Chapter 35B of the Code of Iowa outlines the legal basis for the temporary emergency assistance program. In Johnson County, the Veterans Affairs 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 shelter, utilities, groceries, burial, medical/dental expenses, and transportation.
  2. Indigent” means a Veteran or the family unit of that Veteran whose financial resources qualify him/her for temporary emergency assistance under this policy.
  3. Family Unit” means the individual Veteran applying, and all members of the immediate family including spouse/domestic partner and minor 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/domestic partner, and all members of the immediate family including minor children of the deceased Veteran not over eighteen (18) years of age who are dependent upon the surviving spouse/domestic partner for food, care, shelter and who resides with the surviving spouse as a family unit member. All household income is considered to determine eligibility, including the incomes of everyone residing in the same residence.
  4. “Net Income” is defined as wages and 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, or other monies available for the support of the applicant. This amount is determined after mandatory deductions i.e. taxes, insurance, etc.

2. Verification requirements

“Verification of Veteran status” may include a driver’s license or birth certificate along with a copy of the following (as requested by the Veterans Affairs Director):

  • DD Form 214, Report of Separation from Active Duty
  • Certificate of Release of Discharge from Military Service
  • Verification of Johnson County residency, e.g., rental agreement, lease, utility bill
  • Household income for past 4 weeks, e.g., bank statements, pay stubs, tax statements, social security disability, VA Compensation or Pension award letter
  • Physician’s written medical statement indicating inability to work with expected date of return to work, if the claim is that the Veteran is medically unable to work.
  • Marriage certificate, birth certificate for minor children or social security cards of dependents living with you
  • Consent to Release or Exchange Information
  • Third Party Statement, Job Search Log, Iowa Workforce Development registration form and documentation that applicant has applied for the Food Assistance Program with the Iowa Department of Human Services (all 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 Veterans become self-sufficient and is not intended to provide ongoing or long term assistance. Exceptional requests must be applied for and approved by the Commission of Veterans Affairs.

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. The Veteran should apply in person at the Veterans Affairs office.

It is the obligation of each applicant to establish his or her eligibility. Upon request, the applicant shall provide the Director with a verified statement of net worth, bank statements, pay stubs, social security disability, federal and state income tax returns, physician medical statement, marriage and/or birth certificate, and anything else requested by the Director that bears directly upon the person’s eligibility and need for assistance. The Director shall conduct a reasonable eligibility investigation concerning the applicants request. The Johnson County Veterans Affairs office will file and maintain the application, all supporting documents, and the findings of the Director 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 applying with at least ten prospective employers in the past 30 days which the Director has the authority to verify. They must also return a Third Party Verification form and apply for Food Assistance through the Iowa Department of Human Services. A physician’s written medical statement verifying the Veteran is unable to work must also be submitted if the Veteran is unable to work due to an illness or injury. This statement should specifically state the type of disability and anticipated duration of disability. Likewise, if the Veteran is married, the spouse/domestic partner 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.

4. Income

Emergency assistance is temporary aid to indigent Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria and have their income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. 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 the Commission of Veterans Affairs may be granted. Allowances will not be made for installment payments or payments due to misconduct or orders of the court, e.g., fines, wage garnishments, child support payments.

5. Shelter

The Commission of Veterans Affairs does not provide rental deposits or pay mortgages. A rental agreement or lease with the Veteran or spouses name on it will be required. In lieu of assisting with mortgage and/or Section 8 housing rent, we may assist with paying for utilities and groceries since the applicant’s portion of rent is defined in their Section 8 housing/HUDVASH contract.

6. Utilities

The Commission of Veterans Affairs will only pay the current month; not late fees, reconnect fees, past due balances, or deposits. In extenuating circumstances, the Director 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 utility bills shall be in the Veteran’s or spouse’s/domestic partner’s name unless he/she is deceased. Authorized utilities include: natural gas, electricity, water and sewer, propane gas and fuel oil for home heating. Applicant must be able to provide verification that they’ve made payments in the past six months.

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 preferably will be coordinated with the Johnson County Veterans Affairs Director 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, 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, tobacco, or pet food. Veterans 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 bus or monthly bus pass for Iowa City/Coralville will be provided upon request or a $25 gas voucher (3 combined total per 12 months.)

11. Assistance of an 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 for three consecutive months with the goal of allowing the applicant to find employment or more appropriate long term assistance or to assist in recovery from an illness or injury.

12. Notice of decision

The Director shall make an initial determination of the eligibility and needs of the applicant upon the initial interview. For subsequent assists, the Veteran will be required to return a Third Party Statement form, 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 in order to make a decision. If the Veteran is unable to provide these documents, his/her application will be denied and the Veteran will be given an explanation on a Notice of Decision form and informed of the appeal process from the Director.

13. Procedure of appeal

It is the responsibility of the Veteran 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 appealing Veteran will be informed by the Director of the date, time, and location of the appeal hearing. The Veteran or eligible dependent 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 work day or within three working days thereafter by ordinary mail to the applicants 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 work day or within three working days thereafter by ordinary mail to the applicant’s last known address.

14. Right of the Commission

We reserve the right to amend, delete, or make revisions to 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, applicant may re-apply in six months.

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 $850 $275 $340 $850 $2550
  • Verify income level using the poverty guideline; available online and in VA office
  • $20.00 additional grocery allowance allowed per additional household member
  • Transportation allowance does not count toward the maximum amount allowed
  • Burial amount is $5000 for funeral or $4000 for cremation
  • Director may use discretion in extraordinary circumstances once per 12 month period


Created:1-24-2013 Revised: 8-24-2021