Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes, offers benefits to nearly 350,000 veterans.
Veteran Education Benefits
The Minnesota GI Bill
Minnesota has its’ own GI Bill for qualifying Minnesota Veterans and currently serving military, National Guard, and Reserve members. To qualify, members must have served after September 11, 2001. Spouses and children may also be eligible for the Minnesota military education benefit.
The fund, up to $10,000 for qualified applicants up to age 62, can be used for on-the-job training, licenses, certifications, apprenticeships, or higher education.
● Minnesota residency
● Honorable discharge
● Honorably Served for a total of five years as a member of the Minnesota National Guard or any active or reserve component of the United States armed forces when a part of that service occurred on or after September 11, 2001
● Surviving spouses or children of anyone who served in the military and died or has a VA-rated 100% permanent total disability because of military service.
● Dependents must be eligible to receive education benefits under Chapter 35 or the Chapter 33 Fry Scholarship.
Students are eligible for up to $3,000 per academic year, $1,000 per semester for full-time, and up to $500 per semester for part-time.
Veterans must reapply every year to receive GI bill benefits.
Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit
This program for eligible surviving spouses and dependent children of military members who died on active duty or because of a service-related medical condition gives qualifying dependents and surviving spouses the opportunity to attend college. Students can take undergraduate courses at any state-supported or privately-run higher education institutions for free. This program also provides a $750 grant each year towards other educational fees and expenses. The veteran must have either been a Minnesota resident upon entering military service or have been Minnesota state residents for a minimum of six months before the time of death. The surviving spouse or dependent child must also be a Minnesota resident.
An additional one-time grant of $750 tuition grant is available if a veteran has used all of the GI Bill benefits.
Veteran Employment Benefits
The State of Minnesota offers some hiring preferences for veterans, including the following:
● Veteran’s Credit (non-disabled): Ten Preference points for local government positions.
● Disabled Veteran’s Credit: 15 Preference points for local government positions.
● Direct Appointment to State Jobs: for 30% service-connected disabled veterans applying for state jobs.
● Veterans Preference in State Jobs: VA-rated disabled veterans are considered before veterans without disabilities, who are considered before non-veterans if they meet requirements for the job.
● Veterans in State Employment: special awareness is given to recruiting vets and other protected group members.
● Veterans Preference in the Minnesota Private Sector: private companies can, by state law, grant hiring, and promotion preference to veterans.
Minnesota Workforce Centers Veteran Preference
Minnesota offers eligible veterans priority services at its WorkForce Centers. The center has specially trained veterans employment representatives to help veterans. Services:
● Resume and cover letter assistance
● Job search guidance
● Help with Minnesota professional licensure and certification
● Help to find apprenticeships
● Veteran hiring preferences information
● Job referrals
● Information about other veteran services in Minnesota
The center may also offer transition assistance. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development provides advice and referrals for disabled veterans.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Minnesota Veterans Assisted Care and Nursing Homes
Minnesota operates five Veterans Homes and one Adult Day Care Center. The homes are in:
● Fergus Falls, Minnesota
● Hastings, Minnesota
● Luverne, Minnesota
● Minneapolis, Minnesota
● Silver Bay, Minnesota
Services may vary from one home to the other but can include:
● Domiciliary Care (Hastings and Minneapolis only)
● 24-hour Nursing Care
● Skilled Nursing Care
● Dementia Care
● Rehabilitation Services
● Mental Health Services
● Pharmaceutical Services
● Work Therapy
● Social Services
The adult daycare for qualifying veterans in the Minneapolis veterans' home campus is available too. Minnesota residents with an honorable discharge. Applicants must prove the medical need and must meet a minimum service time requirement.
Resident military spouses who are 55 years old may also be eligible.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Minnesota Tax Breaks and Benefits for Veterans
The Minnesota Department of Revenue offers state tax breaks and benefits for qualifying service members and veterans. They include:
● Military retirement pay (including pensions) are deducted from gross state taxable income.
● Military members who served in a combat zone or received hazardous duty area on or after January 1, 2014, pay no state taxes on the pay received for that duty.
● Active duty veterans and National Guard or Reserve members may be eligible for a Minnesota state tax credit of up to $750 for their past military service.
● Active duty service members who qualify may be able to deduct federally taxable active-duty pay from state taxable income.
● Service members, who are serving in the military and cannot file tax paperwork or pay state income taxes on time, could qualify for a state tax filing extension.
● Honorably discharged veterans with VA service-connected disabilities of at least 70% may qualify for a property tax exclusion on their principal residence.
Minnesota Short-Term Financial Assistance for Veterans
The State of Minnesota provides need-based financial aid for eligible veterans and dependents who need temporary help paying their rent, mortgage, utility bills, or health insurance premiums.
The financial aid is available for up to six months for those either unable to work their regular occupations due to a temporary disability, or permanently disabled and waiting for a permanent disability benefit from the Veterans Administration or Social Security ( or any other long-term benefit).
Documentation must prove that the applicant was employed within a year of the application and that there is a medical cause for unemployment.
Qualifying surviving spouses without a temporary disability if they apply within the first 12 months of the veteran's death. As a Minnesota County Veteran Service Officer for help with the forms.
State Unemployment Benefits for Veterans
The State of Minnesota offers veterans unemployment benefits if they qualify. Requirements include, but may not be limited to:
● Minnesota residency
● Must have completed the first full military service term
● Must have been separated under honorable conditions
● Must reside in Minnesota when the benefits are claimed
● Application for unemployment benefits cannot be submitted until after the veteran’s official separation date.
An applicant need not have a DD214 Report of Discharge in hand to apply for benefits, but the veteran’s discharge paperwork is required when available to calculate the amount of unemployment benefits.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Minnesota Military License Plates
The State of Minnesota provides no-fee license plate designations for Gold Star families and ex-POWs. Other military-themed license plates are available for a $10 filing fee and a $10 plate fee.
Recreational Benefits for Current Military Members
There are recreation benefits for currently serving military members. Active military members qualify for free Minnesota state park permits. Currently serving Minnesota residents get priority for some hunting permits. Some activities, such as small game hunting, is free and permit-free for qualifying military members.
Recreational Benefits for Retired, Separated, and Disabled Veterans
Retired or separated military service members can hunt small game and fish without a license. They also receive veteran preferences for deer lotteries and related recreational events.
Veterans with VA-rated disabilities at 100% are also to apply for a "permanent angling license."
For most recreational benefits, Minnesota residency is required.
Firearms and Hunting Safety Training Requirements For Military Members
Active duty military members can get a hunting license in Minnesota without completing the firearms safety training usually required. This exemption from safety training only applies while a military member serves on active duty. Discharged veterans must take the firearm safety training course (if the veteran was born after December 31, 1979). While taking the class, anyone who can present proof of military service can be exempt from the course's field training portion.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
Minnesota operates two state cemeteries:
Little Falls, Minnesota
Burial benefits are available to eligible service members free of charge and their spouses for a fee.
● Grave liner
● Perpetual care
Cremation options are available. Pre-need applications may be made by visiting the cemetery or a county Veterans Service Office.