QUESTION: My father died last August, and the funeral home got 10 death certificates, which my stepmother has used. In November we were contacted by the Department of Veterans Affairs about a life insurance benefit to be paid to my 93-year-old mother that we did not know about. They want to send her money if I can provide a death certificate showing cause of death. In December, from Chicago, I mailed the form and money order to the records department. It is now February and I am still waiting. I do not have local family who can get this for me. Can you shed any light on why this process takes so long?
ANSWER: You are advised to call the state Department of Health’s Vital Records office to check on the status of your order. Call 586-4539.
"If there is an urgent or emergency need for the record, processing can be expedited," said Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo.
She acknowledged the department "is challenged with reduced staffing, limited resources and less days (due to furloughs) to get the work done."
This has resulted in delays in processing requests. The normal response time of four to six weeks might take longer, depending on the volume of requests being handled, she said.
On average, Okubo said the department processes more than 1,000 vital-records requests each week.
QUESTION: In the state of Hawaii, are roadside memorials considered legal or illegal?
ANSWER: Roadside memorials are allowed along certain roadways by the state, while the City and County of Honolulu does not specifically prohibit them.
We covered the subject previously, in a complaint about mourners putting containers of beer and other alcoholic beverages at roadside memorials (see archives.starbulletin.com/content/20090502_kokua_line).
The state Department of Transportation actually has a Roadside Memorial Policy.
That policy says a memorial should be placed as far away from the roadside as possible, not obstructing pedestrians or cars that might need to pull over; should not be placed on any interstate or freeway, including any onramp or offramp; may consist of photographs no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches, cut flowers and leis and other items that don’t create a hazard; and should be removed within 30 days.
QUESTION: Where can books for the Friends of Library of Hawaii book sale be dropped off? Will the local libraries accept them?
ANSWER: The best way to donate books to the Friends’ annual book sale is to drop them off at its warehouse at 690 Pohukaina St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, except state holidays, as well as the first Saturday of each month.
If you’d like to donate books at your local library, it’s suggested that you check with the branch first.
SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE IN KONA TO MOVE
The Social Security Administration says it is moving its Kona office to the West Hawaii Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Building B, second floor, on March 23.
For information about Social Security benefits, how to get or replace a Social Security card, how to apply for Medicare, etc., go to www.socialsecurity.gov or call 800-772-1213.