Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Iowa, the Hawkeye state, offers benefits to its over 225,000 Veterans.
Iowa State Veteran Education Benefits
Tuition Benefits for Military Members, Spouses, and Dependent Children for Iowa Residents
Iowa automatically grants in-state status for tuition rates to everyone who currently serves on active duty, their spouses, and their dependent children. Submit documentation to apply:
● a copy of PCS orders or military ID card for active military members
● for dependents-the military parent’s tax return (must show the applying student as a dependent) and a copy of the parent’s military ID card or current orders.
● Spouses should submit a marriage certificate and a military spouse ID card or a copy of the current PCS.
Domestic partners also can qualify by submitting a certification of domestic partnership.
Members of the National Guard and Reserve qualify for in-state tuition status if:
● They are assigned to an Iowa unit.
● They have completed basic training or have served for at least one year.
Submit documentation to the Office of the Registrar, including:
● Paperwork confirming completion of basic training OR
● Paperwork confirming 12 months of service
● Confirmation of attachment to an Iowa unit
● Enlistment/Reenlistment Paperwork
● Current military orders
Full-time members of the Iowa State Guard or Reserve and spouses and dependents also qualify.
Branstad/Reynolds Scholarship Fund
Children of those military members who died on active duty after September 11, 2001, can apply to the Branstad-Reynolds Scholarship fund. The member's death needs not to be combat-related. The scholarship money can be applied to school tuition and fees, housing, books, any special tools, or equipment required by the school program.
Apply to the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs before December 31 of each year. Applicants should submit an estimate of the education costs to be covered the scholarship.
Iowa War Orphan Tuition Assistance
Iowa War Orphan Tuition Assistance Program provides up to $600 per year to dependent children of Iowa veterans killed in action on or after September 11, 2001. Students 26 years or younger can apply the assistance to costs for any coursework at an Iowa college. The maximum amount allotted to each student is $3000. Iowa residency is required. Dependent children of Guard and Reserve members may also be eligible.
To receive the benefit, applicants must fulfill the following requirements:
● The applicant must have earned a high school diploma or the equivalent.
● The applicant must live in Iowa for at least two years immediately before applying.
● The applicant must be applying to an approved school in the State of Iowa.
Iowa National Guard Tuition Assistance
Iowa National Guard members who currently serve may be eligible for a maximum of 2,700 each semester for full-time coursework. Part-time students can get a smaller amount towards their tuition. Guard members who are mobilized in the middle of a semester may be eligible for a refund.
Operation Recognition High School
Students who left high school before receiving a diploma to enlist in the military may qualify for a diploma. Veterans of World War I or II, Korea, and Vietnam who have been honorably discharged can apply to the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs. Family members can apply for a deceased member to receive the diploma posthumously.
Iowa State Veteran Employment Benefits
Hiring Preference for Veterans
Some state jobs have a hiring preference for veterans and Guard and Reserve members who qualify for preference.
To be eligible for preference, you must be:
● Disable Veterans
● Veterans currently receiving VA pension payments
● Purple Heart awardee
● Guard or Reserve (must have a minimum of 20 years of service since January 28, 1973
Documentation like VA award letters and discharge paperwork need to be presented with employment application.
Iowa State Veteran hiring preferences for veterans are not equivalent to the federal preference program. Contact the Iowa Department of Administrative Services for more detailed information.
Home Base Iowa Program for Veterans
Home Base Iowa Program connects veterans and their families to employment agencies and job resources to aid them as they transition from military to civilian life. The program connects Iowa businesses with veterans hunting for employment. Veterans can post a resume on The Home Base Iowa official site, and businesses access the website to find employees. The site also lets companies apply to have a small business recognized as a Home Base Iowa business.
Commercial Driver's License Waiver for Qualifying Veterans
Veterans with experience driving large trucks during their military service may be exempt from a driving skills test when they apply for a commercial driver's license. The vehicle driven in the service must be the same type as the commercial vehicle on the permit to qualify.
Iowa State Veteran Housing Benefits
Iowa State Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa
The historic Iowa Veterans Home, built in 1887, is a long-term care facility for honorably discharged military members who meet qualifications. Dependents and surviving spouses who meet the qualifications may also be eligible.
All applicants must live in Iowa and meet eligibility requirements for admission to VA Medical Centers. Spouses and surviving spouses of qualified veterans must have been married to the deceased veteran for at least one year.
The 700 bed home features nursing home-style care and domiciliary care.
Home services may include:
● Physical, respiratory, and occupational therapy
Residents' fees will be charged according to the patient's income and assets.
IFA FirstHome Mortgage Program
IFA FirstHome Mortgage Program is primarily for a first-time homebuyer, but veterans can apply even if they are not buying their first home. The mortgage comes with lower fees and a lower interest rate regardless of the applicant's credit report. Borrowers must have a minimum of 3% of the purchase price for a down payment. (FHA loans require a 3.5% deposit) Check the website for further details.
