seriously wounded, injured, and ill active-duty service members and veterans. The agreement establishes that the first federal recovery coordinators will be provided by VA in coordination with DOD and will be located at top military treatment facilities throughout the nation. They will coordinate services between VA, DOD and, if necessary, private-sector facilities.
The first 10 coordinators will be hired by Saturday. Plans call for the new employees to be trained and in place at four of the military's major health care facilities during January 2008. The coordinators will ensure the appropriate oversight and coordination is provided for care of those with major amputations, severe traumatic brain injury, spinal cord in jury, severe sight or hearing impairments, and severe multiple injuries.
The first 10 coordinators will work at military health care facilities and at any other locations where patients are later assigned. Hawaii was not listed as one of the first recipients of a patient recovery coordinator, but may be added in the future. These federal recovery coordinators are in addition to 105 patient advocates VA has hired, trained and put in place since June.
Q: Who may be paid the VA burial and plot-interment allowances?
A: Generally, VA will pay the allowances to the person (or entity) that paid for the veteran's burial or funeral, and has not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source such as the veteran's employer. To apply for VA burial allowances, you need to complete VA form 21-530 (Application for Burial Allowance). A death certificate (if not already furnished to VA) and copies of paid funeral and burial bills should be attached. The application is available at the Honolulu VA Office located in E-Wing, Tripler Army Medical Center. There is no time limit for claiming reimbursement of burial expenses for a service-related death. In non-service-related deaths, the claim must be filed within two years of the veteran's burial. For more information on filing for VA burial allowances, contact the VA at (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.