Filipino Veterans; Burial
Requires the office of veterans services, on request of a deceased Filipino veteran's survivor/interested party, to make payment directly to a mortuary/crematory for funeral/burial services and to transport the remains to the Philippines, upon submission of an unpaid invoice; appropriates moneys. (SD2)
TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2001
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to veteran burial grants.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that a World War II Filipino veteran who dies after June 30, 1994, and who is, at the time of the veteran's death, a United States citizen and a resident of the State of Hawaii, is entitled to receive a burial grant from the office of veterans' services to pay for the cost of:
(1) Providing funeral and burial services for the deceased veteran; and
(2) Transporting the remains of the deceased veteran to the Philippines.
In order to qualify for this burial grant, however, the Filipino veteran's survivor or an interested party must produce an itemized paid invoice showing the specific services rendered on behalf of the deceased veteran. Because of the tremendous upfront costs associated with funeral and burial services, and transportation to the Philippines, some World War II Filipino veterans, including the families and friends of these veterans, cannot afford to pay for these activities in advance. Consequently, some World War II Filipino veterans will not be able to qualify for these burial grants from the office of veterans' services on account of their being too "poor". Because of these financial constraints, the bodies of some deceased veterans have had to "sit on ice" for weeks until the deceased veteran's survivor or interested parties could raise the necessary funds to pay the mortuary for funeral and other related services.
The purpose of this Act is to right this injustice to World War II Filipino veterans by requiring the office of veterans' services, at the request of a deceased Filipino veteran's survivor or an interested party, to make payment directly to a mortuary or crematory for providing funeral and burial services; and for transporting the veteran's remains to the Philippines, upon the submission of a contract for services on behalf of the deceased veteran and an itemized unpaid invoice. The amount paid for funeral and burial services, and transportation costs, shall not exceed $2,500 per person.
This Act provides an alternative to the procedures currently specified in the rules of the office of veterans' services which apply in situations where a deceased Filipino veteran's survivor or an interested party has already made payment for services rendered on behalf of the deceased veteran, or in situations where the deceased veteran may have purchased a pre-paid funeral and burial plan.
SECTION 2. Chapter 363, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§363- Disbursement of World War II Filipino veterans burial grant funds. (a) The office at the request of a deceased Filipino veteran's survivor or an interested party, shall receive, review, and approve requests for payments of:
(1) Providing funeral and burial services for a deceased World War II Filipino veteran; and
(2) Transporting the remains of a deceased World War II Filipino veteran to the Philippines.
(b) The office shall establish the amount of burial grant funds that may be disbursed on behalf of a deceased World War II Filipino veteran; provided that the amount shall not exceed $2,500 per person.
(c) The office shall not expend more than the amount appropriated for the fiscal year to provide burial grants for deceased World War II Filipino veterans.
(d) Specific eligibility criteria, application and appeal procedures, service choices, and invoicing arrangements shall be established by the office.
(e) Payment shall be authorized by the office upon the submission of an invoice reflecting services that have been satisfactorily performed on behalf of the deceased World War II Filipino veteran.
(f) For the purposes of this section, "World War II Filipino veteran" means any Filipino veteran, who is now a citizen of the United States, who served honorably in an active duty status in any of the armed services of the United States between September 1, 1939, and December 31, 1946."
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ , or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2001-2002, for burial grant funds for World War II Filipino veterans.
SECTION 4. The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of defense, office of veterans' services for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 5. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.
SECTION 6. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that sections 3 and 4 shall take effect on July 1, 2001.