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Front Page » December 9, 2004 » Local News » State, Federal Guidelines Establish Benefits for U.S. Mil...
Published 3,955 days ago

State, Federal Guidelines Establish Benefits for U.S. Military Veterans

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Some veterans pause during Memorial Day services in Helper last year. All veterans can take advantage of a number of benefits that the government, both state and federal, offers them.

Carbon County veterans may not be aware of many benefits available former members of the United States armed forces.

Ranging from reduced taxes to use of armories, the veterans benefits include.

•Property tax abatement. A Utah permanent place-of-residence property tax exemption equivalent to the military service-connected disability rating percentage is provided for disabled veterans or for their unremarried widows or minor orphans.

A veteran's disability rating must be at least 10 percent, with the maximum property tax exemption at 100 percent military service-connected disability rating: $82,500.

To apply for Utah's property tax exemption, individuals should request Form 20-5455 from the U.S. Deptartment of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000. Residents should file the form along with a copy of the veteran's U.S. Military active duty release/discharge certificate or satisfactory evidence of eligible military service and the tax exemption application on or before Sept. 1 of each year to the office of the treasurer, assessor or clerk at the county courthouse.

•Veterans license plates. Veterans license plates may be purchased for an initial $25 voluntary contribution for the Utah Division of Veterans Affairs plus a $10 transfer fee in addition to normal registration and property tax fees. There will also be a yearly $10 renewal fee.

Proceeds from the sale and renewal of the plates help to fund veteran programs within the state.

Utah special group license plates for Purple Heart recipients, Pearl Harbor survivors or former POWs are exempt of application and renewal fees. However, regular registration and property tax fees must be paid.

Proper evidence to present for special group plates includes military order of the Purple Heart or Pearl Harbor survivors association membership cards or DD-214 and equivalent WD AGO 5355 military discharge certificates.

•Disabled license plates and windshield placards.

Disabled license plates having the blue & white international symbol of accessibility decal may be obtained by submitting a TC 842 application form, accompanied by licensed physician certification stating the disability limits or impairs ability to walk as defined in the 1991 Federal Uniform System for Handicapped Parking and the time period the physician determines the disability will continue.

Disabled veterans applying for Utah disability license plates should note that letters from the VA regional office are not acceptable evidence to tax commission/motor vehicle offices.

However, licensed physician certifications by VA doctors are acceptable evidence, provided the letter states that the disability limits or impairs ability to walk as defined in the 1991 Federal Uniform System for Handicapped Parking and the time period the physician determines the disability will continue.

Normal fees for plate transfer, registration, and property taxes still must be paid upon initial application and renewal of disability license plates.

Upon request, one additional disability windshield placard may be issued to disabled persons applying for or already possessing disability special group license plates.

•Disabled parking privileges.

Disabled persons (including disabled veterans) may park an appropriately marked vehicle for reasonable periods without charge in metered parking zones or in restricted parking areas (spaces clearly identified by the international symbol of accessibility as reserved for disabled persons.) Only vehicles appropriately marked with disability special group license plates or disability windshield placards hung from the front windshield rearview mirror attachment may legally park in accessible (disabled) parking spaces. (Utah Code Vol 2, section 41)

•Veterans job preference. Eligible veterans or un-remarried spouses are granted either 5 or 10 points, as applicable, for employment preference, added to the results of any written &/or oral exam or other related qualifying technique, by any Utah government entity (state, county, municipality, special district or other political subdivision or administration.) The U.S. Dept. of Labor will protect the veteran's rights to the Veterans Job Preference. (Utah Code Vol 3, Section 71 )

•Veterans hiring priority. Any officers, agents or representatives of the state, or any contractor performing work for Utah state government, who willfully fails to hire a military veteran shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Utah Code Vol 3, Section 71)

•Veterans reemployment rights. Veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves may be eligible for reemployment with their civilian employers it they meet certain requirements under the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA also provides protection against discrimination in employment because of service in the uniformed services (Title 38, chap 43 USC). Inquiries regarding reemployment rights should be directed to the U.S.D.L., Veterans Employment & Training Services (801-524-5703) (Utah Code Vol 3, Section 67 & USERRA federal Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act, as amended.)

