For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, December 23, 2001

See also: In The Military

Service data needed
for Guard injuries

Question: If a National Guard member wants to claim Veterans Affairs compensation for an injury received while federally activated, what documents would the Guard member be expected to provide to support the claim?

Answer: VA's evaluation of benefit claims made under such circumstances is made much easier by inclusion of military orders stating that the service was performed under a specific section of Title 10 of the U.S. Code and, if available, copies of a presidential proclamation or executive order directing such service. If injured while performing "active service" in the National Guard and the injury is compensable, a federally activated member will meet VA's definition of a veteran if discharged or released from active service.

In submitting a claim, the Guard member should include information that documents the call to active duty, the time actually spent on active duty and release from active duty. This is normally accomplished by submitting all copies of the member's military orders, a copy of his or her most recent military leave and earnings statement, and the member's release papers, which may also give documentation of the federal nature of the call to duty.

The Guard member should also submit military and civilian medical records relevant to the injury. Any related military line-of-duty investigation records would also help. Call 433-1000 for more information.

Q: I am a Gulf War veteran. What happens if doctors at the Honolulu VA Medical Center cannot diagnose my symptoms from my service in the Gulf?

A: While most veterans can be diagnosed and treated at the local VA ambulatory care center, some have conditions that are unusual and difficult to diagnose. Sometimes this requires continued testing and observation by a team of specialists. The local VA physician may refer these veterans to a special VA Gulf War referral center.

At these four national centers, veterans undergo more extensive medical evaluations that require about one to two weeks. Additional laboratory studies may be done, as well as consultations with other specialists. The medical work-up and treatment recommendations are individualized for each veteran depending on his or her medical condition. The decision to transfer a veteran to a referral center is made by the veteran's VA physician in consultation with a referral center physician director. Veterans interested in a referral should talk to their local VA physician.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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