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If you have a VA service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more you may be eligible for a reduction in the equalized assessed valuation (EAV) of your home for property tax purposes.

If you have not applied for this exemption previously, use form PTAX-342 at your county assessor’s office or by browsing the form number. A copy of your DD214 document and a copy of your VA disability rating must accompany your PTAX-342 request.

If you already receive the exemption, you must refile each year using form PTAX-342-R. Your application or your request for renewal must include your current rating letter from the VA that indicates the disability percentage you are currently rated. You should have received the annual rating letter in late November or early December.

If your VA disability rating is 30 to 50 percent, you will receive a $2,500 reduction in your EAV. If your VA disability rating is 50 to 60 percent, you will receive a $5,000 reduction in your EAV. If your VA disability rating is 70 percent or above, you will be exempt from paying property taxes on your veteran-occupied home in Illinois.

The due date to file the PTAX forms is Dec. 31 each year. Failure to file the properly completed PTAX-342 or PTAX-342-R in a timely manner could result in forfeiture of the exemption.

Did you know?

The VA and its health care services are not affected by a partial government shutdown. The VA is fully funded for fiscal year 2019. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie stated that the VA is …”ready to provide all of the VA benefits and services our veterans have earned.”

VSOs and claims

Many veterans' service organizations offer free assistance to help present claims to the VA. This can include completion of applications, representation at hearings before the VA Regional Office, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Many VSOs have representatives at VA Regional Offices, VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics and VA Medical Centers. National contact numbers and websites that can aid veterans in identifying local VSOs are: American Legion, www.legion.org, 202-861-2700; Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), www.vfw.org, 816-56-3390; Amvets, www.amvets.org, 877-726-8387; Disabled American Veterans, www.dav.org, 877-426-2838.

Additionally, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs has an office in Bloomington that will assist in filing claims for compensation and other related matters. Call 309-827-5811 or 309-820-2567.

Did you know?

Veterans who served in the Gulf during Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn are eligible for the Gulf War Registry exam. This comprehensive health exam includes an exposure and medical history, laboratory tests and a physical exam. A VA health professional will discuss the results face-to-face with the veteran and in a follow-up letter. Registry exams are free to eligible veterans with no co-payment. Veterans can receive additional registry exams if new problems develop. Contact your local VA environmental health coordinator or visit https://www.publichealth.va.gov/eposures/coordinators.asp. VA environmental health coordinators are located at most VA clinics and medical centers.

Did you know?

Mileage reimbursement of 41.5 cents a mile for travel to the VA for healthcare may be available for veterans with a service-connected rating of 30 percent or more, traveling for treatment of a SC condition, in receipt of a VA pension, whose income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate, or traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination. A $3 deductible one way ($6 round trip) applies. The benefit is not applicable when the veteran uses transportation that covers the cost of the trip. Visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vtp/beneficiary_travel.asp for more information.

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Vogler is superintendent of the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission.