Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Oklahoma, The Sooner State, offers benefits to over 300,000 veterans.
Veteran Education Benefits
Oklahoma Heroes Promise Scholarship
This State program, called Heroes Promise, which started in 2011, provides education funds for dependent children of Oklahoma military members who were killed in action on or after January 1, 2000. Eligibility requirements for this program include:
The military member must have filed an Oklahoma income tax return for the tax year before the year in which the person died.
The student must be a resident of Oklahoma
and must enroll in a school in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education before they are 21.
The award amount varies depending on the scholarship, but generally, the Heroes Promise program will pay the student’s tuition to state-supported college and university. Educational funds may also be available for private colleges or universities if they are approved for credit transferable toward an associate degree in an applied science program at a public college.
Students benefit from Heroes Promise for either five years or until receiving a bachelor’s degree (whichever comes first). The amount of a scholarship depends on the college program, the number of hours attended, and some other factors.
Oklahoma State National Guard Tuition Waiver
This tuition waiver offers qualifying service members a 100% waiver of in-state tuition costs if the applicant does not currently hold a Baccalaureate degree. To get the benefit, applicants must be members of the Oklahoma National Guard at the application time. Additional requirements are:
Must be a certified as a National Guard member in good standing as determined by the Adjunct General
Must be a resident of Oklahoma
Meets school admission requirements
The study must lead to a degree. A student must enroll for a minimum of three semester hours, and up to 8 hours of tuition costs may be waived each semester.
These tuition waivers cannot be used for programs that do not count toward degrees. Continuing education, certificate courses, or other similar classwork does not qualify for the waiver.
Oklahoma Veteran Employment Benefits
State Hiring Preference Policies for Veterans
Veterans who have been honorably discharged and qualifying surviving spouses of veterans are entitled to state hiring preference points. Points are awarded according to VA-rated disabilities and the nature of the military service
Five preference points will be added to the score on a state exam for:
● Honorably discharged veterans
● Surviving spouses (not remarried) of veterans who have died
● Spouses of veterans who are judged by the VA Home loan lender or Department of Defense to be unemployable because of a service-connected disability within six months of the spouse’s application date
Ten preference points are awarded to:
● War veterans (as determined by Oklahoma Statutes) who achieve a passing score on the state exam and presen proof of a service-connected disability within six months of the veteran’s date of application.
Absolute Preference Veterans are entitled to additional consideration if they meet specific criteria, including being an eligible war veteran and being VA rated as at least 30% disabled.
Absolute Preference Veterans are placed at the top of the register and ranked by their scores. They shall not be denied employment without showing just cause.
Oklahoma State Veterans’ Priority
Oklahoma receives U.S. Department of Labor grants to provide employment and training for all eligible Oklahoma residents, including veterans. Because the state receives these funds, they must afford qualified veterans priority service when referring individuals to job openings, Department of Labor-funded training programs, or any related services.
Vets are encouraged to ask an Oklahoma Workforce office because preference opportunities may vary depending on the job or program.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Oklahoma State Veterans Homes
The State of Oklahoma operates seven Oklahoma Veterans Centers:
● The Ardmore Veterans Center (580) 223-2266
● Lawton / Fort Sill Veterans Center (580) 351-6511
● The Claremore Veterans Center (918) 342-5432
● The Clinton Veterans Center (580) 331-2200
● Oklahoma Veterans Center (405) 360-5600
● Oklahoma Veterans Center (918) 567-2251
● Sulphur Veterans Center (580) 622-2144
The centers are long-term nursing and skilled nursing facilities. Individual care options vary across the facilities. Admission requirements for the Oklahoma Veterans Centers include Oklahoma residency and qualifying for the Veterans Administration per diem payments for nursing care.
The applicant must have served a minimum of 90 days with at least one day on active duty. An exception is made for a veteran who received a discharge because of a service-connected disability with a discharge characterized as other than dishonorable.
