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October 22, 2021

American Samoa Veteran Benefits – The Top 8

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefit coverage extends to those veterans living in United States territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. More than 103,000 veterans live in the five United States territories, with about 1,000 of those veterans living in American Samoa (2% of its 46,366 total population). 

AMERICAN SOMOA VETERAN BENEFITS
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American Samoa Veteran Benefits Available to You Now

Just as in the 50 states, veterans living in U.S. territories are also eligible for federal benefits through the VA. But due to geographic isolation, infrastructure challenges, and a smaller VA staff, American Samoa veteran benefits can be harder to obtain for service members and families who find it more challenging to reach VA facilities. Unfortunately, the benefits are not generous compared to American states or even other US territories. For example, Puerto Rico offers 26 territorial benefits; the unincorporated territory of American Samoa offers none specific to the territory.

Most services in American Samoa center on health care, counseling, and claim assistance. Although medical care is coordinated under the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System (based in Honolulu), American Samoa veteran benefits are available at these two facilities in Pago Pago:


American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Health Care

Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin VA Clinic

American Samoa veteran benefits include primary care, blood tests, and advanced testing services to help you and your VA healthcare team monitor your wellness, identify problems, and make informed treatment decisions. 

The VA Clinic laboratories here provide a full range of clinical and diagnostic testing services. Laboratory and pathology services include:

  • Study of blood, urine, and other bodily fluids for illness management
  • Testing for infectious diseases
  • Cytopathology and surgical pathology 
  • Autopsy services

A MyHealtheVet coordinator at the clinic can help you start using the VA online portal to manage your appointments, refill prescriptions, view your lab and test results, and communicate with your health care team.

Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin VA Clinic

Fiatele Teo Army Reserve Building
Pago Pago, AS 96799

Directions

(684) 699-3730

Mental health clinic: (808) 433-0660

Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

The American Samoa Vet Center Outpatient Clinic

American Samoa veteran benefits are available at this community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC).

American Samoa Vet Center
Equator Building
Ottoville Road, P.O. Box 982942
Pago Pago, AS 96799

Call: (684) 699-3760

Fax: (684) 699-3764

Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

The Vet Center will provide services after regular work hours and on weekends upon request to better serve the veterans and their families. For assistance after-hours, weekends, and holidays, call (877) 927-8387.

American Samoa Veteran Benefits Coordinated by VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System

The VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System (VA PIHS) administers American Samoa veteran benefits for health care. The VA PIHS provides health care services for about 50,000 veterans throughout Hawaii and other Pacific islands, including Guam and American Samoa.

To learn more, visit the VA Pacific Islands Health Services page.

American Samoa Veteran Benefits via My HealtheVet

My HealtheVet is a web-based tool you can use to manage your care and improve your health from your computer or mobile device. You can access your health records and manage your care through the My HealtheVet online system. You can also use My HealtheVet to refill your prescriptions, track appointments, and read health articles. If you need help using My HealtheVet, you can contact a coordinator by phone or in person. 

With My HealtheVet, you can:

  • Ask questions and exchange secure online messages with your VA health-care team
  • Check your lab and test results
  • Refill your prescriptions, track delivery, and view your list of medications
  • Keep track of your VA medical appointments and get email reminders
  • View, download or print a copy of your VA medical records
  • Enter or update your personal information

Learn more and register for My HealtheVet

American Samoa Veteran Benefits in TRICARE

American Samoa veteran benefits include TRICARE, the Department of Defense (DoD) health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families.

All VA health care facilities are TRICARE network providers (based on available space). A VA healthcare facility can serve as a primary care manager for TRICARE beneficiaries, but TRICARE referrals are often used for specialty care.

The military services determine TRICARE eligibility. To check your eligibility or get more information, contact:

Learn more about TRICARE here.

American Samoa Veteran Benefits in Other VA Health Programs

American Samoa veteran benefits at the Veterans Health Administration come with tools and information to manage your medical care, as well as the services listed below:


Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) Rural Consultants

American Samoa veteran benefits are provided through Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN). Each network includes a VISN Rural Consultant (VRC).

This new program ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a new veterans community care program. You can now work with your VA health care provider to see if you can receive community care. 

AMERICAN SOMOA VETERAN BENEFITS

You are eligible to choose to receive community care if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You need a service not available at any VA medical facility.
  • You live in a US state or territory without a full-service VA medical facility.
  • You qualify under the “grandfather” provision related to distance eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program.
  • The VA can’t provide care that complies with certain access standards, such as average drive times (30 minutes for primary care, 60 minutes for specialty care) or waiting periods at a specific VA medical facility (20 days for primary care, mental health care, and non-institutional extended care services).
  • You and your referring clinician agree it’s in your best medical interest to receive community care.
  • The VA has determined that a VA medical service line is not providing care that meets the VA’s standards for quality.

For more on changes to VA health care involving the end of the Choice Program and the new community care eligibility, see our post on The VA Mission Act.

