State to assist USVA in issuing veterans required disability verification letter
Hartford, CT – October 1, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that she has directed the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Policy and Management to help ensure disabled service-connected veterans receive their annual property tax abatement benefits.
Governor Rell was notified today by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USVA) of a change the federal government made in the procedure when it comes to disabled veterans filing the proper tax abatement paperwork with their tax assessors’ office. Upon receiving this background today from the USVA on the change in the filing procedure, Governor Rell immediately notified town assessors and their respective mayors and first selectmen.
Governor Rell said the state Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and the Office of Policy and Management will work closely with the USVA and local tax assessors to ensure that disabled service-connected veterans receive their required annual tax abatement documentation and have time to file it with their local municipality.
Governor Rell will also be contacting the USVA to protest the short notice given to disabled veterans and tax assessors regarding how the federal government verifies veteran disability ratings for local tax purposes.
In a change to past procedure, disabled service-connected veterans must now individually request a letter from the USVA verifying their service-connected disability which in turn must be submitted to their local tax assessor.
Previously, the USVA automatically issued VA Form 20-5455, “Statement from Benefit Payment Records,” annually to all eligible disabled veterans. Effective July 1, 2008, the USVA converted to a new payment records system which will no longer allow the traditional VA Form 20-5455 to be issued.
Disabled Connecticut veterans must now request a disability verification letter from the USVA’s Regional Office in Newington by emailing their name and claim number to pctc.vbahar (at) va (dot) gov or by faxing a signed request to (860) 665-7654.
Disabled veterans who do not have convenient access to email or a fax machine may also provide their name and claim number through the toll-free Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Information Line at 1-866-9CT-VETS (866-928-8387). Disabled veterans may also visit one of the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs (CTDVA) district offices in Bridgeport, Newington, Norwich, Rocky Hill or West Haven for assistance. CTDVA staff will be able to submit requests for disability verification letters to the USVA on behalf of disabled veterans.
Governor Rell and the Office of Policy Management (OPM) are notifying each local tax assessor of this change in USVA procedure and documentation and asking that tax assessors allow disabled veterans additional time to submit their disability verification letters this year.
Most municipalities require documentation for tax abatement purposed to be submitted by October 1st.
OPM will also help field questions from local assessors and resolve issues on behalf of disabled veterans.
“In this tough economy, we must all work together to ensure our veterans obtain all the financial benefits they have so richly earned,” said Governor Rell. “Working with our Federal partners, hopefully we can develop a more streamlined system that reduces the annual documentation requirements for disabled veterans, the USVA and our local tax assessors.”