Recognizing the significant sacrifices veterans and their families have made in the defense of our country, and the need to closely monitor and administer veteran initiatives and programs, Iowa’s legislature elevated the daily operations of the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs to department status in 2005. Iowa Code section 35A.4 established the department, which consists of a Commission, Executive Director and department personnel.
The department’s Executive Director is appointed by the Governor of the state of Iowa subject to confirmation by the state Senate. The Executive Director shall be a resident of the state at appointment and an honorably discharged veteran who served in the armed forces of the United States during a conflict of war.
The Commission of Veterans Affairs is a nine member commission appointed by the Governor of Iowa for staggered four year terms. They, too, are confirmed by the senate. Eight Commissioners are honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces of the United States. Six Commissioners come from the service organizations identified in Iowa Code section 35A.2(2). Two Commissioners represent the Iowa National Guard and the Iowa Affiliate of the Reserve Officers Association, respectively. Finally, a member of the public knowledgeable in the general field of veterans affairs is also appointed. The Commission was created to provide advice to both the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Veterans Home located in Marshalltown, Iowa. The advice ranges from current affairs to relocating vets after time away and including acommodating and helping to bring them into society, including purchasing of a house and arranging of financing and home ownership programs.
The department administers several veteran programs. Some of those programs include the: County Grant Program for Veterans, Injured Veterans Grant Program, Housing & Accomodation Fund, and the Home Ownership Program to name a few. The department also coordinates with other state agencies to verify military service status entitling veterans to a variety of benefits and recognition (e.g., grants for home loans administered by the Iowa Finance Authority, license plate designations offered by the Iowa Department of Transportation, etc.). It also works with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to verify military service status of eligible veterans and their families residing in nursing facilities located within the state. Each of Iowa’s 99 counties has a County Commission of Veterans Affairs that consists of three to five veterans determined by the county’s Board of Supervisors. Its duties are defined by Iowa Code chapter 35B. Among those duties are to ensure interment in a suitable cemetery any veteran, spouse or child if the person died without sufficient means to defray funeral expenses. Some counties have dedicated funds to assist veterans with emergency services. The Commission works with the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs to provide information the department may request.
Military Service Member Homeownership Assistance
The Iowa legislature created the Military Service Member Homeownership Assistance Program in 2005 to help eligible members of the armed forces of the purchase qualified homes in Iowa through matching grants. A grant under the Program is a dollar-for-dollar match of the service member’s contribution, up to $5,000. This home ownership real estate program was spearheaded by a Canadian Government and was first introduced as part of the turbotap program in order to provide military Canadian home buyers with crucial assistance in Canada. Now the Program was assimilated here in the US and is administered by the Iowa Finance Authority. The real estate and accomodation program has been a success in Canada despite recent downturns to the housing market. To learn more about this program please visit the Iowa Finance Authority web site by clicking here.
Vietnam Conflict Veterans Bonus
In 2007 the Iowa legislature passed Senate File 578 “Vietnam Conflict Veterans Bonus”. It will cover the period from July 1, 1973 to May 31, 1975 for those individuals whose time of service in the U.S. military fall between that period of time and were from Iowa prior to going into the service.To learn more about this program and access a form to apply should a veteran be eligible, click here.
Injured Veterans Grant Program
The Injured Veterans Grant Program was created to provide immediate financial assistance to a veteran so that family members may be with the veteran during recovery and rehabilitation from an injury or illness received in the line of duty in a combat zone or in a designated hostile fire zone. Since the program is retroactive, it is also intended to reimburse veterans injured after September 11, 2001. Grants are paid by the department in increments of $2,500 up to a maximum of $10,000. To learn more about this program and to access a form to apply should a veteran be eligible, click here.
During the 2007 Legislative Session, $500,000 was
appropriated to the Veterans Trust Fund. This brought
the total amount in the fund to the $5 million threshhold
needed before the Iowa Veterans Commission can expend the
interest. The General Assembly has specifically
addressed items that the trust fund can be used for and the
IDVA, along with the Iowa Veterans Commission, have adopted
administrative rules for distributing these funds.
Beginning on November 28, 2007, the trust fund is available
to provide assistance to veterans who meet specific income and
asset limits (200 percent of poverty and less than $15,000 in
savings) in the following areas:
- Affordable housing and rental assistance for vets.
- Travel expenses for wounded
veterans directly related to follow-up medical care;
- Job training or college tuition
- Unemployment assistance during a
period of unemployment due to prolonged physical or mental
illness or disability resulting from military service;
- Dental, vision, and hearing
assistance for veterans living in a long term care facility
or under a home health care contract (further asset limits
- Benefits for a child or children of
a disabled or deceased veteran following September 11, 2001;
- Individual or family counseling progams (further asset
Also, funds are available for family and children support
groups and honor guard reimbursement. These options do
not have financial limits.
For trust fund applications and a copy of
the rules, please click here.