Money & Debt

Resources covering credit and loans, taxes, collections and repossessions, and bankruptcy.

VA pension

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Surviving Spouses and Children

Learn about this tax-free monthly benefit paid by the VA to certain eligible survivors of military servicemembers and veterans.

Enactment of the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020

The Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020 was enacted on January 5, 2021. Read how this Act helps Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families protect their rights.
Photo of a calculator, papers and pens on a table

Tax Filing Tips and Tax Credits

Simple tips for holding onto your hard-earned money at tax time.
A black graduation cap on top of stacks of U.S. $100 bills.

A Servicemember’s Guide to Student Loan Interest Rates

Since August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act has also made it possible for servicemembers to use the SCRA to have their interest rate reduced to six (6) percent on federal student loans that were taken prior to their entry into active duty.

Overview of Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

A brief overview of SCRA legal protections for activated servicemembers, with links to more details.
A photo of several credit and debit cards and a padlock on a table

Identity Theft: Self-Help Tools

Things you can do to restore your credit and avoid collections after someone has stolen your identity.

Tax Exemptions?

Question:


Do we get any tax exemptions.

 

Jim's Reply:


Sure...veterans get a lot of exemptions. Your disability pay is tax free for starters.
 

The amount and type of other exemptions will depend a lot on which state you live in. Some states offer tax free home purchases and most states will scale the amount of property taxes by the disability rating a vet has.
 

Shopping at the PX and commissary are tax free and can save you a lot of money. The best way to learn about the tax benefits in your state will be to head to your state's web site and explore. Good luck.

 

Probate?

Question:

Hi Jim,


I'm looking for someone to do a legal Will for me. I have property, so I was told I would need a real estate will too. I called around and the cheapest fee I have found is $3,000.00. What advice would you give me?

 

Jim's Reply:

I'm not a lawyer so I'm not familiar with the term "real estate will". Over the course of my life I've had any number of wills drawn up to adjust to current circumstances and I've owned land as well as homes and buildings, "real property" and that's always been another part of my estate. Are you sure you aren't confusing some terms?
 

I've also never paid as much as the $3000.00 you cite for a fee. That's pretty darned pricey in my way of thinking.
 

My most recent will was free. A will is such a common document that unless you have a lot of complex money tied up, a simple will is acceptable. I used https://www.splcenter.org/create-your-will-free to do mine and my wife's 2021 updates and I'm happy with that. 
 

I'd also suggest that you check with a couple of veterans law attorneys who may be able to help you. Many attorneys are well prepared to take care of your probate needs depending on the state you're in and such.
 

It won't cost you anything to get some advice from the veterans law attorneys you'll meet at that link so that may be a great next step. Good luck!

 

Consumer Protection

Question:

I have a disabled male veteran who is getting harassed by a couple companies that are giving him a lowball offer to flip his home. The companies are also harassing elderly and disabled homeowners. He wants to file a complaint of harassment. How can I help/direct him?

 

Jim's Reply:

His state is the place to turn. He can speak with the state agency that is tasked with consumer protection. Click https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer  

 

A photo of people, from the knees down, wearing camoflague uniforms and tan combat boots.

Can I Sue the United States if I am Injured while on Active-Duty?

The law about suing the United States government is complicated. Read more information about this Frequently Asked Question here.