OREGON STATE VETERAN BENEFITS
We endeavor to keep this information current, but it is subject to change without notice.
OREGON VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE
Since Oregon House Bill 2158 was signed into law, recently relocated Veterans pursuing higher education no longer have to pay out-of-state tuition rates until they meet normal residency timelines. This bill means Veterans pay in-state rates even if they are not yet considered permanent residents. However, this bill does not extend to active duty military serving in the state or to some on-line only programs.
Pat Tillman Military Scholarships
The state’s Veteran Education Aid program is currently suspended at least temporarily. However, each year the Pat Tillman Foundation provides a number of Tillman Military Scholarships to Veterans anywhere. There’s no state residency requirement.
The scholarship helps pay for direct-study like tuition and fees but also can be used for childcare or housing – whatever the financial roadblock is in securing a good education. Not only are military veterans encouraged to apply, their spouses are eligible as well. According to the Foundation, they select their scholarship awardees on the basis of scholarship, service, humble leadership and impact.
OREGON STATE VETERANS EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE
All Veterans, and disabled Veterans in particular, who were honorably discharged receive preference when applying for open jobs at federal, state, county and local governments. Veterans receive employment preference after they pass initial screening, pass the applicable civil service test or exam and meet any minimum or special job requirements. Preference does not guarantee a job based on veteran status. But it does require that a Veteran be hired when his or her application and preference points combine to equal or exceed the application of a non-vet. Note: The federal preference system recognizes three categories: Veteran, disabled veteran and sole survivorship/surviving spouse. Oregon only recognizes Veteran and disabled veteran in their hiring preference program.
OREGON VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS
If your military service began before October 1, 1991, a portion of your retirement pay may be exempt from taxes. Oregon taxes military retirement pay normally for those without federal or military service before that date. All active-duty military pay for Oregon residents stationed outside the State is tax-free and is up $6,000 of active-duty pay earned within Oregon’s borders.
Oregon Property Tax Exemption
Oregon offers a property tax exemption for service-connected Veterans with a VA rating of 40% or more.
Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Assistance
Veterans and their immediate family may be able to tap some financial assistance from the State on a ‘one-time only’ basis. The emergency assistance fund administrators will consider a veteran’s need for emergency or temporary housing, or related housing needs such as repairs, rent assistance, utilities, or insurance. They may also pay for emergency medical or dental care or emergency transportation. When a Vet applies and the State decides to fund the emergency request, funds are paid directly to the creditor or payee, not the Veteran. Award amount vary and are not for on-going expenses.
HUD-VASH Voucher Program
This is a federal, not a state program, but Oregon utilizes the collaborative HUD-VASH Voucher program to assist Veterans who would not be able to live independently without case management. The program uses the Section-8 vouchers for eligible homeless Vets so they can find housing near their VA treatment centers where they can assess case management and other services to enable their success.
OREGON VETERANS RECREATIONAL BENEFITS
Hunting and Fishing Licenses
Oregon honors resident war veterans with a service-connected VA rating of at least 25% with the ability to apply for general hunting and fishing licenses at no charge. You must be an Oregon resident for at least 6 months. Qualifying disabled veterans may also apply for an Oregon Elk tag at a discount.
Active duty personal stationed in Oregon may purchase hunting and fishing licenses by paying the same rate as if they were residents.
Oregon State Parks
Certain veterans may apply for a Special Access Pass for Disabled Veterans that gives them free admission and camping in the Oregon state park system. Residency not required. Passes provide service-connected disabled Veterans with day-use parking privileges and free year-around camping in tent or RV sites. Each pass is good for four years and allows up to 10 nights camping at a single park or during the calendar month. Standard camping rate applies if you exceed 10 days. The pass does not cover fees for making reservations, 2nd vehicle charges, or special accommodations such as renting a yurt.
While Oregon extends this same benefit to active duty personnel on leave. Military members must pay up front and then file for reimbursement within 30 days by supplying park receipts and a letter by the CO stating you were on leave during those dates.
All Oregon state parks are available to active duty service members on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day free of charge.
OREGON VETERANS HOME
Oregon runs veterans Homes in The Dalles and in Lebanon, with the home in The Dalles often waitlisted due to their ability to accept patients with different types of Dementia. Eligibility criteria for either home includes being a Veteran with a general or honorable discharge or being the spouse of said veteran. Gold Star Parents are also eligible. In addition, the applicant must:
- Require the services and care from a skilled or intermediate nursing facility
- Be able to afford to pay the resident’s portion of costs of care
- Not need medical care beyond the facility’s ability to provide
- Not be violent or dangerous to self or others
OREGON STATE CEMETERY
The Beaver State does not operate a state cemetery. Veterans can opt to be laid to rest at the Willamette National Cemetery, about 10 miles southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Multnomah counties.
This option is open to all military service members who have met the minimum service requirements. They must not have a dishonorable discharge from service. Eligible spouses and children may be interred there even if they pass before the qualifying Veteran.
You can find more information regarding these benefits and other programs at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.