A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Delaware Veterans
In addition to the federal benefits available to all eligible U.S. military veterans regardless of location, Delaware offers additional benefits and exemptions for veterans and their families that are unique to “The First State.”
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, more than 75,000 veterans make their home in Delaware (about 8% of the population). Numerous veteran benefits in Delaware (including Delaware disabled veteran benefits) are available to honor and support those who served.
- A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Delaware Veterans
- What are the top Delaware veteran benefits?
- Tax Exemptions to Help Delaware Veterans
- Education-Related Delaware Veteran Benefits
- Are There Delaware Veteran Benefits for Employment?
- Continuation of License/Permit for Active Military Personnel
- Professional Licenses and Permits for Military Spouses
- Delaware Recognizes Military Education, Training, and Experience
- State Hiring Preferences are Delaware Veteran Benefits
- Delaware Bets on Vets
- Delaware State Retirement Credited for Military Service
- Compensation for Delaware National Guard Duty
- Delaware Joining Forces Network
- Delaware Veteran Benefits for Health Care
- Delaware Veteran Benefits for Motor Vehicle Licensing and Registration
- Delaware Veteran Benefits at State Parks
- Delaware State Park Admission Discount
- Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing Licenses
- Delaware Resident Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Privileges for Active-Duty Service Members Stationed in Delaware
- One-Time Free Delaware Hunting/Fishing License for Wartime Veterans
- Delaware Hunting, Trapping and Fishing License for Hospitalized Service Members
- Delaware Veterans Benefits for Housing, Veterans Outreach Program
- Delaware Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Do Delaware veterans’ benefits include special state tax deductions?
- Does Delaware recognize military education, training, and experience for professional purposes?
- Do Delaware veterans receive preferential treatment in hiring practices and employment?
- Are there special license plates available to Delaware veterans and their families?
- Do Delaware veteran benefits include recreational privileges?
- Does Delaware have outreach programs to help veterans in need?
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
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What are the top Delaware veteran benefits?
Delaware veteran benefits include state tax exemptions, education and training programs, tuition assistance, hiring preferences, employment counseling, professional licensing allowances, public recreation and sportsman’s license discounts, auto registration discounts, special vehicle license plates, housing programs, and emergency financial assistance.
A veteran’s (or service member’s) military branch, career status, disability status, and residence status can affect benefit eligibility.
The Delaware Office of Veterans Service administers many of the veterans’ programs and benefits in Delaware. This is a great place to learn about your state and federal benefits or get help with claims and applications.
Read on for the ultimate guide to Delaware veteran benefits for 2021!
Tax Exemptions to Help Delaware Veterans
The State of Delaware offers tax breaks to Delaware employers as an incentive to hire Delaware veterans. State tax exemptions on military retirement pay are also a Delaware veterans benefit.
Veterans Opportunity Credit
During the year a qualified veteran is hired, and for two more taxable years, Delaware employers are eligible for a tax credit of 10% of a qualified veteran’s wages (up to a maximum of $1,500). A qualified veteran is anyone who has served in a hostile environment (such as Iraq or Afghanistan).
Delaware Tax Exemption for Military Retirement Pay
Delaware veterans age 60 and older are entitled to a pension exclusion of up to $12,500, or the amount of the pension and eligible retirement income (whichever is less). Eligible retirement income includes dividends, interest, capital gains, net rental income from real property, and qualified retirement plans (such as IRA, 401(k), Keough plans, and government-deferred compensation plans). For veterans under age 60 who receive a pension, the exclusion amount is limited to $2,000.
In addition, $2,000 may be excluded by any veteran with a permanent and total disability or who is older than 60 and whose earned income in the taxable year is less than $2,500 (and whose adjusted gross income does not exceed $10,000).
Delaware State Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay
Military disability retirement pay (received as a pension, annuity, or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service) should not be included in taxable income. Some of the payments that are considered disability benefits include:
- Disability compensation and pension payments paid to Delaware disabled veterans or their families
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
- Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who have lost their sight or the use of limbs, or
benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
Education-Related Delaware Veteran Benefits
Delaware offers programs for veterans and service members (and their families) who seek tuition and education support.
Delaware Veterans Child Education Benefits
The State of Delaware provides education benefits to the children of deceased U.S. military veterans, military service personnel held as prisoners of war, and military service personnel officially declared to be missing in action.
