Chapter 35B of the Code of Iowa outlines the legal basis for the temporary emergency assistance program. In Johnson County, this program is administered by the Veterans Affairs Director under the supervision of the Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Board of Supervisors.

1. Eligibility requirements

"Veteran" means a person residing in Johnson County for at least 30 days with the intent to remain and meets the criteria per Iowa Code 35.1 (available online and in the VA office).

  1. Assistance” means helping pay for rent, utilities, groceries, burial, medical/dental expenses, and transportation.
  2. Family Unit” means the Veteran, spouse, and children not over eighteen (18) years of age who are dependent upon the Veteran for food, care, shelter, and who reside with the Veteran. If the Veteran is deceased, a “family unit” shall mean the Veteran’s surviving unmarried spouse, minor children of the deceased Veteran not over eighteen (18) years of age, who are dependent upon the surviving spouse for food, care, shelter and resides with the surviving spouse as a family unit member. All household income is considered to determine eligibility.
  3. “Gross Income” is defined as wages, salary, cash earned doing odd jobs, Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs Federal Compensation/Pension, education stipend, employer pension benefits, income from rent, interest, Family Investment Program, child support, unemployment, liquid assets, or other monies available for the support of the applicant.

2. Verification requirements

“Verification of Veteran status” may include:

  • DD Form 214, Report of Separation from Active Duty showing character of discharge
  • NGB-22, Report of Separation from Guard or Reserve Duty
  • Verification of Johnson County residency, e.g., rental agreement, lease, utility bill
  • Household income for past 4 weeks, e.g., all bank statements, pay stubs, tax statements, social security statement, VA Compensation or Pension award letter
  • Physician’s written medical statement indicating inability to work with the expected date of return to work, if the claim is that the Veteran is medically unable to work
  • Marriage license, birth certificate or social security cards of dependents living with you
  • Consent to Release or Exchange Information
  • Job Search Log, Iowa Workforce Development registration form and documentation that the applicant has applied for the Food Assistance Program with the Iowa Department of Human Services (required for subsequent Veterans Affairs assistance)

3. General regulations

Approval of an application provides for one time assistance only and does not guarantee continuation of eligibility. This program is intended to provide temporary emergency assistance to help applicants become self-sufficient. Applicants who may qualify for temporary emergency assistance will be assisted in filling out an application and will be referred to other programs for which they may qualify.

It is the obligation of each applicant to establish their eligibility. Upon request, the applicant shall provide a verified statement of gross worth, all bank account statements (Checking, Savings, CDs), pay stubs, social security statement, federal and state income tax returns, physician medical statement, marriage and/or birth certificate, and anything else requested that bears directly upon the person’s eligibility and need for assistance. Staff shall conduct a reasonable eligibility investigation concerning the applicant’s request. The Johnson County Veterans Affairs office will file and maintain the application, all supporting documents, and the findings of the Director, Staff, and Commission of Veterans Affairs.

If unemployed, applicants shall be actively seeking employment. For subsequent requests, applicants must be registered for employment with Iowa Workforce Development and have applied to at least ten prospective employers in the past 30 days, which the staff has the authority to verify, and apply for Food Assistance through the Iowa Department of Human Services. A physician’s written medical statement verifying that the applicant is unable to work must also be submitted if the applicant is unable to work due to an illness or injury. Likewise, if the Veteran is married, the spouse must seek job training and/or employment (unless there are children in the home under age 5), unless a physician’s written medical statement is submitted verifying that the spouse/domestic partner is medically unable to work or must act as a primary caregiver to the Veteran. The same rules apply to family members over 18 living in the household. If an applicant is reporting that they can’t work due to being in receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance, staff may require documentation verifying as such.

4. Income

Emergency assistance is temporary aid to applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and have their income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, and the household liquid asset amount is under $20,000. If income exceeds 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines at the time of application, no assistance will be granted. Limited exceptions under extenuating circumstances, as determined by staff may be granted.

5. Shelter

The Commission of Veterans Affairs does not provide rental deposits or pay mortgages. A rental agreement or lease with the Veteran or spouse’ name on it will be required. The property landlord/property manager must complete a W-9 in order to accept payment.

6. Utilities

The Commission of Veterans Affairs utility assistance is intended to assist with the current month’s bill; not late fees, reconnect fees, past due balances, or deposits. In extenuating circumstances, staff may call the respective utility company credit department and offer a “promise to pay” consisting of the current month and a percentage of past due/disconnect fees to allow the continuance of service. This will only be allowed once per fiscal year. All submitted bills shall be in the Veteran’s or spouse’s name. Authorized utilities include: electricity, water and sewer, natural gas, propane gas, and fuel oil for home heating.

