Montana Veteran’s Benefits

Updated: May 2

Montana, Big Sky Country, has benefits for its over 90,000 veterans.


Montana Veteran’s Benefits

Veteran Education Benefits

Tuition Waivers

Montana offers education benefits for veterans and their dependents.

The Montana State Scholarship Program

National Guard service members are eligible for this scholarship for college study.

To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must meet the following requirements:

● Grade WO1 through CW3, E1 through E7, and O1 through O2

● Serving a 6-year contract

● Either completed their Individual Advanced Training OR

● Their Basic Officer Leaders Course, with less than 16 years of service

● Attending a state-supported college or university

● Taking undergraduate coursework towards a bachelor’s degree

Honorably Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver

Some veterans attending college may be eligible for registration fee and tuition waivers. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

● “Honorable” discharge (cannot be a general discharge under honorable Conditions is )

● Resident of Montana

● Have used all other available VA education benefits.

Applicants must also be one of the following:

● An undergraduate and graduate student who served during one of the following periods:

o December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946

o June 22, 1950, to January 31, 1955

o January 1, 1964, to May 7, 1975

● A recipient of an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service after May 7, 1975, who is working towards a first bachelor's degree

● recipient of the Southwest Asia Service Medal for service in the Persian Gulf between August 2, 1990, and April 11, 1991, who is working towards a first bachelor’s degree.

● A recipient of the Kosovo Campaign Medal who is working towards a first bachelor's degree

● Veteran undergraduate student who served in combat in Afghanistan or Iraq after September 11, 2001, and received one of the following honors:

o Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

o Afghanistan Campaign Medal

o Iraq Campaign Medal

The tuition waiver may cover a total of 12 semesters for those who qualify. Recipients must make satisfactory progress toward a bachelor’s degree.



Tuition Waivers for Dependents

The Surviving Dependents of Montana National Guard Member Waiver: Surviving spouses or children of Montana National Guard members killed through injury, disease, or disability due to state active duty are eligible for a tuition waiver.

War Orphans Waiver: Children under 25 whose parent died due to injury, disease, or disability because of military service may be eligible for tuition waivers. The deceased veteran parents must meet the following criteria:

● Montana resident upon entry into military service

● Served on active duty during:

The Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts

Vietnam

The Korean War

World War II

● Killed in action OR

● Died through injury, disease, or disabilitybecause of military service

The tuition waiver must be judged by the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education.


Veteran Employment Benefits

Hiring Preferences For Veterans

When Veterans apply for public employment in Montana they receive employment preference:

● Veterans receive five percentage points

● Disabled veterans and eligible dependents receive ten percentage points

To qualify for the benefit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

● US citizen

● Must meet any minimum qualifications needed for the position

Veteran Housing Benefits

Veterans Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes

Montana has two veteran nursing homes:

The Eastern Montana Veterans Home, Glendive, Montana

The Montana Veterans Home, Columbia Falls, Montana

The State Department of Health and Human Services manages the homes. Both homes are certified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Veterans Administration.

The Eastern Montana Veteran’s Home in Endive has 80 intermediate level, skilled-care beds, and 16 beds in a Special Care Unit.

To be eligible for this benefit, applicants must meet be:

● Honorably discharged veteran OR

● Spouse or surviving spouse of an honorably discharged veteran

The Columbia Falls Montana Veterans Home has 12 residential self-care beds and 105 intermediate level, skilled-care beds. Columbia Falls also offers services in a 15-bed memory care unit.

To be eligible for this benefit, applicants must be an honorably discharged veteran who needs intermediate skilled nursing care or qualifies for residential self-care living.

Spouses may be admitted when space allows. A veteran and spouse may be admitted together if both qualify.


Veteran Financial Benefits

Property Tax Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans

The Disabled Veterans (MDV), Assistance Program the Montana Department of Revenue, helps all veterans who are 100% disabled due to military service, or surviving spouses who have not remarried, through property tax reductions.

To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

● Submit VA verification of 100% disability due to military service

● Own a home (through either mortgage or contract)

● Have the home as the primary residence for at least seven months each year

Surviving spouses must prove eligibility from the VA, showing either :

● The spouse of deceased veteran who died during active duty because of military service.

● The deceased veteran spouse died from a 100% disability caused by military service.

All income must be reported, including veterans’ benefits, Social Security, or any other non-taxable form of income. Income and marital status can affect a taxpayer’s eligibility for this benefit. Veterans who own homes on agricultural or forest land will receive the tax break on the house and one acre around it.

