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South Dakota Veterans Benefits

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Veterans’ Benefits Programs for Residents of South Dakota

The following are the South Dakota veterans’ benefits programs for education, healthcare, housing and employment.

Education Benefits for Veterans in South Dakota

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans benefits programs provided by the states.  The following are the South Dakota veterans’ benefits programs for education.

Free Tuition for Veterans

Honorably discharged South Dakota residents who served after Aug. 1, 1990 and received a campaign, expeditionary, or service medal for combat operations are eligible for free tuition at state colleges.

You must not be eligible for the GI Bill or other federal education benefit. You get one month of free tuition for each month of “qualifying service” with a minimum of one, up to a maximum of four, academic years.

RELATED: States Offering Free College To Veterans And Dependents

Free Tuition for Children of Veterans Who Died On Duty

Children under the 25, who are residents of South Dakota, and whose parent was killed in action or died of other causes while on active duty, are eligible for free tuition at a state supported school. The parent must have been a South Dakota resident for at least six months immediately before entering active duty.

RELATED: John D. Fry Scholarship

Reduced Tuition for South Dakota National Guard

Guard members are eligible for a fifty percent reduction in undergraduate tuition charges at any state supported school for up to a maximum of 128 undergraduate credits and 32 graduate credits.

RELATED: National Guard Tuition Assistance

Free Tuition for Dependents of National Guard Members

Children under 25, who are residents of South Dakota whose parent died or became totally disabled as a result of their National Guard duty are eligible for free tuition at state colleges. The spouse/surviving spouse of the guard member is also eligible.

> Find GI Bill-approved colleges in South Dakota with our School Finder.

Housing Benefits for Veterans in South Dakota

Property Tax Exemption For Paraplegic Veterans

This program exempts the property from all property taxes. The property must be owned by a paraplegic veteran, a veteran with a loss or loss of the use of both of their lower extremities, or the unremarried widow or widower of a veteran who qualifies. The property must also be specifically designed for wheelchair use within the structure.

Property Tax Exemption For Disabled Veterans

This program exempts up to $100,000 of the assessed value for qualifying property. The property must be owned and occupied by a disabled veteran or an unremarried surviving spouse. The veteran must be rated permanently and 100% disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.

Health Care Benefits for Veterans in South Dakota

South Dakota Veterans Home

There is one South Dakota Veterans Home located in Hot Springs. The home provides high quality resident directed long term care to military veterans, their spouses, widows, or widowers. In order to be eligible, the applicant must be honorably discharged whose period of service qualifies them for veteran benefits or the spouse, widow, or widower of such a veteran.

In addition to that, they also need to be ambulatory and able to take care of themselves as well as their living quarters, not be addicted to drugs or alcohol, and not be mentally ill. They need to have been a resident of South Dakota at any time in the five years before they apply. They also need to be incapacitated from earning a livelihood, and have a complete physical exam not more than 60 days prior to making the application. With a married couple, the spouse of the veteran must be admitted with the veteran, unless the veteran is institutionalized.

Employment Benefits for Veterans in South Dakota

State And Local Government Employment

Those who are eligible veterans, have been honorably discharged, a citizen of the United States, and have served under qualifying conditions. If they are eligible, they will receive preference for appointment, employment, and promotion at all levels of government. This includes state, counties, municipalities and school districts. The applicant will need to posses the minimum qualifications necessary to fill the position.  They will then be granted an interview. A veteran who is disabled because of a service-connected cause is given preference over a non-disabled veteran.

An unmarried spouse of a deceased veteran who would have been eligible, who died while in service, or died later from a service-connected cause, will be entitled to the same preference as an eligible veteran, as long as the spouse possess the qualifications that are necessary to do the job in question. A spouse of an eligible disabled veteran who is unable to exercise their right to a veteran employment preference because of their disability, will be entitled to the same preference, as long as they have the qualifications to do so.

Credited Service For South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS)

State employees will receive credited service for time spent on authorized military leave of absence for their initial tour of duty.  Credited service is the period of time you work for an SDRS-participating employer and is a consideration for your eligibility for benefits and the amount of benefits.

Employees may earn credited service provided that they:

  • are employed before they leave
  • return to public service within one year of discharge
  • remain employed for at least 1 year after returning from service

State employees that are national guard or army reserves service members that take an authorized leave of absence when called to active service are eligible for credited service.

Other Veterans’ Benefits in South Dakota

South Dakota Bonus

South Dakota has a bonus to members of the US Armed Forces.  Service members must also have been legal residents of South Dakota for no less than 6 months before their period of active duty.  In addition, they must have served or were serving on active during one of the following periods:


  • August 2, 1990 through March 3, 1991, all active service.
  • March 4, 1991 through December 31st, 1992, only service in a hostile area that qualifies for the Southwest Asia Service Medal.
  • January 1, 1993 through September 10, 2001, only service in a hostile area qualifying for any US campaign or service medal awarded for combat operations against hostile forces.
  • September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined, all active service.

Those who have qualifying service from August 2, 1990 to December 31, 1992 may receive one bonus of up to $500. Those who qualify after January 1, 1993 may receive another bonus of up to $500. Active duty for training cannot receive a bonus.

For more information regarding South Dakota veterans’ benefits, please visit – South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs





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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.