Reply to Guest (03/06/2012 19:39)
You keep repeating the same misinformation over and over again. VA healthcare has nothing to do with the CWSM.
A CWSM would have zero affect on VA healthcare and disability compensation!
To acknowledge cold war veterans as wartime veterans, the government would have to provide for va pensions under that status. I believe another added benefit would be burial at Arlington National Cemetery, more points for veterans preferance.
January 23, 2004
WARTIME VETERANS’ BENEFITS
By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst
You want to know what benefits the state provides to veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veterans who served at least 90 days of active duty in the U.S. armed forces anytime since August 2, 1990, including those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are eligible for a range of benefits available to all veterans who serve in time of war, as defined by state law (CGS § 27-103, as amended by PA 03-85).
At a minimum, wartime veterans are eligible for:
1. local property tax exemptions (a reduction of the property’s assessed value for tax purposes);
2. education benefits, including tuition waiver at the state's public colleges and universities;
3. admission to and medical treatment at the state Veterans’ Home and Hospital (VHH) and other specified types of hospitals in the state;
4. burial in the state veterans' cemetery;
5. financial help from the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Marines' Fund and the veterans’ affairs commissioner;
6. employment benefits, including bonus points on initial civil service examinations;
7. motor vehicle registration and license fee exemptions;
8. retirement benefits; and
9. funeral honor guard detail.
All veterans, including those without wartime service, are eligible for other miscellaneous minor benefits, including occupational licensing, employment, and housing benefits.
Veterans’ benefits are not automatically granted. The veteran or his qualified dependent must claim them and document their eligibility for them by submitting a copy of their separation from service document (DD 214) and honorable discharge certificate (DD 256). Some benefits are extended to the surviving spouse or dependent children of the veteran.
For further information on programs and eligibility requirements, veterans should contact the Veterans’ Department Office of Advocacy and Assistance at 1-800-447-0961 and the Veterans’ Department at <!-- TRANSIT - HYPERLINK --><!-- .http://www.state.ct.us/ctva/. -->.
State law defines a “veteran” in several ways with some statutes defining a veteran especially for a particular benefit program. In the absence of a specific definition, eligibility is determined according to a general definition in CGS § 27-103, as amended by This law defines a veteran as an individual honorably discharged or released under honorable conditions from active duty in the armed forces. To qualify for some benefits, a veteran must have at least 90 days wartime service during or in specified wars, operations, or conflicts unless he was separated from service sooner because of a Veterans’ Administration (VA)-rated, service-connected disability or he served for the duration of any military operation that lasted for less than 90 days. Other benefits are available to all veterans.
PA 03-85 makes all veterans who have at least 90 days of active duty service in the U.S. armed forces since August 2, 1990 eligible for war service benefits. This includes veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Under prior law, veterans of the post 1990 period were eligible only if they served in Somalia after December 2, 1992; in Bosnia after December 20, 1995; or during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, August 2, 1990, to June 30, 1994.
WAR SERVICE BENEFITS
Property Tax Exemptions
The law requires towns to provide a property tax exemption of at least $1,500 for war veterans and their surviving spouses. CGS § 12-81 exempts $1,000 of the property owned by a veteran or his surviving spouse and requires larger exemptions for disabled applicants. CGS § 12-81g requires towns to give an additional amount equal to double the basic exemption to veterans whose income falls under certain limits and half the basic exemption to veterans whose income exceeds these limits. For claims filed in 2004 against the 2003 grand list, the limits are $26,500 for a single veteran or a survivor and $32,300 for married veterans. Thus, a non-disabled veteran or his survivor is entitled to a $3,000 exemption if his income is under these limits and $1,500 if his income is above the limits.
In addition to these mandatory exemptions, towns may provide another additional exemption to any veteran or his surviving spouse whose income falls below specified limits. For claims filed in 2004 against the 2003 grand list, the limits are $51,500 for a single veteran or a survivor and $57,300 for a married veteran. The exemption amounts are up to 10% of the property’s value or up to $20,000 (CGS § 12-81f, as amended by ).
By law, (1) the income limits on which the exemptions are based must be adjusted annually to reflect the increase in Social Security benefits and (2) the exemptions must be increased to reflect increases in taxable grand list following revaluation.
