To the Valley News:
Being a veteran is a complicated thing. Where you served, how long, whether you were active duty, if you were guard/reserve on active or inactive duty, and if you were injured in the line of duty or as a result of combat, are all factors which Congress, the VA, the DOD, state and local entities take into consideration when determining what benefits and entitlements you, your family members, and survivors may be entitled to.
On a state, county or city/town level, veterans and military widows may be eligible for property tax exemptions. Recently, some widows have been alarmed to learn that some officials are making a distinction between veterans who were rated by the Department of Veterans Affairs as 100 percent service-connected disabled at time of death and those who were posthumously rated at 100 percent, having died as a result of a military service-connected condition. Another wrinkle: Those whose spouses retired from a military career with a disability/medical retirement may not qualify for a property tax exemption if officials see the words “100 percent compensable” on their retirement documents rather than the more familiar “100 percent disabled.” This interpretation of State rules may come as a result of trying to find alternate sources of revenue.
The Lake Champlain Chapter recommends that veterans find out now from your property assessor’s office what paperwork is necessary to obtain any property tax exemptions, and what will be necessary to have in place for your surviving spouse to continue to qualify. Attention to this detail now may buy you time and prevent your loved one from losing the family home in an uncertain future.
Kathy L. Baumgarten, President
Lake Champlain Chapter
American Military Retirees Association