How to Get Free Colorado Disabled Veteran License Plates

In Colorado, Veterans who have a 50% or more service-connected disability rating can get free Disabled Veteran license plates. I'm offering some helpful hints to, hopefully, save other Veterans some of the delay, hassle, frustration and expense I incurred trying to get my plates. (I had to pay a small fee to extend the grace period on my old plates because following the directions on the CO Department of Revenue/Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website resulted in a process which should take 2 weeks taking 2 months.)

The DMV site for Military Plates/Disabled Veteran - http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue-MV/RMV/1201542141638#d... - says to send or take your application form and copies of your DD-214, proof of vehicle ownership, and letter from the VA stating you have a 50% or more service-connected permanent disability (or other qualifying conditions; see their website) to the state DMV. The site gives an 800 VA number to call for your qualifying VA letter.

Here's the problem: the letter you can get from the federal VA at that number (which is the same letter you can download yourself from www.ebenefits.va.gov) probably won't say "permanent." (The call center operator told me "permanent" only applies to a 100% disability rating. Whether that is correct or not, he wasn't going to give me a VA letter saying my 50% rating was permanent.) If you send in that letter, after a couple of weeks you will receive a rejection letter from DMV and a sample of the letter they actually want which is from the VA REGIONAL OFFICE in Denver (Lakewood). Then you have to start all over again - and figure out how to get the letter they will accept. And you cannot request your letter yourself directly from the VA Regional Office!

Here's the solution: You can call the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs at 303-284-6077 and they will ask the VA Regional Office to send the letter to you. Or, and this was faster for me (and I tried both ways), ask your county Veterans Service Office to request your letter. In El Paso County, that number is 719-520-7750 and the address is 5850 Championship View (between Security Service Field and CostCo, at the corner of Powers and Barnes).

I spoke to DMV personnel locally and in Denver about this issue, but I doubt if it will get fixed to be more user-friendly or sensible. They weren't able to explain why a useless phone number is provided on their website or why CO DMV requires a letter with the word "permanent" and why the VA Regional Office will provide a letter with that word when the federal VA (at the 800 number or ebenefits website) doesn't. Good luck, Vets! And thank you for your service and sacrifice.

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