The Columbia County Board of Commissioner's Veterans Services Office is closed until further notice. Veterans in need of services should visit the Veterans Affairs (VA) Office. http://www.northflorida.va.gov/locations/lakecity.asp
We are located at 971 West Duval Street, Suite 180 with the entrance to our office behind and to the north of the Columbia County Supervisor of Elections Office.
Our Hours of Operation are 8AM to 12:00 Noon Monday-Thursday.
The Veterans Service Officer has been trained to assist you and has been accredited by the
- Florida Department of Veteran's Affairs
- The American Legion
Our Belief: The Service Officers Code of Ethics
- Keep the confidence of all veterans. The service officer and veterans counselors learn, through the military records and through personal conversations, many intimate details concerning the veterans life. This confidential information must not be revealed to any except to those personally connected with the case.
- They will assist veterans in preparing claims which are entirely honest. They will prepare claims in order to put the best light on the claim. Any information which is known to be dishonest will not be included.
- The service officer maintains high professional standards in his dealings with other service officers or veteran's counselors, never being critical of them.
- They are non-partisan between veteran's organizations. They will render service to any veteran or any veteran's organization or to those who belong to none. Racial and Religious preferences have no bearing on the cases they handle.
A MESSAGE TO ALL VETERANS, THEIR DEPENDENTS & SURVIVORSYou may be eligible for basic compensation or increased compensation benefits from the U.S. Veterans Administration if:
- You have a disability which was incurred during military service and may have become worse;
- You have a disease or other condition which was incurred and treated during your military service and has recurred.
- You are a disabled wartime veteran unable to work;
- You are a veteran of any war;
- You are the dependent parent of a veteran who died in military action;
- You are the eligible widow of a deceased wartime veteran.
- Your spouse/parent has a disability rated as 100 percent service connected by the Veterans Administration;
- Your spouse/parent died of a service-connected disability. (You may also be eligible for other compensatory benefits.)
- You require care but cannot afford to pay such care.
- You are a veteran with a service-connected disability during peacetime or time of war.
- You are a WW1 veteran;
- You are a former prisoner of war.
- You were awarded the Purple Heart.
Here's a checklist of some of the services provided by the Veteran Service Office. The office will also assist the veteran with applying for those services which he/she is eligible for.
- Adaptive Equipment
- Aid and Attendance
- Burial Benefits
- Change of Address
- Children's Benefits
- Clothing Allowance
- Death Pension
- Dependent's Benefits
- Disability Compensation
- Domiciliary Care
- DV Plates
- Educational Benefits
- Homestead Tax Exemptions
- Hospital Care
- Housebound Benefits
- Housing Loans
- Lost Military Records
- Medical Care
- Military Discharge Review
- Nursing Home Care
- Pension Benefits
- POW Plates
- Rehabilitative & Therapeutic Devices
- Specially Adapted Housing
- State Identification Card
- Travel Allowances
- Tutorial Assistance
- Un-reimbursed Medical Expenses
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Wheelchair Plates
- Widow's Benefits
Hunting and Fishing License
A permanent state hunting and fishing license shall be issued, upon request, to any person who is a resident of the state, and who is permanently and totally disabled and currently certified by a licensed physician of this state or the VA, or who holds a valid card issued by the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. FS372.562(1)(a) Title XXVII CHAP 372
A card will be issued upon request to a veteran who is a permanent resident of the state and who is determined by the VA to have a service-connected 100% disability rating. FS 295.17(1)(a) Title XX, CHAP 295
Exemption of Homestead Taxes
Veterans with a VA certified service-connected disability of 10 percent or greater shall be entitled to a $5,000 property tax exemption. Any partially disabled veteran who is 65 or older, any portion of whose disability was combat-related, and who was honorably discharged, may be eligible for a discount from the amount of ad valorem tax on the homestead commensurate with the percentage of the veteran’s permanent service-connected disability. Eligible veterans should apply for this benefit at the county property appraiser’s office. FS 196.082
Certification of Discharge or Separation
The clerk of the circuit Court shall record without cost to the veteran certificates of discharge or separation from the Armed Forces of the U.S. FS28.222(3)(d) Title V CHAP 28
Motor Vehicle License Plate (DV)
A motor vehicle license plate will be issued for use on any vehicle owned by any disabled veteran who has been a continuous resident of Florida for the last five years upon application accompanied by proof that:
- The vehicle was acquired through financial assistance from the VA, or
- The veteran has been determined by the VA to have a service connected 100% disability rating for compensation, or
- The veteran has been determined to have a service connected disability of 100% , and is in receipt of disability retirement pay from any branch of the uniformed armed forces. FS320.084 Title XXIII, CHAP 320
Motor Vehicle License Plate (POW)
A motor vehicle license plate will be issued for use on an automobile for private use, truck weighing not more than 5,000 pounds, or certain recreational vehicles for a resident of the State and an ex-prisoner of war, active member of the Florida National Guard of Armed Forces Reserve upon application accompanied by proof and payment of the license fee for the vehicle. FS 320.089 Title XXIII, CHAP 320
Preference for Veterans in Re-instatement, Employment and Promotion in State Agencies and political Subdivisions
The state and its political subdivisions shall give preference in appointment and retention in positions of employment and except comparable positions in the political subdivisions of the state to: disabled veterans who have served on active duty in any branch of the Armed Forces of the U.S., separated under honorable conditions, and are service connected to a compressible rating under the laws administered by the Veterans Administration or who are receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits administered by the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense and certain spouses and widows of veterans. FS295.07 Title XX, CHAP 295
Occupational License Taxes
A veteran disabled from performing manual labor shall be exempt from a sum not to exceed $50. This exemption is applicable to both men and women veterans and to the surviving unremarried spouse of either. FS205.171 Title XIV, CHAP 205
Additional Advice and Assistance
Veterans services officers also assist and give advice regarding benefits from, and/or problems with, other county, state and federal agencies.
The offices provide an OUTREACH PROGRAM to visit those veterans/widows who reside in Columbia County and are housebound.
Upon invitation, service officers will address groups to advise members about VA and other benefits for which they might be eligible.
"Florida Salutes Veterans" License Plate
The purpose of the new plate is to pay tribute to Florida veterans and provide funds for constructing, operating, and maintaining domiciliary and nursing homes for veterans in Florida. Questions concerning the issuance of the new license tag should be addressed to the Tax Collectors office. FS 320.08056(4)(d) Title XXIII, CHAP 320