Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Missouri, the Show-Me State, offers benefits to over 450,000 veterans.
Veteran Education Benefits
Missouri Returning Heroes Act Tuition Reduction
Combat veterans and some decorated service members may be eligible for reduced tuition at Missouri state-funded colleges. The tuition reduction, which only applies to Missouri residents, limits the tuition rate charged to qualifying veterans to $50 per credit hour. The decrease in tuition is applied before federal and state student aid is applied.
Requirements for this program include:
● The veteran must have entered the military as a Missouri resident. Missouri must be listed as the veteran’s home of record on DD Form 214, but the applicant need not reside in Missouri at the time the applicant gets the benefit.
● A veteran must be discharged under conditions other than punitive discharges like Bad Conduct, Less Than Honorable, and Dishonorable.
● The veteran must be seeking a degree at a Missouri public institution.
Missouri Wartime Survivor’s Grant
This educational grant is granted yearly to 25 applicants. To qualify, students must be children or spouses of veterans who died in combat, or who became at least 80% disabled because of injuries or accidents sustained in combat since Sept. 11, 2001. Veterans must have been a Missouri resident when they entered the military service or at the time of death or injury.
Each semester, this grant covers either the actual tuition or the tuition amount charged to a resident enrolled in the same number of credits at the University of Missouri Columbia, whichever is less. Students also receive $2,000 per semester allowance for housing and books. Applicants must be under 25 when entering a semester.
Exemptions For The State A+ Schools Program For Qualifying Students
The state permits active duty military dependents to be listed as exempt from a three-year attendance requirement for the Missouri A+ Schools Program. Also exempt are dependent children of retired veterans who relocate to Missouri within a year of retirement from active duty.
Operation Recognition Honorary High School Diplomas
Missouri Operation Recognition program offers honorary high school diplomas for veterans who left high school to enroll in military service. All honorably discharged veterans, who are either current residents or former Missouri residents, can apply for the honorary diploma. Family can also apply for the member to receive the certificate posthumously.
In-State Tuition Eligibility for Retiring or Separating Service Members
Veterans who leave the service with either a general or honorable discharge, and who were residents of Missouri are granted in-state tuition rates for approved public four-year and two-year colleges. When attending a community college, the student must live within the taxing district of the community college.
In-State Tuition Eligibility for Military Dependents
Dependents of military members who either reside in Missouri or are permanently assigned in the state may be eligible for in-state tuition. The student must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at an approved Missouri school.
Additional Missouri State Veterans Education Benefits
Missouri Veterans Commission urges veterans and currently serving military members looking for education benefits to use a Veterans service organization (VSO) with the navigation of the state benefits system. Academic credit may be offered for military training and professional military education courses. There are protections for scholarship awardees if they are called to active duty before a program finishes.
Veteran Employment Benefits
Missouri Show Me Heroes Employment Program
The Show-Me Heroes is a veteran’s employment incentive program. It offers employers a 50% wage reimbursement to employers for work training for up to six months and more than a thousand hours of training.
Some veterans qualify for the Show-Me Heroes program AND VA on-the-job training and apprenticeship. Veterans must have been honorably discharged and must apply within one year of discharge. Some military spouses may be eligible.
Contract and Business Preference for Disabled Veterans
Veterans with VA-rated disabilities may qualify for employment preference when they bid or apply for jobs or services with the state. The preference applies to all disabled Veteran businesses doing business in or from the state of Missouri. The quality of performance must be equal or better to competitors, and the price quoted must be either equal or less than competitors' bids.
Military Service Waivers for Dissolved Corporations
Under specific circumstances, the Missouri Secretary of State can waive reinstatement fees and procedures. If a corporation must be dissolved because it failed to file an annual registration report while the business owner is on active duty, fees and other costs may be waived.
Business Fees Waiver for Active Duty Military and Guard Members
Missouri resident veterans who are officers, partners, organizers, members, or majority shareholders of a company, corporation, or partnership may qualify for waivers of specified business fees.
Military Experience Counted for Missouri Professional Licenses
The state directs professional licensing boards and commissions in the state to accept military education, training, or service toward required qualifications for professional licenses or certifications. Applicants must present satisfactory evidence of relevant training or experience. Military members with jobs that require state licensing or accreditation should not be required to attend expected continuing education classes if they are called to active duty as members of the Guard or Reserve. When the military member has returned home, the employee will not be required to retake classes or training, they missed due to their military service.
