Valentine program for vets is underway
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Does the Department of Veterans Affairs still accept valentines for veterans, and if so, where can I take them?
Answer: The 2008 National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans is from Feb. 10 to 17. As part of that salute, it is encouraged that citizens send valentines to hospitalized veterans -- in fact, all veterans. Valentines may be delivered to the VA Medical Center, attention Voluntary Services Coordinator, Patricia Wieland, or by mail to the Public Affairs Officer, VA Pacific Islands Health Care Center, 459 Patterson Road, Honolulu, HI 96819. For further information contact the volunteer services manager at 433-0109 or the public affairs office at 433-0049.
Q: Is the VA distributing insurance dividends again this year?
A: More than a million veterans are in line to share $349 million in annual insurance dividends during 2008. The dividend payments will be sent to an estimated 1.1 million holders of VA insurance policies on the anniversary date of their policies. Sent automatically through different payment plans, the amounts will vary based on the age of the veteran, the type of insurance, and the length of time the policy has been in force. The dividends come from the earnings of trust funds into which veterans have paid insurance premiums over the years, and are linked to returns on investments in U.S. government securities.
Veterans are cautioned about a long-running scam in which various groups charge fees to "locate" veterans who are eligible for the dividends. Veterans eligible for the dividends have had VA life insurance policies in effect since they left the military and have received annual notifications from the VA about the policies. Dividends are paid each year to veterans holding certain government life insurance policies and who served between 1917 and 1956.
Veterans who have questions about their policies may contact the VA insurance toll-free number at (800) 669-8477 or send an e-mail to VAinsurance@va.gov. They may also visit VA on the Internet at www.insurance.va.gov.
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.