Find Arkansas State and local veteran’s benefits which include education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation, and much more below. The Natural State has over 250,000 veterans according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Arkansas State Veteran Education Benefits
Arkansas State Tuition Benefits for Qualifying Military Dependents
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education offers qualifying military spouses and dependent children free tuition and fees for coursework at any state supported college, university, technical school, or vocational school.
Qualifying spouses or children are those of “any Arkansan who has been declared to be Prisoner of War or placed in a missing-in-action status since January 1, 1960” and spouses/children of any state resident killed in action since 1960.
Arkansas In-State Tuition Benefits
Arkansas state-supported colleges, trade schools, or vocational schools “shall classify a student as in-state, in-county, in-district, or resident for the purpose of tuition and fees” as long as the student qualifies as one of the following:
- A veteran discharged or released from a period of not less than ninety (90) days of active duty in the military, naval, or air service within three years before enrolling
- A qualifying military dependent of a veteran
- A currently serving military member
- A dependent spouse
Arkansas Diplomas for Veterans Program
Those who left high school to serve in World War Two, Korea, or Vietnam may qualify for a high school diploma under this Arkansas Department of Education program. Qualifying veterans or their families should contact the veteran’s high school superintendent for the district or contact the Arkansas Department of Education.
Arkansas Veteran Employment Benefits
Arkansas State Hiring Preference Points for Qualifying Veterans and Spouses
Arkansas State law requires hiring preference for veterans and spouses of veterans applying for state jobs.
There is a five-point preference for all qualifying veterans and military spouses. A 10-point preference is offered to “Disabled veterans, veterans over the age of 55 who are disabled and entitled to a pension or compensation under law.” The spouse of a veteran who has a disability qualifies for the 10-point preference.
Such hiring preference does not apply in cases where the job is an elected office, to political appointees, or “to any person holding a strictly confidential administrative or secretarial position in relation to the appointing officer.”
Arkansas Workforce Services for Veterans
The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services offers job counseling and referral services for qualifying veterans. These services include an “ongoing program of job development” intended to create jobs for veterans via two programs: Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER’s) and the Disabled Veterans Outreach program (see below).
Local Veterans Employment Representatives
Local Veterans Employment Representatives work with local employers and hiring executives to promote employment opportunities for veterans. This includes seminars for employers and career workshops for veterans. Learn more or sign-up for programs at the closest Arkansas Workforce Center.
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP)
The State of Arkansas offers “intensive services to meet the employment needs of disabled veterans and other eligible veterans.” They have an emphasis on “serving those who are economically or educationally disadvantaged” including homeless veterans.
DVOP activities include networking in areas/activities where transitioning service members congregate including “outplacement in Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program offices.” They maintain contact with Veterans Service Organizations, Native American Trust Territories, Military installations and “other areas of known concentrations of veterans or transitioning service members.” Learn more about DVOP services and activities by calling 1-855-225-4440.
Arkansas State Veteran Housing Benefits
Arkansas State Veterans Homes
The State of Arkansas operates two veterans’ homes. One is located in Fayetteville, the other is located in North Little Rock. Admission criteria for both homes includes the following:
- Honorable discharge
- Have a medical need for nursing home placement
- Arkansas residents have first priority
- Military spouses and Gold Star parents are allowed to apply
Services at the Fayetteville facility include:
- Hospice care
- Medical Director on site
- RN, Licensed Practical Nurse, and Certified Nursing Assistant skilled care around the clock
- Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Speech Therapist
- Daily activities coordinated by a Certified Activities Director
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- Transportation available
- Cable TV provided at no charge
The North Little Rock facility is described as a “small home” design featuring eight homes each serving a dozen residents. This concept “seeks to deinstitutionalize care and provide a warm, home-like environment” and according to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. It is run quite differently than other veterans’ homes.
Arkansas Veteran Financial Benefits
Arkansas State Tax Exemption for Military Retirement Pay
Beginning in 2018, Arkansas military retirement pay is fully exempt from state taxes, thanks to the passage of Act 141 of Arkansas’ 91st General Assembly.
Arkansas State Homestead Tax Exemption for Qualifying Veterans
The State of Arkansas offers a homestead tax exemption for qualifying disabled veterans “who have been awarded special monthly compensation by the Department of Veterans Affairs” for the following conditions:
- Loss of, or the loss of use of, one (1) or more limbs
- Total blindness in one (1) or both eyes
- Service-connected one hundred percent (100%) total and permanent disability
Veterans who qualify based on one or more of the conditions listed above are declared exempt “from payment of all state taxes on the homestead and personal property owned by the disabled veteran.”
This exemption also applies to qualifying not remarried surviving spouses and to dependent children “during their minority.” This homestead tax exemption also applies in cases where the veteran died as a result of military service or is declared MIA.
The State of Arkansas requires “annual re-certification of continued entitlement” by the VA.
Arkansas State Gross Receipt of Tax Exemption
Arkansas offers a tax break on gross receipts or proceeds “derived from the sale of a new automobile to a veteran who is blind as a result of a service-connected injury.” Documentation required for this tax benefit includes an entitlement letter from the VA. The tax exemption is restricted to one new vehicle every two years.
This Arkansas tax break may also apply to qualifying gross receipts or proceeds, “from the sale of motor vehicles and adaptive equipment to disabled veterans who have purchased the motor vehicles or adaptive equipment with the financial assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Additional Arkansas State Veteran Benefits
Recreational Benefits for Veterans
The State of Arkansas offers a variety of recreation benefits for borrowers including:
- State Park Discounts: Arkansas resident veterans, who have a “permanent service connected 100% disability rate” are allowed to camp for half price in Arkansas State Parks.
- Hunting and Fishing License Discounts: The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission offers 100% disabled veterans over the age of 60 discounted hunting and fishing licenses.
- Resident Disabled Military Veteran Lifetime Fishing License: 100% permanently disabled veterans are offered discounted Resident Fisheries Conservation Licenses.
- Discounted Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Military Retirees and Disabled Veterans: These benefits are available to qualifying retirees and disabled veterans with lifetime licenses for both hunting and fishing (and combination licenses to cover both at once); supporting documentation including discharge paperwork and VA award letters where applicable are required.
Arkansas Burial Benefits for Veterans
The State of Arkansas operates two veterans’ cemeteries, located in North Little Rock, and Birdeye. Veterans, spouses, and dependent children may qualify for internment as long as the veteran’s discharge is characterized as “other than dishonorable.” Pre-need eligibility determination and arrangements are available. State cemetery benefits include the following:
- No cost for veteran interment ($300 for spouse or qualified dependent)
- Opening and closing of grave
- Perpetual care
- Upright federal government supplied headstone or niche cover
- A burial flag (provided by funeral home)
- Military honors (arranged by funeral home)
Required documentation includes:
- Military discharge paperwork
- Signed cemetery pre-eligibility application
- Marriage License (if married)
- Check for $300 (spouse and dependent only) payable at the time of burial.
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