Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Kentucky, The Bluegrass State, provides benefits for over 300,000 veterans.
Veteran Education Benefits
Commonwealth of Kentucky College Tuition Waiver
The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers free tuition waivers to qualifying military dependents. Dependents can be a veteran's children, stepchildren, spouses, or surviving spouse (not remarried). Applicants must meet tuition waiver qualifications. The tuition waiver applies to state-supported two-year, four-year, or vocational-technical schools
To qualify for the Kentucky tuition waiver, the applicant’s parent or spouse must meet at least one of the following:
● A military member who died while on active duty
● A veteran who died because of a service-connected disability (determination must be made by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
● A veteran who is 100% service-connected disabled
● A veteran who served in wartime who is totally disabled (need not have been service-connected)
● A veteran who served in wartime and died while living in Kentucky. Kentucky residency is also required for the veteran (at the time of death) and the dependent applying for the Kentucky tuition waiver program
Post 9/11 GI Bill Kentucky In-State Tuition Benefits
Veterans and Guard and Reserve members who do not live in Kentucky pay in-state tuition fees if they qualify for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Kentucky College “Active Duty Forgiveness” Program
If students leave college because they are called to federal military, active duty, Kentucky Commission on Veterans Affairs allows the student a reasonable amount of time to make up missed work and prevents the student from losing the college credits assigned to the work.
Kentucky High School Diploma Program
High school students who left to join the military during World War Two, Korea, or Vietnam before receiving a diploma can apply to receive a High School Diploma. The student must have been honorably discharged and served during one of the following periods.
● World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
● Korean Conflict: June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953
● Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
● Vietnam: February 28, 1961 – August 5, 1964
Veterans must submit a copy of the veteran’s discharge paperwork with their application.
Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship Awards
This program allows students with Kentucky listed as their home of record who attend high school in another state to qualify for KY educational excellence scholarship awards if their parents serve in the military.
Veteran Employment Benefits
Professional Licenses and Certification
The State of Kentucky provides veterans assistance with qualifying for professional certifications, licensure, or other professional employment. Kentucky public law offers perks like:
Certification for Firefighters
Kentucky can accept military training and service towards a civilian firefighter certification.
Kentucky Emergency Medical Technician Certification Reciprocity Program
The Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services gives credit for appropriate military training or experience towards an emergency medical technician's initial certification.
Commercial Driver's License Waiver for Skills Test
Kentucky grants a waiver on the skills part of the commercial driver’s test to service members who have recently operated commercial-sized motor vehicles.
Automatic Extension of Professional Certifications
Kentucky does not charge renewal fees to qualifying active-duty military members for any professional license or certificate. Any continuing education requirements for the licenses or certifications are also excused.
Military Spouse Temporary Professional Licensure and Certification
Qualifying military spouses with a current professional license or certification may transfer it to Kentucky and be granted a temporary permit (good for six months).
Continuing Education Requirements Exemption for Licensed Engineers
Kentucky waives any continuing education requirements for qualifying military members who are licensed engineers and deployed.
Kentucky Alternative Teacher Certification
State of Kentucky law permits veterans to qualify for alternative teaching certification so they can teach in elementary, secondary, and vocational secondary schools.
State License Requirements for HVAC Professionals
Kentucky allows qualifying veterans and current military members to apply military experience when they apply for heating and air conditioning licenses. Kentucky also offers them a 60-day grace period for license renewals.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Veterans Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes
Kentucky operates four veteran centers and nursing homes:
● Carl M Brashear Veterans Center in Radcliff, Kentucky
● Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard, Kentucky
● Thompson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, Kentucky
● Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, Kentucky
Admission requirements include Kentucky residency, a military discharged other than Dishonorable, and a need for care. Services vary from center to center but include:
● 24-hour nursing care
● Physician services
● Pharmaceutical services
● Laboratory services
● Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
● Dementia/Alzheimer’s care
● Daily recreational activities
● Library and wireless internet
State Housing Grants for National Guard and Reserve Members
The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers housing grants to qualifying Guard and Reserve members to reduce mortgage or rental payments. Requirements include having Kentucky listed as the Home of Record and on deployment outside the United States.