The applicant must be disabled in some way by age, disease, or other reasons as defined by the Veterans Center. If space allows, Spouses and surviving spouses may also be admitted. Veterans receive priority.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Ad Valorem Property Tax Breaks for Veterans
The State of Oklahoma permits qualifying veterans to claim a property tax exemption, figured on the full value of the homestead. Eligibility requirements for veterans and surviving spouses include:
● Honorably discharged
● Oklahoma residency
● VA rated as 100% permanent service-connected disabled
Oklahoma Veteran Income Tax Exemptions
Military members who reside in Oklahoma may deduct the first $1,500 if their military pay from Oklahoma state Income taxes. A tax filing extension is available to military members if filing on time is impractical.
Oklahoma State Military Retirement Income Tax Exemption
Anyone receiving military retirement income may deduct $10,000 or 75% of those retirement benefits, whichever is greater. The overall deduction cannot exceed the federal adjusted gross income.
Oklahoma State Tax Policy on Active Duty Military Income
All military pay for those on active is exempt from Oklahoma State income tax.
Oklahoma State Sales Tax Exemption for Veterans
Sales tax on personal property and services is waived for honorably discharged Oklahoma residents with 100% VA disabled ratings. Veterans must for a sales tax exemption card with proof of the VA-rated disability.
Qualifying 100% disabled veterans can apply for a sales tax exemption card for household members who make purchases on the veteran’s behalf. To apply for an additional card, complete and submit Form 13-55.
Oklahoma Tax Exemption for Military Retirement Benefits
Military retirement payments to Oklahoma residents are exempt from taxable income. The amount cannot exceed either 75% of these benefits or $10,000.
Oklahoma Excise Tax Exemptions for Disabled Veterans
Oklahoma permits vehicle excise tax exemptions for a veteran with a VA-rated 100% disability classification. Eligible veterans can claim a single exemption on a vehicle for a three year period.
The excise tax exemption only applies to street-legal motor vehicles and not to motors or aquatic vehicles. The veteran must be the vehicle's registered owner, and the vehicle must have been purchased after July 1, 2005. Proof of VA disability rating must be presented to receive this excise tax exemption.
Vehicle Registration Discount for Disabled Veterans in Oklahoma
Qualifying veterans with a VA-rated disability of 50% or higher, pay reduced rates on their annual vehicle registrations. They are also eligible for special DAV license plates.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Oklahoma offers fishing and hunting permits free of charge for veterans who are legal Oklahoma residents and VA-rated at 60% disabled or greater. These veterans are exempt from the usual requirements for Wildlife Land Stamps. Veterans with VA-rated disabilities at 100% are exempt from hunting license fees, including:
● Deer Archery Hunting
● Deer Gun Hunting
● Bonus or Special Deer Gun Hunting
● Primitive Hunting
● Second Deer Gun Hunting
Free Oklahoma State Park Admissions For Veterans
All honorably discharged veterans who are legal residents of Oklahoma are exempt from paying entry fees for state parks and state-run museums. Present your discharge paperwork and a valid Oklahoma driver license to get the benefit.
Free Oklahoma Military License Plates for Medal Of Honor Recipients
Oklahoma offers free to register license plates for recipients of the Congressional Medal Of Honor.
Oklahoma State Vehicle Registration Renewal Policy for Military Members Stationed Out-Of-State
Oklahoma residents who are on military duty out of state can renew their vehicles by mail. Registration fees are reduced if the applicant presents a completed U.S. Armed Forces Affidavit Form 779.
Oklahoma State Driver’s License Policy for Overseas Service Members
Oklahoma state law allows active-duty members and their spouses to apply for drivers’ licenses good for the entire duration of overseas duty and 60 additional days after their return to the United States.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
There are two VA National Veteran Cemeteries in Oklahoma. The state recommends veterans get information about burial qualifications in these cemeteries from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma 918-478-2334 Fort Sill National Cemetery, Elgin, Oklahoma 580-492-3200