Kentucky Veteran’s Benefits

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Kentucky, The Bluegrass State, provides benefits for over 300,000 veterans.


Kentucky Veteran’s Benefits

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