(a) Any disabled veteran of World War II or of any other hostilities in which the United States was, is, or shall be engaged against any foreign state, whether as a result of a declared war or not, who owns an automobile which has been, is or shall hereafter be all or partly paid for with funds furnished for such purpose by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs under authority of any act of the Congress of the United States, is exempt from all license fees and ad valorem taxes required by or prescribed in this article; provided, that the veteran keeps such motor vehicle only for private use. Application for an exemption may be made to the probate judge of the county in which such veteran resides. The state Department of Revenue shall prescribe and furnish application forms to be used and may require the applicant to supply such information as may be necessary to enable the probate judge to determine the veteran's eligibility for the exemption. The application shall be sworn to or affirmed by the veteran and shall be accompanied by the document or instrument, or a certified copy thereof, which evidences the veteran's ownership of the vehicle. Upon determination of eligibility and grant of the exemption, the probate judge shall issue a license plate or stamp, to be provided by the state Department of Revenue, permitting the operation of the motor vehicle.
(b) In lieu of applying the registration fee exemption to the disabled veteran license plate category provided for in this section, the exemption may be applied to any license plate category in which the disabled veteran qualifies to obtain a license plate. Any additional fee imposed for a plate from a distinctive or personalized license plate category shall still be required in order to obtain the plate.