Find Minnesota state and local veteran’s benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. The Land of 10,000 Lakes provides benefits for nearly 350,000 veterans living in the State of Minnesota.
Veteran Education Benefits
The Minnesota GI Bill
The State of Minnesota offers its’ own version of the GI Bill to qualifying Minnesota Veterans, plus “currently serving military, National Guard, and Reserve members who served after September 11, 2001”.
Eligible military spouses and children may also qualify for this Minnesota state military education benefit.
The Minnesota GI Bill offers education funds up to $10,000 for qualified applicants up to age 62. Minnesota GI Bill funds can be used for higher Education, on-the-job training, licenses and certifications, and apprenticeships. Requirements include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Applicants must be Minnesota residents
- Veterans must have “served honorably”
- Those who have served honorably “for a total of five credible years or more cumulatively as a member of the Minnesota National Guard or any other active or reserve component of the United States armed forces, and any part of that service occurred on or after September 11, 2001” according to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
- Surviving spouses or children “of a person who has served in the military at any time”, and who has died or has a VA-rated 100% permanent and total disability as a direct result military service.
- Dependent children must be eligible to receive education benefits under the Chapter 33 Fry Scholarship, or Chapter 35.
Minnesota GI Bill applicants are eligible for up to $3,000 per academic year, which equals $1,000 per semester for full-time, and up to $500 per semester for part-time attendance as determined by the GI Bill program and/or by the institution.
Veterans are required to reapply each year to receive benefits under the Minnesota GI Bill.
Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit
The Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit is a program for eligible surviving spouses and dependent children (including adopted children) of military members who have died on active duty or as the result of a service-related medical condition.
The veteran must have been a Minnesota resident upon entering military service, but those who have been Minnesota state residents for six months before time of death may also meet the residency requirement. The surviving spouse and/or dependent children must also be Minnesota residents.
This program allows qualifying dependents and surviving spouses to attend Minnesota state-supported and privately run higher education institutions “free of tuition until he/she obtains a bachelor’s degree”. This program also provides $750 per fiscal year for fees, books and supplies, and room/board.
Minnesota State Veteran Education Assistance
Minnesota offers additional financial aid to veterans with a one-time $750 grant for tuition. This Minnesota state veterans education benefit is offered to vets who have used up all GI Bill benefits. This grant is open to those trying to complete a Bachelor’s degree and is paid directly to the school.
One caveat for this program is that to qualify, the veteran must have used up all available GI Bill benefits; allowing them to expire does not qualify a veteran for this grant.
There is also a reimbursement option for veterans who have paid their tuition before the grant money is sent. This benefit, like other state veteran education benefits, may be applied for via the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs official site.
Veteran Employment Benefits
The State of Minnesota offers a variety of hiring preferences for veterans, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Nondisabled Veteran’s Credit; 10 Veterans Preference points for local government positions.
- Disabled Veteran’s Credit; 15 Veterans Preference points for local government positions.
- Direct Appointment to State Jobs; this benefit is for 30% service-connected disabled veterans applying for state jobs.
- Veterans Preference in State Jobs; VA-rated disabled veterans are considered ahead of veterans without such ratings, who are in turn considered ahead of non-veterans as long as the applicant meets minimum requirements for the posted jobs.
- Recruitment of Veterans in State Employment; special attention is given to the recruitment of vets and “protected group members”.
- Veterans Preference in MN Private Sector Employment; private companies are allowed by Minnesota state law to grant hiring and promotion preference to vets.
State Of Minnesota WorkForce Centers Veteran Preference
The State of Minnesota offers eligible veterans priority services in Minnesota WorkForce Centers. Those who use this resource may be helped by “specially trained veterans employment representatives” according to the official site. Services offered may include:
- Assistance with resumes and cover letters
- General job search guidance
- Information on Minnesota licensure, certification and apprenticeships
- Explaining hiring references for veterans
- Job referrals
- Referrals to other veteran-specific services in the state
There may also be transition assistance help available, and the State of Minnesota also offers advice and referral services for disabled veterans via the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Minnesota State Veterans Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes
The State of Minnesota operates five Veterans Homes and one Adult Day Care Center. The state veterans homes are located in the following areas:
- Fergus Falls
- Silver Bay
Services may vary depending on the facility but they can include:
- Skilled Nursing Care
- Dementia Care
- Domiciliary Care (Hastings and Minneapolis)
- 24-hour Nursing Care
- Work Therapy
- Social Services
- Rehabilitation Services
- Mental Health Services
- Pharmaceutical Services
The adult day care for qualifying veterans is located in the Minneapolis veterans’ home campus.
Admissions requirements include Minnesota residency, an honorable discharge, demonstration of a medical need, and a minimum time in service.