The Kentucky Department of Military Affairs also offers qualifying military spouses website access to educational, technical, and ombudsman services that help the spouse maintain a mortgage during active duty.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Kentucky Income Tax Exemption for Resident Military Members
The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers a state income tax exemption for all military pay received by active or reserve members of the Armed Forces and all National Guard members.
Kentucky State Income Tax Exemption for Death in Line of Duty
The State of Kentucky exempts all income from state income tax regardless of its source for active duty and reserve members who were killed in the line of duty. The exemption applies to the year the service member was killed and the year before. This Kentucky tax law also exempts federal and state death benefits from state income tax.
Kentucky Probate Fee Exemption
Kentucky estate probate fees are not charged to a regular member of the Armed Forces.
Kentucky State Income Tax Return Extension for Service in A Combat Zone
Kentucky service members serving in a combat zone automatically qualify for an extension on their state income tax filing deadline.
Military Retirement Pay Partial State Income Tax Exemption
Eligible military retirees may deduct up to $41,110 from income from pensions, annuities, retirement funds, employee savings plans, or profit-sharing plans. Check with the Kentucky Commission on Veterans Affairs or your local tax office for current tax benefits.
Kentucky Property Tax Exemption for 100% Disabled Veterans
Kentucky offers veterans who are VA rated as 100% service-connected disabled a homestead tax exemption.
Kentucky State Tax Credit for National Guard Members
Kentucky residents who are National Guard members on the last day of a calendar year are eligible for a $20 income tax credit.
Kentucky State Military Family Assistance Trust Fund
The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers trust fund financial aid to qualifying military personnel and their dependents for expenses incurred at the end of a deployment. The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs manages the program.
Kentucky Military Spouse Unemployment Benefits
Qualifying military spouses in Kentucky can receive Kentucky unemployment benefits if they leave a job to accompany the military member to a newly assigned location.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Kentucky Veteran License Plate Benefits
The State of Kentucky offers DMV perks and benefits to qualifying military members and veterans who renew or obtain license plates.
No Annual Proof Required for Renewal of Military License Plates
Kentucky has no longer requires proof of eligibility for every military plate renewal.
Drivers License Exceptions For 17-Year-Old Military Enlistees.
Kentucky law exempts 17-year old enlistees from obtaining an intermediate driver’s license.
Kentucky Driver’s License Renewal for Expired Licenses
Kentucky allows current military members to renew a drivers’ licenses by mail. A driver’s license will not expire while a member serves out of state but must be renewed within 90 days of return to Kentucky.
Vehicle License Renewal Extension for Deployed Military Members
Kentucky state law exempts deployed service members from citations for driving with an expired registration within 30 days of their return to Kentucky. Kentucky also exempts qualifying military members from late renewal penalties and property taxes.
Recreational Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
The State of Kentucky offers veteran residents of Kentucky who are VA-rated at 50% disabled or greater a discount on hunting and fishing combo licenses. The veteran must apply for a disability authorization card from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to apply for the discount.
Kentucky State Park overnight accommodations are free for resident veterans who are 100% disabled.
Burial Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
Kentucky operates five veterans’ cemeteries:
● Kentucky Veterans Cemetery (North Kentucky)
● Kentucky Veterans Cemetery (Central Kentucky)
● Kentucky Veterans Cemetery (Western Kentucky)
● Kentucky Veterans Cemetery (South East Kentucky)
● Kentucky Veterans Cemetery (North East Kentucky)
Kentucky state law requires residency for burial at one of the veterans’ cemeteries. To qualify for Kentucky residency, the veteran may have been born in Kentucky, served in Kentucky, or have listed Kentucky as the home of record. The veteran can have any military discharge other than dishonorable.
Cemetery services include:
● Furnishing either grave or columbarium space
● Opening and closing the grave
● Perpetual gravesite care
● Grave marker or headstone
● Liner for casket burials