Most Popular Veteran Benefits by State
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of benefits to veterans living across the United States. While many of these benefits are available in all locations, some (i.e., state veteran benefits) are exclusive to certain states. Below is a list of the most popular veteran benefits by state, according to VA.
The most popular state veteran benefit in Alabama is its State Veterans Homes program. Through a partnership with the federal government and private businesses, Alabama currently has four veteran homes that provide affordable residences to thousands of veterans. These include:
- Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City
- Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville
- William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette
- Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City
Veterans living in Alabama can apply at their local veterans service office or through the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs’ website.
According to the Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs, the most popular state benefit is the Alaska Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans. Alaska veterans with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher are exempt from taxation on the first $150,000 of assessed valuation on their primary and permanent residence. If the veteran passes away, this tax exemption can transfer to a spouse that is at least 60 years of age.
According to VA, one of the most popular veteran benefits in Arizona is the special veterans’ license plates. These license plates are intended to honor and recognize military veterans, and the funds acquired from these plates are donated to the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Veteran Donation Fund, which provides grants to nonprofit veteran organizations in Arizona.
In Arkansas, military retirement pay is exempt from state taxes as of 2018. Essentially, veterans who receive military retirement pay do not have pay state taxes for this specific income.
Arkansas also provides a Homestead and Personal Property Tax Exemption for qualifying disabled veterans who receive Special Monthly Compensation from VA. Veterans can learn about other Arkansas state benefits here.
California’s most popular veteran benefit is its home loan program, CalVet Home Loans. Any veteran purchasing a home in the state of California can qualify for such a loan. This benefit also includes fire, hazard, earthquake, and flood insurance.
Other popular veteran benefits in California include tax exemptions, tuition waivers, and recreation discounts.
According to the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs, Colorado’s most utilized benefit is its home tax exemption, which is limited to veterans with a 100 percent permanent and total disability rating.
Among other popular benefits are the Disabled Veteran license plates. These license plates, which include a license tax waiver, are available to veterans with service-connected conditions rated 50 percent or higher by VA.
The most popular state benefit in Connecticut is the Veteran American Flag designation on state drivers’ licenses and non-license ID cards. This card can be used to get services and discounts from retailers and to qualify for certain veteran programs. Veterans can apply for this designation on the Connecticut State website.
The most popular state benefit, according to Delaware Office of Veterans Services, are the various veterans license plates, which veterans can get through the DMV. Disabled veterans can also get a combined special license plate that includes the symbol for special parking accommodations.
According to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, eligible resident veterans with a service-connected disability rated 10 percent or higher are entitled to a $5,000 deduction on their home for tax exemption purposes. Veterans with a permanent and total disability rating are fully exempt from property taxes.
Florida also offers licensure and fee waivers for many activities. Veterans can visit the Florida VA website to learn more about these popular benefits.
One of the most popular state benefits in Georgia, according to VA, is free license plates for veterans. Georgia veterans can obtain a license plate with a special Veteran-themed design, with options available to include their branch of service, their era of service, or a special military decoration received during service.
According to the Hawaii Office of Veterans’ Services, Hawaii’s most popular state benefit is the Totally Disabled Veterans Real Property Tax Exemption. Each island has its own tax exemption for veterans. The Office of Veterans’ Services has a full list of state veteran benefits and services on its website.
According to the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, the most commonly utilized state benefit is the hunting and fishing license and tag fees. Veterans with at least a 40 percent disability rating qualify for a reduced combined price on their hunting and fishing licenses and reduced tag fees, providing significant savings.
According to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Illinois’ most popular benefit is the veteran designation for state driver’s licenses. Additionally, Illinois’ most popular monetary benefit is the Illinois Veterans Grant/National Guard Grant.
For more information about these benefits and others, veterans can visit Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.
Children of disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, and POWs are eligible for Indiana’s tuition and fee exemption. This popular exemption benefit can be used at state universities for up to 124 credits.
Indiana also offers other a variety of other state benefits, including property tax deductions and residential housing.
The most popular veteran programs in Iowa include the Homeownership Assistance Program, Veterans License Plates, and the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License programs. The Homeownership Assistance Program contributes $5,000 to first time veteran homebuyers.
Kansas veterans may be eligible for the veteran hunting and fishing fee discounts and state park permits. To qualify, veterans must fill out an application with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Veterans can also check out other Kansas state benefits on the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office website.
Kentucky offers a tuition waiver at all states college for eligible dependents of certain veterans. These include veterans who passed away due to a service-connected disability, who died while on active duty, or who have a 100 percent disability rating. According to the Tuition Waiver Program coordinator, this benefit is so popular that people often move Kentucky to take advantage.
The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of state benefits to veterans, including Veterans Homes, Emergency Assistance, discounts for licenses and state parks, and other programs. The Military Family Assistance (MFA) Fund provides financial support to eligible Louisiana veterans and their families when they experience financial hardships.
