Rating Based State Benefits
PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION
Minnesota resident veterans who have a 70% or more rating for a VA service-connected disability may receive a property tax exemption or a reduced assessed value of their home for tax reasons. The State bases the value of the exemption on the amount of VA rated disability the veteran has. They may extend the tax reduction to some surviving spouses as well.
SHORT TERM FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Minnesota operates a subsistence program for needy veterans to help them through short-term situations with utilities, housing, insurance, medical and other bills. This is income and asset-based financial assistance for up to six months only. Resident veterans who are temporarily unable to work due to disability, those who are 100% disabled with a service-connected condition, or who are eligible and waiting to receive federal subsidy or benefits may apply. Surviving spouses could qualify for financial assistance too if their application comes within 1 year of the qualifying veteran’s death.
HUNTING & FISHING LICENSES
Minnesota offers non-resident active-duty personnel stationed in Minnesota licenses for hunting and fishing at the resident rate. Resident military personnel who are home on leave and carrying their leave orders on them can hunt or fish free of charge with some exceptions. Certain fish, waterfowl and other game may require special licenses that may have additional fees associated with them.
Residents who are 100% disabled veterans with service-connected disabilities are eligible for a lifetime fishing license and a renewable, annual hunting license free of charge.
Minnesota opens all their state parks with no daily admissions charge for active-duty military and disabled veterans without any residency requirements. Veterans who have been rated with 100% permanent and total disability can obtain an annual park pass for free, but it does not include camping.
All State Benefits
Minnesota GI Bill
The Minnesota GI Bill program provides assistance to eligible Minnesota Veterans, currently serving military, National Guard and Reserve members who served after September 11, 2001 and eligible spouse and children. The Program provides a maximum benefit of $10,000. Eligible participants can use the benefit in Higher Education, On-the-job training (OJT)/Apprenticeship or License and Certification.
Higher Education Veterans Programs
MDVA’s Higher Education Veterans Programs helps connect you with educational benefits and resources to succeed in college. We support the success of Veterans, current military members and their families at Minnesota’s colleges and universities by providing on-site comprehensive information about benefits and resources as well as creating institutional readiness in support of the unique needs of these students.
This nation-leading program provides staff at colleges and universities throughout Minnesota to help identify and remove barriers to Veterans’ enrollment and access to benefits, as well as to create and manage campus Veterans resource centers.
In 2006, the Minnesota Legislature passed a few initiatives addressing the unique needs of students who are Veterans. To assist Minnesota’s colleges and universities fulfill these requirements, the MDVA created the Higher Education Veterans Programs. The program consists of a director and regional coordinators located throughout the state.
On-Campus Resource Centers
MDVA’s Higher Education Veterans Programs helps connect students with educational benefits and resources to succeed in college. We support the success of Veterans, current military members and their families at Minnesota’s colleges and universities by providing on-site comprehensive information about benefits and resources.
Role of the State Approving Agency in Education
The State Approving Agencies (SAA) are authorized by Title 38 of the United States Code. Each state has a SAA that is responsible for ensuring the quality and integrity of programs of education and training for the use of GI Bill benefits. Benefits may be used in high schools, adult education centers, employers who provide on-the-job training and apprenticeship training, license and certification testing, vocational training, as well as all certificate and degree levels of post-secondary education both public and private. The SAA initiates approval for GI Bill benefits for new facilities in Minnesota and conducts compliance surveys. They also initiate the approval of all new programs at private for-profit institutions and conduct an annual review of their catalogs.
Role of the State Approving Agency in On the Job Training (OJT) and Apprenticeship
The GI Bill® and the Minnesota GI Bill offer a great opportunity for Veterans to use their educational benefits while learning a skill or trade
Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit
The Surviving Spouse/Dependent Education Benefit is administered by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Surviving Spouse and Dependent Education assistance is provided to spouses and dependents, including adopted and stepchildren, whose Veteran spouse and/or Veteran parent died while on active duty, or because of a service-connected condition. The Veteran must have been a resident of Minnesota when entering the U.S. military or have been a resident of Minnesota for at least six months prior to passing away due to a service-connected disability as determined by the USDVA. Applicants must be Minnesota residents and the spouse cannot be remarried. There is no age limitation for eligible survivors.
Veteran Education Assistance
Veteran Education assistance is provided to Veterans in the form of a one-time $750 grant for tuition to Veterans who have exhausted, through use, all their GI Bill benefits to assist with completing a bachelor’s degree. This grant is paid directly to the institution or may be reimbursed to Veteran upon verification that tuition has been paid.
