Skip to content

August 17, 2021

5 Best States for Disabled Veterans (The Insider’s Guide)

Last updated on August 26, 2021

Hi Veterans, Brian Reese here, and in post, I’m going to break down the top 5 best states for disabled veterans using a weighted average statistical analysis, whereby we compared metrics across five key financial measures that matter most to disabled veterans.

If you’re a disabled veteran, choosing where to live after leaving the military is an important decision for you and your family.

And you might be wondering: What are the best states for disabled veterans?

Well, here’s the deal: Some states are more disabled veteran friendly than others, and thus, selecting where to live could save (or cost) you thousands of dollars per year.

Okay, let’s jump into VA Claims Insider’s list of the best states for disabled veterans to live in 2021.

You might also like the following blog posts:

Are you STUCK, FRUSTRATED and UNDERRATED?

You are not alone! We are Veterans helping Veterans!
Become an Elite Member and work with our Veteran Coaches to get the rating you deserve! 

List of the 5 Best States for Disabled Veterans

#1 Best State for Disabled Veterans: Texas

Texas is the Best State for Disabled Veterans

No surprise here: Texas is the #1 overall best state for disabled veterans.

The benefits offered to disabled veterans in Texas are simply unmatched by any other state.

For example, Texas is one of just two states with full property tax exemptions for 100% scheduler or TDIU disabled veterans (in addition to veterans with a 100% P&T rating).

Texas also offers generous property tax reductions for disabled veterans with a VA rating between 10% and 90%.

In addition, Texas is one of 9 states with no state income tax, so you get more bang for your buck.

Texas also exempts military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability compensation payments from any taxation.

The Hazelwood Act is one of the best veteran education benefits in the country; it provides veterans, spouses, and dependent children with up to 150 hours of tuition free college at state schools.

Texas also offers disabled veterans with a 60% VA rating or higher a free driver’s license and Disabled Veteran plates.

Finally, Texas disabled veterans with a 50% VA rating or higher get a free super combo hunting and fishing license each year.

Texas Disabled Veteran Benefits Quality Score: 95/100

#2 Best State Disabled Veterans: Florida

Florida is one of the best states for disabled veterans

Again, no surprise here: Florida is the #2 overall best state for disabled veterans to retire in 2021.

Florida offers disabled veterans a ton of fantastic benefits.

For example, Florida is one of 17 states with full property tax exemptions for disabled veterans with a 100% P&T VA rating.

Florida also offers a substantial property tax exemption of $5,000 for disabled veterans with a VA rating of 10% or higher.

Also, Florida is one of 9 states with no state income tax, so your earnings go a long way.

Florida also exempts military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability compensation payments from state taxes.

Florida’s Congressman C.W. Bill Young Tuition Waiver Program is one of the best education benefit programs for disabled veterans in the United States.

For example, Florida waives out-of-state tuition fees for all honorably discharged veterans who reside in the state and who are enrolled in Florida public, post-secondary institutions.

Florida also provides scholarship opportunities for dependent children and spouses of veterans who died from a service-connected disability or who are rated at 100% P&T by the VA.

Florida also honors disabled veterans with a 100% VA rating with a free driver’s license and one free set of Disabled Veteran “DV” plates.

Finally, Florida disabled veterans with a 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) VA rating are entitled to a free 5-year all-purpose hunting and fishing license.

Florida Disabled Veteran Benefits Quality Score: 92.5/100

#3 Overall State for Disabled Veterans: Alaska

Alaska is a veteran friendly state

This one might raise some eyebrows: Alaska is the #3 overall best state for disabled veterans.

Alaska has some fantastic statewide benefits for disabled veterans, which we’ll explore in this section.

Alaska disabled veterans with a VA disability rating of 50% or higher can receive a property tax exemption of up to the first $150,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence.

The exemption transfers to a surviving spouse if the veteran is deceased due to a service connected disability.

