- Editor’s Note: Kane County is the home to 24,787 veterans, the seventh-largest county by veteran population in the state of Illinois. “Ask Jake” is a monthly series of articles written by Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Jacob A. Zimmerman, designed to help Kane County veterans and their families, in appreciation of their service and sacrifice.
Q: When Should I Apply for a Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption?
A: Last year brought some important changes in veteran benefits. Some of those changes will be implemented this year along with some additional changes coming in 2016. Let’s start with the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption.
As reported previously on Kane County Connects, there are several intricacies to this program, but these are the basics:
- Veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or 40 percent can receive an exemption that takes $2,500 off of their primary dwelling’s equalized assessed value.
- Veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 50 percent or 60 percent can receive an exemption that takes $5,000 off of their primary dwelling’s EAV.
- Veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or greater can receive an exemption that makes all of their primary dwelling’s EAV exempt from property taxation.
Although this law went into effect in 2015, the first time you will see savings is this year. That is because it is effective for 2015 property taxes, which aren’t payable until 2016.
Q: How Do I Get a Veteran Designation on My Illinois Driver’s License?
A: Starting July 1, 2015, veterans with qualifying military service can have “Veteran” added to their Illinois Driver’s License or State Identification Card. To have this designation added to your driver’s license, you need to have your DD-214 certified by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission can help you obtain that certification which takes about a week from when the form is submitted. Once you receive your DD-214 back in the mail, you can head over to your local Driver’s Services Facility to get your license updated or renewed. To qualify for the designation you must have a DD-214 showing an “Honorable” or “General” characterization of service (for each term of active service). Also, “duty for training only” is not qualifying.
For more information, visit this page of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Q: Is It True That the Elgin VA Clinic is Relocating?
A: Yes. In late spring of 2016, the current VA Clinic in downtown Elgin will be relocating to Hoffman Estates.
The new clinic will be located inside the Prairie Pointe Medical Office Building at 4885 Hoffman Boulevard in Hoffman Estates, which is near the Sears Center and Cabela’s at Illinois Route 59 and Interstate 90. The new location is almost double the size of the old location and will feature an expansion of their existing services.
The VA also brings a Mobile Clinic to Kane County on the second Tuesday and fourth Friday of each month. The Mobile Clinic offers robust medical services including flu vaccinations, pneumonia vaccinations, shingles vaccinations, blood work, social work, electrocardiography, and primary care. You can find the Mobile Clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Veterans Center at 311 North 2nd St. The Mobile Clinic is at the Hampshire Township Building in Hampshire from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Friday of odd months and is at the Del Webb Sun City Club House in Huntley from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on on the fourth Friday of even months.
Q: What Should I Do If I Think I Was I Exposed to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune, NC?
A: The VA will soon be proposing a rule that will recognize certain conditions as being related to exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, NC. The VA issued a press release in which VA Secretary Robert McDonald intends to recognize kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, scleroderma, Parkinson’s Disease, and aplastic anemia/Myelodysplastic Syndromes as being directly related to exposure to drinking water that was contaminated with perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, benzene, and other chemicals.
The news comes after a review by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Although, this is not official until the VA publishes the final rule roughly a year from now, we recommend you visit our office to file a disability claim if you had or currently have these conditions and you served at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987.
Make sure to “Like” the KCVAC Office on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest news on veterans benefits.
About the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission
The Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission exists to help veterans access the benefits they earned for serving our great nation. Whether you are looking to apply for health care, dental insurance, disability compensation, home loan, GI Bill, or state benefits — the KCVAC office can help! Don’t try to navigate the benefits bureaucracy alone: Veterans Assistance Commission help is free! For more information, visit the Veterans Assistance Commission web page, “Like” the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission Facebook page and sign up for the Veterans Assistance Commission newsletter.