Alabama Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits
Alabama State Veterans’ Benefits
In addition to federal veteran benefits programs, there are also veterans’ benefits programs offered at the state level. The following are the Alabama veterans’ benefits programs. These programs are for various areas including education, housing, health care, and employment. You can also learn about veterans’ benefits in other states.
Education Benefits for Veterans in Alabama
In addition to federal education benefits such as the GI Bill, the State of Alabama provides education benefits for qualifying military members, veterans, and family members. These programs are subject to change without notice due to legislation, changes in funding, and other variables. Contact the Alabama
Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship Program
The state of Alabama offers the Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship Program to children and spouses of qualifying military members. The program pays benefits only after all other scholarships/grants have been applied. It covers textbooks and applicable fees “up to a combined maximum total of $1,000 per student,” with tuition billed up to a DoD cap ($250 per semester hour at press time).
To qualify, the veteran must have an honorable discharge after at least 90 continuous days of service. Veterans may also qualify if they were discharged in less than 90 days because of a service-connected disability. Veterans qualify if they meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Having a 40% or greater VA disability rating
- Being a former prisoner of war
- The veteran is declared missing in action
- The veteran died as the result of a service-connected disability or while serving on active duty
The State of Alabama’s official site says veterans with a disability rating of 20-30% “may qualify if the effective date of their disability rating is on or before July 31, 2017.” But this requirement was set to expire on July 31, 2023. Residency requirements may apply.
Children of qualified veterans may be eligible for 5 “standard academic years” or 10 semesters at any approved undergraduate school in Alabama.
Spouses or un-remarried surviving spouses of veterans rated 100% permanently and totally disabled can also get 5 years of benefits. Spouses and un-remarried surviving spouses of veterans rated 40-90% disabled can get three years of benefits.
RELATED: Scholarships for Military Spouses
Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program (ANGEAP)
Covers the cost of full tuition for members of the National Guard. To be eligible for an ANGEAP award you must be:
- 17 or older
- In good standing with the Alabama National Guard
- Done with basic training
- Pursuing your first degree
You must also demonstrate a financial need and fill out a Free Application For Federal Student Aid.
Some schools will not treat this program as a “promise to pay,” meaning they will require out-of-pocket payment of items covered by ANGEAP but which have not yet been paid for by the benefit on the due date. ANGEAP will cover tuition and fees that are not covered by any VA education benefits.
Things to know about ANGEAP
- You must be enrolled in a certificate or degree program at an accredited community college, technical college, college or university in Alabama
- You must have a minimum cumulative 2.00 GPA for undergraduate degrees or 3.00 GPA for graduate degrees.
- You must demonstrate a financial need of at least $100.
Tuition Waiver for Purple Heart Medal Recipients
Purple Heart recipients may be eligible for waived tuition and fees at Alabama public schools and universities. This option must be applied for individually at the school you wish to attend; contact the school admissions office to learn if that institution participates.
>> Find colleges in Alabama with our School Finder. Use the filters to sort schools by state.
Housing Benefits for Veterans in Alabama
Military Family Relief Fund
Alabama state law prevents a lender from starting foreclosure actions on a surviving spouse or the estate of a military borrower who died while deployed overseas on active duty military service. This prohibition is not permanent–it lasts for 180 days after the death of the service member.
The reason for the “relief fund”? The State of Alabama collects any penalties associated with the violation of this law and puts those funds in an account used to benefit military communities.
Employment Benefits for Veterans in Alabama
Alabama State Hiring Preference For Veterans
The State of Alabama offers state-level employment hiring preference to qualifying veterans and spouses. This hiring preference comes in the form of exam points applied to state tests for employment.
Those eligible will receive between 5 and 10 points toward their exam, with disabled service members getting the highest number of points along with surviving spouses of those killed in the line of duty. In addition to the hiring preference, when job cuts are made in these workplaces, those hired with military preference must be the last to be laid off, replaced, etc.
The State of Alabama also authorizes private businesses to use veteran preference hiring practices.
Business Occupational License Exemptions For Disabled Veterans
Alabama residents who are veterans of World War Two, those who served when the United States was engaged in hostilities, and who also have physical disabilities of 25% or more may be exempt from business or occupational license taxes.
Veteran business owners who have no more than a single employee, “shall be entitled to licenses from the state, country, or municipality to carry on such business upon paying the license taxes that shall not exceed $25”. However, if a veteran owns any property valued at $5,000 or more (or if net income is $2,500 or more) these exemptions do not apply.
Job Status and Reemployment Rights
State employees that are not in classified service, who are called into or enter military service, are offered “the same rights and privileges to reemployment by the state or any department, as those who are in classified service” according to Alabama state government literature.
Those who are state, county, or municipal officials who serve during a declared state of emergency “will have preservation of their job status as well as reemployment rights”.
Teachers who serve in the military “during an existing state of war between the United States and any other country” are offered “a leave of absence for the rest of the war, and until the beginning of the next school year after you are released from military service.”
If you are a teacher who has entered the military, who is not on continuing service status but who has accumulated one or more years of teaching experience immediately before entering military service, you may be offered credit for that experience “if you return to your position within one year after your release from military service.”
Membership In State Employees/Teachers’ Retirement System
State employees and teachers who serve in the military and return to state employment or education are entitled to “preserved” retirement benefits.
You may also earn credit for military service for up to four years if you do not withdraw contributions, and return to your employment within one year of being honorably discharged.
You will pay an amount equal to 4% “of the average compensation paid to a state employee during each claimed year of full-time military service” plus 8% interest compounded from the last date of service. No credit is offered for military service if you receive military retirement benefits.
Alabama State Insurance Benefits For National Guard Members
Alabama National Guard Service members injured while on active duty may qualify to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits similar to those offered to Alabama state employees.
There is also a life insurance program: the State of Alabama pays a $100,000 death benefit to the dependents of an Alabama National Guard Service member killed while on state active duty. This benefit is only for those who died on duty serving when activated by the state, it is not paid for service members who are activated by the federal government.
Alabama Military & Veteran Tax Benefits
Military Retiree Income Tax Exemption
Alabama residents drawing military retirement pay do not have to pay income taxes on those retirement funds.
Alabama State Combat Zone Tax Exclusion
Residents of Alabama serving in a combat zone are exempt from paying state taxes on military pay earned while in the combat zone.