Virginia State Benefits

All State Benefits

Virginia Income Tax Deduction for Military Pay

Resident Service members serving on active duty that earn less than $30,000 (base pay) can deduct up to $15,000 from their Virginia Income tax. For every $1 of income over $15,000, the maximum subtraction is reduced by $1. Service members must be on active duty for 90 days or more to be eligible

Virginia Tax Exemption for National Guard Income

Virginia National Guard Service members, in pay grades O-3 and below can deduct their National Guard pay that is received for up to 39 calendar days of service or $3,000, whichever is less.                                                                                                                                    

Virginia Tax Exemption for Nonresident Military Spouses and Dependents

Income earned by a nonresident military Spouse or dependent, who are in Virginia only to be with their Service member Spouse/parent who is permanently stationed in Virginia is exempt from Virginia Income tax. The Spouse and dependents must have the same legal state of residence as the Service member to be eligible.

Virginia Taxes on Combat and Hazardous Duty Pay

Combat pay and hazardous duty pay are not taxed in Virginia.

Virginia Taxes on Military Retired Pay

Military retired pay is taxed in Virginia. Virginia does offer an age based deduction of up to $12,000 for residents over age 65.

Virginia Income Tax Subtraction for Military Retired Pay Received by Medal of Honor Recipients

Military retired pay received by a Medal of Honor recipient is not taxed in Virginia. The subtraction does not apply to benefits received by a Surviving Spouse.

Virginia Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay

Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income. Some of the payments which are considered disability benefits include:

  • Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to Veterans or their Families
  • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
  • Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of limbs, or
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.

Virginia Income Tax Filing and Payment Extensions for Service Members and their Spouse

Virginia offers extensions to file and pay Virginia income taxes for Service members and their Spouse. Service members must serve in one of the following situations to be eligible: Virginia National Guard

Stationed outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico on May 1, receive an automatic extension until July 1; write “Overseas Rule” at the top of the return and envelope and attach a statement explaining the reason for being out of the country

When serving in a combat zone eligible for the same extension granted by the IRS, plus an additional 15 days, or a one-year extension, whichever date is later; write “Combat Zone” at the top of the tax return and envelope.

Deployed to noncombat service outside of the U.S. are allowed an extension of 90 days after the completion of deployment; write “Overseas Noncombat” at the top of their tax returns and on the envelope.

Virginia State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible young child hugging a tombstone in a veteran cemetery survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.

Virginia State Taxes on Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP)

SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP are taxed in Virginia. Virginia does offer an age deduction of up to $12,000 for residents over age 65.

Virginia Real Property Tax Exemption for 100% Disabled Veterans and Surviving Spouses

Virginia offers a complete property tax exemption for eligible disabled Veterans or Surviving Spouses. This exemption applies to the home that is the principal residence and up to one acre of land where the home is located.

Virginia National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (VNGSTAP)

VNGSTAP offers up to $7,000 per year for tuition toward one degree or credential at each level up to a doctorate. VNGSTAP may be used at any accredited public or private (nonprofit) institution of higher education or participating online schools outside Virginia.

Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP)

VMSDEP provides educational financial assistance for eligible Spouses/Surviving Spouses and Children of certain Service members and disabled Veterans.

High School Diplomas for Veterans

Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War era, or the Vietnam War Era can also receive a high school diploma if they have never received one. Applicants can choose to receive their diploma from any Vermont public school. After the Office of Veterans Affairs verifies eligibility, it passes the application along to the appropriate high school, who will make presentation arrangements with the applicant.