In addition, Alaska is one of 9 states with no state income tax, and therefore, veterans in Alaska do not pay any state income tax.

Military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability pay are also tax free in Alaska.

Alaska veterans, their spouses, and dependents may qualify for a host of educational benefits while attending school at any Alaska state school.

These benefits include resident tuition rates or tuition waivers.

Alaska disabled veterans with a 50% VA rating or higher are eligible for one free set of “Disabled Veteran” license plates.

Finally, Alaska disabled veterans with a 50% VA disability rating or higher can get a complimentary hunting and fishing license card each year.

Alaska Disabled Veteran Benefits Quality Score: 82/100

#4 Top State for Disabled Veterans: Nevada

Nevada disabled veteran benefits

This pick even surprised us a bit: Nevada is the #4 overall best state for disabled veterans.

Nevada has some great benefits for disabled veterans, which we’ll explore more in this section.

Disabled veterans in Nevada with a 100% VA disability rating can receive a property tax exemption up to $20,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence.

Disabled veterans with a VA rating between 60% to 70% are eligible for a $10,000 deduction, and disabled veterans with a disability rating of 80% to 90% percent are eligible for a $15,000 reduction.

In addition, Nevada is one of 9 states with no state income tax, and therefore, veterans in Nevada do not pay any state income tax.

Military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability pay are also tax free in Nevada.

Honorably discharged veterans and on active duty stationed in Nevada at the time of discharge (including the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center at Pickle Meadows, California according to NVDS) are charged tuition as in-state residents.

In addition, honorably discharged veterans within “the two years immediately preceding the date of matriculation” may also receive in-state tuition rates at any Nevada state school.

Nevada disabled veterans with a 100% VA disability rating are eligible for “Disabled Veteran” license plates at a reduced initial fee of just $6, with no annual fee.

Finally, Nevada resident disabled veterans with a VA rating of 50% or higher can get a Specialty Combination Hunting and Fishing License for just $15.00 per year.

Nevada Disabled Veteran Benefits Quality Score: 81.25/100

#5 State for Disabled Veterans: Illinois

Illinois is one of the best states for disabled veterans

Illinois rounds out our top 5 best states for disabled veterans in 2021, coming in at #5/5.

The state of Illinois offers a wide range of benefits for disabled veterans, which we’ll discuss in this section.

State of Illinois disabled veterans or surviving spouses with a VA disability rating of 30% to 50% receive an annual property tax exemption of $2,500 on their primary residence.

Disabled veterans or surviving spouses with a VA disability rating of 50% to 70% receive an annual exemption of $5,000 per year.

And Illinois veterans or surviving spouses of veterans with a service connected VA disability rating of 70% or higher are completely exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residences.

Illinois does have a flat income tax system, which means that everyone, regardless of income level, is taxed at the same rate.

The current state income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95%.

However, military retirement pay, SBP payments, and VA disability pay are tax free in Illinois.

The Illinois Veterans’ Grant (IVG) Program pays tuition and fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities, and community colleges for eligible Illinois veterans.

Illinois disabled veterans with a 50% VA rating or higher can get their first set of Service-Connected Disabled Veteran (ISERVE) License Plates at no cost.

Finally, Illinois disabled veterans with a 10% VA rating or higher are exempt from purchasing a hunting and fishing license or a habitat stamp.

Illinois Disabled Veteran Benefits Quality Score: 72.5/100

Top 5 Best States for Veterans Benefits: Side-by-Side Comparison Chart

RANKSTATEPROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONSINCOME TAX WAIVERSEDUCATION BENEFITSFREE DRIVERS LICENSEFREE HUNTING/FISHING LICENSE
#1TexasYes, disabled veterans in Texas with a 10% to 90% service connected VA disability rating can get a reduction of their home’s assessed value from $5,000 to $12,000 depending on their disability rating percentage.