IFA Home for Iowans Mortgage Program
Similar to the program described above, the Home for Iowans Mortgage Program helps first-time buyers and repeat buyers. The requirements are like the First Home program, including income caps and purchase price maximums. caps
Military Homeownership Assistance Program
This IFA program offers a $5000 grant to help qualifying military members with a down payment or closing costs when they purchase a home.
Iowa Veteran Financial Benefits
Iowa Veterans Trust Fund
The State of Iowa maintains a multi-million-dollar trust account for helping veterans and their families. Veteran families in need can apply for funds to use when faced with veteran unemployment or underemployment. The funds are available to help vets and qualifying family members pay for needed dental care, vision care, hearing aids, medical equipment, and prescriptions. Other covered expenses include vehicle or home repairs, emergency housing, counseling, and substance abuse services. The funds are available is need-based, and to receive funds, the veteran’s cash assets cannot amount to more than $15,000.
Some of the benefits and their cash payment amounts:
● Unemployment Assistance – when a service-connected issue causes their unemployment, applicants can receive up to $3,000.00 in any twelve-month period. The lifetime maximum per person is $6,000.00
● Job Training or Education Assistance – $3,000.00 lifetime maximum per person
● Individual or Family Counseling – a maximum of $5,000.00 in any twelve-month period
● Dental – a maximum of $2,500.00 in any twelve-month period
● Audiology – a maximum of $1,500.00 for each ear in any twelve-month period
● Emergency Housing Repairs – a maximum of $3,000.00 in any twelve-month period
● Emergency Vehicle Repairs – a maximum of $2,500.00 in any twelve-month period
● Emergency Room Expense – Lifetime limit of $5,000.00 per person
● Durable Medical Equipment – Lifetime limit of $2,500.00 per person
Iowa Finance Authority Military Homeowner Grant
Qualified service members on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 (and some surviving spouses) can apply for a $5,000 grant towards the purchase of a home. Military members who have served for 90 days on active duty between August 2, 1990, and April 6, 1991, can also apply. Qualifications for the grant include:
● The home must become the buyer's primary residence.
● Purchase may be made either with cash or with a loan through Iowa Finance Authority (IFA), Participating or Facilitating Lender, and IFA first mortgage.
Work with a participating lender to apply for this grant. Submit your discharge paperwork and four months of Leave and Earnings Statements with your application.
Iowa State Injured Veterans Grant
The State of Iowa offers a grant of up to $10,000 to current military members and qualifying discharged veterans who were seriously or very seriously injured in a combat theater of operations after 9-11-2001. The grant’s purpose is to allow family members to be with or near a veteran during the recovery process after being injured in a combat zone or when the service member was drawing hazardous duty pay.
The grants are paid according to the following schedule:
● $2,500 at the time of medical evacuation from the combat zone
● $2,500 30 days later if the service member is still in the hospital for medical treatment or rehabilitation.
● $2,500 60 days after being evacuated if still hospitalized
● $2,500 90 days after being evacuated if still hospitalized
Hospitalization cannot be in the service member's home of record.
Iowa State Tax Breaks for Veterans
The State of Iowa offers other tax incentives and tax breaks for veterans.
Military Retirement Pay Tax Exemption
Iowa state law exempts military retirement pay, and survivor benefits from state income tax.
Property Tax Exemption for Qualifying Military Service
Property tax exemptions of slightly less than $2000 are available to those who qualify.
● wartime service OR
● a minimum of 18 months with an honorable discharge OR
● fewer than 18 months with a qualifying service-related medical condition
● surviving spouses, dependent children of service members who qualify
Iowa State Disabled Veteran Homestead Tax Credit
Disabled veterans who qualify are entitled to a 100% property tax exemption. The Homestead Tax Credit is available to veterans with permanent and total disability ratings who are unemployable and paid at the 100% disability rate.
Additional Iowa Veteran Benefits
Recreational Benefits for Veterans
The State of Iowa offers veterans who are VA-rated with any disability are entitled to fishing and hunting licenses for a minimal seven-dollar fee. The service member must live in Iowa, and the disability must be due to active duty military service.
Iowa Burial Benefits for Veterans
The Iowa State Veterans Cemetery, in Adel, Iowa, offers burial privileges to military members, their qualifying spouses, and dependent children. There is no fee for veterans, but family members incur an interment fee.
To be eligible for burial military service:
o The service member must have any discharge other than Dishonorable.
o Service member died on active duty OR
o member served a minimum of 20 years in the National Guard or Reserves and qualified for military retirement pay.
o Reserve personnel who served in a presidential call-up during Reserve Component military service also qualify.
A pre-need eligibility application is available and recommended. Download the pre-need application and mail it to the address on the form.