There are currently 19 million veterans in the U.S. With benefits for veterans spread between local, state, and federal programs, it can be difficult to keep track of all the veteran resources available.
Are you a veteran currently or planning to become an Alaskan resident? Are you interested in finding information about state programs for veterans in Alaska?
Read on for a quick and definitive breakdown of Alaska state veteran benefits.
Alaska Is Veteran-Friendly
Alaska also has the most veterans per capita. It ranked #5 in “best states for military retirees” in 2021. It also ranked #1 out of all states for a veteran-friendly economic environment.
Alaska has several state programs to help veterans, including education, employment, and stable housing benefits. They also have additional discount perks on travel and recreation.
Federal and State Benefit Assistance
The Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs serves to help veterans maximize all possible benefits. This includes assisting veterans with their access to state and federal programs.
Many programs require a disability rating from the VA. Learn more about how to apply for or increase your disability rating to access these programs.
Real Estate and Home Benefits
Alaska recognizes stable housing is a key factor for veteran help. Veterans make up less than 10% of U.S. adults but account for 11% of the homeless population, according to the latest policy data.
Veterans Mortgage Program
Alaska state offers additional financial help for veterans who wish to purchase a home. They can also use this benefit concurrently with a first-time homebuyer exemption.
The Veterans Mortgage Program is administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. The application process goes through an approved lender, similar to the VA home loan.
State Veterans Interest Rate Preference
The AHFC also offers a reduction in interest rates for qualified veterans. The reduction is 1% on the first $50,000 of their loan amount.
Alaska Property Tax Exemption
Like other states, Alaska has property tax benefits for veterans who own a home. Veterans with a 50% or more disability rating can exempt the first $150,000 of assessed value from their property taxes.
The Alaskan median property tax is $2,422, according to tax-rates.org. Some cities and boroughs do not charge any property taxes.
Veterans Land Discount Program
The Department of Natural Resources offers a Veterans Land Discount Program to qualified veterans. This program offers a substantial 25% discount on land purchases. The programs parameters include:
- One year minimum Alaskan residency
- Residential or recreational land use only
- Once a lifetime benefit
Additionally, this program cannot be used concurrently with the Veterans Land Sale Preference program.
Veterans Land Sale Preference
The Veterans Land Sale Preference lets veterans have priority pick over auctionable state land. The program requires the purchase:
- Must be sold for fair appraised market value.
- Cannot be resold until five years of ownership have passed.
This land is also for residential use only. The contact for both the Land Discount and Land Preference programs is the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining.
Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home
The Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home aims to assist older veterans who need help with daily living. The home has private rooms with services that include:
- Provided meals
- Emergency assistance
- ADL assistance
Qualified veterans can also apply for payment assistance. The program is managed by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Historically, Alaska has maintained a high rate of veterans in the workforce. The unemployment rate for veterans in Alaska is only 4.8%, according to Veterans Data Central’s most current research. The state’s overall unemployment rate is 7.1%.
Alaska’s employment benefits for veterans offer priority of service for job-seeking and job skill development. This includes:
- Job opening notifications
- Career counseling
- OJT (on the job training)
- Employment referrals
- Enhanced assistance for disabled veterans
The priority of service is also available to qualified veteran spouses. However, veterans with a dishonorable discharge do not qualify for this service.
Military Retirement Credit for State Employees
Veterans in Alaska who work under the Public Employees’ Retirement System can convert military service into PERS retirement credit. The maximum credit amount is five years.
Veterans have higher high school graduation (or equivalent) rates than the national average. However, they lag behind in enrollment for public higher learning institutions.
Alaska maintains public state university programs for veterans that are in line with federal educational benefits. UA campuses have a comprehensive Military and Veteran Student Services system to support veterans in education and job training. They also host the VetSuccess on Campus program.
In-State Resident Tuition Rate
The University of Alaska allows veterans and their families to use the lower in-state tuition rate at any UA campus. To qualify, veterans must also be eligible for the VA’s federal education benefits.
Tuition Waivers for Survivors
Tuition waivers are available to the surviving dependents of Alaskan residents who were killed in action or in the line of duty during military services. Survivors of service members listed as POWs (prisoners of war) are also eligible.
Travel and Outdoor Recreation Benefits
Alaska is famous for its expansive landscape and natural wonders. Veterans in Alaska are offered several discount opportunities for travel and outdoor recreation.
Disabled Veteran State Camping Pass
Disabled veterans are eligible for a free state camping pass. Applicable campgrounds include individual electric and non-electric campsites, but group campsites are excluded. This pass expires after two years.
Disabled Veteran Hunting and Fishing License
Disabled veterans with a 50% or more disability rating can also apply for a free hunting and fishing license. To qualify, veterans must also meet certain residency requirements.
Veteran Retiree Railroad Discount
Veteran retirees and their dependents can receive a 20% discount on Alaska Railroad’s retail fares. Certain disabilities also qualify for the Half-Fare Program.
Disabled Veteran Marine Highway Discount
Qualified disabled veterans can apply for a 50% discount for Alaska Marine Highway System ferries. The discount only applies to adult fares and applicable ports. To qualify, veterans must have a permanent service-connected disability.
Getting the Alaska State Veteran Benefits You Deserve
Alaska state veteran benefits include many programs to help veterans buy land, graduate college, or find employment. These programs are subject to certain requirements, such as residency, discharge status, and disability ratings.
If you need help filing a disability claim, our team offers expert services from disabled veterans who have been through the process. Start your free evaluation to learn more!