A qualified recipient is a child of:
- A member of the armed forces killed while on active duty (or who died from injury or disease in the line of duty)
- A member of the armed forces who is being held (or was held) prisoner of war
- A member of the armed forces officially declared missing in action
The eligible child must be:
- At least 16 years old (but not more than 24 years of age)
- A resident of Delaware for at least three years (prior to the date of application)
- Attending or admitted for attendance at an educational institution beyond the high school level (in a program not to exceed four years in duration)
Benefits are administered by the Delaware Postsecondary Education Commission.
Tuition Assistance for Active Members of the Delaware National Guard
Any active member of the Delaware National Guard who meets the requirements for satisfactory membership is eligible for tuition funding by the Delaware National Guard. This applies to certain postsecondary education tuition and fees (up to 100%) at state colleges and universities.
Delaware High School Diploma for Wartime Veterans
Delaware’s Chapter 90 provides a high school diploma to Delaware veterans who did not graduate from high school due to their military service during times of war or conflict.
Eligible wartime veterans who served:
- During World War II (Dec. 7, 1941, through Dec. 11, 1946, and also during the occupation of defeated territories up to Sept. 8, 1951)
- In the Korean War (Jun. 27, 1950, through Jan. 31, 1955)
- During the Vietnam War (May 1, 1961, through Apr. 30, 1975)
Contact the Delaware Office of Veterans Services at (800) 344-9900 or (302) 739-2792.
Are There Delaware Veteran Benefits for Employment?
Yes! There are several benefits that support service members, veterans, and members of their families seeking employment.
Continuation of License/Permit for Active Military Personnel
Qualified service members may apply to have a Delaware professional license remain active while on military deployment. While this provision protects a license from expiration, the license must still meet all licensure requirements, applicable laws and regulations.
Visit the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation for more information.
Professional Licenses and Permits for Military Spouses
The Delaware Division of Professional Regulation will issue a six-month temporary occupational license to a military spouse relocating to Delaware. The temporary license allows the spouse to obtain employment in their discipline.
Delaware Recognizes Military Education, Training, and Experience
Delaware law allows professional licensing boards to consider military education, training, or experience (METE) in qualifying for a professional license. To give credit for METE, the board must determine (based on proof submitted) that the education, training, or experience is substantially equivalent to the licensure requirements in the law and regulations for the profession. In addition, the applicant must meet all other licensure requirements (such as passing an examination).
Submit a METE request if you meet all of these conditions:
- You’re a member of the active-duty military, National Guard, military reserve, retired military, or a military veteran.
- You’re filing a license application at the same time as this request, or you have already filed the application, and it is still pending.
- You believe you can meet the education or experience requirements of licensure only if given credit for METE.
For complete information, see Request for Consideration of Military Education, Training or Experience.
State Hiring Preferences are Delaware Veteran Benefits
Delaware veterans who meet the qualifications for a state-employment position have preference points added to their total ranking score.
Preference is given to applicants who:
- Are honorably separated veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Are members of the Delaware National Guard or a reserve unit in Delaware with at least 20 years of membership
Are the spouse of a deceased veteran, so long as the widow or widower has not remarried
- Are listed for more than 90 days as missing in action, are a prisoner of war, or have a service-connected disability.
To claim this preference:
- Veterans, Delaware Reservists (who served active duty), widows or widowers who have not remarried, and spouses of veterans with a disability must submit a copy of Form DD214. *If applicable, evidence of disability must also be submitted (a VA letter indicating disability).
- Form 1300 must be submitted for spouses of any member of the Armed Forces serving active duty who, at the time of application, have been listed as missing in action (for more than 90 days) or a prisoner of war.
- Form NGB-22 must be submitted for Delaware National Guard members and widows or widowers who have not remarried, and spouses of Delaware National Guard members with a disability.
- Form DD256 must be submitted by Delaware Reservists who did not serve active duty.
All forms must be dropped off at one of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) offices or faxed to (302) 739-2327 by 4:30 p.m. on the business day following the closing date on the posting.
For additional information, contact the Commission of Veterans Affairs or call (800) 344-9900.
Delaware Bets on Vets
Delaware Office of Veterans Services offers the Delaware Bets on Vets program, which supports veterans in applying military skills and experience to state jobs.
Delaware has more than 1,500 job titles that may need to be filled at any time, based on an agency’s needs. These state jobs are found on the Delaware Employment Link. There are Merit and Non-Merit opportunities; be sure to look at both.
Career Counselors are available to discuss education and employment history to find the right fit for Delaware veterans seeking employment.
