VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH VETERAN BENEFITS
We endeavor to keep this information current, but it is subject to change without notice.
VIRGINIA EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS
Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program
The Military Survivors and Dependents Program provides educational benefits to spouses and dependent children not just when the military service member dies. True, the program title seems to focus on helping educate the dependents of military personnel who are killed, it also aides those when their military member becomes is missing in action or taken prisoner, at least 90 percent disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict. If successfully tapped, the program pays fees and tuition for up to 36 months at any public institution of higher learning in Virginia.
The program has two tiers of eligibility, each with an associated level of benefits. Tier 1 requires the spouse or child be between the ages of 16 and 29. Their qualifying veteran must meet residency requirements and be rated permanently 90% disabled or more due to military service.
TIER 2 ELIGIBILITY
Eligibility under tier 2 has all the same requirements as Tier 1 except the qualifying Veteran was killed, became MIA, was taken captive as a prisoner of war; or has been rated permanently 90% disabled or more due to direct involvement in covered military combat. Covered military combat can be a military operation against terrorism; a peacekeeping mission; a terrorist act; or any armed conflict. The Veteran’s death or disability rating cannot be from merely service-connected issues resulting from active duty; the disability must be the direct result of from a listed event.
VIRGINIA VETERANS EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Veterans seeking public employment with the Commonwealth can apply for a 5 percent increase on their examination score. Disabled veterans can get an additional 10 percent, placing them higher on the list for employment.
Combat Medics/68W, Corpsmen and Medical Technicians who have hands-on practice providing medical care within the past 12 months may be MMAC Qualified. That means that the Commonwealth of Virginia will let you continue using your clinical skills without needing the corresponding civilian credentials…at least while you earn those credentials.
VIRGINIA VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS
The Commonwealth allows military members to exempt up to $15,000 of their basic pay from taxation, but there’s a catch. For every dollar of income over the base $15,000 cap, they reduce the deductible allowance. Let’s say your base pay is $20,000…that’s $5,000 over the $15,000 cap. Therefore, you would be only entitled to deduct $10,000 from taxation. If you were paid $16,000, then you’d subtract the extra $1,000 from your deductible income and you’d be able to exempt $14,000 from your taxable income. The income tax exemption goes away if you receive $30,000 or more in base pay because $15,000 minus $15,000 is zero.
VA National Guard pay is taxed a little differently for Guard members who are O-3 and below. Virginia allows them to deduct pay for up to 39 calendar days or $3,000 (whichever is less).
Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption
Veterans with a VA rating of 100% permanently and totally disabled, and those who the VA considers to be rated 100% due to individual unemployability, are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.
The spouse who survives the passing of the qualifying service member may also be eligible, if he or she does not remarry and does not relocate to new primary residence.
VIRGINIA VETERANS RECREATION BENEFITS
Hunting & Fishing Licenses
- Resident Veterans who are 100% permanent and total with a service-connected disability can have a lifetime hunting and fishing license at no charge, and a saltwater fishing license at a discount
- Those with a 70% or more VA disability can apply for discounted freshwater fishing and hunting permits
- Active duty members stationed in Virginia pay resident rates for hunting and fishing permits
State Park & Facility Admission
No Virginia residency required for any Veteran with 100 percent VA disability to receive a Veteran disability passport. This passport grants free parking and per-person free admission for the Veteran and an attendant if needed. The pass covers boat launch and horse trailer parking too. It does not provide for camping and special rentals, but it will get the disabled veteran half-off the costs for swimming, camping, and renting equipment and shelters.
VIRGINIA VETERANS HOMES
The Old Dominion has two veterans’ homes in Richmond and Roanoke. They are working on opening two more in 2021. The Virginia Care Center in Roanoke and Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond each have differing capabilities and nursing facility skill levels to offer qualified veterans.
In general, admissions criteria include having an honorable discharge from the military; be a Virginia resident or have entered the military with Virginia as your home of record; and meet medical requirements for nursing care. Facility staff will help the veteran’s family work with private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, plus Veterans usually qualify to receive the VA per diem for facility care.
VIRGINIA VETERANS CEMETERIES
Virginia operates three veterans’ cemeteries: The Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin; The Albert G. Horton Jr Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, and the Virginia Veterans Cemetery at Amelia.
To qualify for internment in one of these cemeteries, the Veteran must die on active duty, retire from the military or simply be honorably discharged. They will also accept the widow or widower of a qualified military member, and unmarried minor children or certain incapacitated adult children.
There are additional basic requirements for National Guard and Reserve military members. The veteran incurs no burial costs associated with opening or closing the plot. Family members have a $300 administrative fee.
You can find more information regarding these benefits and other programs at the Virginia Office of Veterans Services website.