Business Resources to Help You Succeed in Your Business
Throughout Minnesota there is a network of Small Business Development Centers that provide the professional expertise and guidance that every small business owner needs to flourish in today’s competitive and ever-changing business world.
Veteran Status Verification Request for the Minnesota Small Business Procurement Program
The Minnesota Department of Administration operates a Targeted Group, Economically Disadvantaged and Veteran Owned (TG/ED/VO) Small Business Procurement Program where a Certified Veteran Owned Small Business may be eligible for up to a 6% preference in selling their products or services to the State. The business must have its principal place of business in Minnesota.
Counseling and Advice
SCORE is the premier volunteer business counseling and advice service. SCORE counselors can help take some of the mystery out of getting started and taking control of your business. To request counseling or for a schedule of workshops and seminars, visit the SCORE website. When requesting support, be sure to mention that you are a Veteran!
Women Business Centers
The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund serves northeast Minnesota, and Women Venture serves women in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. Both centers provide business information and counseling to women business owners.
Government Contracting Assistance
Federal, state and local governments offer business the opportunity to sell billions of dollars’ worth of products and services. Many government agencies require that some percentage of the procurements be set aside for Veteran owned businesses. The SBA will have resources to help you register your business for government contracting.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Veteran Business Program
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) encourages Veteran-owned small businesses to submit proposals for state funded MnDOT projects
Financing Your Business
The State Business Administration offers information on small business loans, grants, bonds, and other financial assistance. There are many financing options specific to Veteran-owned businesses.
The James J. Hill Reference Library is a private non-profit business reference library. Since 1921, the Hill Library has housed a world-class collection of practical business information resources and is considered one of the most comprehensive business libraries in the country. It was founded by one of the nation’s true business pioneers, James J. Hill, to provide others with relevant and credible information.
Dental Assistance (Including Extractions and Dentures)
Dental benefits are provided to Veterans and their dependents for routine dental, extraction, and denture procedures. This benefit is income and asset based, and upon MDVA approval of eligibility you and your dependents may receive up to $1,000 for annual routine dental care paid to your choice of providers. If your dental provider determines that dentures are necessary, MDVA will issue an additional denture authorization for up to $3,000 of once-per-lifetime benefits, and if needed, an additional once-per-lifetime extraction authorization for up to $2,000 specifically for tooth extractions in preparation for the dentures.
Field Operations – Veterans Outreach
MDVA Field Operations seeks to identify and serve Veterans of all social and economic backgrounds including those who are unable to seek assistance due to disability or geographical location. They act as a liaison and personal advocate to those seeking benefits such as subsistence, dental, optical, counseling, Federal claims and Federal Department of Veterans Affairs health care. Field Operations is the mobile unit of the MDVA Claims Division with flexibility to travel to those in need while offering professional service and advocacy.
Upon application, optical benefits are provided on an annual basis to Veterans and their dependents. This benefit is income and asset-based, and upon approval of eligibility you and your dependents may receive up to $400 paid to your choice of providers for annual eye exams and prescription eyewear, to include contact lenses.
Veteran Suicide Prevention
Preventing Veteran suicide is a priority for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Suicide has claimed more than 100 Minnesota Veteran lives per year during the past five years. As this rate continues to increase, especially among younger Veterans, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is collaborating with others to identify the root causes of Veteran suicide and create an innovative, cooperative way to reverse this trend. We are working toward zero Veteran deaths by suicide in Minnesota.
Free Gun Locks
MDVA is partnering with the VA Healthcare System to distribute free gun locks. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a locked gun can mean the difference between a tragic outcome and a life saved for someone in crisis. Though Veterans are well-versed in firearm safety, all gun owners should understand that during emotional or stressful times, delaying access to a gun could mean the difference between life and death. Gun locks can prevent someone in crisis from tragically taking their own life.
The acronym S.A.V.E. can help one remember important steps involved in suicide prevention if you encounter a Veteran in crisis:
S – Signs of suicidal thinking should be recognized.
A – Ask the most important question of all: Are you thinking of killing yourself?
V – Validate the Veteran’s experience.
E – Encourage treatment and expedite getting help.
Short Term Financial Assistance (Subsistence)
The Subsistence program provides temporary assistance with shelter payments (rent/mortgage), current utility bills and health insurance premiums to eligible Veterans and their dependents. This benefit is income and asset based and is designed to assist Veterans for up to six months for those who are unable to work his/her normal occupation due to a temporary disability, or who are permanently disabled and are waiting to receive a permanent disability benefit from VA Compensation, VA Pension, Social Security or other long term benefit. Veterans must provide proof of the temporary disability by his/her doctor on a medical report and must have worked within one year of the date on the medical report. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for this benefit without a temporary disability if he/she applies within the first 12 months of his/her Veteran spouse’s death. After that time limit the surviving spouse must provide proof of his/her own temporary disability via a medical report. Please contact your County Veteran Service Officer for assistance in applying for Subsistence benefits.
