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Tennessee Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits

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Tennessee Veterans’ Benefits Programs

The following are the Tennessee Veterans’ Benefits programs for education, housing, taxes and employment.

Education Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, veterans benefits programs are provided by the state of Tennessee.  The following are the Tennessee veterans’ benefits programs for education.

KIA/POW/MIA Dependent/Spouse Free Tuition

Qualifying dependent children under 23 and military spouses may be offered free tuition and fees at state-supported colleges. To qualify, the student’s parent must have died on duty, were declared missing in action, or were prisoners of war. To use this tuition waiver, contact the financial aid department of the college you wish to attend and ask about how to apply at that school.

Helping Heroes Grant

This grant is offered to a limited number of qualifying veterans. Offered on a first-come, first-served basis, these grants are capped at $1000 for full-time attendance. Applicants must have earned one of the following to qualify for this military education grant:

  • Iraq Campaign Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Tennessee National Guard Scholarship

Qualifying members of the National Guard in the state can apply for the Tennessee STRONG Act scholarship, which covers “100% of the maximum resident undergraduate or graduate in-state tuition” after all other federal education benefits have paid out.

According to Army.mil, “TN STRONG act is the last-dollar payer” for up to 120 semester hours for undergraduate work and up to 40 hours of graduate-level education.

RELATED: Military Scholarships List

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

Tax Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

Property Tax Relief For Disabled Veterans

Tennessee offers property tax relief for disabled veterans. To qualify, the veteran must have:

  • A service-connected disability “that resulted in paraplegia, or permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain, or loss or loss of use of two or more limbs, or legal blindness.”
  • A service-connected, VA-rated permanent and total disability.
  • A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

The tax relief is for primary residences only and is capped at $100,000.

Property Tax Relief For Surviving Spouses

Tennessee also offers property tax relief for surviving spouses of disabled veterans who would have been eligible for relief had the veteran qualified. The surviving spouse must not remarry, must own the property, and the home must be a primary residence. This tax relief is capped at $100,000.

Tennessee Tax-Free Motor Vehicle Sales for Service Members:

Motor vehicles sold to qualifying military members may be sold without sales and use taxes. To qualify for this tax-free auto benefit, buyers must be one of the following:

  • Serving on active duty and stationed in Tennessee or at a military reservation located partially in Tennessee.
  • A member of the Tennessee National Guard, or Reserves, who is in the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) Program and is stationed in Tennessee or at a military reservation located partially in Tennessee.
  • A member of the Tennessee National Guard or a member of the Reserves called to active duty in a combat zone.

You may be required to show military orders at the time of purchase.

Tennessee Veterans Nursing Homes

Tennessee operates four state veterans homes:

  • Murfreesboro
  • Humboldt
  • Knoxville
  • Clarksville

These homes offer long-term skilled nursing care for veterans, veteran spouses, and Gold Star parents. To qualify, veterans must have an Honorable discharge and meet the following requirements:

  • Tennessee state resident at the time of admission.
  • Tennessee address is the official Home of Record.
  • Has a family member as the primary caregiver and resident of Tennessee.

Services may vary depending on the facility. Contact each home individually to learn what level of care is available there. Two additional locations, one in Arlington and one in Cleveland, may be options once open in 2024.

Tennessee State Veteran Cemeteries

Tennessee operates state Veteran Cemeteries in the following locations:

  • Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, Nashville
  • East Tennessee State Veterans Cemeteries, Knoxville
  • West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, Memphis
  • Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, Parkers Crossroads

Each facility provides a burial plot, opening and closing of the grave, a grave marker, and perpetual care. To qualify for burial at one of these locations, you must qualify for burial in a VA National Cemetery. 

Typical qualifications include:

  • Discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, or
  • Died while serving on active duty, or
  • Served at least 20 years in the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves and qualified for military retirement pay, or;
  • Reserve component Service members activated for federal service or;
  • Spouses and dependents

Pre-need arrangements may be possible, but you may not be permitted to reserve a grave or niche physically.

Employment Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

Tennessee State Hiring Preference For Veterans

Veterans preference is offered to qualifying applicants who meet job requirements for the position and can prove veteran status.

Qualifying spouses and surviving spouses of veterans may also be given hiring preference if they have been a state resident for two years preceding their application and “their veteran, as a result of military service, suffered a 100% service-connected disability or is permanently and totally disabled…”

Highways for Heroes Program

The Highways for Heroes Program is a Commercial Driver’s License Program for service members and veterans. This program allows the usual road skills test to be waived for qualified applicants. The CDL knowledge test is still required.

To qualify, you must have held a military operator’s permit for the past two years.

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

Related state military and veteran information: