Sept. 10, 2013 — I am pleased to announce the Veterans Service Office is now outreaching to veterans working as peace officers at High Desert State Prison. Ed, Dennis and myself set up a booth inside the visitor’s center from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28. We brought with us printed information about California Veterans license plates, VA home loans and G.I. Bill apprentice benefits.
The California Veteran license plate has an area to display an armed force or veterans’ service organization logo/emblem of your choice. More than 100 insignias are available, including the 101st Screaming Eagle logo. Special plates for veterans have an initial cost of $50, and have a $40 yearly renewal fee. All proceeds from the sale of veterans’ plates are used to expand veteran services statewide. If you are interested in purchasing a veteran plate, come by the Veterans Service Office to check out available logos and emblems.
Through post-9/11 benefits, newly hired peace officers can qualify for paid apprentice training. The service-training officer simply maintains a monthly certificate of training hours, and submits monthly training hours to VA for processing. The payment rate starts at 100 percent for the first six months of training, decreases to 80 percent during the second six months of training, 60 percent during the third six months of training, 40 percent during the fourth six months of training, and 20 percent during the remainder of the training. A newly hired peace officer can earn an additional $18,000 during their two-year apprentice training.
VA home loans offer purchase loans, interest rate reduction refinance loans and adaptive housing grants. Purchase loans have competitive interest rates, currently at 3.5 to 4 percent. VA stands behind the loan by guaranteeing a portion of it. If something goes wrong and you can't make the payments anymore, the lending institution contacts VA to cover any losses they might incur. Interest rate reduction refinancing lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. By obtaining a lower interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment should decrease. You can also refinance an adjustable rate mortgage into a fixed rate mortgage. To qualify, the loan must be a VA-to-VA refinance.
In addition, VA provides grants to service members and veterans with certain permanent and total service-connected disabilities to help purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing home to accommodate a disability. The maximum dollar amount allowable for Special Adaptive Housing grants in fiscal year 2013 is $64,960. The maximum dollar amount allowable for Special Housing Adaptation grant in fiscal year 2013 is $12,992. In conclusion of this week’s Vet2Vet, the Veterans Service Office and Lassen County veterans would like to offer our sincere gratitude to Daryl Fisher, owner of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, for providing the opportunity for our senior veterans to fly in a pre-World War II bi-plane at this year’s Susanville Air Show.
Lassen County Veterans Service Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend hours are available by appointment. Walk-ins will be seen as schedules allow, so it is recommended you make an appointment to ensure we are available at a time that best meets your schedule. Call us at 251-8192 or 252-4988, or email tconner.co.lassen.ca.us.
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