How to apply
Delaware State Retirement Credited for Military Service
Delaware veterans hired by the State of Delaware before July 1, 1976, may receive state retirement service credit of up to five years for their full-time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. However, you must have become an employee within five years after completing a tour of duty, or within five years after completion of a course of professional or vocational training.
The course of professional or vocational training is defined as one leading to a certificate, diploma, or degree and offered by an institution approved by the Department of Education. The participant must have enrolled on a continuous, full-time basis and completed the course of instruction.
Those who are called into or volunteer for active service in the U.S. Armed Forces or Delaware National Guard while an active member within the retirement plan, and who return to covered employment in Delaware within 90 days of the discharge, will receive full credit for full-time continuous active military service.
Service members may purchase up to five years of credit for full-time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces by paying into the plan an amount equal to the actuarial value of the credits purchased (value determined by the Board of Pension Trustees). This credit cannot be used to determine eligibility for a pension; however, it will be used to calculate the benefit.
Compensation for Delaware National Guard Duty
For every day of service while on state duty for an emergency or impending emergency, enlisted members and officers of the Delaware National Guard receive compensation. The sum of compensation is equal to twice the per diem, pay, and allowances that military personnel of like grade and length of service in the U.S. Armed Forces would be entitled to receive for a similar period of service.
The same is true for state duty outside of emergency or impending emergency responses—including training or other non-emergency response authorized by the Adjutant General.
The exception is radiological emergency preparedness (REP) events. For REP events, members of the Delaware National Guard receive a sum equal to allowances and twice the base pay.
Delaware Joining Forces Network
The Delaware Joining Forces (DJF) network provides solutions to improve the statewide military community’s quality of life and welfare. This community-level effort directly supports military service members, veterans, and their families by addressing critical issues and needs, including:
- Financial and legal assistance
- Job training and employment
- Homelessness and housing
- Behavioral health and wellness
The DJF collaborates with several state agencies, including the Delaware National Guard, Delaware Health and Social Services, and the Delaware Commission of Veteran Affairs (DCVA).
Delaware Veteran Benefits for Health Care
The State of Delaware supports service members, veterans, disabled veterans, and their families with a high standard of health care and services.
Delaware National Guard Compensation for Illness, Injury, or Death While on State Active Duty
Any service member of the Delaware National Guard who is wounded or disabled in service of the state receives compensation from the State of Delaware at the rate provided in Delaware Workers’ Compensation laws.
Pension Benefit for Paraplegic Delaware Veterans
Delaware disabled veterans benefits include pension benefits for paraplegic veterans. A paraplegic veteran with VA disability benefits receives a pension (from the State of Delaware) of $3,000 per year, payable in equal monthly installments. The veteran must reside in Delaware and file evidence with the Pension Office that they are paraplegic and fully disabled, and that the disability is a direct result of service in the U.S. Armed Forces during a period of war.
Delaware Veterans Home
Established in 2007, the Delaware Veterans Home is a long-term care facility in Milford, Delaware, offering skilled nursing care in four units with 150 beds.
The mission is to provide outstanding long-term care to Delaware veterans, upholding dignity and respect while sustaining and improving their quality of life.
The staff of the Delaware Veterans Home is committed to providing residents with the highest quality of care in a warm, friendly environment. The team of professionals, support staff, and volunteers is resident-focused and devoted to the veterans who live there.
The Delaware Veterans Home provides:
- 24-hour professional nursing care
- Daily medical services
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapies
- Social services
- Library, computer with internet/Skype access
- Gift shop
- Multi-denominational chapel services
Eligible Delaware veterans:
- Were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or retired members of the Delaware National Guard or Reserves who are eligible for retirement pay at age 60 and have served active duty for 180 days or more (in total)
- Were residents of Delaware for three years prior to admission
- Require a nursing-home level of care
100 Delaware Veterans Blvd.
Milford, Del. 19963
Delaware Veteran Benefits for Motor Vehicle Licensing and Registration
The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles offers specialty license plates to veterans, disabled veterans, and qualifying family members.
Veterans ID Cards
This card is available free of charge to any Delaware veteran who served in the U.S. military and was honorably discharged. Veterans must have a valid Delaware driver’s license or identification card and provide proof of military service by presenting any of the following original documents:
- Military ID
- Deployment orders
- Honorable discharge certificate
The ID card can be used to verify an individual as a veteran in the State of Delaware so that businesses can recognize the contributions of veterans who have faithfully served our country and represented the State of Delaware.
