First, Mr. Clark, thanks for your comments about veterans without Maine Care (letter to the editor, Jan. 6). We hope you can help us find these people. We would like to have them complete VA Form 10-10EZ Eligibility For Veterans Health Care; on the welfare part, help us find these people — no veteran should be on food stamps, they may be eligible for VA Pension.

Augusta: 127th Legislative Session

Things got underway on Jan. 6. It looks like this will be a very busy session with drug problems, welfare issues, etc. We’ll try to keep you informed. On Jan 5, I testified on LD 1537 before the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. The bill is an act to combat drug addiction through enforcement, prevention, treatment and recovery. My testimony was about how veterans (citizens of Maine), and our newest generation of veterans (Iraq, Afghanistan), are being left out. We need to step up and do all we can to help these veterans. Our hope is that our State Legislators will educate themselves about veterans and their problems. Most are ready to step forward and help.

The latest word on veterans employment

Gov. LePage and First Lady Ann, along with Director of Veterans Affairs Adria Horn launched Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign on Sept. 7, 2015, 100 days, 100 employees, 100 Vets hired. As of Jan. 7, 249 Vets have been hired. I’ll have a full report next week.

Report: VA Health Care System is Broken

The report notes a lack of leadership at VA, a staffing shortage, and a demoralized workforce. VA Secretary, Bob McDonald, agreed with many of the findings of the report and said, “VA is undergoing a radical transformation.”

Apply for Agent Orange Benefits:

For benefit purposes, VA presumes vets who served in the following locations during the time frames stated were exposed to Agent Orange.

• In Vietnam, vets must have served on its soil or operated vessels on its inland waterways between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.

• In Korea, vets must have served in or near the DMZ from April 1, 1968 to Aug. 31, 1971.

We encourage vets to call the Mid-Coast Veterans Resource Center 406-4103 to check your eligibility.

LD 1280 — a People’s Bill.

In my opinion this not a gambling bill. Folks, look at the good side. Millions of dollars to help thousands of Maine citizens, including hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families, survivors, National Guard and Reserves and our active duty personnel (Maine citizens). We’re asking everyone’s support for LD 1280, “An Act To Provide Income Tax Relief by Expanding Gaming Opportunities,” a win-win for all Maine citizens.

Local Notes

• The Memorial Day Parade Committee for Brunswick/Topsham has held it’s initial meeting. Volunteers are needed on the Committee and ideas from towns people. For further info call Read Rich at 406-4103. As vets we should step up.

• The Mid-Coast Veterans Council will meet on Tues. 12 Jan. at 6:00 p.m., Resource Center on Brunswick Landing.

Tax Season

Property Tax Exemption: Veterans or spouses must apply before April 1, 2016. “Qualifying Spouse” means the widow or widower of a qualifying veteran who is a legal resident of Maine; Claims an exemption, in writing, with the assessors of the municipality in which the widow or widower resides; Was married to the qualifying veteran at the time of the veterans death and has not remarried; Receives a pension or compensation from the Federal Government as the widow or widower of a qualifying veteran.

A qualifying veteran must: Be a resident of Maine; Claim an exemption, in writing, with the assessor of the municipality in which the veteran resides; and be at least 62 years old, receive a pension or compensation from the Federal Government for total disability, either service or non-service connected, as a veteran, or receive a pension or compensation from the Federal Government for total disability because of injury or disease, incurred or aggravated during active military service in the line of duty.

Exemptions for a qualifying veteran: In general, Property owned by a qualifying veteran is exempt from the municipal property tax for $6,000 of just value in the municipality where the veteran is a legal resident. If you’re in doubt whether you’re receiving the exemption (veteran, spouse) call your assessor.

Proof of Entitlement can consist of a copy of the applicants birth certificate; A copy of the veteran’s report of separation (DD214), certificate of Release or Discharge from active duty — call (207) 406-4103 if you don’t have a copy; A copy of the certificate or letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs or other Federal Agency stating that the applicant receives compensation or a pension from the Federal Government as a veteran, or widow/widower of a veteran. Again, if you need help, call 406-4103. Bottom line, call your Town Assessors Office.

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Chick Ciciotte is the legislative chairperson for the Mid-Coast Veterans Council. He lives in Topsham.



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