Updated: May 2
Montana, Big Sky Country, has benefits for its over 90,000 veterans.
Veteran Education Benefits
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
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).