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Montana Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits

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Montana Veterans Benefits Programs

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

Education Benefits for Montana Veterans

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

Montana Honorably Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver

Wartime veterans who are Montana residents may qualify for a 100% tuition waiver for state-supported schools. Tuition is the only expense this benefit covers; all other costs are the student’s responsibility.

To qualify, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Served during World War II (12-7-41 to 12-3-46)
  • Korean War (6-22-50 to 1-31-55)
  • Vietnam War 1-1-64 to 5-7-75).
  • Served prior to Vietnam and received an Expeditionary Medal
  • Served in a combat theater in the Persian Gulf (8-2-90 and 4-11-91) and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal
  • Awarded the Kosovo Campaign Medal
  • Served in a combat theater in Afghanistan or Iraq after September 11, 2001, and received either the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, or the Iraq Campaign Medal.

This waiver may not be used with other state tuition waivers. Academic progress is a requirement, and there are no retroactive benefits for past school work.

The State of Montana offers similar benefits to qualifying veterans, Montana National Guard members, and war orphans. For more information contact the state-supported school you wish to attend.

Find colleges in Montana with our School Finder.

Housing Benefits for Montana’s Veterans

Montana Veterans Home Loan Program

The Montana Veterans Home Loan Program offers 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to active duty and members of the Guard/Reserve. These are government-backed mortgages (VA, FHA, USDA). There is no purchase price limit, but there is a cap on the loan which may be subject to change annually. At press time in 2023, that number is listed at $257,607, but this amount is listed here as a reference only. Your experience may vary.

To qualify:

  • You must have served on active duty, Guard, or Reserve, OR;
  • You must be an unremarried surviving spouse of a qualifying service member who was killed in the line of duty.
  • You must be a first-time home buyer or meet the requirements of one (not owning a primary residence in the last three years)
  • These loans are for Montana residents who are purchasing primary residences.

These loans are issued through a network of participating lenders, and homebuyer education is a condition of loan approval. Talk to a participating lender to learn more about meeting the homebuyer education requirement before you apply.

Employment Benefits For Montana Veterans

Montana Veteran Employment Preference Policy:

The State of Montana offers preference points to qualifying veterans and by guaranteeing interviews in cases where there is no competitive exam. Where preference points are used, the following applies:

  • 5 percentage points for veterans
  • 10 percentage points for  disabled veterans
  • 10 percentage points for “an eligible relative”

To qualify you must be a U.S. citizen and meet the minimum requirements for the job. Veterans must also meet one of the following:

  • Served on active duty for 180 days or more;
  • Guard or Reserve members on active duty in wartime or when a Campaign or Expeditionary medal was awarded;
  • Montana National Guard members with six years of service

Disabled veterans also have qualifying criteria; you must have an Honorable discharge, a VA disability rating or a disability rating issued by your branch of service, and you must be receiving disability benefits or a pension. Purple Heart recipients may also qualify.

Family members must meet guidelines which include but may not be limited to the following:

  • The spouse is an unremarried surviving spouse of a Veteran;
  • The applicant is a spouse of a disabled veteran whose disability prevents them from working;
  • The applicant is the parent of a service member who died on duty. 

Nursing Home Benefits for Montana Veterans

The State of Montana operates three veterans’ homes, the Columbia Falls Montana Veterans’ Home, the Southwest Montana Veterans’ Home, and the Eastern Montana Veterans’ Home.

Applicants must be honorably discharged veterans qualifying for skilled/intermediate nursing care or domiciliary self-care living. Spouses of veterans are considered for admission on a space-available basis, but veterans and spouses may be admitted together assuming they both qualify.

Services at these facilities and the number of admissions may vary but in general:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Dietitian services
  • Physician services

Burial Benefits For Montana Veterans

There are three Montana State Veteran Cemeteries. One is located in Missoula, one in Miles City, and one in Fort Harrison. The requirements for burial services at one of these facilities are identical to the requirements to be buried or interred in a National Veterans’ Cemetery.

According to VA.gov, one of the following must apply to be eligible:

  • The veteran didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, or
  • The veteran died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or
  • The deceased is a spouse or minor child of a veteran, or
  • The deceased is the unmarried adult dependent child of a veteran (some restrictions may apply).

Services offered may vary from location to location but typically you may be offered opening and closing of the grave, a plot or niche, and perpetual care of the grave or niche. Pre-need arrangements may be possible but do not expect to be allowed to make a physical reservation of an individual plot or niche.

Other Benefits for Montana’s Veterans

Military Waiver for a Commercial Drivers License

Service members with a “standard” Montana driver’s license and who were employed in a military position operating a military equivalent to commercial motor vehicles may be eligible to have their CDL road skills test waived.

Written tests can not be waived. Service members and veterans must submit a CDL Skills Test Waiver to the department listed on the form–the waiver must be signed by the applicant’s commanding officer.

Montana Military Income Tax Exemption

The State of Montana allows an exemption of up to half of a veteran’s military retirement pay for up to five years. This tax exemption was scheduled to begin in 2024. Check with a tax prep professional to learn what options are available in the current tax filing year.

Montana Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption

Disabled veterans and qualifying spouses may be eligible to claim a property tax exemption on a primary residence if the veteran is 100% disabled as a result of military service.

The exemption amount depends on income and marital status, but typically the tax rate is reduced by as much as 100%, depending on circumstances. Tax laws are subject to change from year to year, contact your nearest tax assessor’s office to learn how this property tax exemption may apply to you in the current tax year.