Madison County officials are developing a new program that will provide property tax relief for struggling military veterans.
The Madison County Veterans’ Assistance Commission program will assist qualifying veterans on paying current property taxes, so they will not lose their homes. The VAC provides emergency aid and services to approximately 45,000 veterans and their families throughout Madison County.
Madison County Veterans’ Assistance Commission Superintendent Brad Lavite said this program will assist any honorably discharged veterans, even those who don’t qualify for property tax exemptions.
“There are veterans out there who qualify for assistance and never apply,” Lavite said. “We want to make sure they get any and all of the assistance they can.”
The VAC assists thousands of veterans each year with rent payments to avoid eviction and with utility payments to avoid shut-off. The VAC also refers the homeless/transitional for housing, as well as provides food/family essentials, miscellaneous disability care expenses, and other assistance as needed.
To qualify, a veteran must provide proof of an Honorable Discharge (DD-214) from active duty with the U.S. Military, along with proof of ownership of the property, (i.e., a tax bill or the property deed in the veteran’s name). The veteran also must have proof of income and proof of the inability to pay.
Lavite said that the property must be the veteran’s primary residence for which he/she is applying for assistance. A veteran also must meet income guidelines and agree to adhere to the VAC program guidelines, which include participating in the Jobs Program or applying for VA service-connected and pension claims, health care benefits or Aid and Attendance benefits.
A widow or a widower of a veteran, as well as the disabled child of a veteran older than 18, also may qualify.
Veterans must contact the VAC no later than Dec. 1, to receive property tax assistance. If you are an honorably discharged veteran who needs assistance, or if you know of a veteran in need, please contact the Veterans’ Assistance Commission at (618) 629-7040, ext. 4554.
Veterans can also reduce their property tax assessment with qualifying exemptions. Currently, there are more than 700 taxpayers who receive the Returning Veterans’ Homestead and the Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead exemptions, Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler said.
For more information on veterans’ exemptions, contact the Chief County Assessment Office at (618) 692-6270.