State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) successfully moved his legislation, House Bill 4698, out of the House Tax Policy Committee today. The legislation will make it easier for severely disabled veterans to claim a property tax exemption for a veteran’s homestead that they should be entitled to under Michigan law. It was reported unanimously out of committee and now will head to the full House for consideration.

“Currently, veterans only qualify for a homestead exemption in Michigan if they have participated in the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing Program,” said Dianda. “While this program is wonderful in assisting veterans with home modifications, it also leaves a void for those veterans that may be 100 percent disabled but not in need of any changes to their home. My bill will rectify this.”

HB 4698 would broaden the ways that veterans could claim a tax exemption on their homestead for those who are 100 percent disabled as a result of a service-connected injury as well as those who have received a determination of individual unemployability from the VA. It is much easier for veterans to get documentation of their service connection or unemployability status from the VA or from their Veteran’s Service Officer than it is to participate in the adapted housing program. Dianda was inspired to create this legislation after speaking with his constituent who was exposed to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam. He is 100 percent disabled, but does not need to make home modifications. Under current Michigan law, this consituent does not qualify for the property tax exemption.

“Our veterans sacrificed so much, and many have returned home with life-changing injuries,” continued Dianda. “We owe it to these men and women to provide the assistance they deserve when they return to civilian life. I am hopeful that this bill will receive bipartisan support from the full House.”