Military spouses may also be eligible if they meet the residency requirements and are at least 55 years old.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Minnesota Tax Breaks And Tax Benefits for Veterans
The Minnesota Department of Revenue offers a variety of state tax breaks and state tax benefits for qualifying service members and veterans where applicable. They include the following:
- Military retirement pay deductions; military retirement pay (including pensions) are deducted from Minnesota state taxable income.
- Minnesota state tax credit for military service in a combat zone; military members qualify for this credit if they served in a combat zone or received hazardous duty area on or after January 1, 2014.
- Minnesota state tax credit for past military service; active duty veterans, plus National Guard and Reserve members may be eligible for a state tax credit up to $750 for past military service.
- Minnesota state active duty military pay deductions; qualifying active duty service members may be able to subtract federally taxable active-duty military pay from their state taxable income.
- State tax filing extensions for currently serving military; service members could qualify for a state tax filing extension if they are serving in the U.S. military and cannot file tax paperwork or pay their Minnesota income tax by the due date.
- Minnesota state tax “market value exclusion” on homesteads of disabled veterans; honorably discharged vets with VA-rated service-connected disabilities of 70% or higher may qualify for a property tax exclusion on homes they use as the principal residence.
Minnesota State Short-Term Financial Assistance For Veterans
The State of Minnesota provides “subsistence” financial aid for eligible veterans and their dependents who need temporary help with rent, mortgage, utility bills and even health insurance premiums.
This need-based financial aid is available for up to six months “for those who are unable to work his/her normal occupation due to a temporary disability, or who are permanently disabled and are waiting to receive a permanent disability benefit from VA Compensation, VA Pension, Social Security or other long-term benefit” according to the official site.
Documentation is required-the veteran must provide written evidence via a medical report and is required to have been employed within a year of the medical report.
This program is also open to qualifying surviving spouses who do not have a temporary disability if an application is filed within the first 12 months of the death of the veteran. Minnesota County Veteran Service Officers can help with these applications.
Minnesota State Unemployment Benefits For Veterans
The State of Minnesota offers qualifying veterans unemployment benefits. Requirements to draw unemployment as a veteran include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Must be a Minnesota resident
- Must have completed the first full term of military service
- Must be separated under honorable conditions
- The veteran must physically reside in Minnesota when the benefits are claimed
- Unemployment benefits cannot be applied for until after the veteran’s official date of separation
Once the veteran has passed the date of separation and meets the other requirements, it is permitted to apply for unemployment benefits even if the applicant does not have a DD Form 214 Report of Discharge.
However, the veteran’s discharge paperwork is required as soon as available in order to calculate the proper amount of unemployment benefits available based on the last applicable rate of pay while serving in uniform.
This program requires the applicant to request unemployment benefits every week while unemployed, even if the wage information has not yet been supplied via DD Form 214. One important aspect of this program is that the payments will not be issued for any veteran who refuses a job offer including one from a previous employer.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Minnesota Military License Plates
The State of Minnesota provides no-fee license plates that identify Gold Star families and ex-POWs. All other military-themed license plates have a $10 filing fee and a $10 plate fee.
Recreational Benefits For Current Military Members
There are a variety of recreation benefits for currently serving troops. Those who have not retired or separated are eligible for free Minnesota state park permits, and military personnel who are Minnesota residents get priority for certain hunting permits. Some permit-required activity such as small game hunting is free and permit-free for qualifying military members.
Minnesota Recreational Benefits For Retired, Separated, and Disabled Veterans
Those who are retired or separated from military service are eligible to hunt small game and fish without a license and receive certain veteran preference for deer lotteries and related events.
Veterans with VA-rated disabilities at 100% are eligible to receive the same benefits listed above but also may apply for a “permanent angling license”.
For many (but not all) recreational benefits, Minnesota residency requirements may apply.
Firearms And Hunting Safety Training Requirements For Military Members
Active duty military members are eligible for a hunting license in Minnesota even if they have not completed the required firearms safety training. This exemption from safety training only applies as long as the military member serves on active duty.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources official site adds that once the veteran is discharged a firearm safety training course is required if the veteran was born after December 31, 1979, but the field training portion of the firearms safety course is waived by providing proof of military service such as a DD Form 214 to the firearms instructor.
Burial Benefits For Veterans
Minnesota operates state cemeteries in Preston and another in Little Falls. VA burial benefits are available to eligible servicemembers and their spouses at these two cemeteries. Veterans are buried at no cost, and certain fees will apply to spouses.
Benefits include providing a gravesite, grave liner, headstone and “perpetual care” of the gravesite. Cremation options are also available. It is possible to pre-apply for these veteran burial benefits, but applicants must visit the cemetery or a county Veterans Service Office.
Link to Minnesota Veterans Services
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