How to Get the Exemption. To get the exemption, the veteran must document his eligibility to his town clerk or tax assessor. The exemption may be applied to real property or motor vehicles, including leased vehicles (CGS § as amended by . The veteran must be a state resident on the assessment date and must provide proof of service.
Once the veteran establishes his eligibility, he does not have to reapply for the basic exemption, but he must reestablish eligibility for income-based exemptions every two years. Veterans denied the state-mandated additional exemption may appeal to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary in writing and may appeal OPM's decision to Superior Court (CGS § 12-81g(e)).
Tuition Waiver. The law requires the state’s public colleges and universities to waive tuition for wartime veterans who have been accepted at an approved institution. The waiver applies at community-technical colleges, Connecticut State University, and the University of Connecticut. It covers the cost of tuition for credit-bearing undergraduate and graduate programs. It does not apply to other charges or fees, such as student activity and course fees, or parking, and room and board.
A veteran’s dependent children also qualify for a tuition waiver if the veteran is declared missing in action or a prisoner of war while serving in the armed forces after January 1, 1960. The child must have been accepted to the institution (CGS §§ 10a-77(d), -99(d), and -105(e)).
Financial Aid. The law provides state education aid to children between ages 16 and 23 of veterans killed in action, or who die in accidents or from illness while on active duty, or who are totally and permanently disabled. The amount of aid, which is based on need, is up to $400 per year (CGS § 10a-166).
High School Diplomas. Local or regional school boards may award high school diplomas to World War II veterans who did not receive them because they left high school for military service. The law covers honorably discharged veterans who served actively between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946 in the armed forces (CGS § 221a(g)).
Medical Treatment and Admission to the Veterans’ Home and Hospital
Wartime veterans who need medical or surgical care and treatment are eligible for admission to VHH or any other veterans' hospital. Those with no adequate means of support are also eligible for admission to the following Connecticut hospitals at the state’s expense: tuberculosis sanatorium, state chronic disease hospital, and mental hospital or training school for the mentally retarded (CGS §§ 27-108 & 27-103(b)). The veterans’ affair commissioner has sole power to determine who is admitted to VHH or any other hospital.
Burial in the State Veterans’ Cemetery
Wartime veterans and their spouses are eligible for burial in the state veterans’ cemetery. Eligibility is based on CGS § 27-122b rather than CGS § 27-103, which defines war service for purposes of veterans’ benefits. Based on the former, veterans of any war fought after the Lebanon peacekeeping mission (1982-1984) do not appear eligible for burial in the cemetery. But, in practice, it appears that the Veterans’ Department uses CGS § 27-103 when determining eligibility.
Financial and Other Aid
Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Marines’ Fund. This fund provides benefits, such as food, clothing, medical and surgical aid, and general care and relief, or burial expenses to needy wartime veterans or (1) their spouses living with them or who lived with them when they died or (2) their dependent children under age 18. The veteran must live in the state when he applies for and while he is getting the assistance (CGS 27-138 et. seq.). Further information on this fund is available at or by calling (860) 953-4345.
Commissioner’s Assistance. Wartime veterans who need help because of disability or other service-related cause are eligible for temporary financial assistance from the veterans’ affairs commissioner in an amount and for a time he decides. He may also help the spouse, children, or siblings of any veteran who died as a result of such service if they cannot support themselves because of the veteran’s death (CGS § 27-125).
Civil Service Exams. The law gives bonus points to wartime veterans who achieve a passing score on initial state and municipal civil service examinations. A wartime veteran not eligible for or receiving VA disability compensation or pension payments, and unable to pursue gainful employment because of the disability, receives 10 bonus points; any other wartime veteran ineligible for VA disability compensation or pension gets five bonus points. A qualified veteran's spouse is also eligible (CGS §§ 5-224 and 7-415).
If an honorably discharged or released veteran has served in a military action and got or is entitled to get a campaign badge or expeditionary medal and is not otherwise eligible to receive bonus points, he qualifies for five bonus points if he receives the passing grade on the exam (CGS § 5-224).
