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Minnesota Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits

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Minnesota State Veterans Benefits

The following are the Minnesota veterans’ benefits programs for education, taxes, employment, nursing home care and burial benefits.

Education Benefits for Minnesota Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans’ benefits programs provided at the state level.

Minnesota GI Bill

The Minnesota GI Bill is a state-level program for qualifying Minnesota veterans, currently serving military, National Guard, and Reservists who served after September 11, 2001.

Military spouses and school-age dependents may also qualify. There is a maximum benefit cap of $10 thousand. This is not a program associated with the federal-level GI Bill, it does not affect your eligibility for the federal-level GI Bill, and you may be able to use some benefits concurrently.

This program is different from the Federal GI Bill (Montgomery, Post 9-11 GI Bill, Veterans Education Assistance Program, Dependents Education Assistance Program, or Vocational Rehabilitation. To qualify you must meet one of the following categories:

  • Applicant is a veteran who is serving or has served honorably in any branch of the United States armed forces at any time, or;
  • Applicant has served honorably for a total of five credible years or more cumulatively as a member of the Minnesota National Guard or any other active or reserve component of the United States armed forces, and any part of that service occurred on or after September 11, 2001, or;
  • Applicant is a surviving spouse or child of a person who has served in the military at any time on, and who has died or has a 100% VA-rate permanent and total disability as a result of military service. Applicant must also be eligible under the Fry Scholarship or Chapter 35 benefits.

Full-time undergraduate or graduate students may be eligible to receive up to $3,000 per academic year and this state-level education benefit is capped at  $10,000 per person. Different rates may apply for those seeking apprenticeships or on-the-job training.

Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit

The Surviving Spouse and Dependent Education benefit is offered to qualifying surviving spouses and dependents, including adopted and step-children. To be approved for this Minnesota state veteran education benefit, the veteran spouse or parent must have died while on active duty, or as a result of a service-connected condition. To qualify:

  • The veteran must have been a resident of Minnesota when they entered the military, OR;
  • The veteran must have been a resident of Minnesota for at least six months prior to passing away due to a service-connected disability.
  • Applicants must be Minnesota residents.
  • Spouses cannot be remarried.

This benefit can be used at state-supported schools. Under this program, students attend “free of tuition until he/she obtains a bachelor’s degree” according to the official site. An additional stipend for books and fees may also be available.

> Find VA-approved colleges and universities in Minnesota with our School Finder.

Minnesota State Tuition Reimbursement (STR)

This program is offered to qualifying members of the Minnesota National Guard. You must apply for federal tuition assistance before you apply for state-level assistance, and you must remain a member of the Minnesota National Guard for the duration of your educational program, with certain exceptions possible (see below).

According to Army.mil, STR reimburses Minnesota National Guard Service members “up to 100% of the tuition cost at an accredited educational institution.

The lifetime maximum STR benefit is 208 quarter or 144 Semester credits” with separate lifetime benefit caps on graduate and undergraduate rates. Undergrads get up to 100% of the undergraduate rate, while grad students may qualify for up to 75% of the rate for their school.

STR may be accessible years after separation if the applicant meets the following requirements:

  • Honorably discharged from the Minnesota National Guard;
  • Served on federal active duty or federally funded state active duty after September 11, 2001
  • STR has been extended for eight years after discharge for those separated or discharged due to a service-connected medical issue.

Veteran Education Assistance

Veteran Education Assistance is a program offering a one-time grant ($750 in 2023) to qualifying veterans who have used “all of their GI Bill benefits to assist with completing a bachelor’s degree”.

This grant is typically paid to the school but may be sent to the student instead “upon verification that tuition has been paid” according to Army.mil. State citizenship is required and you must supply proof that you have used all other forms of federal student aid. You can apply for this benefit through the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tax Benefits for Minnesota Veterans

The State of Minnesota does not tax military pay for active duty service. It also does not tax military retirement pay, or military disability retirement pay. You may also qualify for tax credits if you served in a combat zone. You may also have extended tax filing deadlines for serving overseas in general.