Texas veterans with a 100% scheduler VA rating, 100% Individual Unemployability VA rating (TDIU), OR a 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) VA disability rating are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.
Yes, Texas is one of nine states that does not collect income tax on individuals, and therefore, veterans in Texas do not pay any state income tax, nor are they required to file a state tax return.

Military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability pay are also tax free in Texas.
Yes, The Hazlewood Act is a State of Texas benefit that provides qualified Veterans, spouses, and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition-free college at state schools. This does NOT include living expenses, books, or supply fees.Yes, Texas disabled veterans with a 60% VA rating or higher get a free drivers license.Yes, Texas disabled veterans with a 50% VA rating or higher get a free super combo hunting and fishing license each year.
#2FloridaYes, Florida disabled veterans with a VA disability rating of 10% or greater are entitled to a $5,000 deduction on the assessment of their home for tax exemption purposes.                           

Florida veterans with a 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) VA rating are exempt from paying any property taxes on their primary residence, so long as the veteran is a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the tax year for which exemption is being claimed or was a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the year the veteran died.
Yes, Florida is one of nine states that does not collect income tax on individuals, and therefore, veterans in Florida do not pay any state income tax.

Military retirement pay, SBP payments, and VA disability pay are also tax free in Florida.
Yes, Florida waives out-of-state tuition fees for all honorably discharged veterans who reside in the state and who are enrolled in Florida public, post-secondary institutions, through the “Congressman C.W. Bill Young Tuition Waiver Program.” The out-of-state tuition and fee waiver is extended to spouses and dependent children who reside in Florida and who are using GI Bill® benefits for enrollment in Florida public, postsecondary institutions. Florida also provides scholarship opportunities for dependent children and spouses of veterans who died from a service-connected disability or who are rated at 100% P&T by the VA.  Yes, Florida disabled veterans with a 100% VA rating are eligible for a no fee driver license, with endorsements, or an identification card. The same veterans are also entitled to a no fee Veteran’s designation on their driver license or ID card. The “Veteran” designation can be used to show proof of status for discounts at participating merchants. Qualified veterans should provide a valid identification card from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, indicating the 100 percent, total and permanent service-connected disability rating. Also, 100% disabled veterans are eligible for a “DV” license plate for free.Yes, Florida disabled veterans with a 100% permanent and total (P&T) VA rating are entitled to a free five year all-purpose hunting and fishing license. Retired military members who are now Florida residents can get a Military Gold Sportsman’s License for $20 (normally $100). The license is good for a variety of hunting, and  freshwater and saltwater fishing. 
#3AlaskaYes, Alaska disabled veterans with a VA disability rating of 50% or higher can receive a property tax exemption of up to the first $150,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence. The exemption transfers to a surviving spouse if the veteran is deceased due to a service connected disability. Yes, Alaska is one of nine states that does not collect income tax on individuals, and therefore, veterans in Alaska do not pay any state income tax.

