Did you know that nearly 9% of the population of Michigan consists of veterans? That’s over 672,000 people in the state of Michigan who have served our country in some branch of the military.
If you are a veteran in Michigan, you may be wondering about Michigan state veteran benefits that are available to you. This guide can help. Read on to learn more about the benefits available to you as a veteran living in Michigan.
Tax Benefits for Veterans in Michigan
Military retirement benefits paid to veterans are exempt from the Michigan individual income tax requirement. Active duty military pay also is exempt from Michigan income taxes.
Disability pay received as a pension or annuity due to injury or sickness that results from active service in the Armed Forces also is exempt from Michigan state income taxes. These disability payments include:
- Benefits paid to the veteran or their family
- Grants for homes to accommodate wheelchairs
- Grants for vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or use of their limbs
- Benefits received as part of a dependent-care assistance program
Retirement benefits that paid to the surviving spouse of a retired service member are also exempt from income taxes in Michigan. The federal government may have different requirements, however.
GI Bill benefits are granted from the federal government to service members, but individual states, like Michigan, also have benefits specifically for veterans and their children.
For members of the Michigan National Guard, Michigan provides tuition assistance through the Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP). This program provides funds for qualified members of the National Guard to attend colleges, universities, trade schools, and vocational schools in the state of Michigan.
The Michigan Children of Veterans Tuition Grant (GVTG) is a tuition grant provided to children of Michigan veterans who are deceased, totally and permanently disabled due to illness or injury related to their service, or missing in action. The grant may be used at any community college, public university, or other degree-granting institution in Michigan. The amount of the grant depends on what type of degree is being obtained.
There are also several colleges and universities that offer additional benefits for National Guard members who attend their particular institution.
If you are a disabled veteran, you may be exempt from paying property taxes on your home. You must have an other-than-dishonorable discharge and live in Michigan. Your surviving spouse also is eligible for this benefit, as long as they are not remarried.
If a veteran or their spouse applies for a civil service profession, they can receive hiring preference. This only applies if it is their first job with the Michigan Civil Service Commission. They also must meet the minimum qualifications for the job.
If a test is required, the veteran or their spouse may receive points added to their exam score, if they pass the exam. If a test isn’t used, points are added to the veteran’s (or their spouse’s) screening score.
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency also provides employment assistance, including:
- Tips and resources for job searching
- Interviewing skills
- Resume writing
- Lists of veteran-friendly employers
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) also provides benefits, including temporary exemption from renewal fees and continuing education requirements until 90 days after release from active duty. THey will also waive the initial license or registration fee and the initial application processing fee for veterans.
Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration Benefits
Veterans can get a driver’s license or ID card with the word “veteran” printed on it for free. There are also many different license plates that honor military veterans, retired veterans, and their families.
In order to get these license plates, you will have to show certain documentaiton at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Parks and Recreation Benefits
Ex-prisoners of war and 100% disabled veterans can receive free entry into Michigan state parks. Additionally, they can use state recreation areas, boat launges, trail parking lots, and forest campgrounds free of charge. Proper documentation is needed to receive these benefits.
Hunting and Fishing License Benefits
Active duty military members can get fishing and hunting licenses for free as long as they provide documentation that they are on active duty status. Nonresidens who are on active duty and stationed in Michigan may receive resident prices for fishing and hunting licenses.
100% disabled or individually unemployable veterans also receive free hunting and fishing licenses.
In addition to the benefits listed above, there are other benefits for veterans in Michigan, including:
- Emergency assistance for temporary financial issues (e.g., unpaid utility bills, vehicle or home repairs, medical debt)
- Burial expenses for veterans and some surviving spouses who meet certain asset and residency limits
- Veterans homes (there are 3 of them in the state and veterans who are eligible for VA health care are eligible)
- Veterans treatment court to help veterans involved with the criminal justice system
Many other organizations also offer benefits for veterans. Take advantage of these.
Michigan State Veteran Benefits
If you are active duty or have been discharged, don’t let your Michigan state veteran benefits go to waste. Be sure that you are receiving all of the benefits you are eligible for in thanks for your service to our country.
If you are having difficulty negotiating your benefits, contact us at VetLink Solutions for a free evaluation. We can help connect you with medical resources to submit a successful claim for veteran medical benefits.