Veteran Benefits in Hawaii
It’s estimated that around 10 percent of Hawaii residents are military veterans, and it’s beautiful landscape, waters, and natural living make it a popular retirement destination for many members of the military. While the typical officer retires around the age of 47, they are still very much active and able to enjoy the many activities island living has to offer. The state also offers additional resources and benefits for veterans and their families, as well as help in accessing national benefits their service has earned.
If you’re looking for help accessing your benefits or need help with a claim, a great place to start is the State of Hawaii’s Office of Veterans’ Services (OVS). With seven locations across Hawaii, the goal of this office is to assist veterans in obtaining State and federal entitlements, supplying the latest information on veterans’ issues, and providing advice and support to veterans making the transition back into civilian life. This office offers services including advocacy for veterans concerns, short-term counseling, outreach, VA benefits assistance, burial assistance, and claims, forms, and appeal assistance. The OVS acts as a liaison between the Governor and veterans’ organizations and also between the Department of Veterans Affairs and individual veterans. Their website also includes an extensive list of links helpful to Hawaii veterans.
For Hawaii senior veterans needing options for assisted living, the state maintains the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. To be eligible for admission, veterans must be honorably discharged, over the age of 55, require skilled nursing care, and meet the VA requirements for eligibility. The veteran is responsible for any costs not covered by the VA or Medicare. Spouses may also be eligible for admission depending on available space. Amenities include large private rooms and spacious semi-private suites (95 beds total), inviting and colorful open air interiors, family dining available for special occasions, and landscaping with lanai and a strolling garden. The facility hosts numerous events weekly, including live music, movie nights, bingo, and classic car shows.
If you are a veteran planning a vacation to Hawaii, or a resident looking for a little break from the daily routine, many of the state’s beautiful resorts include a military discount. Trip Advisor recently gathered its Top 10 Hawaii Resorts that Offer a Military Discount, and locations such as Aulani (a Disney resort), Vive Hotel Waikiki, and Kauai Beach Resort topped the list, based on reviews mentioning a military rate or discount.
While there are no professional sports teams in Hawaii, the University of Hawaii is widely considered to be Hawaii’s “home team.” Active duty military, DOD civilians, reservists and retired members of the military will receive 50 percent off select adult tickets (eight maximum) to all University of Hawaii at Manoa regular-season, home sporting events, such as football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball. A valid military identification card is required when purchasing tickets at the Stan Sheriff Center Box Office. Tickets are in special sections and supplies are limited, and other restrictions may apply.
Surfing is one of the state’s most iconic sports, and many of the local surf schools offer a military discount, such as Island Style Surf School. Military discounts can only be given in person and not online. Other schools like Leucadia Surf School, also offer a $10 military discount.
Hawaii has long struggled with a high rate of homelessness, with many people hoping to live in “paradie” but finding that, in fact, it can be quite expensive to live there, with high rates for rent and housing prices. In fact, it was recently estimated that there were more than 7,000 homeless people in Hawaii, the highest per capita rate in the nation. For veterans in Hawaii facing homelessness, there are several resources that can help with temporary or emergency shelter, finding jobs, and acquiring more affordable housing. The VA Pacific Islands Health Care System offers several programs such as compensated work therapy, safe housing, special pricing for veterans on foreclosed homes, and health care and mental health care for homeless veterans. They can be reached at 1-877-4AID-VET. Hawaii also is home to a local chapter of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and coordinates with several local agencies that can help veterans with housing, legal problems, and any additional help needed.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
Hawaii Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Hawaii senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps Hawaii veterans.
Written by Megan Hammons