If you are one of the approximately 327,000 veterans living in the state of Minnesota, do you know what benefits are available to you? From tax breaks to housing to discounts on hunting and fishing licenses, there are many Minnesota state veteran benefits if you know where to look.
Read on for more information about the veteran benefits available in Minnesota and how to get assistance in receiving them.
If you are a military veteran living in Minnesota, you have access to Higher Education Veterans Programs created by the Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs. These programs include different benefits and resources to help veterans succeed in post-secondary education.
One way these programs support veterans is by placing support staff at all colleges and universities in Minnesota. These staff members help to remove barriers hindering veterans from enrolling in school and getting access to their benefits. It also creates veteran resource centers to allow veterans to interact with other veterans and their family members.
To provide financial support for veterans, Minnesota also has a GI Bill. This is different from the federal GI Bill and provides military, National Guard, or reserve members with up to $10,000 to use towards higher education, on-the-job training or apprenticeship programs, or licensing and certification.
The surviving spouse and children of a person who has died or has a 100% permanent and total disability due to their military service may also be eligible for the Minnesota GI Bill.
Surviving Spouse and Dependent Benefit
The surviving spouse and dependent children of any veteran who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition are eligible for a bachelor’s degree at a state or private university for no cost. There is also a $750 benefit per year that can be used for books and supplies and room and board.
Across the state, there are local Veteran Employment Representatives who can help veterans find jobs. They are based in different geographic areas and help veterans in their locality find jobs.
Minnesota also has the Minnesota Veterans Preference Act which gives veterans preference over non-veterans in hiring and promotion decisions in state-level jobs. The VPA applies to public employment in the state, particularly employment that requires a civil service exam or scores candidates.
There are a number of different tax benefits for veterans living in Minnesota. Active military duty pay for services performed in Minnesota is not taxable. You can also subtract certain retired military pay when determining your taxable income for state purposes and disability retirement pay is also not taxable.
There is also a Minnesota tax credit for military service in a combat zone. You will receive a $120 credit for every month that you served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area.
Property Tax Benefits
Disabled veterans, primary caregivers, or surviving spouses can receive property tax benefits through a market value exclusion program that reduces the value of the primary home for tax purposes. This typically results in lower property taxes.
Health Care Benefits
There are both dental and optical benefits available to eligible veterans and their dependents. Eligibility is based on income and assets.
If you qualify and are approved, you and your dependents can get up to $1,000 per year for routine dental care, $3,000 (once per lifetime), and up to $2000 for tooth extractions needed to prepare for dentures. Optical benefits include up to $400 for annual eye exams and prescription glasses or contact for veterans and their dependents.
tuition. They also get $750 per year for fees, books and supplies, and/or room and board.
The benefit is available at MN state schools or private schools in the state.
Minnesota Veteran Recreation Benefits
If you are active-duty military or a disabled veteran, you get free admission to all Minnesota state parks and you do not need to be a Minnesota resident to be eligible.
Minnesota residents can get hunting and fishing licenses for free when they are home on leave. Disabled veterans living in Minnesota can get a free lifetime fishing license and a free lifetime hunting license.
Nonresidents who are stationed in Minnesota can also benefit, by getting hunting and fishing licenses at the state resident rate. Veterans who completed military basic training are not required to complete the field day components of the hunter firearms safety course.
Other Minnesota State Veteran Benefits
In addition to the benefits listed above, there are other ways the state of Minnesota is honoring veterans as well. There are three state-run veterans cemeteries that provide burial, free of charge, for any veterans with an other-than-dishonorable discharge. Dependents may have to pay a small fee, but the interment is at no cost.
There is also a program to provide short-term financial assistance to help with things such as utility payments, rent or mortgage payments, insurance, unexpected medical expenses, etc. To qualify for this short-term assistance, you must meet income and asset eligibility requirements. This assistance is meant for veterans who are unable to work due to temporary disability or are permanently disabled and waiting to receive federal disability benefits.
There are also one-time grants available to provide financial assistance for housing, repairs, medical expenses, auto repairs, etc. These awards are meant to prevent homelessness and help create financial stability.
Don’t Let Your Benefits Go Unused
Be sure that you are getting all of the Minnesota state veteran benefits that you are entitled to. Even small discounts or free items can help your financial situation as well as thank you for your service.
If you are finding it difficult to navigate your benefits, particularly getting medical care, contact us at VetLink Solutions for a free case evaluation. We can help you file a successful VA medical claim, particularly your disability benefits questionnaire.