Find Oklahoma state and local veteran’s benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. The Sooner State provides benefits for over 300,000 veterans who reside in the State of Oklahoma.
Veteran Education Benefits
Oklahoma Heroes Promise Scholarship
The State of Oklahoma created a program in 2011 called Heroes Promise, a scholarship program for children of Oklahoma military members killed in action on or after January 1, 2000. Eligibility requirements for this program include the following:
- The military member must have filed an individual or joint Oklahoma income tax return for the tax year “prior to the year during which the person was killed or died”.
- The student must be an Oklahoma resident.
- The student must enroll within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education before their 21st birthday.
The award amount may vary depending on the scholarship, but in general, the Heroes Promise program will “help pay the student’s tuition” state-supported college or university. Funds may also be available for private colleges or universities “that are approved for credit toward an Associate in Applied Science degree at a public college”.
Students may take advantage of Heroes Promise for five years or until the completion of a Bachelor’s degree (whichever happens first). The amount of the scholarship is dependent on the college program, the number of hours attended, and other factors.
Oklahoma State National Guard Tuition Waiver
The Oklahoma State National Guard Tuition Waiver offers qualifying service members a 100% waiver on in-state tuition costs for those who do not currently hold a Baccalaureate degree and are members of the Oklahoma National Guard at the time of application or the application deadline. Other requirements include:
- Must be certified as a National Guard member “in good standing” by the Adjunct General.
- Must be an Oklahoma resident.
- Does not currently hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree.
- Meets admission requirements of the school.
The course of study must lead to a degree, the student must be enrolled for a minimum of three semester hours, and the benefit must be applied for each semester. Up to 18 hours of tuition may be waived each semester.
These tuition waivers cannot be used for continuing education, certificate courses, or other programs that do not count toward a degree.
Veteran Employment Benefits
Oklahoma State Hiring Preference Policies For Veterans
Honorably discharged veterans and qualifying surviving spouses of veterans have state hiring preference points available to them. Those points are awarded depending on the nature of military service, VA-rated disabilities, and more.
Five preference points are added to the final score of a state exam for:
- Honorably discharged veterans
- Unremarried surviving spouses of veterans who have died
- Spouses of veterans who are deemed by the VA or Department of Defense to be unemployable due to a service-connected disability within six months of the date of application
Ten preference points are available to:
- War veterans (as defined in Oklahoma Statutes) who pass the state exam and submit proof of a service-connected disability within six months of the date of application.
“Absolute Preference” Veterans are eligible for additional consideration if they meet criteria including being an eligible war veteran and are VA rated as 30% disabled or more.
These veterans “shall be placed at the top of the register, ranked in order of their examination scores. Absolute Preference Veterans shall not be denied employment and passed over for others without showing cause” according to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Official Site.
Oklahoma State Veterans’ Priority
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission official site advises veterans that the state receives U.S. Department of Labor grants to provide employment and training for eligible Oklahoma residents including veterans.
“As a condition to receiving those funds, priority of service will be given to qualified veterans when referring individuals to job openings, DOL-funded training programs or related services” according to the official site.
Veterans’ Priority preference opportunities may vary depending on the job or program. Vets are encouraged to contact an Oklahoma Workforce office.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Oklahoma State Veterans Homes
The State of Oklahoma operates Oklahoma Veterans Centers, which are long-term nursing/skilled nursing facilities. The nature and availability of individual care options may depend on the facility, space available, and other factors.
Oklahoma Veterans Centers are open in the following locations:
- Lawton / Fort Sill Veterans Center (580) 351-6511
- The Ardmore Veterans Center (580) 223-2266
- The Claremore Veterans Center (918) 342-5432
- The Clinton Veterans Center (580) 331-2200
- Oklahoma Veterans Center (405) 360-5600
- Sulphur Veterans Center (580) 622-2144
- Oklahoma Veterans Center (918) 567-2251
Admission requirements for these Oklahoma Veterans Centers include being an Oklahoma resident who qualifies for VA per diem payments for this type of care.
The applicant must have served at least 90 days with one or more of those days on active duty or a veteran who received a discharge related to a service-connected disability (with any discharge characterized as other than dishonorable discharge.)