American Samoa Veteran Benefits at Other Health Care Facilities

Veterans can also obtain healthcare at other entities within the system of care for American Samoa. These include the following:

  • Grace Home Care Services: providing home care services to the elderly and people with disabilities 
  • Hope House: the only nursing-home style facility on the island, housing the elderly and children with severe disabilities
  • Alliance for Families: providing support services for victims of domestic abuse and violence, shelter for families in difficult situations, and workshops/educational sessions on community-based services
  • Intersections: a nonprofit, faith-based organization that provides peer-to-peer educational sessions on sex education throughout the school systems to adolescents and youth

American Samoa Veteran Benefits in the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP)

The VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) brings discounted private dental insurance to veterans and family members who meet specific requirements.

You may be eligible for VADIP if you are:

  • A veteran enrolled in VA health care, or
  • The current or surviving spouse or dependent child of a veteran or service member enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA)

Insurance carriers may offer different coverage options for dependents who aren’t CHAMPVA beneficiaries.

The VADIP covers most common dental procedures, such as:

  • Diagnostic services
  • Preventive dental care
  • Root canals and other services to manage oral health problems and restore function (endodontic or restorative services)
  • Dental surgery
  • Emergency dental care

The costs for your coverage will depend on the insurance company and plan you choose. Based on your plan, you’ll pay:

  • The total insurance premium for each individual on your plan
  • Any required copays when you get care

Read coverage details and compare VADIP plans and premium rates from Delta Dental and MetLife. Once you’ve chosen a Delta Dental or MetLife VADIP plan, you can enroll online.


American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Insurance

If you have questions about insurance for yourself or your family, or you have insurance provided by an employer who does business only in American Samoa, contact:

American Samoa Department of Insurance
Office of the Governor
American Samoa Government
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799

(684) 633-4116

Fax: (684) 633-2269

If you have difficulty affording health coverage and have questions about eligibility for Medicaid or current Medicaid benefits, contact:

American Samoa Medicaid Program
PO Box 998383
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799

(684) 633-4818

If you’re not eligible for Medicaid, your child may still qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. For questions about eligibility or benefits, call (684) 633-4818.


American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Education

American Samoa veteran benefits are available through the VA for eligible veterans pursuing approved education or training programs.

The four primary VA education benefit programs cover active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Service members and veterans:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)
  • Montgomery GI Bill, Active Duty (Chapter 30)
  • Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
  • Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

The Post-9/11 GI Bill program provides financial assistance toward tuition and fees, books, and supplies, along with a monthly housing allowance. If you’re eligible, you may transfer unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to an eligible spouse or child. The VA pays a monthly stipend under the other benefit programs to help offset educational costs.

American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Education

Post-9/11 GI Bill More Than Covers American Samoa Community College

If you qualify for the  Post-9/11 GI Bill, your annual benefits may exceed your cost to attend American Samoa Community College. If you qualify for full benefits, the tuition and fees charged by American Samoa Community College will be fully covered.

Veteran sticker price: $10,550

Guaranteed post 9/11 benefits: $17,398

In your pocket: $6,848

Also, your living expenses will likely be covered. After applying eight months of your assumed monthly housing allowance (MHA) against what American Samoa Community College thinks your living expenses should be, the potential credit in your favor is $8,448. It’s possible your living expenses will be more than covered!

Off-campus living expenses: $4,000

Post-9/11 benefit: $12,448

In your pocket: $8,448

It’s worth noting that books and supplies may not be fully covered, as the stipend of $1,000 is less than what American Samoa Community College estimates your expenses to be ($2,600).

Find more information about VA education programs here.


American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Vocational and Employment Assistance

The VetSuccess program helps veterans with service-connected disabilities gain and maintain suitable employment. The VA conducts a comprehensive evaluation to help you determine your future career path. Based on your assessment, VetSuccess provides you with vocational counseling, job-search assistance, and other education and training services. 

VetSuccess career counseling benefits are also available to you if you recently separated from the military or are using VA education benefits, even if you don’t have a service-connected disability.

More info on VetSuccess   


American Samoa Disabled Veteran Benefits for Disability Compensation and Pension

Service-connected disability compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to veterans for a disability (or disabilities) that arose during service, was worsened or aggravated by service, or is related to military service. To receive disability compensation, you must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.

Additionally, pension is available to wartime veterans with limited or no income who are either 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled for non service-connected reasons. Seriously disabled or housebound veterans receiving pension may also qualify for additional aid. 

Learn more about VA disability compensation here.

Learn more about VA pensions and your eligibility here.


American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Taxes

The VA offers several ways to help you at tax time, including free tax preparation, Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as other credits and exemptions. These benefits are available to veterans in all U.S. states and territories and are not explicitly designated for American Samoa veterans.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate-income workers and their families. Roughly two million veterans and military households receive the EITC, the refundable component of the Child Tax Credit, or both. The credits are a tax break for eligible service members to save for unexpected emergencies. The Tax Credits for Working Families organization has produced an explanatory video.

