For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

Some widows may
reapply for health plan

Question: I am a surviving spouse and recently learned of some changes in the CHAMPVA program. Can you elaborate on this?

Answer: Surviving spouses who lost access to the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) by remarrying before Feb. 4 now can be reinstated into the program if they remarried after reaching age 55 and if they apply for reinstatement by Feb. 4, 2004. Similarly, a surviving spouse who remarried after becoming age 55 and lost access to TRICARE benefits may now be eligible for CHAMPVA coverage.

To be eligible for CHAMPVA, the individual must be a family member of a veteran who has a permanent and total service-connected disability, or who died of a service-connected condition, or who was totally disabled from a service-connected condition at the time of death. In general, CHAMPVA covers most health care services and supplies that are medically and psychologically necessary.

Surviving spouses who remarry at a younger age and lost their CHAMPVA benefits can have these benefits restored if their later marriage is annulled or ends due to death or divorce. Widows or widowers of any age who lost benefits under VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program due to remarriage are eligible for reinstatement of monthly DIC payments if their subsequent marriage ends.

This restoration policy has been in effect since 1998, but the VA is concerned widows or widowers may overlook this benefit if a subsequent marriage ends years later. For more information or an application, contact the Honolulu VA at 433-0600, or benefits and services at 433-1000. You may also want to contact CHAMPVA direct through its Web site, e-mail at, or toll free telephone (800) 733-8387.

Q: Is the VA doing anything to improve their homeless veterans program?

A: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi recently announced new rules that will allow VA to provide additional funding to veterans in transitional housing and those hard-to-serve homeless veterans such as frail elderly, seriously mentally ill, terminally ill and women veterans. In addition, VA will now have the ability to offer technical assistance to service providers in obtaining grants. VA will also target funding to locations that need services and provide funding to improve deficient fire and safety issues at a variety of sites that provide transitional housing. For more information on what you can do to help our homeless veterans here in Hawaii, contact the Honolulu VA benefits and services at 433-1000. You can also check out the VA Web site at

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
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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