Veterans can learn more about these state benefits on the Louisiana VA website.
According to the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, the most popular benefit in Maine is the Maine Resident Lifetime Veteran State Park and Museum Pass. Maine veteran residents who received an honorable discharge from military service are eligible for free admission to state parks and the Maine State Museum.
The most popular state benefit in Maryland is the property tax exemption for 100 percent permanently and totally disabled veterans. This benefit allows for qualifying veterans to be fully exempt from property taxes on their primary residence and surrounding property.
Massachusetts offers a variety of popular state benefits to veterans, including tax exemptions, a veteran preference for state employment, and tuition waivers. Tuition waivers for state colleges and universities are available to all Massachusetts veterans.
According to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, the most popular state benefit in Michigan is the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF). The MVTF provides emergency grants to combat-era veterans and their families in the case of temporary, unforeseen financial emergencies. These grants can cover expenses such as home repairs, transportation, utility bills, and mortgage payments.
The most popular Minnesota veteran benefit is the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs State Soldier’s Assistance Program (SSAP). This program can help cover the cost of rent, mortgage, utilities, and personal needs for veterans and their families who meet the income and asset requirements.
For information on other state benefits, veterans can reference the Minnesota Veteran Benefits brochure.
Mississippi offers a homestead exemption, which is its most popular veteran state benefit. If a veteran has a 100 percent disability rating, they are exempt from taxes on the assessed value of their homestead property.
Mississippi also offers veterans free access to all state parks and recreational facilities. Visit the Mississippi VA website to learn more.
A popular benefit in Missouri is the Veterans Service Program, which provides counseling and assistance to veterans and their dependents. If a veteran does not receive enough benefits through federal and state programs, the Missouri VSOs are knowledgeable of local community veteran agencies who may be able to provide assistance.
Veterans can also consult the 2021-2022 Missouri Benefits and Resource Guide for more information about benefits offered.
The most popular state benefit in Montana is the Veteran Designation on drivers’ licenses. This designation recognizes a veteran’s service and qualifies them for certain discounts. To learn more and apply, veterans can visit the Montana Department of Justice website.
More than 85,000 Nebraskan veterans are registered in the Nebraska Veterans Registry, a system that allows for easy application for state benefits. The most popular benefits and services in Nebraska include Nebraska Veterans’ Aid, which helps veterans, spouses, and dependents pay for certain items in an unforeseen emergency; and the Waiver of Tuition, which offers free tuition at certain Nebraska universities to dependents of eligible veterans.
Nebraska veterans can reference the NDVA Guide to Veterans’ Benefits for a complete list of Nebraska state benefits.
Some notable veteran benefits in Nevada include the Nevada Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans, college fee waivers, and state employment preference. The Nevada Department of Veterans Services provides a full list of their state benefits on their website.
Veterans with wartime service can apply for an annual $2,000 exemption toward their vehicle or property tax. Veterans with a 60 percent disability rating or higher, and their surviving spouses, are eligible for a property tax exemption between $10,000 and $20,000.
According to the New Hampshire Division of Veteran Services, the most popular state veteran benefit is its property tax credits. New Hampshire offers qualifying veterans an annual tax credit of up to $750. On the other hand, veterans with a 100 percent permanent and total disability rating are eligible for up to $4,000 in property tax credits.
Check out New Hampshire’s full list of state benefits on the Division of Veterans Services website.
Military veterans who were honorably discharged from active duty are eligible for a $6,000 income tax exemption in New Jersey. This benefit also applies to the spouses of veterans who are filing joint tax returns.
Veterans can reference the New Jersey Veterans’ Benefits Guide for more information about this benefit and others.
According to the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, the most popular New Mexico state benefit for veterans is the Veterans State Property Tax Exemption. Veterans or their surviving spouses can get up to a $4,000 reduction in the taxable value of their primary residence. At the same time, New Mexican veterans with a 100 percent permanent and total disability can qualify for a complete property tax waiver.
Other popular New Mexico state benefits include free and reduced-fee recreational benefits, veteran license plates, and in-state tuition for veterans, their spouses, and their children.
According to the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services, the most popular New York veteran benefit is the FreshConnect Checks program. This program allows Veterans and their families to get $20 in fresh food vouchers, which can be used at farmers markets across the state.
Other popular New York benefits include the Home for Veterans Program, property tax exemptions, park passes, and custom state license plates.
North Carolina offers several popular veteran benefits, including veteran license plates and tax exclusion for 100 percent disabled veterans. For more information about these services, veterans can visit the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website.
According to VA, the most popular state benefit In North Dakota is the grant program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans with PTSD can apply for a grant which may provide them with a specially trained service dog. These service dogs can help calm anxiety attacks, provide comfort and assurance in public settings, or wake veterans from nightmares.
