A bill currently under consideration by the Ohio Legislature would exempt disability service pay, made to honorably discharged veterans, from state income taxes.
House Bill 18 (HB 18) was introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives last month. Wednesday, the bill finally came to a vote where it passed by an almost unprecedented 98-0 votes. It has now been introduced tot he Senate where it is expected to pass with similar support.
In a statement, the bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Erica Crawley, (D-Columbus) stated:
This is a great example of how the legislature can work together to deliver real results that have a minimal fiscal impact on the state and keep Ohio’s promise to our veterans by eliminating hardships,
Rep. Crawley is a Navy veteran.
The Department of Veterans Affairs defines disability compensation as:
Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are determined by VA to be disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service connected. To be eligible for compensation, the Veteran must have been separated or discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
As of 2013, over 800,000 of the more than 21 million living veterans in America, reside in the state of Ohio. At least 12% have some form of “service-connected disability rating.”
This bill comes as much of the nation struggles to address the ongoing issues that plague many of our nation’s veterans. Among the most pressing concerns are the shocking homeless and suicide rates for American veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night. Almost 13,000 of these veterans served in either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even more shocking is the dangerously high suicide rates for veterans. from 2008 to 2016, more than 6,000 veterans committed suicide every year. The overwhelming majority of these victims were suffering from some form of Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This, combined often with some form of addiction has been a plague on veteran communities across the country. While HB 18 is a small measure, relative to these challenges, its supporters maintain it is an important step in alleviating the pain felt by thousands of veterans in the Buckeye State.
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