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ITEMS OF INTEREST - VETERANS


White Paper on Veteran Homelessness

While dated a few years the paper captures some very interesting observations on how the VA and HUD consider/handle the issue. Please follow the link below to access the study (PDF)

 mail Study


 


 

Income Tax Exemption for Veterans

New for Tax Year 2017. You are eligible for a $3,000 exemption on your Income Tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States by the last day of the tax year. Your spouse (or civil union partner) is also eligible for an exemption if he/she is a veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances and you are filing a joint return. This exemption is in addition to any other exemptions you are entitled to claim and is available on both the resident and nonresident returns. You cannot claim this exemption for a domestic partner or for your dependents. 

Providing Documentation
You must provide a copy of Form DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, the first time you claim the exemption. This form does not need to be provided each year. The United States National Archives and Records Administration can assist with obtaining a copy of your DD-214.

You can certify for the exemption by sending a copy of your DD-214 and Veteran Exemption Submission Form to the Division before you file, which may help process your return faster. To certify:

  • Mail a copy of your DD-214 and Veteran Exemption Submission Form to: The New Jersey Division of Taxation, Veteran Exemption, PO Box 440, Trenton, NJ 08646-0440; or

If you do not certify before you file for the exemption, you will need to submit a copy of your DD-214 when you file using:

  • A Paper Return. Enclose a copy of your DD-214 with your return;
  • NJ Fill’nFile. Upload your DD-214, along with all of your other documentation, into the repository;
  • Other Electronic Filing Methods. If you file your return using NJ WebFile, third-party software (such as TurboTax), or you have a tax professional who electronically submits your return, you can send a copy of your DD-214 and Veteran Exemption Submission Formusing one of the three certification methods listed above.
Last Updated: Thursday, 11/09/17
 
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/newexemptionveterans.shtml

 


 

Colleagues and Fellow Veterans,

 

The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. During FY17, VA guaranteed over 190,000 home loans under this program. In FY 2017, there were nearly 1,500 lenders that participate in the VA Home Loan program.

 

Regrettably, some lenders have taken advantage of Servicemembers and Veterans with VA home loans in the past. They have sent unsolicited offers to refinance VA mortgages with misleading advertising. If you have a VA home loan, there is a good chance you have already come into contact with unsolicited offers which appear official and may sound too good to be true.

 

The VA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued their first Warning Order to Servicemembers and Veterans who currently have a VA home loan, as we have found that some of you are being targeted with misleading advertising.

 

Understand that certain advertised benefits, such as no out-of-pocket closing costs, skipped mortgage payments, and escrow refunds, are costs that are generally added to your loan and increase the overall principal balance. These are all red flags that may indicate that the loan is less likely to benefit you. Before you proceed with a VA mortgage refinance, be sure to consider the long-term and short-term benefits and consequences of refinancing your loan.

 

If you are contacted to refinance your VA mortgage, carefully consider your options and ask questions: 

  • Does a lower interest rate extend the term (i.e., 30-year fixed rate to another 30-year fixed rate)?
  • What are the financial implications when choosing between a fixed term and an adjustable rate mortgage loan?
  • What is your total payback for the new loan vs. the original loan?
  • Do offers of skipped payments or cash back ultimately get added to my loan amount?

If you have a problem with a VA mortgage refinance or other mortgage issues, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). Please also see VA/CFPB’s blog on this topic at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/cfpb-and-va-warno-va-refinancing-offers-sound-too-good-be-true/.

 

We are working hard, along with other government agencies, to identify, stop, and prevent illegal and misleading advertising related to VA mortgages and refinancing. If you have questions that aren’t being answered by your lender, please get a second opinion from another lender, or call a VA loan specialist who is available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday at (877) 827-3702.

 

As always, thank you for your service. 

 

Regards,

 

Curtis L. Coy

Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity

Veterans Benefits Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington, DC 20420

VA Core Values:  Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)  

 


 

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DoD Releases Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records

08/28/2017 04:57 PM CDT

 


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No. NR-311-17
Aug. 28, 2017

 

 

DoD Releases Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records

 

The Department of Defense today released clarifying guidance for discharges and military records reviews. In the past few years, the department has issued guidance for consideration of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but there remained some questions about how the guidance applied to sexual assault, sexual harassment, or mental health conditions other than PTSD. This guidance fills in the gaps and resolves any confusion that veterans or the review boards may have had, and it ensures a fair and equitable review of separations for all veterans.  The guidance has been forwarded to a number of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs) in order to spread the news to as many veterans as possible.


Veterans who desire a correction to their service record or who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade, are encouraged to apply for review.  

For discharge upgrades, if the discharge was less than 15 years ago, the veteran should complete DD Form 293 (http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0293.pdf) and send it to their service’s DRB (the address is on the form).  For discharges over 15 years ago, the veteran should complete the DD Form 149 (http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0149.pdf) and send it to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).  


For corrections of records other than discharges, veterans should complete the DD Form 149 and submit their request to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).   

Key information to include in requests:

In preparing an application for relief related to a mental health condition, PTSD, TBI, sexual assault or sexual harassment, the veteran should answer the four questions identified in the clarifying guidance released today.  Additionally, the veteran should include or identify any supporting evidence.  Examples of the types of evidence that may be helpful are included in the clarifying guidance.  Lastly, it is helpful, but not always required, to submit copies of the veteran’s applicable service records.  The more information provided, the better the boards can understand the circumstances of the discharge.  


Personnel records for veterans who served after 1997 should be accessible online and are usually retrievable within hours of a request through the Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS).  To obtain one’s personnel records from DPRIS, go to https://www.dpris.dod.mil/, then select “Individual Veteran Access” on the left side of the website and follow the instructions.  Veterans will need to register for a logon and verify their current mailing address before requesting records.  The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes.  Those who served prior to 1997 or for whom electronic records are not available from DPRIS, can request their records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) using the eVetRecs website at: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.  
For other information or assistance:

Air Force BCMR
Website: http://www.afpc.af.mil/board-for-correction-of-military-records
Phone: 240-612-5379 
E-mail: usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrbc@mail.mil

Air Force DRB: 
Website: http://www.afpc.af.mil/Air-Force-Discharge-Review-Board/
Phone: 240-612-0995 
E-mail: usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrb@mail.mil

Army BCMR: 
Website: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/
E-mail: army.arbainquiry@mail.mil

Army DRB:  
Website: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/
E-mail: army.arbainquiry@mail.mil

Navy BCNR:  
Website: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/bcnr/Pages/home.aspx 
Phone: 703-607-6111
E-mail: BCNR_Application@navy.mil

Navy DRB: 
Website: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/CORB/Pages/NDRB/default.aspx 
Phone: 202-685-6600
E-mail: NDRB@navy.mil
 

To submit feedback on policies or processes:

Send an e-mail to osd.pentagon.ousd-p-r.mbx.legal-policy@mail.mil, or mail your feedback to Office of Legal Policy at:


Office of Legal Policy
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness)
4000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-4000