Veterans Affairs

This is a follow up to articles that I submitted to the Empire State Hibernian. Several ques-tions have arisen about these topics. I hope this will be helpful to those who need the information. As I have stated in the past, knowledge of Veter-an’s Affairs is a good recruiting tool for County and Division Organizers. If they have current information on the topic, they will be able to recruit some of our returning troops.

E-ZPASS DISABLED VET-ERAN’S PROGRAM
The New York State Thruway Authority offers free, unlimited travel anywhere on the Thruway to certain, qualifying disabled veterans. A disabled veteran who obtains a free-exempt vehicle registration from New York State Department of Motor Vehicles may enroll in the Authority’s disabled veteran non-revenue e-zpass program.
If you have any questions about the program, please contact E-Z Pass operations at 518 471-5848 or visit on the web at www.thruway.ny.gov/ezpass/veterans.html.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that veterans who submit to a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclo-sure can receive $1,500 in relocation assistance. The agency has instructed mortgage servicers to provide the funds to help borrowers cover moving costs or other expenses incurred during the tumultuous process. Borrowers can use the money to cover moving expenses or to simply pay for lodging while they deal with the pending loss of their home.

New Legislation would allow Veterans to use G.I. Bill funds for Franchise Training Pro-grams. The bill is H.R. 3351. It would work in conjunction with S.1540/H.R.2888 and provide funds to help veterans get funding for ownership of a franchise. The bills still have to make their way through the Congress, but they will go a long way in helping returning veterans open up their own businesses. The tax credits would offset start-up costs equal to 25% of franchise fees, up to $100,000.
Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011 increases the rates of VA disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children by 3.6%. This matches the COLA increase military retirees and Social Security recipients will receive.

Looking forward to 2013 and 2014 for those who are on Medicare: The per person Medicare Insurance Premium will increase from the current monthly fee of $96.40 to $104.20 in 2013 and to $247.00 in 2014. This is designed to encourage Veterans who have Tri-Care for Life to leave the program. The plan calls for increases from 30% to 78% in Tri-care annual premiums. After that, the plan will impose five year increases ranging from 94% to 345%, more than 3 times the current levels. (2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka Obama Care)
There is a new bill before con-gress HR4646. If passed (probably not until after the November elections) it would require direct deposit of all SS checks and impose a 1% tax on all bank transactions in and out of accounts including transac-tions between existing accounts. This would apply to any banking institution-banks, credit unions, savings and loan and the like.

HOME OWNERS: as part of the Obama Health Care legislation, anyone who sells their house in 2012 and onward will be subject to a 3.8% sales tax on the transaction. This is the bill they said “pass it and read it later.” Please try to read up on this issue, especially HR4646.

Please keep all our Veterans in your prayers.
God bless America.