Additional Veteran Benefits

Vehicle Registration for Veterans

Veterans and surviving spouses who have not remarried may be exempt from paying registration fees for up to two non-commercial vehicles. To be eligible, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

● POW or a surviving spouse (not remarried).

● Veteran currently rated 100% disabled due to military service or a surviving spouse (not remarried).

● Veterans receiving payment at the 100% disabled rate by the VA or their surviving spouse (not remarried).

● Purple Heart recipients who have been determined to be 50% or more disabled due to military service; or their un-remarried surviving spouse.

● The surviving spouse (not remarried) of a service member killed on active duty.

● The surviving spouse (not remarried) of a service member or veteran who died from injury or disability due to military service

License Plates and Parking Benefits

Montana offers special license plates for qualifying veterans. Each plate entitles the veteran to additional benefits:

The Disabled Veteran license plates carry a $10 initial cost but entitle the holders to the following benefits:

● No veteran cemetery fees or annual renewal fee (motorcycle plates are exempt and require a $10 veterans cemetery fee)

● Access to disabled parking spaces

This benefit cannot be is not transferable to a surviving spouse.

To qualify for the disabled veteran plate, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

● Purple Heart recipients with disability ratings of 50% or more due to military service

● Veterans with disability ratings of 100% due to military service

● Veterans who are paid at the 100% disabled rate due to military service

The Gold Star Family license plate carries a one-time $10 fee and offers the following benefits:

● No veteran cemetery fees or renewal fees (motorcycle plates are exempt and require a $10 veterans cemetery fee)

Any family members eligible for a Gold Star Lapel Button may qualify for the plates but are responsible for all motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer fees for registration , and special license plate fees.

The Veteran license plate includes the following:

● A one-time $10 charge for the plate's production

● A $10 cemetery and renewal fee (motorcycle plates require a $10 veterans cemetery fee)

The Purple Heart Disabled Veteran license plate includes the following:

● A one-time $10 fee for plate production

● A $10 cemetery and renewal fee (motorcycle plates require a $10 veterans cemetery fee)

A Purple Heart license plate includes the following:

● A one-time $10 charge for the plate's production

● A $10 cemetery and renewal fee (motorcycle plates require a $10 veterans cemetery fee)

To be eligible for the plates, applicants must provide:

● VA verification of the 50% or more disability rating and

● Form DD-214 to verify receipt of Purple Heart.

Burial Benefits

Montana Cemetery Fee Exemption: Veterans and surviving spouses who have not remarried may be exempt from veteran cemetery fees.

To be eligible for this benefit:

● POW or a surviving spouse who has not remarried

● Veteran currently rated 100% disabled due to military service or a surviving spouse (not remarried)

● Veteran who are receiving receives payment at the 100% disabled rate by the VA for disabilities due to military service or their surviving spouse (not remarried)

● The surviving spouse (not remarried) of a service member killed on active duty.

● The surviving spouse(not remarried) of a service member or veteran who died from injury or disability due to military service



Veterans Cemeteries

There are three veterans cemeteries:

Fort Harrison, Helena, Montana

Eastern Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Miles City, Montana

Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Missoula Montana

For a veteran to be interred at any of these cemeteries, applicants must submit the following documents:

● A copy of the death certificate

● Discharge papers indicating either a discharge of Honorable or Under Honorable Conditions

● Burial transit permit (provided by the mortuary) OR

● Cremation certificate (provided by the mortuary)

● Headstone application (completed by cemetery sexton or the funeral home)

All veterans are entitled to a headstone at government expense, whether they are interred in a veterans or private cemetery. The headstone or marker is inscribed with:

● Name

● Years of birth and death

● Branch of service

The following information can be added free of charge may upon request:

● Military service component

● Rank

● Period of war service

● Religious emblem

● Valor awards

● Purple Heart

The deceased veteran's county of residence pays $70.00, or the $115 cost of setting the headstone, and the family must pay the remaining $45.00. Families of non-residents must pay the full amount.

● For the spouse or child (under 21) of a veteran, to be interred at any of these cemeteries, these documents must be submitted: A copy of the death certificate.

● Discharge papers indicating either a discharge of Honorable or Under Honorable Conditions

● Burial transit permit (provided by the mortuary) OR

● Cremation certificate (provided by the mortuary)

● Headstone application (completed by cemetery sexton or the funeral home)

There is a $500.00 fee for the opening and closing the grave for a spouse's interment. A headstone is provided at government expense only for internment in veteran cemeteries.

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