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Tennessee Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits

tennessee veterans' benefits

The following are the Tennessee Veterans’ Benefits programs for education, housing, healthcare and employment for 2018 and 2019.

Tennessee Veterans’ Benefits Programs

Education Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans benefits programs provided by the states.  The following are the Tennessee veterans’ benefits programs for education in 2018 and 2019.

KIA/POW/MIA Dependent/Spouse Free Tuition

A dependent child (under 23 years of age) or spouse in the state is entitled to receive free tuition, maintenance fees, student activity fees, registration fees, and to be admitted without cost to any of the colleges or universities owned, operated and maintained by the State, whose parent (mother or father) was killed or died as a direct result of injuries received or officially reported as being either a prisoner-of-war or missing-in-action while serving as a member of the Armed Forces during a qualifying period of armed conflict.

To be eligible for these benefits,

  • the dependent child or spouse must present a certificate from the United States Government, and he/she cannot be receiving benefits under Public Law 634 or such other Federal Laws offering like or similar benefits, and must meet the above requirements.
  • Notice of the waiver program must be published in the institutional catalogs and class schedules.

Helping Heroes Grant

The grant will be available each year to as many as 375 eligible veterans on a first-come, first-serve basis and will award $1,000 to students completing at least twelve (12) semester hours each term. Applicants need to have been awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, or the Global War on Terrorism expeditionary Medal.

Tennessee National Guard Scholarship

100% tuition; Starting in 2018 the State of Tennessee offers the TN Strong Act which is a 100% reimbursable tuition program up to your first Bachelor’s degree. The TN Strong act is a last pay state benefit which will cover all tuition not paid by current federal tuition benefits.

RELATED: Military Scholarships List

Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Attend Community College for free in Tennessee.  Learn more here.

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

Tennessee Reconnect Program

The Tennessee Reconnect program allows adults to enroll tuition-free this fall 2018 at a community or technical college which means you can hold off on using your earned state or federal veteran education benefits. The Tennessee Reconnect program provides a last-dollar scholarship for adults to earn an associate degree or technical certificate free of tuition or fees.

Tennessee adults can take advantage of Reconnect by:

  • Completing application at TNReconnect.gov; Review Veterans & Service members
  • Applying to a local community college or eligible Tennessee Reconnect institution;
  • Filing for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at http://FAFSA.ed.gov; and
  • And enrolling in a degree or certificate program at least part-time.

To be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, a student must not already hold an associate or bachelor’s degree, must be a Tennessee resident for at least one year, and be determined as an independent student on the FAFSA.

Housing Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

Property Tax Relief For Disabled Veterans

Tennessee has a property tax for disabled veterans. In order to qualify for this relief, a veteran will need to qualify in one of these categories:

  • 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 permanent and total disability or disabilities as determined by the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
  • A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

The veteran must own and use the property as their primary residence. The maximum market value on which tax relief is calculated is $100,000.

Property Tax Relief For Surviving Spouses

Tennessee also has a property tax relief for surviving spouses. This program authorizes tax relief to surviving spouses of disabled veterans who would have been eligible for relief had the veteran qualified under the later amendments to the law. The tax relief amount is the amount that is necessary to pay or reimburse these taxpayers for all or part of the local property taxes paid for a given tax year on the property that the disabled veteran owned and used as their residence. The surviving spouse must not remarry, must solely or jointly own the property, and must use the property exclusively as a home. The maximum value on which tax relief is calculated is $100,000.

Health Care Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

Tennessee Veterans Homes

Tennessee has four veterans homes throughout the state. They are located in Murfreesboro, Humboldt, Knoxville, and Clarksville. These homes provide long term skilled nursing care for veterans, veteran spouses, and gold star parents. There should be homes in Cleveland and Arlington sometime in the future. Veterans need to be honorably discharged from active service, and meet one of the following additional requirements:

  • Resident of Tennessee at time of admission.
  • Veteran who was born in Tennessee.
  • Entered the U.S. Armed Forces in Tennessee.
  • Tennessee address is official Home of Record on Veteran’s Military Record.
  • Has an immediate family member who would serve as primary caregiver and resident of Tennessee.

Spouses or Gold Star Parent may also be eligible for admission on a space available basis.

Employment Benefits for Tennessee Veterans

Veterans Preference

Veterans preference will be given to any applicant, as long as they meet the minimum qualifications of the position, and can verify their status as a veteran.

When invitations to interview candidates are extended, for either appointments or promotions, any person who has been honorably discharged from the military will be put on the interview list.

If a veteran is on the list of eligible people and meets the minimum qualifications, and their skills, abilities, competencies, and knowledge is equal to a non-veteran, preference will go to the veteran.

The spouse or surviving spouse should be added to the interview list if they are a qualified voter in Tennessee or have been a 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, or if their veteran died in the line of duty during military service and the spouse has not remarried since their death.

Highways for Heroes Program

The Highways for Heroes Program is a Commercial Driver’s License Program for service members and veterans.

The road skills test may be waived for qualified military personnel who are applying for their Tennessee CDL. Applicants are required to pass the applicable CDL knowledge test.

In order to qualify, service members and veterans will also have need to have held a military operators permit for the past two years.

National guard and the reserves, as well as veterans who have been discharged within the last year can also qualify.


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

Related state military and veteran information:



About the author

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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.