Where to Find State Benefits for Disabled Veterans
Various state-level veteran benefits are offered to disabled veterans; sometimes, the problem is knowing where to find these benefits. Unfortunately, there’s no one-answer solution to where to look for these options, as every state is different.
And that’s true right up to the naming convention of the state-level department meant to help veterans. In some states, it’s known as the Division of Veterans Affairs; in others, the agency might be known as the Veterans Affairs Department.
In many states, the name is confusing because it’s the same name as the federal-level agency known as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
More confusing still? Not all disabled veteran benefits offered at the state level are administered by the state-level Department of Veterans Affairs. A state housing finance corporation, county tax assessors, or the Department of Motor Vehicles may operate some programs.
State Disabled Veteran Benefits: What’s Available?
Not all states have the same benefits, but in general, you’ll find some version of at least some of the following:
- Disabled veteran education programs
- Employment and retraining
- Hiring preference for disabled veterans and spouses of disabled veterans
- Homestead tax exemptions for disabled veterans
- Income tax exemptions for disabled veterans
- Vehicle tax exemptions for disabled veterans
- Nursing home benefits
- State veteran cemetery benefits
- Disabled veteran license plates, parking designators, ID cars, driver’s licenses
- Park district discounts, free admission, deals
Some programs may be open to all disabled veterans, others may require a certain percentage of VA disability rating, and others may require the applicant to be 100% disabled.
Where to Find State Benefits For Disabled Veterans: Your First Stop
The first place to look for any state-level veteran benefit is your state government’s official site. You may find links to the state-level Department of Veterans Affairs, which should be your second stop when you begin researching disabled veteran benefits.
Most state government and municipal government sites are .gov addresses. These sites are often the first source of information on state veterans’ homes, state veteran cemeteries, state-level scholarship programs, and homeless veteran assistance initiatives.
Pro tip: State government sites and state-level Department of Veterans Affairs sites often have similar information, but it pays to check both as some states don’t seem as diligent in updating one page or the other. Depending on the circumstances, you may find more current information at one site or the other.
Where to Find State Disabled Veteran Benefits: County Veteran Assistance Offices
Not all states offer county veteran assistance offices, but those who do provide important services to disabled veterans, including help applying for federal and state-level disabled veteran benefits.
Get started by Googling or searching your state and local government pages for county VSO offices; if they are available, you may find this one of the most important resources you can use locally.
Where to Find Tax Benefits For Disabled Veterans
Your State Treasurer’s office, State Department of Revenue, or Comptroller’s office official site may have information on homestead tax exemptions for primary residences owned by disabled veterans.
You may need to work with your local tax assessor’s office to claim property tax breaks; the laws of your state will dictate how to proceed.
Pro tip: Some tax breaks are need-based, while others are not. Be sure you know all the tax exemptions you might qualify for, as some homeowners may be able to claim multiple exemptions or may be asked to choose between one or another.
Related: VA Disability Pay
Where to Find State Education Benefits For Disabled Veterans: Public Colleges and Universities
Typically you’ll want to start looking for state-level military education benefits by applying with the state agency offering a grant, scholarship, or tuition waiver.
These programs are often found on the state-level government’s official site or state-level Department of Veterans Affairs site. But not all. Some states have programs where an individual college benefits disabled veterans, spouses, dependents, etc.
For school-level options, you may need to discuss your enrollment options with the admissions office at the school you choose; sometimes, no such programs are offered, and other times you may have more than one option to choose from.
Pro tip: Contact the school’s admissions office and ask if there is a campus veteran services office you can work with to maximize your benefits.
State Benefits For Disabled Veterans: State-Level Hiring Preference
Many states offer veterans hiring preference for competitive state-level job examinations and civil service exams.
These same states may offer additional consideration for veterans who are disabled, but you may find that the criteria for “disabled veteran” may vary from state to state.
Some may require a specific VA disability rating to qualify for the additional preference; others may simply require you to have a record of any VA-rated disability to qualify.
Where to find state jobs for disabled veterans? Look at the Careers section of your state government’s official site or the Careers/Opportunities section of your municipal government’s official sites.
State Benefits for Disabled Veterans: Park Districts and Other Public Spaces
Your state or local park district may offer passes, discounts, and free admission to veterans and disabled veterans. State-run facilities typically offer these discounts on their official sites; a good example is the California State Parks official site.
You can apply for their Disabled Discount Pass online or in-person at any designated sign-up location within the state park system. Naturally, different states will have different criteria and approval procedures, but checking with your state park system could pay off if you need discounts, passes, etc.
Find State Benefits for Disabled Veterans at the DMV
Doing a Google search on the name of your state or local DMV and the keyword “veterans” is the most direct way to start, but you can also search for more specific services.
Do you need a Veteran designation on your ID or license? Do you need a disabled veteran placard to display when parking? Search the official site for these specific needs or visit your local DMV office to apply.
Pro tip: You will likely need proof of discharge and military service if you apply for specialty items like a Purple Heart designation or a campaign medal designation on a license plate. Some states offer fee-free options for veterans, but you may be required to pay a small fee in other states.
Related: Veteran and Retiree Benefits
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.