Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Tennessee, The Volunteer State, provides benefits to over 475,000 veterans.
Tennessee State Veteran Education Benefits
Out-Of-State Tuition Waivers
Since 2014 Tennessee allows veterans students classified as out-of-state to pay in-state tuition and fees.
The Tennessee Helping Heroes Grant
This state veteran education grant offers veterans $1,000 per semester for twelve or more semester hours completed without failing final grades. A $500 per semester grant applies for successfully completing six to 11 hours without failing final grades.
These first-come, first-served grants are offered to qualifying honorably discharged veterans who meet the criteria:
Tennessee residency for a year before applying
Recipient of any of the following awards after September 10, 2001:
Iraq Campaign Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Will be or are enrolled at an eligible 2-year or 4-year postsecondary educational institution.
Have not yet earned a baccalaureate degree
Not in default on federal Title IV educational or Tennessee educational loans or owe a refund on a Title IV student financial aid program or a Tennessee student financial aid program
Comply with the drug-free rules and laws for receiving federal financial assistance
Helping Heroes Grant money is awarded after the successful completion of a semester.
Tennessee State Scholarships for Surviving Spouses and Dependents
Qualifying surviving dependents under 23 and surviving spouses who live in Tennessee may receive free tuition and fees to state-supported colleges. The service member
Have Died as a result of injuries received OR
Prisoner of war OR
Served a qualifying period of armed conflict
Tennessee State Veteran Employment Benefits
Qualifying veterans who apply for state jobs may get priority placement for interviews on preferred positions. Veterans must meet the minimum qualifications for the open state preferred positions to be guaranteed an interview.
Veterans are offered a streamlined process for appeals of a law, rule, or policy by a government agency resulting in the veteran’s suspension, dismissal, or demotion.
Spouses and surviving spouses may also receive interview preference if the spouse is registered to vote in Tennessee or has been a Tennessee resident for two years before applying, and:
The veteran was permanently and totally disabled due to service-connected disabilities, or
The veteran died on active duty.
Tennessee State Veteran Housing Benefits
Veterans Assisted Care and Nursing Homes
Tennessee operates these four homes for Veterans:
Brigadier General Wendell H. Gilbert State Veterans Home in Clarksville, Tennessee
W.D. "Bill" Manning Tennessee Veterans Home, Humboldt, Tennessee
Ben Atchley Tennessee Veterans' Home, Knoxville, Tennessee
Tennessee State Veterans Home-Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Any Veteran entitled to medical treatment or other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs is also eligible to apply for a bed in one of the homes.
Each facility has requirements, but all applicants must meet one of the following criteria:
A Tennessee resident at the time of admission
Born in Tennessee
Living in Tennessee when entering the U.S. Armed Forces
Tennessee is the Official Home of Record
An immediate family member or Legal Guardian who serves as a primary caregiver is a Tennessee resident.
Spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents may also be eligible for admission if space is available.
THDA Homeownership for the Brave
Homeownership for the Brave, part of the THDA Great Choice Home Loan program, offers loans to military borrowers who qualify.
Tennessee State Veteran Financial Benefits
Tennessee Property Tax Relief for Qualified Disabled Veterans
All disabled veterans with specific VA-rated conditions and some surviving spouses are eligible for property tax breaks of up to $100,000. The exemption only applies to primary residences. The qualifying conditions include, but may not be limited to:
A VA confirmed service-connected disability that resulted in:
Permanent paralysis of the lower body and both legs resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain
Loss, or the loss of use of two limbs
A service-related permanent or total disability as determined by the VA
A VA 100% total and permanent disability rating caused by being a Prisoner of War
Surviving spouses of veterans qualified for the program when they died are also eligible for this property tax break. The surviving spouse may also apply for this veteran tax relief if the spouse:
Is not remarried
Owns the property jointly or solely for which tax relief is claimed
Uses the property exclusively as a home
This tax relief program changes annually, so ask a tax professional for the current requirements.
Combat Veterans Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Exemptions
Tennessee exempts eligible combat veterans from paying motor vehicle sales tax. The exemption applies to vehicles sold to Tennessee National Guard Reserve members called active military service, stationed outside the United States, and engaged in combat.
Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax Waiver For 100% Disabled Veterans and Ex-POWs
Veterans with VA-rated 100% permanent and total disabilities from a service-connected cause and former prisoner of war are exempt from Tennessee’s County Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax. Supporting documentation should be submitted.
Tennessee Highways for Heroes Program
In 2013 the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation allowing qualified military personnel to bypass the skills tests required for commercial driver’s licensing. To be eligible, the applicant must hold a military vehicle operator’s permit or approved equivalent.
Applicants must pass the CDL knowledge test. The skills test waiver may expire, so it’s best to act as soon as possible after leaving military service.
Additional Tennessee Veteran Benefits
Driver License, Identification Cards, and License Plates for Veterans
Veterans may apply for Veteran-designated identification cards, driver's licenses, and plates, but there are no reduced fees or free options at this time. Disabled veterans are eligible for disabled driver decals for no charge. The decals are applied to an existing license plate.
Tennessee State Recreational Benefits for Veterans
Veterans get benefits concerning state public parks, campgrounds, and waterways. The Department of Environment and Conservation designates a Free Day for all veterans. Vets have free access to campgrounds and golf courses on that day. Veterans’ Day is usually the free day, and proof of service is required.
Tennessee also allows discounted hunting and sport fishing licenses for veterans who are either 100% permanently disabled or combat veterans VA-rated with at least a 30% disability. VA award letters may be required at application time.
During the off-season, November through March, discounted camping fees are available for all Tennessee veterans. Rates vary from place to place, as determined by the State Parks Department.
Tennessee State Burial Benefits for Veterans
There are four state-run veteran’s cemeteries
Two in Knoxville, Tennessee
To be eligible for burial, applicants must be:
A veteran who served in Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard and were discharged or released before September 7, 1980, under any conditions but dishonorable
A military member who died on active duty
Anyone who served on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and officers who entered active duty after October 17, 1981 Veterans must have been discharged under any but dishonorable conditions.
A veteran who saw their first tour of duty after the dates above might be eligible if he or she completed a continuous 24 month period of active duty or the full period for which ordered to active duty, whichever is shorter or was released early due to hard, or a service-connected disability.