Disabled Veteran Special Tax Considerations

American Samoa disabled veteran benefits may entitle you to claim a federal tax refund based on:

  • An increase in your VA disability percentage (which may include a retroactive determination), or
  • Your applying for and being granted Combat-Related Special Compensation after an award for Concurrent Retirement and Disability

Special tax considerations for disabled veterans occasionally result in a need for amended returns.

Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016

The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016 states that veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and are separated from the military are not taxed on the one-time lump-sum disability severance payment from the Department of Defense. This law instructs the DoD to identify veterans who were taxed so they can file an amended return and receive a refund.

Visit Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act Claim Information for more details.

American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Taxes

American Samoa Disabled Veteran Benefits Are Tax-Exempt

Disability payments received from the VA should not be included in your gross income. Some of the payments that are considered disability benefits include:

  • Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to veterans or their families
  • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
  • Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs, or
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.

If you are a military retiree and receive your disability benefits from the VA, see IRS Publication 525 for more information.

Free Tax Preparation Services

American Samoa veteran benefits include help with filing taxes. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs have helped people for more than 40 years. More than 1.3 million free tax returns have been prepared for veterans since the inception of the MOU at nearly 8,000 free tax preparation sites across the country.

Here are some details:

  • The IRS works with local community groups to train and certify volunteers
  • VITA generally offers free tax return preparation to those who qualify 
  • TCE is mainly for people 60 or older (the program focuses on tax issues unique to seniors). AARP participates in the TCE program through AARP Tax-Aide.
  • VITA and TCE provide free electronic filing. E-filing is the safest, most accurate way to file your tax return. If you combine e-file with direct deposit, you can get your refund faster.

Automobile Allowance for Disabled Veterans

American Samoa disabled veteran benefits bring a one-time allowance from the VA to purchase a new or used car to accommodate your service-connected disability. The funds are paid directly to the seller of the automobile.

You must have one of the following disabilities due to your military service:

  • Permanent loss of use of one or both feet, or both hands, or
  • Permanent impairment of vision in both eyes that makes driving impossible even with normal corrective lenses, or
  • Certain severe burns

You may also be eligible for assistance in purchasing special or adaptive equipment necessary to operate your vehicle safely. You may also qualify if you have ankylosis (immobility of the joint) in one or both knees or hips.


American Samoa Veteran Benefits for Families

The VA offers several benefit programs that may be available to a surviving spouse, dependent children, or parents of veterans, including American Samoa veterans.

Dependents’ and survivors’ benefit programs include:

  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) — a monthly tax-free benefit paid to a surviving spouse, including additional payments for dependent children. Parents’ DIC is paid to surviving parents based on financial need.
  • Tricare —If you’re the family member of an active-duty, retired, or deceased service member, National Guard soldier, Reservist, or Medal of Honor recipient, you may qualify for the TRICARE program. TRICARE provides comprehensive health coverage, including health plans, prescription medicines, dental plans, and programs for people with special needs. Find out if you qualify for TRICARE and how to apply.
  • Survivors’ Pension — a monthly income-based, tax-free benefit payable to a surviving spouse and children of a deceased veteran with wartime service.
  • The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) —a benefit that provides reimbursement for most medical expenses to certain surviving spouses and dependents of veterans with permanent and total service-connected disabilities who are not eligible for TRICARE.
  • Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) — Provides assistance to obtain a degree and pursue other eligible education and training.

Learn at benefits.va.gov and VA/DoD Benefits.


American Samoa Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What medical facilities are available to veterans in American Samoa?

American Samoa veteran benefits for health are available at two facilities in Pago Pago: the Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin VA Clinic and the American Samoa Vet Center.

Are there tax advantages available to veterans in American Samoa?

Yes! American Samoa veterans benefit from several tax advantages under federal rules. Benefits include Earned Income Tax Credit, deductions, tax-free initial lump sum disability payments, disability compensation exemptions, and free tax preparation services.

Do American Samoa veteran benefits include tuition assistance?

Yes! If you qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, your annual benefits may exceed your cost to attend American Samoa Community College by nearly $7,000! Also, you may profit from standard payments for off-campus living expenses.

Do any American Samoa disabled veteran benefits apply to automobiles?

Yes! American Samoa disabled veteran benefits include a one-time allowance from the VA to purchase a new or used car to accommodate a service-connected disability. The funds are paid directly to the seller of the automobile. You may also be eligible for assistance in purchasing the adaptive equipment necessary to operate your vehicle safely.


MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE

Regardless of what state you live in, it’s important that you pursue the monthly compensation payments due to you for disabilities connected to your military service.

Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. At VA Claims Insider, we help veterans understand and take control of the claims process so they can get the rating and compensation they’re owed by law.

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We’ve supported more than 15,000 veterans to win their claims and increase their ratings. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.


About the Author

About VA Claims Insider

VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.

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