VA Resources

Intro

This week I am going to try to give you the lowdown on the special benefits you are eligible for as veterans.

There are many benefits available for those who our country. It can be frustrating to look for information about specific benefits, who qualifies for it and you end up with endless paragraphs you have to decipher reams of paper and legal paragraphs full of government rules.

You shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer to have your veteran’s benefits explained to you. What you do need is a couple of resources that explain veterans benefits in clear, simple, everyday language.

I hope today’s emails does that for you. I am a disabled veterans and almost all my buddies are veterans. Most of them know about veterans benefits, but don’t know how they qualify or why.

The worst thing is the horror stories they’ve heard about the Veterans Administration (VA) screwed up the paperwork so badly it made it impossible to apply for benefits.

I won’t lie to you. I have lived some of those horror stories but I learned some important lessons I want to pass on. The VA’s record of handling some cases has been dismal.

But there’s good news. Most benefits claims are delayed or denied because the veteran didn’t fully understand the qualification criteria or failed to provide the correct documents and supporting evidence for their claim.

That’s not the veteran’s fault. Wading through pages and pages of legal language to submit a simple benefit claim can seem like an impossible task. I have a master’s degree and worked for years as a human resources professional and I have trouble understanding the complexities of the legal jargon of veterans’ benefits law.

Full-Disclosure

I am not an “expert” on veteran benefits, I don’t know everything and learn something new every day. I am a disabled veteran and have dealt with the VA for years. I don’t any new or secret information. What I will do in each email is provide you web sites for more information, as well as various federal laws, regulations, and other publications that are available on the internet.

My goal is to try to explain things in a logical way without giving you a headache. I want to save you time and give you access to resources you are entitled to because of your service.

Many people, both veterans and just kind friends, along the way. This is my lame attempt to pay it forward.

I am not going to waste your time by pointing out what’s wrong with the system or complaining about the government should do it to fix it. My goal here to help you understand veteran benefits, what you qualify for and work within the current system so you get the benefits you deserve.

State Veteran Programs

Each state has a veteran affairs agency. I will use Indiana as an example. Indiana provides several veteran benefits. This section is a brief description of the following benefits:

Indiana Financial Assistance Benefits:

Property Tax Abatements

Property tax deductions are available to disabled Hoosier Veterans under the following conditions:

  1. A $24,960 dollar deduction is available to veterans who have at least a 10% disability, wartime service, and an honorable discharge.
  2. A $12, 480 deduction is available to 100% disabled veterans or veterans over 62 years of age that are at least 10% disabled.

It is possible that a veteran could be eligible for one or both the deductions

Note: This deduction is not available if the assessed value of the real property owned by the veteran is in excess of $143,160.

If an otherwise eligible veteran owns no real property, then a deduction may be made on the excise tax for a vehicle for up to $70.

Indiana Education Benefits

Free Tuition Program

Indiana offers free tuition at state schools to children of disabled veterans, Purple Heart Recipients and their children, and children of former POW/MIA. The veteran must have:

  • been a resident of Indiana for 36 consecutive months
  • served in a wartime period (including August 2, 1990 – Present) or
  • received a Purple Heart Medal

The benefit includes free tuition and fees for 124 credit hours and is good at most state funded schools, including Purdue University- West Lafayette.

Each state varies but I listed Indiana and Oregon where most of readers live.

Some Resources

Vantage Point:

Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Archives

Veteran Law Blog:

http://www.veteranslawblog.org/content-on-the-veterans-law-blog/

Oregon State Veteran’s Benefits:

http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-state-benefits/oregon-state-veterans-benefits.html

Indiana State Veteran’s Benefits:

http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-state-benefits/indiana-state-veterans-benefits.html

I hope this email has been helpful. I tried to organize it to be general and useful. I will arrange each of these according to subject matter. This one more of an introduction to resources.

I will do other posts in the future on education, employment, pensions and finances.

Remember the most dangerous thing in America is a veteran with a library card.