Friday, May 24, 2024
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MN Veterans Benefits

I have mentioned my breakfast outings to Judy’s Cafe. I think it may have been my first breakfast when the conversation rules were ex­plained to me. One rule is, with expletive re­moved, no politics. Everyone can exhale, as I am not going to dive into the taboo pool of politics.

What I would like to discuss are recent chang­es made by the Minnesota Legislature, so I will be dipping my toes into some bipartisan politics. On May 15, 2023, Governor Walz signed into law the Veterans Omnibus bill (HR1938). The second consecutive year our lawmakers agreed to separate laws and funding specifically for our National Guard and Veterans. While many of the details are still being translated into conversa­tional language and effective dates are out sev­eral months, I wanted to give you a preview of a few juicy bits.

Veteran designation on the Minnesota driver’s license expanded to include retired members of National Guard or reserve component of the U.S. armed forces. The required documenta­tion to receive the Veteran designation has been expanded to include a military retiree ID card, Veteran ID card, or Veteran health ID card. Pre­viously, the DD-214 was the only accepted doc­ument. Veterans with a 100% total and perma­nent service-connected disability rating receive free driver’s license or state-issue ID card. Ap­plicant must provide documentation attesting to the 100% total and permanent service-connected disability rating.

Veterans with a 100% total service-connected disability receive free motor vehicle registration, plate, and title services for up to two vehicles (auto, pickup, RV, motorcycle). Total fee exemp­tion does not include a personalized plate fee or any required contributions for a specialty plate. Applicant eligibility for special plate emblem is expanded to include any member of Disabled American Veterans. Individuals eligible for Gold Star plates may request them as personalized and not be charged the otherwise associated $100 fee.

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Post-9/11 Veterans Service Bonus is still active. The omnibus bill increased funding to aid in expanded eligibility requirements. All Min­nesota Veterans meeting the service requirements are now eligible regardless of “home of record at time of entry” which previously required Veter­ans to have entered service from Minnesota.

Lake County is actively recruiting for the new­ly created position of Assistant Veterans Service Officer. A huge thanks to the County Commis­sioners, County Administrator, and Human Re­sources for considering, approving, and creating this much needed position.

Brad Anderson is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.834.8326, or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen. christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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