Virginia Honorary High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans

Virginia will award honorary high school diplomas to Veterans that left high school before graduating to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War

Virginia Residency for Tuition and Financial Aid Purposes for Service Members, Dependents, Veterans and Surviving Spouses

 Virginia offers in-state residency for tuition and financial aid purposes under the following circumstances:

Waiver of One Year Waiting Period to Establish Residency - Active-duty Service members who establish legal residence in Virginia and their dependents are not required to wait one year to qualify

Residency When on Active Service for 180 Days or More - Active-duty Service members, active or mobilized reserve component Service members or those on temporary active-duty orders for 180 days or more who live in Virginia

Assignment to Permanent Duty Station in Virginia – Nonresident Service member and dependents assigned to a permanent duty station in Virginia; the Service member and Family do not need to live in Virginia as long as the Service member is assigned to a duty station in Virginia

Assigned to a Neighboring State - Nonresident Service member and dependents assigned to a permanent duty station in Maryland, Washington D.C., North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, or Tennessee that live in Virginia

Veterans and Surviving Spouses – Honorably discharged Veterans or their Surviving Spouse living in Virginia that has not met legal residency requirements

VA Education Assistance - Veterans using VA education assistance.

Virginia Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3)

The purpose of this compact is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:

Facilitating the prompt enrollment of Children of military Families and ensuring that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements

Facilitating the student placement process through which Children of military Families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment. Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic, and social activities

Facilitating the on-time graduation of Children of military Families

  • Providing for the enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact
  • Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools, and military Families under this compact
  • Promoting coordination between these compact and other compacts affecting military Children
  • Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents, and the student to achieve educational success for the student.

Virginia Purple Star Designation Program for Military-Friendly Schools

The Virginia Purple Star Designation Program for military-friendly schools recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and Families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces. Schools that earn the award will receive a special Purple Star recognition to display on their campus.

For a school to qualify for the Purple Star Award they must appoint a school liaison that is specially trained to handle the unique challenges experienced by military Families. This liaison will ensure that other teachers at their school are aware of special considerations that students from military Families can benefit from. Each school will also have a dedicated page on their school website featuring resources for military Families.

Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Transition Program

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services’ V3 Transition Program offers peer-to-peer support and referrals to Service members separating from the U.S. Armed Forces and their Spouses. The V3 Transition Programs main areas of focus are helping those seeking employment, education, and entrepreneurship.

V3 Transition Program will make referrals that address specific needs that include resume review, introduction to the Virginia Labor Market index, connection with the V3 Certified Companies for employment as well as other Virginia Department of Veterans Services programs.

The V3 Transition Program has developed a network of employers and other resources that have made a commitment to help transitioning Service members and their Spouses by offering networking events, job fairs, hiring events, and electronic communications promoting jobs and events.

Virginia HIRE VETS NOW Fellowship Program

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services, Skill bridge/ HIRE VETS NOW Fellowship Program offers 6–12-week internships with Virginia Values Veterans Certified Companies for transitioning Service members. With commander approval, Service members can participate in a fellowship up to six months prior to separation, helping them gain marketable skills and experience to enhance their civilian career opportunities.

Virginia State Employee Paid Leave for Military Duty

State employees who are Service members in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are authorized 15 workdays of paid military leave per federal fiscal year for required military training and state or federal active duty. Former Service members that are recalled to active duty and state employees that voluntarily enter active duty are also eligible for paid military leave.

Employees do not lose seniority or accrued leave balances when taking military leave with pay. In addition, employees are paid up to 8 hours per year for pre-induction and other physical examinations required for military service in addition to the 15 workdays discussed above.

Virginia State Employee Reserve Component Active Duty Pay Supplement

The Virginia State Employee Active Military Supplement is a payment to a state employee on military leave without pay that makes up the difference between their base state salary and their gross military salary plus allowances.

Virginia State Employee Military Bank Leave

Full-time Virginia state employees who are Service members in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces may carry forward leave that is more than the allowable carry-over amount to be saved as Military Bank leave (MB). MB may be used only when called to active duty and may not be paid out or credited in any other form to the employee.

Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) Veterans and Spouses Employment Assistance

VEC, Virginia Career Works offices help Service members that are leaving the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans, and their Spouses by offering employment assistance, training, and placement services.