Minnesota State Tax Credit for Past Military Service

If you are a veteran with an adjusted gross income below the current year’s threshold (less than $37,500 in 2022, amounts subject to change) you may qualify for a non-refundable tax credit up to $750. You cannot claim this tax break if you already claim a deduction for military retirement pay.

To claim this credit you must submit a Minnesota Department of Revenue, Schedule M1C, Other Nonrefundable Credits.

Minnesota State Taxes For Nonresident Military Spouses:

Non-resident military spouses are exempt from paying state taxes on their wages if the service member is stationed in Minnesota on military orders, the spouse has a different state of residence, and the spouse is in the state, “only to be with their Service member Spouse”.

State tax laws are subject to change each year, consult your local tax assessor’s office or a tax professional to help you claim such benefits.

Minnesota Market Value Exclusion For Disabled Veterans, Primary Family Caregivers and Surviving Spouses

This program reduces the “market value” of primary residences, which can help lower property taxes. There are two options:

  • $150,000 exclusion for vets with a VA-rated 70% service-connected disability or higher, and for “Primary Family Caregivers” for a veteran with such a disability.
  • $300,000 exclusion for veterans with a 100% permanent and total, service-connected disability, surviving spouses receiving Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and primary family caregivers for 100% disabled veterans.

To qualify for this option, surviving spouses should apply within two years of the death of the veteran. Homes qualify for this exemption if they are owned by December 1st, and you must apply at a County Assessor’s office by December 31st to qualify for taxes payable in the next year.

Nursing Home Benefits For Minnesota Veterans

The State of Minnesota operates Veterans Homes in a variety of locations including:

  • Fergus Falls
  • Montevideo
  • Preston
  • Hastings
  • Luverne
  • Minneapolis
  • Silver Bay

These facilities offer domiciliary care, rehab services, skilled nursing care, special care units for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Admissions requirements include being a resident of the state, having an Honorable discharge, and a demonstration of medical need.

When applying, the State of Minnesota requests the following to be submitted with your application:

  • A copy of the veteran’s Armed Forces Discharge Forms such as DD Form 214 or equivalent
  • Marriage certificate
  • Any applicable Power of Attorney for Health Care/Finances; Health Care Directive or Legal Guardianship/Conservatorship

There is a single application form that can be used to apply for any of the homes within the state.

The state advises that waiting lists may apply. According to the official site, “…the Minnesota Veterans Home maintains an active and inactive waiting list. The active waiting list is for potential Residents who are currently seeking placement and meet clinical criteria” with the inactive list offered to those who do not currently need placement but may in the future.

Burial Benefits For Minnesota Veterans

The State of Minnesota operates four veteran cemeteries, located in:

  • Little Falls
  • Preston
  • Duluth
  • Redwood Falls

Minnesota offers burial benefits to, according to the official site, “all Veterans discharged from active military service under conditions other than dishonorable.” Also eligible? “Their spouses, minor children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children are also eligible for burial.” Qualifying spouses may be buried “even if they predecease the Veteran”.  Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify.

Services provided include but may not be limited to:

  • Gravesite or columbarium niche
  • Grave liner
  • Headstone/niche cover
  • Perpetual care

There is no cost for the burial of a veteran, all others may incur some costs, typically below $1,000. Pre-need registration is encouraged, but you may not be able to reserve a physical plot or niche until the time of need.

Employment Benefits for Minnesota Veterans

Minnesota Veterans State Hiring Preference

According to the State of Minnesota official site, the Veterans Preference Act (VPA) offers qualifying veterans “a limited preference over non-veterans in hiring and promotion for most Minnesota public employment positions” and such preference may also be extended to qualifying spouses.

A 10-point “veteran’s credit” is added to the open examination rating for a “Non-disabled Veteran”, with 15 points added to scores of veterans with “50% or more permanent service-connected disability”. These credits do not apply if the veteran does not score a passing grade on the exam. Some disabled veterans may qualify for direct appointment to state jobs, typically those with VA disability ratings at 30% or higher.

For more information regarding Minnesota veterans’ benefits, please visit the Minnesota Department of Veterans Services official site.