Another advantage is that the Delaware veteran need not carry a DD-214, which contains sensitive information, to prove their veteran status.
Veterans ID cards can be obtained at all Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles locations:
Dover: (302) 744-2515
Georgetown: (302) 853-1003
Wilmington: (302) 434-3220
Delaware City: (302) 832-5176
Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday from noon to 8:00 p.m.
Please note: This card is not a military ID card and does not entitle veterans to all military benefits. Veterans should contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to determine the federal benefits they are entitled to.
Special License Plates for Delaware Veterans
Delaware offers 37 different license plate designs to honor the service and sacrifice of service members, veterans, retired service members, and their family members.
Special license plate designations include:
- Former prisoners of war
- Formerly missing in action
- Purple Heart recipients
- Medal of Valor recipients
- Disabled veterans
- Delaware National Guard and Reserve members
- Retired military
- Korean War veterans
- Vietnam War veterans
- Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
- Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
- Gold Star Family
Disabled Veteran Combined Special License Plate
A special license plate is available to veterans eligible for both the Disabled American Veteran designation and the universally recognized symbol for those requiring special parking accommodations. (This benefit allows the veteran to park in an accessible parking space without going through a separate application process.)
Registration and Inspection of Motor Vehicles of Disabled Veterans
A motor vehicle owned by a disabled veteran who is eligible for “adaptive equipment” benefits requires no registration fees. This includes (but is not limited to) power steering, power brakes, power window lifts, power seats, and special equipment necessary to assist the person into and out of the vehicle and requires no registration fees. (Limited to one vehicle per eligible veteran).
Delaware Veteran Benefits at State Parks
Delaware welcomes veterans to the state’s beautiful outdoor recreational resources.
Delaware State Park Admission Discount
Veterans who honorably served (or are honorably serving)—including members of the Delaware National Guard—may receive a 50% discount on the annual fee for vehicle entrance to state parks and recreational areas. You must reside in the State of Delaware and own a motor vehicle registered in Delaware.
Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing Licenses
Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Delaware may obtain these licenses at Delaware resident rates. Veterans with a disability rating of 60% or more by VA may obtain these licenses at no charge.
Applications and documentation can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to:
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Recreational Licensing
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Del. 19001
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (302) 736-7925
Delaware Resident Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Privileges for Active-Duty Service Members Stationed in Delaware
Active-duty military personnel stationed in Delaware are eligible to purchase recreational licenses at the resident price.
Qualified applicants can only purchase the licenses from Dover Air Force Base Outdoor Recreation Center, or must complete the Military Nonresident License Application and submit it directly to the Division of Fish and Wildlife (address above).
One-Time Free Delaware Hunting/Fishing License for Wartime Veterans
Delaware residents who served (90 or more days) in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom are eligible for a one-time license exemption. This pass is available for the first 12 months following the date of the resident’s honorable discharge or removal from active status.
The pass is issued only at the 89 King’s Highway location in Dover by the Office of Business Services. The veteran must provide a copy of their DD214.
Delaware Hunting, Trapping and Fishing License for Hospitalized Service Members
A member of the U.S. Armed Forces who is a patient in a military hospital may be issued a license to hunt, trap, and fish in Delaware free of charge. The service member must provide a written statement signed by the applicant’s commanding officer certifying the nature of his/her disability and place of duty.
Delaware Veterans Benefits for Housing, Veterans Outreach Program
Housing and Urban Development-Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). It provides case management, housing assistance, and supportive services for eligible homeless veterans.
Housing Choice Vouchers are administered through a local public housing authority, while the VA provides case management and other support. Vouchers can be used to subsidize rental units from any landlord willing to accept them.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families
The SSVF program addresses both housing stability and ending homelessness among very low-income veteran families. SSVF providers offer a wide range of services, including case management, assistance with obtaining benefits, securing safe and affordable housing, and other supportive services.
If you are a Delaware veteran or know one who could benefit from the SSVF program, please contact the Outreach Coordinator for your county:
New Castle County: (302) 250-5868
Kent County: (302) 518-5338
Sussex County: (302) 332-0913
DelawareHousingSearch.org is a free service that provides real-time information on apartments and affordable homes throughout the state. Veterans can search specifically for landlords who want to rent to veterans and will accept HUD-VASH vouchers.
Visit DelawareHousingSearch.org or call the toll-free, 24-hour, multilingual hotline at (877) 428-8844.