Members of the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System who leave municipal employment to enter the armed forces while the United States is at war, engaged in hostilities, or during national emergencies and are reemployed by the municipality within six months of discharge, are credited with the period of service as though they had been continuously employed. This six-month limitation can be extended in cases of a service-related disability (CGS § 7-434).
Wartime veterans who become members of the State Employees’ Retirement System or Teachers’ Retirement System may purchase retirement credit for time of service. The system allows credit for up to 30 months for nonwartime military service. Veterans purchasing teachers' retirement credit may not be receiving or eligible to receive retirement credit for service from any other government source (CGS §§ 5-180 and 10-183e(b)(3) and (11)).
State police officers and correction guards and instructors who were granted military leave and returned to service within 90 days after discharge receive retirement credit for any period of wartime service. They may also get retirement credit for wartime service prior to such employment, provided they make the appropriate contributions to the retirement fund (CGS § 5-173).
Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Exemptions
The law grants free motor vehicle registration to disabled wartime veterans with certain service-connected disabilities, former prisoners of war, and recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Disabled veterans are eligible for fee exemptions for up to three vehicles in the (1) passenger, (2) camper, or (3) combination passenger and commercial registration categories, whether the veteran owns or leases them. The other two categories of veterans are eligible for exemptions on two vehicles. The spouses of the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and former prisoners of war may retain the registration for life or until remarriage (CGS §§14-49(o) and 14-21d).
Disabled wartime veterans with certain VA-rated disabilities are entitled, upon application, to free special license plates. The plate exempts the veteran from overtime parking fines, provided he does not leave his vehicle at the same spot for more than 24 hours. Surviving spouses may keep the plates and identification cards until death or remarriage (CGS § 14-254).
Other motor vehicle-related benefits that do not require wartime service are discussed below.
Funeral Honor Guards
A veteran is entitled to an honor guard detail at his funeral if he served in wartime or in the National Guard for more than 20 years or died while serving as a Guard member. The deceased veteran's friends or relatives or the commander of any accredited veterans' organization may make the request to the adjutant general (CGS § 27-76).
Itinerant Vendor Fee Exemptions
Wartime veterans are entitled to an exemption from any local itinerant vendor’s fee, if they live in Connecticut for two years before applying (CGS § 21-30).
MISCELLANEOUS BENEFITS NOT REQUIRING WAR SERVICE
A person in the active service is exempt from paying motor vehicle operator’s license and examination fees. A veteran who applies within two years of receiving an honorable discharge is also exempt but only for one licensing period. A veteran may also request that the examination be waived if he previously held a military operator’s license (CGS § 14-36(e)).
State law allows any type of motor vehicle owned or leased by a veteran or his surviving spouse for one year or longer to qualify for special veterans’ license plates (CGS § 14-20b).
An employee who leaves a public authority or agency to enter the armed forces may be reinstated to his former position if he applies within 90 days after he gets his certificate confirming satisfactory military service (CGS § 7-462).
Occupational License Fees, Examinations, and Renewals
A veteran whose hairdressing or cosmetology license expired while he was in the armed services may have it reinstated without paying the required fees (CGS § 20-256).
Professional engineers and land surveyors are not required to pay renewal fees to maintain their licenses while in the armed forces (CGS § 20-306(a)(3)).
The Department of Public Health (DPH) may suspend any provision of law governing qualifications for opticians with respect to World War II and Korean War veterans if it deems the provision unjust, provided public health and safety are not jeopardized by the suspension (CGS § 20-147).
An applicant for a sanitarian’s license may substitute four years of combined training and experience in the armed forces for the degree requirement for licensure (CGS § 20-361(b)).
A veteran whose embalmer and funeral director license expired while he was in the service may have it reinstated by DPH without an examination, provided the department approves his professional qualifications. He must apply within a year of separation (CGS § 20-228).
The entity operating any Department of Economic Development-funded low- or moderate-income rental housing project must give preference to veterans competing with other applicants when housing needs are substantially equal (CGS § 8-75).
When any veteran dies and does not leave enough money to pay for burial expenses, as determined by the commissioner after consulting with the probate court for the district in which the veteran lived, the state must pay $150 toward funeral expenses or cremation. Burial must be in a cemetery not used exclusively for burying paupers. Claims must be made within one year after death or return of the veteran’s remains from abroad (CGS § 27-118).
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