BRISTOL, Va. - Some veterans in Virginia could receive a large tax break and not even know it; that's why Bristol Virginia's Commissioner of Revenue wants to get the word out.
Our veterans proudly served our country in times of war and some came home not as they left.
That's why the state of Virginia passed a law in 2011 allowing veterans fully-disabled from combat to be 100 percent exempt from real estate taxes. "There is over 35,000 disabled American veterans in this state alone, and this region here is highly impacted because of the older vets. Therefore a lot of the older vets out here are 100 percent," says Troy Williams.
Troy Williams served in the U.S. Army during Desert Shield and then in Desert Storm. He knows the pain and challenges faced by fellow veterans who are disabled. "Younger people like us if we're 100 percent and we've got young children. With that tax relief we're able to provide more for the children and keep the family in mind," he said.
We checked and found out there are currently 18 veterans in Bristol, Virginia benefiting from the program.
Commissioner of Revenue Terry Frye believes there are more veterans who aren't taking advantage of the exemption. "A handful of 100 percent combat-related disabled veterans in Bristol that haven't claimed their relief because they don't know about it," adds Terry Frye.
Frye says the city does not have a list of 100 percent disabled combat veterans, and that's why some may not know the program exists. "We would be glad to go over the requirements with them and if they meet the requirements they just need to come in an apply and we'll approve them on the spot," he said.
Frye says some veterans may need to check again to see if they qualify. "They may not have qualified on January 1, 2011, but they become 100 percent disabled and they are also eligible," he said.
Williams says this program is one of many that shows veterans just how much their service is appreciated. "We did fight, serve this country, were crippled up for this country. It's a little bit of an easement on the mind," he said.
We checked with Tennessee State Representative Jon Lundberg and he tells us there is no state wide exemption.
In Kingsport disabled veterans or widows of a disabled vet who meet certain eligibility requirements may receive up to $848 of assistance, and in Johnson City veterans fully disabled from combat could receive up to $729 in property tax help this year.
We also learned that those numbers do fluctuate from year to year.