Military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability pay are also tax free in Alaska.
Yes, Alaska veterans, their spouses, and dependents may qualify for a host of financial benefits while attending school at any Alaska state school. These benefits include resident tuition rates or tuition waivers.Yes, Alaska disabled veterans with a 50% VA rating or higher are eligible for one free set of “Disabled Veteran” license plates.Yes, Alaska disabled veterans with a 50% VA disability rating or higher can get a complimentary hunting and fishing license/card to those who meet the Department of Fish and Game’s residency definition. Applicants must be physically present in the State of Alaska to apply.
#4NevadaYes, disabled veterans in Nevada with a 100% VA disability rating can receive a property tax exemption up to $20,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence. Disabled veterans with a VA rating between 60 to 79 percent are eligible for a $10,000 deduction, and disabled veterans with a disability rating of 80 to 90 percent are eligible for a $15,000 reduction.
Yes, Nevada is one of nine states that does not collect income tax on individuals, and therefore, veterans in Nevada do not pay any state income tax. Military retirement pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments, and VA disability pay are also tax free in Nevada.Yes, Honorably discharged veterans and on active duty stationed in Nevada at the time of discharge (including the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center at Pickle Meadows, California according to NVDS) are charged tuition as in-state residents. In addition, honorably discharged veterans within “the two years immediately preceding the date of matriculation” also receive in-state tuition rates at any Nevada state school.
Yes, Nevada disabled veterans with a  100% VA disability rating are eligible for “Disabled Veteran” licenses plates at a reduced initial fee of just $6, with no annual fee. Yes, The Nevada Department of Wildlife issues a Resident Disabled Veteran Specialty Combination Hunting and Fishing License for just $15.00, plus a $1.00 technology fee. Certain conditions apply. Veterans must be honorably discharged and have a service connected VA disability rating of 50% or higher. 
#5IllinoisYes, veterans or surviving spouses with a VA disability rating of 30% to 50% receive an annual exemption of $2,500 on their primary residence. Veterans or surviving spouses with a VA disability rating of 50% to 70% receive an annual exemption of $5,000 per year. Illinois veterans or surviving spouses of veterans with a service connected VA disability rating of 70% or higher are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residences.

A 100% reduction to the EAV on the primary residence is available for surviving spouses of veterans who are killed in the line of duty.
No, Illinois has a flat income tax system, which means that everyone, regardless of income level, is taxed at the same rate. The current income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95%.

However, military retirement pay, SBP payments, and VA disability pay are tax free in Illinois.
Yes, The Illinois Veterans’ Grant (IVG) Program pays tuition and fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for eligible Illinois veterans. An individual must: (1) Be an honorably discharged veteran; and (2) Reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; or a resident of Illinois for at least 15 consecutive years after having active duty as of the date of application; and
(3) Have at least one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. This includes veterans who were assigned to active duty in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country, regardless of length of service; and
(4) Return to Illinois within six months of discharge from the service
Yes, Illinois disabled veterans with a 50% VA rating or higher can get their first set of Service-Connected Disabled Veteran (ISERVE) License Plates at no cost.  Yes, if you are a disabled veteran with a 10% VA rating or higher, you are exempt from purchasing a hunting and fishing license. You are also exempt from purchasing a Habitat stamp. To qualify for this exemption, you must show proof of your service connected disability with a VA Benefits Summary Verification Letter (VA Award Letter) that can be downloaded from the VA.gov website. 

How We Developed Our Best States for Disabled Veterans Quality Scores

VA Claims Insider used five key qualitative and quantitative measures to calculate the Best Overall States for Disabled Veterans, including (1) Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemptions, (2) Disabled Veteran Income Tax Waivers, (3) Education Benefits for Disabled Veterans, (4) Free Drivers Licenses for Disabled Veterans, and (5) Free Hunting/Fishing Licenses for Disabled Veterans.

Property tax exemptions are the crème-de-la-crème state benefit for disabled veterans, so we assigned it a 50% weighting with a 100 point maximum score.

Income tax waivers are also critically important to disabled veterans, and thus, we assigned it a 30% weighting with a 100 point maximum score.

Education benefits for disabled veterans was assigned a 10% weighting while free drivers licenses and reduced rates for hunting and fishing licenses were assigned a 5% weighting each. All weighted averages were also based on a 100 point maximum score.

The final step was to sum the weighted average scores across each of the five metrics to get a total Disabled Veteran Benefits Quality Score.

Deserve a HIGHER VA Rating? WE CAN HELP.

Join our premier education-based membership program, VA Claims Insider Elite, connect with an expert-level Veteran Coach (VC) within minutes, and finally get the rating you deserve. Click the button below to start for FREE.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reese is VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

Related Articles

south dakota veteran benefits

Top 9 South Dakota Veteran Benefits

August 27, 2021

Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Veteran Benefits in South Dakota There are many South Dakota veteran benefits and exemptions provided by the state to current and former U.S. Military members who... continue reading

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Success Managers having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call