The applicant must be “disabled by age, disease or other reason” as defined by the Veterans Center. Spouses and surviving spouses may also be admitted on a space available basis after veterans have received priority.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Ad Valorem Property Tax Breaks for Veterans
The State of Oklahoma allows qualifying veterans to claim a property tax exemption, good for the “full fair cash value of the homestead” according to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
Eligibility requirements for veterans and qualifying surviving spouses include the following:
- Honorably discharged Oklahoma resident
- VA rated as 100% permanent disabled-service connected
- Disability “must have been sustained through military action or accident” or from a disease contracted during military service
Oklahoma Income Tax Exemptions For Veterans
Military members who are Oklahoma residents may deduct the first $1,500 if military pay received “as salary for service in the United States Armed Forces” from Oklahoma state Income taxes. There is also a tax filing extension available to military members, “when filing is impractical”.
Oklahoma Military Retirement Income Tax Exemption
Those receiving military retirement income may deduct the greater of 75% of those retirement benefits or $10,000. The overall deduction cannot exceed the amount listed for Federal Adjusted Gross Income.
Oklahoma Tax Policy On Active Duty Military Income
Active duty military pay is exempt from Oklahoma State income tax.
Oklahoma State Sales Tax Exemption For Honorably Discharged Veterans
Sales of “tangible personal property or services” to honorably discharged Oklahoma residents is waived for those with 100% VA disabled ratings. Veterans must complete an application for a sales tax exemption card with proof of the VA-rated disability (a VA award letter, for example).
Qualifying 100% disabled veterans can also apply for a sales tax exemption card for “a household member who is authorized to make purchases on their behalf” including the spouse. Apply for this additional card by completing Form 13-55 and submitting to the address on the form.
Oklahoma State Tax Exemption For Military Retirement Benefits
Military retirement benefits in the State of Oklahoma “shall be exempt from taxable income in an amount not to exceed the greater of 75% of such benefits or $10,000”.
Oklahoma State Excise Tax Exemptions For Disabled Veterans
The State of Oklahoma permits vehicle excise tax exemptions for qualifying veterans with a VA-rated 100% disability classification. Eligible veterans can claim a single exemption on a vehicle in a consecutive three year period.
This excise tax exemption applies to street-legal motor vehicles, not to motors or aquatic vehicles. The veteran must be the registered vehicle owner, and the purchase of that vehicle must have occurred after July 1, 2005. Proof of VA disability rating is required for this excise tax exemption.
Oklahoma Vehicle Registration Discount For Disabled Veterans
Qualifying veterans with a VA-rated disability at 50% or higher are eligible for reduced rates on annual vehicle registration. They are also eligible for a special DAV license plate. Sales tax on these items is still due when registering unless the veteran has a sales tax exemption (see above).
Additional Veteran Benefits
Recreational Benefits For Veterans
The State of Oklahoma offers free fishing and hunting permits for “legal resident veterans” who are VA-rated at 60% disabled or greater. These veterans are exempt from requirements associated with Wildlife Land Stamps. Those veterans with VA-rated disabilities at 100% are eligible for exemption from hunting license fees including:
- Deer Gun Hunting
- Deer Archery Hunting
- “Primitive Hunting”
- Bonus or Special Deer Gun Hunting
- Second Deer Gun Hunting
Free Admission To Oklahoma State Parks For Veterans
All veterans who have been honorably discharged and are legal residents of Oklahoma are exempt from entry fees for all state-operated parks and state-run museums. A valid Oklahoma driver license and military discharge paperwork are required.
Free Oklahoma Military License Plates For Medal Of Honor Recipients
The State of Oklahoma offers a no-fee-to-register license plate for recipients of the Congressional Medal Of Honor.
Oklahoma State Vehicle Registration Renewal Policy For Oklahoma Military Members Stationed Out-Of-State
Oklahoma residents who are currently serving and are on military duty out of state can renew their vehicles by mail (there is no online renewal option at the time of this writing) for a reduced fee when the application is accompanied by a completed U.S. Armed Forces Affidavit Form 779.
Oklahoma State Drivers License Policy For Service Members Stationed Overseas
Oklahoma state law provides a valid drivers’ license (regardless of expiration dates on the license) for active duty military members and their spouses that applies for the entire duration of overseas duty and for 60 additional days upon returning to the United States.
Burial Benefits For Veterans
The State of Oklahoma refers veterans to the Department of Veterans Affairs to claim federal burial benefits for veterans. There are two VA-maintained veteran cemeteries in the state:
Fort Gibson National Cemetery
1423 Cemetery Road
Ft. Gibson, OK 74434
Fort Sill National Cemetery
2648 NE Jake Dunn Road
Elgin, OK 73538
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