Gold Star Families
Initiated during World War I, the title Gold Star distinguishes a family member who lost a loved one in military service. Today, immediate family members (parent, sibling, spouse, or child) receive a Gold Star from the Department of Defense, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
No one has given more to our nation than the families of the fallen. Nothing can erase a family’s pain when losing a loved one. But to help ease a family’s burden, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Gold Star Family program.
The goal of Gold Star Family is to honor the legacy of every fallen Minnesota hero, while supporting the needs of their families. This is accomplished by a unique set of Gold Star Family services that include support, benefits, and resources. Since unresolved issues and questions can surface months or years after a family’s loss, MDVA Gold Star Family services are available for as long as you need them.
Minnesota Service CORE
Minnesota Service CORE is a nation-leading program designed to bring essential, community-based services directly to Veterans and their families across Minnesota at no cost to them. Due to its unique structure, this program also provides resources to previously underserved areas in greater Minnesota.
By partnering with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS), CORE provides comprehensive assistance through the existing statewide network of resources. Services include individual and family counseling, financial counseling, debt management, addiction counseling, disability services and in-home counseling. The goal is to help Veterans and their families develop skills and draw on their own strengths to bring about successful and lasting family stability.
Special Needs Grant
Special Needs assistance provides a once-per-lifetime financial grant to help Veterans and dependents stabilize their lives in a time of hardship. Requests are reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis and applicants must demonstrate future sustainability beyond the requested amount of assistance. Approved amounts of assistance are paid directly to the vendors chosen by the Veteran as part of their application.
Women Veterans Program
The mission of the Minnesota Women Veterans Program is to ensure women Veterans have equitable access to federal and state benefits and services. We respond to the gender specific needs of women Veterans and ensure that women Veterans are treated with dignity and respect. Our outreach events are geared to improve the awareness of available benefits, services, and eligibility criteria for the women who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Federal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
MDVA has a strong relationship with the federal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA or VA) that encompasses many departments and services. A few of these services include but are not limited to; claims, benefits, medical center and construction grant services.
Minnesota Commanders’ Task Force
The Minnesota Commanders’ Task Force (CTF) is comprised of nine Congressionally Chartered Veterans Organizations that include the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Marine Corps League and the American Veterans. As the elected leaders of their respective organizations, the CTF meets regularly to discuss the many issues affecting Minnesota’s Veterans and their families. The CTF serves as a non-partisan advisory group to the MDVA Commissioner, the Governor and Legislators on Veterans issues in the state
United Veterans Legislative Council
The United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC) is a venue for Veterans Service Organizations and Veterans to become familiar with and receive updated information concerning national and local Veteran related news and legislation.
Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MAC-V) helps throughout Minnesota to positively motivated Veterans and their families who are homeless or experiencing other life crises. MAC-V accomplishes its mission by providing services directly or in collaboration with other service agencies.
National Resource Directory
The National Resource Directory is a collection of more than 14,500 resources at the national, state, and local levels for service members, Veterans, their families, caregivers, and the organizations themselves. The NRD is a federal tri-departmental effort between Department of Defense, the Federal VA and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Support Our Troops License Plates
Drive home your support for Minnesota Military members, Veterans and their families by purchasing a Support our Troops (SOT) license plate for your car or motorcycle. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, together with the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs, will use your annual minimum contribution of $30 for the betterment of military families and homeless and underserved Veterans around the state.
Since 1993, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has provided as many as 90 grants annually to legislatively selected organizations in Minnesota whose mission and purpose is to assist Veterans, and their families.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs SOT grant program launched in February 2016. These grants are financed from sales of the Minnesota “Support Our Troops” License Plates. Minnesota organizations with programs designed to “support and improve the lives of Veterans and their families” may apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.
Legislatively mandated Grants are administered by MDVA and are outlined by Minnesota State Statutes.
- County Veterans Service Office Grants: Statute 197.608
- Congressionally-Chartered Veterans Service Organizations Grant, and Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans Grant: Session Law 2015 Ch 77, Art. 1 Sec. 37
- Armed Forces Service Center: Session Law 2019 Ch. 10, Art. 1 Sec. 37, Subd. 2