Several laws and programs protect and assist veterans and current service members when they encounter a legal problem.
Assistance with housing and home loans
Veterans, including the homeless and those who are struggling homeowners, can take advantage of help through state and federal programs. The California Department of Veterans Affairs connects to a range of programs.
Property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and surviving spouses
A veteran who is 100 percent disabled or is compensated at the 100 percent rate due to service-connected injury or disease is exempt up to $100,000 ($150,000 for low income) from property tax. More information
Treatment instead of jail time
Veterans whose crimes may be related to sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse or mental health problems from military service may have the option of treatment instead of serving time behind bars. Judges have the option of sentencing veterans to treatment for certain classes of crimes under Penal Code 1170.9.
Veterans Treatment Courts
The Judicial Council maintains a list of Superior Courts in California counties with Veterans Treatment Courts for people facing various charges, from substance abuse to mental illness. These courts help connect veterans to treatment programs through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and California social service agencies.
Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
Protects service members while they are on active duty. Service members returning from duty can use this form to protect themselves from legal action. The law protects families from eviction, foreclosure, automobile repossession and other legal problems related to rental agreements, security deposits, installment contracts, rising credit card interest, civil judicial proceedings, income tax payments and automobile loans.