Healthcare professionals who are called to active duty also have license protections; Veterans’ healthcare licenses and certificates remain valid for their active-duty military service duration. License and certificates will be renewed without the payment of dues.
The service member’s license or certificate may remain valid while active duty military service continues and for a minimum of six months after release from active duty.
Missouri Unemployment Compensation for Qualifying Veterans And Spouses
Missouri offers unemployment compensation for qualified veterans and their spouses. Any veterans of "the war on terror" may be eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. Based on the veteran's highest pay grade, the payment has a maximum benefit of about $1,150.
Unemployment compensation may also be available for military spouses who lose jobs when they relocate with a military spouse because of a permanent change of station (PCS) move. The Missouri State Veterans Commission specifies that qualifying spouses who relocate to a residence too far from a workplace for practical commuting and who continue to work as long as possible before the move, may be eligible for unemployment benefits if the other state unemployment criteria are met.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Missouri Veterans Homes and Housing Assistance
Missouri operates seven veterans’ homes:
● Cameron, Missouri
● Cape Girardeau, Missouri
● Mexico, Missouri
● Mt. Vernon, Missouri
● St. James, Missouri
● St. Louis, Missouri
● Warrensburg, Missouri
Veteran eligibility requirements include Missouri residency and the need for skilled nursing care.
First Place Home Loan Program
Veterans can take part in this program even if they are not purchasing their first home. First Place Home Loan Program offers affordable interest rates and cash grants for down payments and closing costs.
Next Step Home Loan Program
This program helps homebuyers who are not purchasing their first home when they need help with c a down payment for a new primary residence. Veterans are encouraged to apply.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Tax Breaks for Veterans
Tax breaks for veterans in Missouri include a full property tax exemption for a primary residence of any VA-rated 100% disabled vet who is a former POW. Other tax breaks in the Missouri include:
● Income tax exemptions for military members on active duty
● Income tax exemptions for retirement pay from military service
● Property tax waivers for out-of-state military
● Personal property tax credits for eligible military members
Tax laws change periodically. Contact a local tax professional or the Missouri Veterans Commission to confirm present tax regulations.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Veteran-Designated Driver Licenses, ID Cards, and License Plates
Missouri offers veteran-designated driver’s licenses, state ID cards, and license plates. Applicants must present proof of service and pay applicable fees to Missouri DMV.
Legal Benefits for Veterans
The State of Missouri extends special consideration for any deploying service member in child cases. When a deploying military parent is separated from their dependents, the court cannot enter a final order that modifies custody terms of custody or visitation until at least 90 days after the deployment ends. Past, present, or future deployments cannot be the sole factor supporting a permanent modification of custody or visitation terms presently established.
Child custody and visitation orders can be modified to give reasonable accommodation to the deploying service member. These accommodations end no later than 30 days after the return of the deploying parent.
Military members called to active duty for more than 30 days may request a review and modification of the child support agreement because of a change in income.
Burial Benefits For Veterans
The Missouri Veterans Commission operates five Veterans’ cemeteries:
● Springfield, Missouri
● Higginsville, Missouri
● Bloomfield, Missouri
● Jacksonville, Missouri
● Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
At the St. James Veterans Home, the sixth veterans' cemetery is not available for new interments. The cemeteries are operated free-of-charge for qualifying families.
● Opening and closing of the grave
● Concrete grave liner
● Upright granite headstones
● Full military honors (for the veteran)
● Perpetual care.
Missouri residency is not required for these services, and veterans qualify for interment with any military discharge other than Dishonorable. Spouses and dependent children may also be eligible. Burial arrangements can be made through any funeral provider in the state.
Missouri State Recreational Benefits for Veterans
Honorably discharged military veterans who have service-related disabilities of 60% or more, or who were prisoners of war may be eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses. These veterans do not need to apply for permits at all if they carry certified statements of eligibility.
Those who meet the above criteria but are not Missouri residents may be eligible for in-state permit privileges. Missouri resident permit privileges are also available for those who reside in Missouri due to a permanent military change of station.