Some services provided include:

  • Job readiness assessment, including interviews and testing
  • Resume preparation assistance
  • Education and training recommendations
  • Development of an employment plan
  • Job search assistance
  • Career counseling
  • Labor market, occupational and training information
  • Referral to job banks, job portals and job openings
  • Referral to employers and registered apprenticeships
  • Developing jobs for Veterans with barriers to employment.
  • Referral to Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act funded training or third-party services
  • Monthly follow-up by an assigned case manager for six months.
  • Virginia Workforce Connection, Veterans Services

The Virginia Workforce Connection has the Virginia Workforce Connections, Veterans Services webpage that contains links to information of interest to Veterans and their Families. Topics include employment, military occupational code (MOC) based job search, disabled resources, Veterans organizations, VA services, and more.

Virginia State Employment Veterans Hiring Preferences

 Virginia offers a hiring preference when hiring for state employment to eligible Veterans, National Guard Service members and certain Family members.

When a scored test is used during hiring, additional percentage points will be added to an applicant’s passing score. Applicants must meet all knowledge, skill, and ability requirements for the position.

Percentage Point Distribution:

  • Honorably discharged Veterans receive an additional 5%
  • Veterans that have a service-connected disability rating from the VA receive an additional 10%
  • National Guard Service members receive an additional 5%
  • Surviving Spouse and Children (under age 27) of a Service member that was killed in the line of duty receive an additional 5%.

Virginia Professional License Expedited Review for Military Spouses

The Spouse of a Service member that is stationed in Virginia is authorized to have their professional license application expedited. Examples of these licenses include:

  • Real estate
  • Contractor
  • Cosmetology
  • Architect
  • Engineer
  • Interior designer

Licenses regulated by the Virginia Board of Health are not eligible for expedited processing.

A Spouses professional license application must be acted on within 20 days of receipt. If the board cannot respond within 20 days, the board will issue a temporary license until it can decide on the application. Temporary licenses are only valid for 12 months. For more information contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation at 804-367-8500. Virginia Code 54.1-119

Military Spouses may Practice Law in Virginia

Military Spouses who are licensed to practice law in another state, may practice law in Virginia if they meet certain requirements and they practice under the supervision of a licensed Virginia attorney. 

Federal Employment Veteran’s Hiring Preferences

By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans in hiring into the Federal civil service and in retention during reduction in force. Veterans may be entitled to 5 or 10 points included in any scoring process for examination or interviews.

5-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:

  • During a war, or
  • During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955, or
  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976, or
  • During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990 through January 2, 1992, or
  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or
  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of reserve components. USERRA also protects Service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.

Absence from Work for Military Duty

USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years. Exceptions to the five-year limit, include initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual’s service if the basic eligibility criteria are met.

Disability Accommodation

USERRA provides protection for disabled Veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Service members recovering from injuries received during service or training may have up to two years from the date of completion of service to return to their jobs or apply for reemployment.

Return to Work without Loss of Seniority

USERRA provides that returning Service members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. USERRA also requires that reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) be made to enable returning Service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for reemployment. USERRA also provides that while an individual is performing military service, they are deemed to be on a furlough or leave of absence and are entitled to the non-seniority rights accorded other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.

Extension of Health and Pension Plans

Health and pension plan coverage for Service members is provided for by USERRA. Individuals performing military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue employer sponsored health care for up to 24 months; however, they may be required to pay up to 102% of the full premium. For military service of less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the Service member had remained employed. USERRA clarifies pension plan coverage by making explicit that all pension plans are protected.

Virginia Unemployment Insurance (UI)

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) administers the UI program that provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Benefits are paid through taxes on employers covered under the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act. No part of the cost of unemployment benefits is deducted from employee earnings.

Applicants can file a new claim at a Virginia Career Works Center, by telephone by calling 866-832-2363 (Monday through Friday 8:15 am – 4:30 pm), or online at the Virginia UI online Claimant Self Service System.

Applicants will need the following information to file a claim:

  • Social Security number, address, and telephone number
  • Most recent employer’s name, address and telephone number and the reason no longer employed
  • Previous employers’ information
  • If applying though a Virginia Career Works Center, must show proof of Social Security number
  • SF50 if a federal employee in the last 18 months
  • DD214 if a former Service member in the U.S. Armed Forces in the last 18 months.

