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The original item was published from 9/15/2021 12:14:27 PM to 10/18/2021 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: September 15, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Linn County Veteran Affairs Department Expands Eligibility for Benefits

A folder cover that says Veteran Benefits

More veterans in Linn County will now quality for emergency assistance following today’s approval of a revised policy and guidelines by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. 

Linn County Veteran Affairs Director Nicole Kehres spent several months updating the policy and emergency assistance guidelines with input from the Linn County Commission of Veteran Affairs before presenting the final version to the Board of Supervisors for approval this week.

To be eligible for emergency assistance, the veteran or applicant must meet all of the eligibility criteria in the Linn County Commission of Veteran Affairs General Policy and Emergency Assistance Guidelines (PDF), including but not limited to:

  • Be a resident of Linn County for at least 30 days 
  • Veteran must have received an Honorable Discharge or General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions 
  • Served 90 consecutive days of federal active duty for other than training purposes OR have a VA recognized service-connected disability (the bolded section is new)
  • Meet income guidelines (New: Linn County’s guidelines will now match the income guidelines for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund, currently 300% of the federal poverty level)
  • Provide proof of an unexpected expense that caused a financial hardship – This is a key piece of documentation required for eligibility due to the substantial change in income guidelines.

“These changes will have a direct positive impact on Linn County veterans and their families,” Kehres said. “Our income guidelines will now match the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund which is currently 300 percent of the federal poverty level. This is a major change for us and will make more veterans eligible for emergency assistance. We are also increasing the dollar amounts that we can approve on rent, mortgage, and utility payments to help veterans and eligible dependents when they are faced with financial hardship due an unexpected expense.” 

Kehres added, “Going forward, most of our assistance will be based on income versus expenses or up to the amount of the unexpected expense. For example, if a veteran lives on a fixed income and experiences a major unexpected expense, this may cause them to fall behind on their normal monthly bills. Our goal is to assist them temporarily by helping with their rent and/or utilities to offset the cost of the unexpected expense so that it doesn’t lead to a more serious situation for them. By extending our services to veterans who may not have been eligible in the past, we are hoping to reach more veterans who may benefit from our emergency assistance program as well as other services that we provide.”

“I am grateful for the service and sacrifices our service women and men make every day. They deserve our thanks and gratitude. And I am proud of the great work that our Veteran Affairs Department and Commission have put into this policy that broadens the scope of emergency assistance eligibility for our veterans,” Linn County Supervisor Chair Stacey Walker said.

Read the Linn County Commission of Veteran Affairs General Policy and Emergency Assistance Guidelines (PDF).

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