For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

Vets of Iraq war
can get 2 years
of free medical care

Question: My brother will be returning soon from Iraq. Where can he go for information and assistance on what is available for him?

Answer: If your brother is still on active duty and has questions or concerns about his service, have him contact his commanding officer or call the Department of Defense Gulf War Veterans' hotline for an examination at (800) 497-6261.

If your brother has left the service and is concerned about his health -- returning combat veterans who are discharged or retired from active duty are now eligible for two years of free medical care from the VA for most conditions -- no proof of service-connected conditions for their health care problems is required. National Guard and Reserve personnel, who served alongside their active duty comrades in combat will, in most cases, be eligible as well.

Returning Gulf War veterans seeking disability compensation for illnesses incurred in or aggravated by military service, contact the VA at 433-1000 to discuss the filing of a claim.

Veterans with need of marital/family counseling can contact at 433-0600 or the Vet Center at 973-8387.

If an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran is seeking participation for his/her spouse or children in the VA-funded health examination program for spouses and children, contact the Gulf War Registry Coordinator at the VA clinic at 433-0600.

Other resources for returning combat veterans are representatives of veterans service organizations including the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, former POWs and others who are located on the first floor of the VA's E-wing on the ocean side/Diamond Head corner of Tripler Army Medical Center. Along with the state Office of Veterans Services, these organizational service representatives are a great help to veterans seeking benefits. The Pacific Islands Health Care System home page contains links to sections on all facets of VA health care and benefits.

Q: I am a service-connected disabled veteran and obtaining life insurance is difficult. Does the VA offer insurance for veterans like myself?

A: A veteran who has a service-connected disability but is otherwise in good health may apply to VA for up to $10,000 in life insurance coverage at standard insurance rates within two years from the date of being notified of the service-connected status. This insurance is limited to veterans who left service after April 24, 1951. Veterans who are totally disabled may apply for a waiver of premiums. For those veterans who are eligible for this waver, additional coverage of up to $20,000 is available. Premiums cannot be waived on the additional insurance. Call the VA at 433-1000 for more information

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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