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Kentucky Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits

Kentucky Veterans Benefits

The following are the Kentucky veterans’ benefits programs in the areas of education, employment, taxes and healthcare. You can also learn about veterans’ benefits in other states.

Kentucky Veterans Benefits

Education Benefits for Kentucky Veterans

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

Kentucky Tuition Waiver

The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers a tuition waiver for qualifying spouses and dependents of disabled and deceased veterans. Under this program a qualifying student may attend any two-year, four-year, vocational, or technical school supported by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The veteran must have qualifying circumstances:

  • Died on active duty, OR;
  • Died as a direct result of a service-connected disability, OR;
  • VA-rated as 100% service-connected disabled OR;
  • Totally disabled (non-service connected) with wartime service OR;
  • Is deceased and lived in KY at the time of death and served during a wartime period

Qualifying family members include:

  • children
  • stepchildren
  • adopted children
  • spouses
  • Unremarried surviving spouses

There are some additional considerations for this program–the veteran must be a current resident of Kentucky, and the student must attend either online or in-person classes at a qualifying school but does not have to reside in the state.

Kentucky National Guard Tuition Award Program

Service members in the Kentucky National Guard may qualify for a tuition award good at state-supported colleges and universities. To qualify you must be currently serving in the National Guard and meet all minimum requirements. You cannot have disciplinary actions in your file and you must have completed basic training.

This benefit pays up to the maximum in-state tuition for full or part-time study at any Kentucky public college, but this program operates only while funds are available. Surviving spouses and dependents may also qualify for this tuition program.

Find colleges in Kentucky with our School Finder.  Use the filters to sort schools by state.

Kentucky Tax Benefits For Veterans

Kentucky State Tax Relief For Military Pay

The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not charge state income tax on military pay.

Kentucky State Income Tax Relief For Military Spouses

Depending on circumstances, military spouses may be offered the same state income tax relief as the military spouse.

Kentucky State Income Tax Credits For Military Retirement Pay

Kentucky allows “all pension and retirement income” to be excluded up to $31,110.  Enter this subtraction on Schedule M of your state income tax form.

Combat Zone Tax Extensions

Kentucky residents serving in a combat zone are not required to file a state income tax return until 12 months after the deployment ends. This is offered to active duty, Guard, and Reserve members alike.

Kentucky Property Tax Exemption

Homeowners 65 years old or older, and those who are totally disabled may qualify for a property tax exemption on a primary residence. In 2020 the exclusion was worth more than $30k; check with your local tax authority to learn what the current year’s exemption is.

Kentucky Nursing Home Care For Veterans

Kentucky operates a group of long-term, skilled nursing facilities for qualifying veterans. Application requirements include not having a Dishonorable discharge, the applicant must be a resident of Kentucky prior to submitting an application, and have a medical need for nursing home care.

Veterans’ Centers are located in four different locations in Kentucky.

  • Wilmore
  • Hazard
  • Hanson
  • Radcliff

According to the official site for these veteran homes, there is “no application process for admission to the center”. Instead, those who need care are directed to contact an admissions coordinator, “to have your name added to the interest list”.

In spite of the center’s “no application” policy, you will be required to furnish pre-admissions documents including:

  • DD214 or equivalent
  • Insurance Cards
  • Medicaid Card
  • Proof of Kentucky Residency
  • Power of Attorney for Medical and Financial needs.

Admissions are approved by a committee.

Kentucky State Burial Benefits For Veterans

The Commonwealth of Kentucky operates five State Veterans Cemeteries in the following locations:

  • Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West, Hopkinsville
  • Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central, Radcliff
  • Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North, Williamstown
  • Kentucky Veterans Cemetery South East, Hyden
  • Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North East, Greenup County

Burial benefits in these cemeteries include a grave or niche, opening and closing the gravesite, perpetual care, plus a marker or headstone. Veterans are buried or interred at no cost, family member burial may require a fee. You must be a Kentucky resident (see below) and in general requirements for these facilities are identical to the requirements for burial in a VA national cemetery.

To qualify:

  • Applicant must be discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, OR;
  • Applicant died while on active duty, OR;
  • Applicant served at least 20 years in the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves and qualified for military retired pay, OR;
  • Applicant is a member of the Guard or Reserve and was activated for federal service, OR;
  • Applicant is a qualifying spouse or a dependent child

Kentucky residency is, as mentioned above, required by birth, service, or relocation.

Employment Benefits for Kentucky Veterans

Veterans Preference Hiring For State Jobs

The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers veterans’ preference by granting “interview preference” to qualifying vets and family members who want to compete for state local government jobs.

To be awarded interview preference, applicants must meet the minimum job requirements listed for the position and provide documentation to support the job application before the job has officially closed. This preference is only for initial hires. To qualify, you must be one of the following:

  • A veteran with an Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) discharge
  • A current service member on active duty, or as a member of the Guard/Reserve
  • A spouse of an eligible veteran or current service member
  • An unremarried surviving spouse of a deceased veteran
  • A dependent parent of a disabled or deceased veteran

For more information regarding Kentucky veterans benefits, please visit the Kentucky Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

Housing Benefits For Kentucky Veterans

The Kentucky Housing Finance Corporation (HFC) offers qualifying applicants VA loans with down payment assistance options for need-based home loans.

  • Borrowers may be required to meet income limits and other need-based restrictions.
  • The down payment assistance is offered as a second mortgage with a low interest rate.
  • This assistance is for homes purchased within the state of Kentucky and is only offered for primary residences.
  • Housing counseling may be required as a condition of approval.

These loans are issued via a network of participating lenders, the Kentucky HFC directs all applicants to discuss their mortgage needs with one of these participating lenders in the state.

Related state military and veteran information:

State Veterans’ Benefits – By State

Kentucky BAH Rates

Yellow Ribbon Schools



About the author

Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.