Veterans Hotline: Property tax

Referendum E, which passed overwhelming in November, went into law Jan. 1.

That referendum allows for a 50 percent property tax exemption for veterans with a VA 100 percent disability rating. This exemption covers the taxes for the first $200,000 of the actual value of veteran homeowner's property and will reduce the taxation 50 percent on properties more than $200,000. The state of Colorado will pay that 50 percent.

If you are rated by the VA with a 100 percent disability, contact my office so we can pass a comprehensive list to the appropriate county assessor prior to the May 1 application deadline for this exemption.

This exemption does not require the 10-year residency that affects the senior citizen property owner exemption, and there is no time limit of occupancy, provided the vet is listed on the property deed. However if two 100 percent disabled vets are in the same residence, only one exemption can be taken.

Transportation providers seek drivers

Local agencies and non-profits that provide rides for medical appointments, meals and more are searching for volunteer drivers to assist their clients getting to their destinations.

This includes the Independent Life Center, the senior citizen bus/meals-on-meals program, the Moffat County Human Volunteer Services group, the veterans transportation van, and Sand Rock Ridge Nursing home.

Each agency has a different system for providing monetary reimbursement for your time/expense. Some are a purely volunteer service to the community.

Additionally, All-Around Taxi is now doing a survey to determine if it can provide rides to Steamboat and Grand Junction.

VA Financial Income Threshold information

CVSO's recently received the official VA Health Care Financial Income Threshold listings for 2007.

I'm sure your next question is: "Why is he telling me this? What's that got to do with me"?

These listings are used to determine the VA health care enrollment priority status. Priority status determines whether you are required by the VA to make co-payments for VA health care and certain other VA benefits.

The priorities are:

  • No. 1, Vets with service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or more, or determined to be unemployable because of svc disabilities
  • No. 2, Vets with svc disabilities rated 30 or 40 percent
  • No. 3 Vets who are former POWs, have received a Purple Heart, discharged for disability incurred/aggravated in the line of duty; vets svc 10 to 20 percent disability rating; special disability under Title 38.U.S.C. section 1151 (disability by treatment or Voc-Rehab)
  • No. 4 Vets receiving VA aid and attendance or housebound benefits, vets rated catastrophically disabled
  • No. 5 Non-service connected (non-svc) vets and non-comprehensible svc ratings of 0 percent, whose annual income is below the established VA Means Test thresholds. Vets receiving VA pensions, or eligible for Medicaid programs
  • No. 6 WWI vets, Mexican Border war vets, vets compensable 0 percent svc, solely seeking care for disorders associated with: exposure to herbicides in Vietnam (North Korea), exposure to ionizing radiation (atmospheric or occupation of Japanese a-bomb sites), Gulf War service participation in project 112/SHAD, service in combat after Gulf War, or after Nov. 11, 1998, (hostile fire zones) for two years following discharge for service in combat related conditions.
  • No.7 Vets with income and/or net worth above the VA established threshold but below the HUD geographical index who agree to pay co-pays.
  • No. 8 Vets with income and/or net worth above the VA threshold and above the HUD geographical index who agree to pay co-pays.

Means test

Many of you who have less than a 50 percent service connected disability, or no other special considerations such as a Purple Heart, POW, or exposure to certain health threatening agents like Agent Orange, and who enrolled after Jan. 16, 2003, are required to fill out a financial means test every year.

The actual income threshold is obtained from HUD reports, since cost of living varies from area to area.


Co-pay requirements

If the veteran's household adjusted gross income is less than the following, the veteran co-pay requirements are as follows:

Free prescriptions, health care and travel allowance:

Vet with 0 dependents-$10,929,

Vet with 1 dependent-$14,313

Vet with 2 dependents-$16,179;

Vet with 3 dependents-$18,045.

The threshold continues higher with additional dependents. These figures are also the VA wartime Veteran's Pension benefit income threshold.

Free Health Care, co-pay prescriptions, no travel allowance (Archuleta County in parenthesis):

Vet with 0 dependents-$27,790 ($30,200);

Vet with 1 dependent-$33,350 ($34,500);

Vet with 2 dependents-$35,216 ($38,800).

The threshold continues higher with additional dependents.

Medical expenses

There is a medical expense deduction of the maximum allowable VA pension rate from the previous year of:

Vet with 0 dependents-$529;

Vet with 1 dependent-$693;

Vet with 2 dependents-$783.

The deduction continues higher with additional dependents.

Additionally, there is an $80,000 income and asset net worth limitation for new enrollments.

VAHC co-pays for 2007 have been set at much the same as 2006, with the exception of in-patient care. Those co-pays are:

Basic care services, $15;

Specialty care services, $50; and medications, $8.

In-patient services are $992 for the first 90 days of care during a 365-day period and $496 for each additional 90 days of care during a 365-day period.

Per diem charge is $10 a day.

If this all sounds very complicated, you're right, it is. Stop by my office for further explanations to see what level of VAHC you may be eligible for.

For info on these programs and/or other Veterans benefits please call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax (970) 824-7108. Our e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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