•Utah veterans nursing home. The first Utah State Veterans Nursing Home, located by the VA SLC Healthcare System (veterans hospital) was dedicated on 22 April 1998 and became operational in May 1998. Quality nursing and health care services are provided for Utah veterans with U.S. military service during peacetime or wartime. While wartime service is not a requirement for admission to the nursing home, wartime veterans with one day or more of wartime service, as recognized by state and federal laws, have top priority. A veteran's spouse or surviving spouse may also qualify for admittance to the Utah State Veterans Nursing Home, providing the marriage to the veteran occurred at least one year before the application. (Utah Code Vol 2, Section 26)

•Utah veterans cemetery and memorial park. Located in Bluffdale, the states veteran's cemetery generally follows the eligibility requirements of VA National Cemetery System, including: any U.S. Armed Forces active personnel dying while performing duty or after having served during wartime. Reservist and National Guard retired personnel with 20 years of service are eligible for burial also. Surviving spouses and dependent children also are eligible to be buried in the Utah State Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park, under rules established by the state of Utah. Authorized in 1988 by act of the Utah State Legislature, dedication occurred on Memorial Day, 1990. Veterans are not to be buried in any portion of any cemetery or burial ground used for paupers; cities, towns, counties or other political subdivisions of the state of Utah may provide proper sites for burial of veterans. (Utah Code Vol 3, Section 71)

•Free use of armories. Organizations of war veterans are entitled to have free use of state of Utah armories as meeting places, provided such use shall not interfere with the use of armories by the National Guard or organized militia of Utah. (Utah Code Vol 3, Section 71)

•Fishing license privileges. Utah Disabled Veteran Fishing Licenses are available for Veterans, free of charge, from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. To qualify a Veteran must have obvious physical handicaps, such as, permanently confined to a wheelchair, paraplegic, minus at least one limb, permanently requiring crutches, blind or otherwise permanently disabled. (Utah Code Vol. 1, Section 23)

•Special fun tags. Free of charge to disabled veterans, other disabled persons, and persons 62 & over are Utah Special Fun Tags, which allow free admission to most of the 44 state-controlled parks, campgrounds and other recreation areas throughout Utah. The Utah Special Fun Tags also allows a $2.00 off, camping fee discount Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays. Utah Special Fun Tags are available to disabled veterans upon application to the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, along with a VA letter documenting 10% or greater military service-connected disability rating.

•Bus and trax reduced fare cards. Greatly discounted fares (65% reduced) to ride Utah Transit Authority (UTA) busses and TRAX light rail system are available for veterans meeting these criteria: Forty percent (40%) or greater military service-connected disability rating by VA or Eligibility for VA non-service connected pension: or Regardless of disability pct. Rating for veterans & others with transportation disabilities causing either: difficulty boarding or alighting from a bus/light rail system, difficulty standing in a moving but/light rail system, difficulty reading bus/light rail system schedules & understanding information signs, difficulty hearing announcements by bus/light rail system, or difficulty hearing announcements by bus/light rail systems operators.

•Golden access passport. A lifetime entrance pass to most national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges that charge an entrance fee. The Golden Access Passport admits the pass holder and any accompanying passengers in a private vehicle. Where entry is not by private vehicle, the passport admits the pass holder, spouse, and children. The Golden Access Passport also provides a 50% discount on federal use fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, parking, boat launching, and cave tours. It does not cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires. A Golden Access Passport must be obtained in person at any federal area where an entrance fee is charged or at one of the agencies administering the Golden Access Passport. It is available to citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are medically determined to be blind or permanently disabled. Veterans may obtain a passport by showing proof of a medically determined permanent disability or eligibility for receiving benefits under federal law. A letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs stating the veteran's disability rating will suffice. Agencies administering the Golden Access Passport are Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and Forest Service.

•Veterans upward bound. Located on the campus of Weber State University in Ogden, this organization provides a valuable service to veterans in that they assist them in obtaining admission to post secondary schools. All of the services provided by VUB are free to the veteran. They will provide tutors to veterans in Ogden and Salt Lake City. For purple heart recipients the 2004 Utah State Legislature passed a bill into law, which requires Utah institutions of higher learning to waive the tuition of a Utah resident admitted to an undergraduate program of study leading to a degree or certificate, if the student has received a Purple Heart as a result of military service.

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