Delaware People’s Place Veterans Outreach Program
Supported by the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Outreach program offers a wide range of services for veterans who reside from lower New Castle County to the Delaware-Maryland line. Services include:
- Career counseling
- Guidance for accessing state and federal VA benefits (such as medical care and treatment)
- Psychotherapy referrals
- Mental health counseling
- Door-to-door transportation to medical facilities in the region
Veterans Outreach Program
1129 Airport Road
Milford, Del. 19963
Email: [email protected]
Delaware Veterans Trust Fund
The Delaware Veterans Trust Fund can assist Delaware veterans in financial emergencies. Established in 2013, it has already brought relief to veterans who need help with reintegration, housing, utilities, and incidental expenses for health and welfare.
It also provides individuals, businesses, and organizations an opportunity to show their support for Delaware veterans with contributions to the Trust Fund. Donations may be made online at https://egov.delaware.gov/donations/vets/DCVA or mailed to:
Delaware Veterans Trust Fund
802 Silver Lake Blvd, Suite 100
Dover, Del. 19904
Delaware residents may also elect to contribute a portion of their tax refund to the Trust Fund with their state personal tax form. Donations are tax-deductible on both state and federal tax returns. 100% of the donation goes toward assisting a Delaware veteran.
For more information on the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund or to obtain an application for assistance, call a Veterans Service Officer or the main office at (800) 344-9900 or (302) 739-2792.
Delaware Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do Delaware veterans’ benefits include special state tax deductions?
Yes. Delaware veterans age 60 and older are entitled to a pension exclusion of up to $12,500, or the amount of the pension and eligible retirement income (whichever is less). Eligible retirement income includes dividends, interest, capital gains, net rental income from real property, and qualified retirement plans, such as IRA, 401(k), Keough plans, and government deferred compensation plans. For veterans under age 60 who are receiving a pension, the exclusion amount is limited to $2,000.
In addition, $2,000 may be excluded by any veteran who has a permanent and total disability or who is older than 60 and whose earned income in the taxable year is less than $2,500 (and whose adjusted gross income does not exceed $10,000).
Does Delaware recognize military education, training, and experience for professional purposes?
Yes. Delaware law allows professional licensing boards to consider military education, training, or experience (METE) in qualifying for a professional license. To give credit for METE, the board must determine (based on the proof submitted) that the education, training, or experience is substantially equivalent to the licensure requirements for the profession. In addition, the applicant must meet all other licensure requirements, such as passing an examination.
Do Delaware veterans receive preferential treatment in hiring practices and employment?
Delaware offers state employment hiring preference to eligible Delaware veterans, Delaware disabled veterans, spouses, and surviving spouses. Delaware veterans who meet the qualifications for a state employment position have preference points added to their total ranking score.
Are there special license plates available to Delaware veterans and their families?
Delaware offers 37 specialized vehicle license plates to honor the service and sacrifice of service members, veterans, retirees, and eligible family members. Visit the Delaware DMV for details on these distinctive plates.
Do Delaware veteran benefits include recreational privileges?
Yes! Delaware veterans get discounts on state park admission (and Delaware disabled veteran benefits include free admission). There are also discounts on hunting/fishing/trapping licenses that may apply to all military service members.
Does Delaware have outreach programs to help veterans in need?
Yes. The State of Delaware works with the federal government to provide case management, housing assistance, and supportive services for eligible homeless veterans. Also, Supportive Services for Veteran Families addresses both housing stability and ending homelessness among very low-income veteran families.
Additionally, DelawareHousingSearch.org is a free service that provides real-time information on apartments and affordable homes throughout the state. Veterans can search specifically for landlords who want to rent to veterans.
And in desperate times, the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund can assist Delaware veterans in financial emergencies. Established in 2013, it has already brought relief to veterans who need help with reintegration, housing, utilities, and incidental expenses for health and welfare.
For more answers to more questions, visit the Delaware Office of Veterans Services.
MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
Regardless of what state you live in, it’s vital that you pursue the monthly compensation payments due to you for disabilities connected to your military service.
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. At VA Claims Insider, we help veterans understand and take control of the claims process so they can get the rating and compensation they’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC) – so you can increase your rating in less time! If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating – or you’re not sure how to get started – reach out to us! You served … you deserve.
Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced veteran coach. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve! We’ve supported more than 15,000 veterans to win their claims and increase their ratings. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.
About the Author
About VA Claims Insider
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.