7. Medical/Dental

Eligible Veterans are expected to use the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Medical expenses for Veterans who are not eligible for the Veterans Affairs medical system shall be limited to assistance with primary care provider office visits and generic prescriptions. Dental assistance will be coordinated with the Johnson County Veterans Affairs Staff prior to receiving treatment. Dental care should occur at the University of Iowa Dental College or the Iowa City Free Medical/Dental Clinic. Documentation clearly stating the nature of the dental emergency is required for consideration. If approved, the dollar amount will be decided after a review of the circumstances to include income, assets, insurance, employment, and expenses.

8. Burial

The Commission of Veterans Affairs may authorize payment for burial or cremation expenses of an eligible Veteran or an eligible dependent family member. The Johnson County Veterans Affairs Burial and Cremation Policy details the specifics of our burial and cremation assistance.

9. Grocery

The Commission of Veterans Affairs may authorize a voucher for basic food staples, e.g., milk, bread, cereal, vegetables, fruit, sandwich meat, and inexpensive cuts of meat as well as limited hygiene items. Vouchers may not be used for prepared meals, alcohol, soft drinks, candy, or tobacco. Food vouchers will not be given if the applicant is currently in receipt of food assistance through the department of Human Services. Applicants are required to apply for Food Assistance with the Department of Human Services if needing food assistance more than once.

10. Transportation

A 10-ride local bus pass or monthly bus pass will be provided upon request, or a $25 gas voucher (3 combined total per 12 months.)

11. Notice of decision

Staff shall make an initial determination of the eligibility and needs of the applicant upon the initial interview. For subsequent assists, the applicant may be required to return an Iowa Workforce Development form, a Job Search Log, and/or a physician’s written medical statement indicating he/she can’t work due to medical reasons. These documents along with verification of income of all household members and dependents information are required to make a decision. If the applicant is unable to provide these documents, their application will be denied, and the applicant will be given an explanation on a Notice of Decision form and informed of the appeal process by the Director upon request.

12. Procedure of appeal

It is the responsibility of the appellant to request an appeal by notifying the Veterans Affairs office within ten (10) working days of being denied. The appeal hearing will be placed on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Commission of Veterans Affairs. The appellant will be informed by the Director of the date, time, and location of the appeal hearing. The applicant must be present at the appeal hearing. The Commission of Veterans Affairs shall make a decision on the day of the appeal in a closed session. The applicant will be informed of the decision by telephone within one workday or within three working days thereafter by ordinary mail to the applicant’s last known address. The decision shall state the reasons for the action along with any statute or policy applied.

An appeal to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors shall be made by giving notice to the Board, in writing, ten (10) working days after the denial of assistance by the Johnson County Commission of Veterans Affairs. The Board shall hear the appeal and render its decision in writing within ten (10) working days of receiving notice of appeal from the applicant. The applicant will be informed of the decision by telephone within one workday or within three working days thereafter by ordinary mail to the applicant’s last known address.

13. Assistance of Extended Nature

Veterans will not be provided financial assistance for more than three months per 12 month period unless an exception is approved by the Commission of Veterans Affairs, which would require the applicant to meet directly with the Commission at our monthly meeting. Ideally, the assistance will occur in three consecutive months with the goal of allowing the applicant to find employment or long term assistance or to assist in recovery from an illness or injury.

14. Right of the Commission

We reserve the right to amend or revise the general policies and procedures contained in this document at a future Commission of Veterans Affairs meeting. Fraudulent information may result in assistance being denied for up to two years.

15. Quick reference chart of allowed rates and key bullet points

Household size Maximum monthly rent Maximum monthly utility Maximum monthly grocery Maximum per month Maximum per 12 months
1 $700 $200 $100 $700 $2100
2 $750 $225 $180 $750 $2250
3 $800 $250 $260 $800 $2400
4 or more $850 $275 $340 $850 $2550
  • Verify income level using the poverty guideline; available online and in VA office. Must be under 200% gross income. Liquid assets must be under $20,000.
  • Burial amount is $3200 for funeral or $2200 for cremation and up to $1000 to purchase, open and close a plot.
  • Director and staff may use discretion in extraordinary circumstances once per 12-month period per case, yet not exceed the maximum annual amount of assistance


Effective: 1-16-2024