Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Benefits for the Over 1.6 million Veterans Who Call Florida Home
Florida Veteran Education Benefits
Credit for Military Training and Experience
Florida state colleges/universities issue college credits towards a degree for qualifying military training and education
for students attending classes using the GI Bill benefit.
Tuition Waivers Veterans attending a Florida state university, Florida College System institution, or career center pay in-state rates and fees if they presently reside in Florida. Out-of-state tuition waivers are also offered to Active Duty military even if they are not physically in Florida.
Tuition is waived for qualifying (see list below) veterans taking undergraduate classes at Florida state universities, community colleges, and other Florida supported career and vocational training facilities.
Recipients of combat awards including:
● Navy Cross/Air Force Cross/Distinguished Service Cross
● Distinguished Service Medal with Combat V
● Silver Star Legion of Merit with Combat V
● Distinguished Flying Cross
● Bronze Star with Combat V
● Purple Heart
● Medal of Honor
Scholarships for Dependents and Spouses
Florida’s Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans Program provides educational, financial aid to the dependents and spouses of qualifying veterans. Some dependents of POWs and MIAs may benefits from this program, too. For more information, click here.
The scholarships provide financial help towards tuition and fees at all qualified public or private schools.
Florida High School Diploma Program for Veterans
The State of Florida can award high school diplomas to service members who enlisted before graduating from high school. The military member must currently reside in Florida and have been honorably discharged to apply for the diploma.
Florida Veteran Employment Benefits
Florida offers Veterans hiring preference. Special consideration is given to those who served during wartime, those who have service-related VA rated disabilities, and eligible surviving spouses of deceased veterans.
Occupational License Fee Waivers for Veterans
Specific occupational licensing fees will be waived for disabled veterans with wartime service. The veterans must be full-time Florida residents and be unable to do manual labor. Surviving spouses of deceased, disabled veterans may qualify under some circumstances.
County and Municipal Fee Exemptions for Disabled Veterans
VA-rated 100% disabled veterans will not be charged building license and permit fees needed to make a home "habitable and safe." Restrictions apply.
Business Fee Waivers for Veterans
Veterans and spouses who submit applications within 60 months of the veteran’s honorable discharge will not have to pay for business licenses, application fees, or unlicensed activity fees. Veterans and spouses who apply for qualifying health care licensing, agriculture, and consumer service licensure will also be exempt from paying fees.
Florida Veteran Housing Benefits
Veteran’s Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes
Florida has six nursing homes available for honorably discharged veterans in need of nursing care.
● Alexander “Sandy” Nininger Veterans’ Nursing Home - Pembroke Pines, FL
● Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home - Port St. Lucie, FL
● Baldomero Lopez State Veterans’ Nursing Home - Land O’ Lakes, FL
● Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home - Panama City, FL
● Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home -St. Augustine, FL
● Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home - Port Charlotte, FL
● Emory L. Bennett State Veterans’ Nursing Home - Daytona Beach, FL
All facilities have a set number of beds available for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Each facility offers different services.
Veterans who have lived in Florida for a minimum of one year can apply for a space in the Robert Jenkins, Jr. Veterans Domiciliary Home. This facility, located in Lake City, offers assisted living to 150 residents. To apply, veterans must have proof of their honorably discharged, should need some daily assistance but still be able to feed and dress themselves.
Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program and Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program
First time home buying veterans and active-duty military personnel in Florida can get a lower-than-market fixed interest rate on a 30-year mortgage loan. They are also eligible for up to $10,000 in down payment closing aid.
Other Florida Veteran Financial Benefits
Florida offers a property tax exemption of $5,000 to all disabled veterans with VA service-connected disability ratings of at least 10%. The veteran must apply to their county for the exemption, showing proof of disability rating. The exemption may be available for qualifying surviving spouses. To qualify, spouses must have been married to the veteran for a minimum of five years prior to the veteran's death.
Florida Homestead Tax Exemptions for Veterans
Florida’s “homestead exemption” offers property tax breaks to some honorably discharged veterans. Restrictions apply. The amount of the exemption "corresponds to the percent of time during the previous year when the service member was deployed on a designated operation," says the Florida Department of Revenue.
Property Tax Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans
VA-rated 100 % permanently, totally disabled veterans may be exempt from property taxes on homesteads. Qualifying surviving spouses also qualify.
Additional Florida Veteran Benefits
Florida Driver License, ID Cards, and License Plates
Veteran designated driver licenses and ID cards are available to Florida veterans who present discharge paperwork like DD Form 214 or the Guard/Reserve equivalent. Florida driver licenses are available without fees to 100% disabled veterans.
Florida Military License Plates
Specially designed license plates are available to Florida military members and veterans for a fee. Plate designs include DV plates for those with 100 % disability ratings, Wheelchair emblem plates for those requiring a wheelchair, Purple Heart designs, and other military honors. To apply, present proof of military service/honorable discharge with your application.
A driver with a "DV" plate and mobility limitations can legally use designated handicapped parking zones.
Florida Toll Road Fee Waivers for Disabled Veteran Drivers In Specially Equipped Vehicles
If the driver’s disabilities make paying of tolls with coins in the toll baskets too difficult, Florida law requires tolls be waived.
Florida Recreational Benefits for Veterans
The State of Florida offers the following:
● Annual passes to Florida State Parks for 25% less than standard
● Discounts on entrance fees for municipal parks and recreation facilities.
● A “Military Gold Sportsman’s License” is offered at a reduced fee to current and retired military members.
● No-fee Florida state hunting and fishing licenses and permits for Florida residents who are VA certified as 100% totally and permanently disabled and those who carry a disabled veteran ID card.
● No-fee use of state land and state-run agricultural land as part of the Operation Outdoor Freedom project.
Florida Legal Benefits For Veterans
Florida has established a unique “veterans court” that addresses mental health and substance abuse issues for qualifying veterans. Approximately 24 veterans courts have been established to handle such cases. According to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, "Successful completion of Veterans Court has helped decrease the recidivism rates of its participants through the proper diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues."
Florida Burial Benefits For Veterans
The State of Florida does not extend additional benefits to veterans for burial. Still, the large number of VA cemeteries in Florida makes it easier for veterans and their families to manage pre-need planning for funeral arrangements. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida does not operate any national cemeteries for veterans, but the following is a list of VA cemeteries in the state:
● Barrancas National Cemetery
● Bay Pines National Cemetery
● Cape Canaveral National Cemetery
● Florida National Cemetery
● Jacksonville National Cemetery
● Sarasota National Cemetery
● South Florida National Cemetery
● Tallahassee National Cemetery
St. Augustine National Cemetery is included in the Florida list but is marked as closed.