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Military and Veterans Information

The Virginia DMV has a webpage with links to information that is typically requested for Veterans, Service members and their Families when they relocate to Virginia.

In addition, they have compiled a guide to address topics that are of specific interest to Service members, Veterans, and their Families. The topics covered in the guide range from Military Special License Plates, driver’s license information, commercial driver’s licensing information, title and registration information and more.

“ Veterans” Designation on Virginia Driver’s Licenses and ID Cards

Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces have the option of adding a Veteran indicator to their driver’s license or ID card as a convenient way to show proof of Veteran status at retailers and restaurants that offer discounts to Veterans.

Virginia Military and Veteran License Plates

Virginia offers 61 license plate designs to honor the service and sacrifice of eligible Service members, Veterans, retired Service members and Family members. A short description of some of these plates can be found below.

Virginia Purple Heart License Plate

Virginia offers one free set of purple Heart license plates to recipients of the Purple Heart. These license plates may be personalized and is available with a disability symbol. Unmarried Surviving Spouses of eligible Veterans are also eligible to apply for this license plate.

Virginia Disabled Veteran License Plate

Veterans who have a service-connected disability rating from the VA are eligible for the Virginia Disabled Veteran license plate. These license plates may be personalized and is available with a disability symbol. Unremarried Surviving Spouses of eligible Veterans are also eligible to apply for this license plate.

Veterans that meet the following requirements are eligible for a free set of Disabled Veteran License plates:

  • Lost or loss the use of a leg, arm, or hand
  • Blind
  • Has a permanent and total disability rating from the VA.

Virginia Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces License Plate

Veterans that received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for the Virginia Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces license plate. These license plates may be personalized and is available with a disability symbol.

Virginia Gold Star License Plate

The immediate Family members of a Service member who dies while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for the Virginia Gold Star license plate. These license plates may be personalized and is available with a disability symbol.

Virginia Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Military Test Waivers

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers CDL testing waivers for resident Service members and former Service members based on their military training and experience.

The Even Exchange option allows Service members who have certain Military Occupational Specialties/ Ratings in the U.S. Armed Forces to have their CDL knowledge and skills testing waived. To be eligible Service members must have worked in one of the following Military Occupational Specialties/ Ratings in the past year:

  • Army – 88M, 92F, 14T
  • Air Force – 2T1, 2F0, 3E2
  • Marine Corps – 3531
  • Navy – EO

The CDL Skills Waiver option is available to Service members who have military commercial driving training and experience but do not have the Military Occupational Specialties / Ratings for the Even Exchange option. Applicants must have been licensed for at least two years on a military vehicle like the commercial vehicle class they are applying for. This option only allows a waiver of the skills testing and does not include the knowledge testing requirement.

Applicants must also meet the following requirements:

  • Not had more than one license (except for a military license) in the past two years
  • Not had any license suspended, revoked, or cancelled in the past two years
  • Not had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for the disqualifying offenses (listed on the application)
  • Not had more than one conviction for any type of motor vehicle for serious traffic violations (listed on the application)
  • Have not had had any conviction for a violation of military, state or local laws relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) because of a traffic accident and has no record of an accident in which they were at fault.

Virginia National Guard Medical Coverage and Compensation for Injury, Illness, Disability and Death Covered by Workers’ Compensation

Virginia National Guard Service members on duty in a paid or unpaid status or when performing voluntary service at the request of their commander that are injured, become ill, become disabled or die in the line of duty are eligible for medical coverage and compensation under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Life Insurance

The VA provides valuable life insurance benefits to Veterans, active and reserve component Service members, and their Families to provide financial security given the extraordinary risks involved in military Service. The VA provides the following life insurance benefit programs:

  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
  • Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
  • Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program (TSGLI)
  • Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (S-DVI)
  • Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI).

TRICARE Reserve Select Health Insurance

TRICARE Reserve Select is a premium-based plan, available worldwide for Selected Reserve, (Reserve and National Guard) and their Families who meet the following qualifications:

  • Not on active-duty orders
  • Not covered under the Transitional Assistance Management Program
  • Not eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program or currently covered under FEHB, either under their own eligibility or through a Family member.

The plan provides comprehensive health care coverage when Service members are not activated and covered by active-duty TRICARE benefits.

Death Benefit for Federally Activated Service Members that are Virginia State Employees

Virginia offers a $20,000 death benefit to the beneficiaries of a state employee who is ordered to federal active duty and is killed in action in any armed conflict while serving in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Virginia Resident Totally and Permanently Disabled Veteran Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Licenses

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) offers free lifetime hunting and/or freshwater fishing licenses as well as reduced fee trapping and saltwater fishing licenses to resident disabled Veterans.

Virginia Nonresident Totally and Permanently Disabled Veteran Annual Hunting and Fishing Licenses

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) offers discounted hunting and freshwater fishing licenses to nonresident disabled Veterans.

License Prices:

  • Annual freshwater fishing license – $12.50
  • Annual hunting license – $28.50, does not include bear, deer, turkey, muzzleloader, archery, or national forest permits.

Special Virginia Fishing License for Disabled Active-Duty Service Members

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will issue a free freshwater fishing and trout license to any resident or nonresident disabled active-duty Service member that is receiving inpatient or outpatient medical treatment from a hospital in Virginia, a neighboring state, or the District of Columbia. This license is valid for one year and may not be reissued.

Virginia Special Annual Partially Disabled Veteran Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Resident and Nonresident

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) offers discounted hunting licenses and freshwater fishing licenses to Veterans that have a partial disability rating from the VA.

License Prices:

  • Annual freshwater fishing license – $12 resident, $24 for nonresident
  • Annual hunting license – $12 resident, $56 nonresidents, does not include bear, deer, turkey, muzzleloader, archery, or national forest permits.

Virginia Veteran Care Centers, State Veterans Homes

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services has two Veterans Care Centers that provide affordable, long term skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/dementia care as well as short- and long-term rehabilitation for Veterans. Each first-class facility is designed to enhance a resident’s quality of life in a clean, caring, and dignified environment.

Virginia State Veteran Cemeteries

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services has three Veterans cemeteries that provide a dignified final resting place for Veterans and their eligible Family members.

Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS)

VVFS helps Veterans, reserve component Service members and their Families as they address the challenges of military service, transition, deployments, post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioral health concerns, traumatic brain injuries and other physical injuries. They provide direct support through coordinated personalized care, peer to peer mentoring, caregiver skill building and support groups.

VVFS provides referral and connection to services that are coordinated with Virginia Community Services Boards, brain injury service providers, VA medical facilities and other public and private agencies.
Who is eligible for VVFS? VVFS services are offered to the following:

  • All Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, regardless of discharge status
  • Resident Service members in the Virginia National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces that are not in a federal active-duty status
  • Family members of a Veteran or reserve component Service member not on federal active duty
  • Caregivers of a Veteran or reserve component Service member not on federal active duty.

Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide

The Virginia Attorney has created the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide, a tool to help Virginia Service members, military Families, and Veterans understand the unique legal protections, rights, and resources available to them under the law.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMTA), Reduced Fare Program for Disabled Veterans

The WMTA Reduced Fare Smart rip photo ID card authorizes reduced fares on regional public transportation to eligible disabled Veterans.

Regional Public Transportation Discounts:

  • 50% off peak fare on Metrorail
  • $1 fare on regular Metrobus routes using cash or Smart rip
  • $2.10 on Express Metrobus routes
  • $3.75 on Airport Express Metrobus routes
  • Participating bus service providers:

Alexandria Transit Company – DASH

Arlington Transit – ART

CUE Bus System (Fairfax)

Fairfax Connector

Loudon County Commuter Bus Service

OmniRide/ PRTC – Prince William County

Ride On – Montgomery County

The Bus – Prince George’s County

MTA Bus – Montgomery County

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities in Virginia

The VA has numerous resources available for Veterans and Family members. Please see the local location listing for your nearest facility.