For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

Some vets exempt
from having to register

Question: Do I have to enroll to receive Veterans Affairs health care?

Answer: While most veterans must be enrolled to receive VA health care, some veterans are exempt from the enrollment requirement if they meet special eligibility criteria. You are not required to enroll to receive VA health care if you are seeking care for a VA-rated service-connected condition only, if VA has rated you with a service-connected disability of 50 percent or more, or if less than one year has passed since you were discharged for a disability that the military determined was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, but that VA has not yet rated. Remember, even if you do not meet the above criteria, you can immediately enroll if you have a compensable rating for a service-connected disability or meet certain financial criteria. For more information concerning enrollment, call the VA Medical Center at 433-0600.

Q: What is a VA service-connected rating and how do I establish one?

A: A service-connected rating is a ruling by VA that your illness/condition is related on direct, presumptive or secondary basis to your active military service. Service-connected ratings are established by VA regional offices located throughout the country. In addition to compensation and pension ratings, VA regional offices are also responsible for administering educational benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and other benefit programs including home loans. To obtain information or to apply for benefits, contact the Honolulu VA at 433-1000 or its Web site,

Q: Can a language other than English be used on VA furnished headstones and markers?

A: Inscriptions, such as terms of endearment, are permitted on VA headstones in a language other than English. Those inscriptions must be based on the Latin alphabet and be compatible with VA's mission to honor deceased veterans. Standard inscription items - the veteran's name, date of birth, date of death and military information - must be in English. These rules apply to headstones in VA-run national cemeteries and to headstones and markers provided by VA for use in other cemeteries.

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


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