Florida Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veteran Benefits
The following are the Florida veterans’ benefits programs for education, housing, healthcare and employment for 2018.
Education Benefits for Veterans in Florida
In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans’ benefits programs provided by the states.
Florida Undergraduate Tuition Waiver
Florida waives undergraduate-level tuition at state universities, community colleges, and career and technical training facilities for Florida recipients of the Purple Heart and higher combat decorations in superior precedence.
Find colleges in Florida with our School Finder. Use the filters to sort schools by state.
Education for Children Of Deceased Or Disabled Florida Veterans
Florida provides four-year college educational opportunities for dependent children and spouses of veterans who died from a service connected disability or who are 100% percent service-connected totally and permanently disabled veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
For more information, call toll free (888) 827-2004. Dependent children of service members Missing In Action or Prisoners Of War may also be eligible for tuition benefits.
Florida Tuition Assistance
Florida has an Independent Tuition Assistance Program.
The “Educational Dollars for Duty” (EDD) Program
For Florida National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, and can provide public tuition for the period of the Guard member’s service.
Educational dollars for duty will pay up to 100 percent of public tuition and will pay private tuition at the average Florida state school public tuition rate.
For more information regarding Florida veterans benefits, please visit – Florida Department of Veterans Affairs
Housing Benefits for Florida Veterans
Homestead Tax Exemptions For Veterans
Veterans who have been honorably discharged and also have a rated service-connected, permanent and total disability, as well as being a permanent resident of the state of Florida as of January 1st of the tax year for which the exemption is being claimed, are exempted from taxation for any real estate owned and used as a homestead.
If the spouse of a deceased veteran holds the legal or beneficial title to the homestead and permanently resides there, the exemption will carry over until he or she remarries, sells, or otherwise disposes of the property. If they sell the property, an exemption, not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll, may be transferred to the new residence as long as it is used as their primary residence and they do not remarry.
If a veteran is disabled, over 65 years of age, and owns homestead property, they may qualify for a property tax discount based on their percentage of disability. This will be in addition to any other exemptions veterans now receive. The veteran will need to be honorably discharged from the military and be partially disabled with a permanent service-connected disability, where at least part of it must be combat related.
Any real estate that is owned and used as a homestead by the surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who died from a service-connected cause while on active duty, can be exempt from taxation if the member was a permanent resident of Florida as of January 1st of the year the member died.
Eligible veterans who are residents of the state of Florida that have a VA certified service-connected disability of 10% or greater shall be entitled to a $5,000 homestead property tax exemption. If the veteran is deceased, the benefit will go to the spouse as long as they were married for at least five years. If the spouse does sell the property, it can be transferred to the new residence if they use it as their primary residence and it doesn’t exceed the amount granted in the most recent ad valorem tax roll.
Real Estate Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Veterans who are paraplegic, hemiplegic, permanently and totally disabled, must use a wheelchair for mobility, or are legally blind, are exempt from real estate taxation if their gross annual household income does not exceed the adjusted maximum allowed. The veteran will need to check with their local property appraiser to determine if their gross annual household income qualifies.
Healthcare Benefits for Florida Veterans
Florida State Veterans’ Homes
There are six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted listing facility operated by the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. All of the facilities are licensed by the Agency for Healthcare Administration and are inspected by the AHCA and the US Department of Veterans Affairs on an annual basis. The homes are supervised by round the clock registered and licensed nurses.
In order to be admitted to one of the Florida State Veterans’ Homes, the veteran will need to have an honorable discharge, have Florida residency, and have a certification of need of assisted living or skilled nursing care as determined by a VA physician.
The Veterans’ Homes are the Robert H. Jenkins Jr. Veterans’ Domiciliary Home in Lake City, The Emory L. Bennett State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Daytona Beach, The Baldomero Lopez State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Land O’ Lakes, The Alexander “Sandy” Nininger State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Pembroke Pines, The Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City, The Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte, and The Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home in St. Augustine. The Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port St. Lucie is currently under construction.
Employment Benefits for Florida Veterans
Florida Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Opportunity
Any state agency, when they are considering two or more bids, proposals, or replies for the procurement of commodities or contractual services, where at least one of the bids is from a certified service-disabled Veteran business enterprise, that are equal with respect to all relevant considerations, including price, quality, and service, shall award such procurement or contract to the certified service-disabled veteran business enterprise.
Eligible veterans are able to receive preference at every stage of the hiring process. Ten points will be added to the score of the first category of applicants, which are disabled veterans, and spouses of disabled or missing veterans. Five points will be added to the score of other preference-eligible applicants. Disabled veterans with a disability ratings of 30% or more will be placed on the register or employment list first, followed by all other preference-eligible applications in order of their augmented ratings.
To be considered an eligible veteran, you will need to be a veteran with a service-connected disability who is eligible for or receiving compensation, disability retirement, or a pension administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Spouses of veterans who cannot qualify for employment because of a total and permanent service-connected disability or a spouse of a veteran who is missing in action, captured, or forcibly detained by a foreign power are also eligible. A veteran of any war who have served on active duty for one day or more, during a wartime period, to exclude active duty for training and an unmarried Widow or Widower of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability will also be eligible.
Occupational License Tax Exemption
A disabled wartime veteran who is unable to perform manual labor and his or her unremarried spouse, shall be exempt from the Occupational License Tax. The veteran or their surviving spouse need to be residents of Florida.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the CareerSource Florida Network
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the CareerSource Florida Network offers employment services for veterans, military members, and their families. The services they provide include interview preparation, resume writing assistance, job and training referrals, career planning, vocational guidance, job search and placement assistance, and internet access.
Employ Florida Vets
Employ Florida Vets is the state’s dedicated online portal for military veterans in order to access employment services.
Business License Fee Waivers for Veterans and Their Spouses
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation can waive the initial licencing fee, the initial application fee, and the initial unlicensed activity fee for military veterans as well as their spouses at the time of discharge. They will need to apply to the Department for a state professional license within 60 months after the veteran has been honorably discharged from the military. This law applies to over 20 professions under DBPR’s jurisdiction.
Health License Fee Waivers for Veterans and Their Spouses
The Florida Department of Health offers expedited health care practitioner licensure through the Veterans Application for Licensure Online Response System (VALOR.) They also offer expanded licensure fee waivers for military veterans and their spouses who apply for health care licensure in Florida. The department also assist the county health departments in recruiting military veterans and spouses to work in health-related fields.
Agriculture and Consumer Services Fee Waivers for Veterans and Their Spouses
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will waive first-time licensing application fees for specific veterans of the US military, their spouses or a business entity where the veteran or spouse has a majority ownership stake.
Related state military and veteran information: