For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

Disabled vets must
call military for aide IDs

Question: I recently asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide an identification card for my aide. I am single and 100 percent disabled service-connected and at times need her to shop without me in the military commissary and exchange. The VA told me to contact the Army. Why can't the VA help me?

Answer: Veterans who have a 100 percent service-connected disability rating may be authorized to shop in military commissaries and exchanges. However, the VA has no control over the issuance of military ID cards, which are necessary for entry into those facilities. Cards are issued and controlled by individual military services.

The VA will provide a letter to the veteran to take to the Department of Defense facility that states the veteran is 100 percent disabled, permanent and total or temporary, whatever the case may be. The expiration date on the military ID card will either be indefinite in the case of permanent and total disability, or the date the temporary 100 percent rating expires.

The issue of a separate identification card for a shopper, or aide, is between the veteran and the Department of Defense. Upon the veteran's request, the department may ask for a doctor's letter stating that the veteran is homebound or other reasons why the veteran cannot shop on his own. The department will then make a decision.

For more information concerning VA identification cards, or disability ratings, contact the VA at 433-1000 or visit

Q: Does the new VA program providing two years of medical care for combat veterans apply to reserves and National Guard, and what defines combat?

A: Yes. The policy also applies to National Guard and reserve personnel who were activated and served in a theater of combat or in combat against a hostile force. Members of the Guard and reserve forces must be ordered to active duty by federal declaration, serve the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty, and be released, discharged or retired under conditions other than dishonorable. "Combat or hostilities" is defined as conflict in which Armed Forces members are subjected to danger comparable to the danger they would face in war.

To determine whether a period of hostilities is within the scope of this special authority, the Department of Veterans Affairs relies upon the same criterion used to determine eligibility for VA Readjustment Counseling Service.

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, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin,
can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

E-mail to City Desk

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