To qualify, veterans must be residents of North Dakota, have a diagnosis of PTSD, attend counseling or therapy, and have a doctor’s recommendation.
According to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, every Ohio county has a Veterans Service Commission that assists veterans with acquiring benefits, transportation, and even financial assistance. Some state veteran services include burial benefits, employment preference, and disabled veterans’ scholarship programs. A complete list of Ohio veteran benefits can be found in the Ohio Benefits Resource Guide.
Oklahoma offers several tax benefits to veterans with 100 percent permanent and total disability ratings. The Oklahoma Tax Commission also issues special license plates for Oklahoma veterans. Another popular benefit is the free admission to state parks and state-operated museums for all honorably discharged veterans who are currently Oklahoma residents.
According to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, Veteran Recognition License Plates are very popular among Oregon veterans. A portion of the registration fees from the license plates are donated veteran organizations, such as Oregon Veterans’ Homes.
The most popular state benefit for Pennsylvanian veterans is the Real Estate Tax Exemption. This program offers a real estate tax exemption to veterans in Pennsylvania who are 100 percent disabled and have financial need. According to the Bureau of Veterans Programs, Initiatives, Reintegration, and Outreach, more than 14,000 veterans are currently enrolled in the program and the number grows each year.
Pennsylvanian veterans can consult this booklet for a complete list of benefits offered by the PA Office of Veterans Affairs.
According to the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services, the most popular Rhode Island veteran benefit is the State Tuition Assistance Program for RI National Guard members. This program provides a up to five tuition free classes per semester at Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities.
Another popular veteran benefit in Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Veterans Home, which is a community living center providing nursing and residential care to wartime veterans.
Veterans living in South Carolina with a 100 percent permanent and total VA disability rating can qualify for a complete property tax exemption for their home and up to five acres of land. This tax exemption also applies to two private passenger vehicles owned or leased by the veteran. Medal of Honor recipients and Prisoners of War can also qualify for this tax exemption for their home and up to one acre of land.
Other veteran benefits in South Carolina include free tuition at state schools for children of certain SC veterans, a veterans preference employment benefit for state and public jobs, and state park benefits for disabled veterans.
The most popular state veteran benefit in South Dakota is its bonus program. South Dakota awards a bonus to active-duty military and veterans who meet service criteria.
South Dakota also provides a variety of other state benefits, including hunting and fishing licenses, state park access, and tax benefits. To learn more, veterans can visit the SD Department of Veterans Affairs website.
The most popular benefit in Tennessee is the property tax relief for certain 100 percent disabled veterans and their spouses. This program covers up to $175,000 of a property’s assessed value. To determine if you qualify for this program or other state benefits and discounts, veterans can visit the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services website.
According to the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC), the most popular benefit is the TVC claims program. From September 2019 to April 2020, the TVC Claims Department assisted 7,000 veterans in securing over $250 million in retroactive benefits.
To learn more about the TVC claims program and other helpful veteran resources in Texas, veterans can visit the TVC website.
The most popular benefit in Utah is the Veterans Property Tax Abatement, which reduces certain property taxes on homes and vehicles. To qualify, veterans must have at least a 10 percent disability rating.
Veterans with a 50 percent or greater disability rating or their survivors can qualify for Vermont’s property tax reduction, which is its most popular benefit according to the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs. The exemption amount ranges from $10,000 to $40,000. To learn more or apply, veterans can access this application.
According to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, Virginia’s VA claims assistance program is its most ultilized state benefit. The program has over 100 full time staff dedicated to helping veterans prepare their claims for disability compensation and appeal VA decisions when necessary. To learn more about this program and other Virginia state benefits, veterans can visit the VDVS website.
One of the most popular benefits in Washington are free license plates for disabled veterans. Washington veterans may qualify for Armed Forces plates or Gold Star license plates. Veterans with 30 percent VA disability rating or higher can also qualify for free camping at Washington state parks.
West Virginia offers yearly funds to pay for veterans’ education and training opportunities. The Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, one of West Virginia’s popular state benefits, helps veterans afford public colleges and university programs where the costs exceed the funding provided by the G.I. Bill.
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance also provides a complete list of benefits for West Virginia veterans on their website.
Wisconsin offers a variety of financial benefits to veterans and their families. The Wisconsin GI Bill forgives full tuition for up to eight semesters or 128 credits for veterans and their dependents. Wisconsin also offers health care aid and income tax exemptions to qualifying Wisconsin veterans.
The most popular state benefit in Wyoming is the property tax exemption, which is used in all 23 counties. Eligible veterans who have lived in Wyoming for three years or more can use the tax exemption on a primary residence or apply it to their vehicle’s licensing fee. Veterans can learn more about these popular benefits through MyWisVets, Wisconsin’s Veteran Benefits Portal.
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