Dems: Veterans Trust Fund helps those in need

June 3, 2016
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The Veterans Trust Fund was created in 2003 to help low-income veterans in need of housing repairs, emergency medical care, dental work, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prescriptions, car repairs and more. The Trust Fund began providing assistance in 2009. That year, 108 claims were approved, primarily for dental care, vehicle repairs and housing for veterans, their spouses and dependents.

 

As of April 30, 2016, the principal balance in the Fund was $23.8 million. The spendable portion was approximately $269,000, with total expenditures for FY16 amounting to about $218,000 so far.

 

During the 2016 session, we voted to ensure the fund can provide the help veterans need by extending an income tax checkoff that puts money into the trust fund (HF 2459). Iowans filing a tax return may designate $1 or more jointly to the Veterans Trust Fund and the Volunteer Fire Fighter Preparedness Fund. Half the money raised through the checkoff goes to the Veterans Trust Fund and half goes to the Volunteer Fire Fighter Preparedness Fund.

 

In 2008, the Legislature authorized a series of lottery games with money going to the principal portion of the Veterans Trust Fund. The annual net proceeds have averaged about $2.5 million. Since 2013, the first $300,000 received from the lottery games has gone to the spendable portion of the Veterans Trust Fund to help with veteran needs approved by the Commission on Veterans Affairs. The spendable amount also includes donations received and interest earned.

 

In recent years, lottery ticket sales have decreased, resulting in a decline in proceeds to the Veterans Trust Fund. That’s why in 2015, the Legislature set up a stable source of revenue for the trust fund by voting to transfer $2.5 million in lottery revenue to the trust fund each year (SF 323).

 

For more information on the Veterans Trust Fund and an application for assistance, go to https://va.iowa.gov/media/4ef36ecd-b984-436f-8e93-e4932f4469c5.

 

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