For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military
See also: In The Military
VA will replace damaged
or misspelled headstones
Question: My spouse's name was misspelled on his headstone. Can it be replaced?
Answer: Yes. Headstones and markers previously provided by the government may be replaced at government expense if badly deteriorated, illegible, stolen or vandalized. The Department of Veterans Affairs will also replace the headstone or marker if the inscription is wrong. The VA also will replace the headstone or marker if it was damaged during shipping or if the material or workmanship does not meet contract specifications. For more information, call the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at 566-1430 or the VA Memorial Program Service in Washington, D.C., at 800-697-6947.
Q: Since the fiscal year 2004 budget request includes a large discretionary increase, will the department reverse its recent decision suspending health care enrollment for Priority Group 8 veterans?
A: The secretary's decision to suspend new enrollment in VA's health care system for Priority Group 8 veterans was made to allow the department to refocus its health care resources on serving those veterans who need it most: those with service-connected conditions; those with lower incomes; and those with special health care needs, such as blindness, amputations or spinal cord injuries.
Even with the budgetary increase, a large number of higher-income, nondisabled veterans enrolling in the VA health care system would prevent VA from focusing on its core constituency and reducing waiting times.
The VA is exploring other possibilities for making VA health care available to all veterans, such as working with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a plan that will provide nonenrolled Priority Group 8 veterans the option of using their Medicare benefits to obtain their care from VA.
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.
Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin,
can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.