California Veterans Benefits

Veterans Benefits for California Residents

The following are the California veterans’ benefits programs for education, housing, healthcare and employment.  For other states’ veterans’ benefits, please go here.

Education Benefits for California Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans’ benefits programs provided by the states.

California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program (CNGEAAP)

The California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program (CNGEAAP) issues financial awards to qualifying members of the California National Guard (CNG) and State Military Reserve (SMR).

This financial education benefit can pay for up to 100% of fees at the Universities of California, California State Universities, and California Community Colleges.

It can also be used for eligible California proprietary and public institutions.

With combined military training and a civilian education in areas such as engineering, nursing, communications and information technology,

California’s National Guard members will be able to serve on two fronts.

RELATED: National Guard and Reserve Tuition Assistance

California College Tuition Fee Waiver for Veterans Dependents

Waiver of mandatory systemwide tuition and fees at any State of California Community College, California State University or University of California campus. There are 4 different classes of eligibility:

Who is eligible:

  • A child between 14-27 of a veteran who is totally service-connected disabled, or whose death was officially rated as service-connected is eligible. If the child is a veteran, the age limit is extended to age 30;
  • The spouse, Registered Domestic Partner (RDP), or unmarried surviving spouse or RDP of a wartime totally service-connected disabled veteran
  • Any dependent of any veteran who has been declared missing in action, captured in the line of duty by hostile forces, or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power


The veteran must have served at least one day of active duty during a period of war, or awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal. You cannot get Plan A and VA Chapter 35 benefits at the same time. There are no income restrictions. To be eligible, the event which caused basic entitlement to benefits (i.e., the date the veteran died of service-connected causes or the date the VA rated the veteran as totally disabled as a result of service-connected disabilities) must have occurred prior to the child’s 21st birthday.


The child of a veteran who has a service-connected disability, or had a service-connected disability at the time of death, or died of service-related causes is eligible. There are income limits. Under Plan B, wartime service is not required and there are no specific age requirements. Children are the only dependents eligible under this plan. There is no prohibition against receiving VA Chapter 35 benefits and this plan.


Any dependent of any member of the California National Guard, who was killed in the line of duty, died of a disability which was received in the line of duty, or was permanently disabled in the line of duty. Surviving spouses or RDPs who have not remarried are also eligible.


Medal of Honor recipients and their children under 27 may qualify. Benefits under Plan D are limited to undergraduate studies only, and applicants are subject to both income and age restrictions. There is no prohibition against receiving concurrent VA Chapter 35 benefits.


Search GI Bill-approved Colleges in CA for Military and Veterans


Housing Benefits for California Veterans

CalVet REN Communities

CalVet has worked together with affordable home builders to bring affordable home ownership to veterans who have a low income. The CalVet REN, which stands for Residential Enriched Neighborhood, is a program that utilizes the Enriched Neighborhood model. This is where the neighborhood provides permanent housing in a community with 12 homes or more, that focuses on moving low income families up into middle class through specifically designed services for veterans and their families.

In order to use this program, the veteran must qualify for a CalVet Home Loan, and complete 500 hours of sweat equity by both building his or her home and completing no-cost self-sufficiency training and courses.

Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program (VHHP)

The VHHP allocates funds for the development of new affordable housing for veterans and their families. The emphasis is on developing housing for veterans who are homeless or have extremely low income.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the California Housing Finance Agency worked together to design the VHHP. The program will be implemented by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Veteran service providers will partner with affordable housing developers to build affordable housing, to include supportive housing, which provides housing and services to veterans who are homeless or who have extremely low income, to help the veteran achieve housing stability and to help improve self-sufficiency.

Healthcare Benefits for California Veterans

Veteran Home Locations

The mission of CalVet Homes is “to provide the state’s aged or disabled veterans with rehabilitative, residential, and medical care and services in a home-like environment.” The first Veterans home in California was established back in 1884 for Civil War veterans. Today, the homes provide long-term care to resident veterans.

There are eight current homes that are a system of live in residential care facilities that offer a comprehensive plan of medical, dental, pharmacy, rehabilitation services and social activities in a homelike, small community environment. The homes range in size from 60 residents on 20 acres to over 1,000 residents on 500 acres. When all the homes are complete, they will be able to offer care for about 3,000 veterans.

In order to live in these homes you would need to be 55 years of age or older, and honorably discharged from active military service. The age requirement is waived for those who are disabled or homeless veterans who need that long-term care.

County Veterans Service Offices

This office can help if you are a veteran, widow of a veteran, child of a deceased or disabled veteran, or a parent who lost a son or daughter in military service.

They can help you with questions about compensation, pensions, school benefits, life insurance, medical benefits, home loans, California veteran state benefits, burial benefits, and discharge upgrade.

You can also get a referral from them for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment, hospitalization, outpatient medical and dental treatment, alcohol and drug dependency treatment, home loans, and small business administration.

They offer claims assistance, client advocacy, case maintenance, information and referral, program liaison with VA health services, VA veterans centers, VA regional offices, Veterans service organizations, Cal-Vet home loan assistance, and provide outreach to the elderly, disabled, Vietnam-era veterans, the incarcerated, minorities, and women.

Employment Benefits for California Veterans

California Employment Development Department (EDD) Workforce Services

This department assists veterans and their eligible spouses maximize their employment and training opportunities. They are entitled to many resources designed to help in their search for employment. They provide services such as putting a 24-hour priority hold on all job listings, customized job search assistance, job fairs, employer recruitments, and other events and resources. You would need to schedule an appointment with an EDD veterans representative.

Veterans’ Preference

Veterans Preference is for a veteran’s eligibility for qualifying open and open non-promotional examinations. If you are a veteran, a widow or widower of a veteran, or a spouse of a 100% disabled veteran and you achieve a passing score in a entrance examination, you shall be ranked in the top rank of the resulting eligibility list. You will not be eligible if you have been dishonorably discharged or released from the military.

The entrance examination is defined as any open competitive examination under the law. You also can no longer use veterans’ preference after you receive permanent civil service status.

Those who have retired from the military or honorably discharged from active duty are also eligible to compete in promotional examinations to include examinations for Career Executive Assignments (CEA) when they meet the minimum qualifications as prescribed by the class specification. If the veteran has a passing score, their name will be placed on the promotional eligibility list for the examination. Related military experience shall be considered State civil service experience if determined to be comparable by CalHR.

If you are a veteran who is a current or former employee, you will not be eligible for Career Credits if you are receiving Veterans’ Preference.

RELATED: Guide to Veterans’ Preference Points

Work for Warriors

Work for Warriors (WFW) is a state and federally funded free job placement program that is for veterans of all eras, including active National Guard, active Reserves, spouses, and Gold Star families to help them find civilian employment in their region of the state of California. Starting in 2012, WFW has helped reduce the overall veteran unemployment rate by 25% and works with a network of over 350 private sector business partners.

Work for Warriors will work with each person to match their skills to the needs of civilian employers. They can also provide assistance with developing a resume and with interviewing skills.

For more information regarding California veterans benefits, please visit this link.





Exit mobile version