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August 5, 2021

Top 7 Hawaii Veteran Benefits

A Guide to the Best Hawaii Veteran Benefits in 2021

If you’re a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or currently serving, a number of important Hawaii veteran benefits are available to support you and honor your service.

Hawaii veteran make up nearly 10 percent of the state’s total population (compared to 7.5% of the U.S. general population). And 13.7 percent of Hawaii’s homes are occupied by veterans! The unemployment rate for Hawaii veterans, at 3.2 percent, is lower than the Hawaii average of 4.3 percent. 

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What are the top veterans benefits in Hawaii?

Hawaii veteran benefits specifically include property tax exemptions, family assistance, education and training programs, help with employment, driver’s license discounts, and active advocacy for Hawaii veterans and their families.

A veteran’s (or service member’s) military branch, career status, and disability status as well as residence status can affect benefit eligibility.

The Hawaii Office of Veterans’ Services (OVS) administers many Hawaii veteran benefits and programs. This is a great place to learn about state and national benefits, or to get help with claims and applications.

Read on for the ultimate guide to the top 2021 Hawaii veteran benefits and service member benefits!


Real Property Tax Exemption for Hawaii Disabled Veterans

The State of Hawaii offers tax exemptions on real property owned and occupied as a home by a totally disabled veteran or widow(er). The exemption remains in effect as long as the veteran claiming it remains totally disabled or the widow(er) remains unmarried.

Also available are tax exemptions on passenger cars when they’re owned by totally disabled veterans and subsidized by VA. This benefit varies by island.

Visit a local real property tax office for more information, or check out the following links:

va benefits hawaii

Hawaii Veteran Benefits for Education

Do Hawaii veteran benefits include help with education? Yes, they do! The state offers assistance to Hawaii veterans and service members (and their families) who seek tuition and education support. 

Resident Tuition for Veterans, Service Members, and Dependents

Nonresident veterans and military service members stationed in Hawaii (and their dependents) are eligible to attend colleges in Hawaii at the resident tuition rate.

Nonresidents may be allowed to pay resident tuition if they are:

  • U.S. Armed Forces service members or authorized dependents stationed in Hawaii on active duty
  • Members of the Hawaii National Guard or Hawaii-based Reserves
  • Veterans eligible to use the post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) or Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) active-duty educational benefits who live in Hawaii and enroll at a university within three years of their discharge from a period of 90+ days of active duty 
  • Individuals eligible to use transferred post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill active-duty educational benefits who live in Hawaii and enroll at a university within three years of their discharge from a period of 90+ days of active duty
  • Individuals who live in Hawaii and are eligible to use the post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship
  • Individuals who live in Hawaii and are eligible to use transferred post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits when the transferral is a member of U.S. Armed Forces on active duty.

Learn more about Hawaii residency for tuition purposes (veterans, service members, and dependents).

Hawaii Kupono Diploma Program for Wartime Veterans

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) Kupono Diploma Program grants honorary high school diplomas to World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War veterans, as well as individuals whose schooling was interrupted due to internment in relocation camps during World War II.

Veterans applying for this program must:

  • Have been enrolled in a Hawaii public high school prior to enlistment in military service
  • Include evidence of military-status eligibility with the program application (DD214 or enlisted record with proof of honorable discharge)
  • Have served during World War II, the Korean War, or Vietnam War
  • Have been enrolled in a Hawaii public school prior to internment and provide evidence of being interned in a relocation camp

Under this program, qualified veterans or internees who successfully completed a General Education Diploma (GED) program will also be granted an honorary high school diploma. 

Diplomas may also be awarded posthumously and awarded to family members. There is no fee to participate in the Kupono Diploma Program.

To apply for the Kupono Diploma Program:

  • Email application requests to [email protected], or
  • Mail to Hawaii State Department of Education, Kupono Diploma Program, P.O. Box 2360, Honolulu, Hawaii 96804

Applications may be submitted anytime, but no later than January 30 to participate in the current-year graduation ceremony. Application processing takes 4-6 weeks. The Department of Education will contact all applicants regarding program eligibility.

Hawaii State Department of Education, Kupono Diploma Application

Learn more about the Hawaii Kupono Diploma Program for Wartime Veterans

Hawaii veterans license plate benefits min

Hawaii Disabled Veteran Benefits for Healthcare & Housing

Hawaii Veteran’s Health Administration Centers

FacilityAddressPhone
VA Pacific Islands Health Care System459 Patterson Road   Honolulu, HI 96819-1522808-433-0600 /
800-214-1306
National Center for PTSD – Pacific Islands Division3375 Koapaka Street, Suite I-560   Honolulu, HI 96819808-566-1546
VA Lanai Outreach Clinic628-B Seventh Street   Lanai City, HI 96783808-565-6423
VA Molokai Outreach Clinic280 Home Olu Place   Kaunakakai, HI 96748808-553-3191
VA Hilo Community Based Outpatient Clinic1285 Waianuenue Avenue, Suite 211   Hilo, HI 96720808-935-3781
VA Kauai Community Based Outpatient Clinic4485 Pahe’e Street, Suite 150   Lihue, HI 96766808-246-0497
VA Kona Community Based Outpatient Clinic35-377 Hualalai Road   Kailua-Kona, HI 96740808-329-0774
VA Leeward Community Based Outpatient Clinic91-2135 Fort Weaver Road   Ewa Beach, HI 96706800-214-1306
VA Maui Community Based Outpatient Clinic203 Ho’ohana Street, Suite 303   Kahului, HI 96732808-871-2454
Hilo Vet Center70 Lanihuli Street, Suite 102   Hilo, HI 96720808-969-3833
Honolulu Vet Center1680 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite F-3   Honolulu, HI 96814808-973-8387
Kailua-Kona Vet Center73-4976 Kamanu St   Kailua-Kona, HI 96740808-329-0574
Kauai Vet Center4485 Pahe’e St., Suite 101   Lihue, HI 96766808-246-1163
Maui Vet Center157 Ma’a Street   KAHULUI, HI 96732808-242-8557
Western Oahu Vet Center885 Kamokila Boulevard, Suite 105   Kapolei, HI 96707808-674-2414

Veterans Benefits Administration – Pacific District

FacilityAddressPhone
Honolulu Regional Office459 Patterson Road, E-Wing, Honolulu, HI 96819-1522800-827-1000
Intake Site At Camp SmithDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Fort ShafterDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Hickam Air Force BaseDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Marine Corps Base HawaiiDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Pearl Harbor Naval BaseDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Sand Island Coast GuardDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Schofield BarracksDepartment of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
Intake Site At Tripler Army Medical Center (First Floor/E-Wing)Department of Veterans Affairs 459 Patterson Rd 1st floor (E-Wing) Honolulu, HI 96819
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu, HI 96813808-532-3720

Are There Hawaii Veteran Benefits to Help With Employment?

There are several Hawaii veteran benefits to support veterans and their families with employment.

Advocacy is the primary service offered by the Hawaii Office of Veterans’ Services. The OVS may take action on behalf of veterans, their families, and survivors to secure appropriate rights, benefits, and services, including efforts to facilitate employment and re-employment.

Hiring Preferences for Hawaii Veterans in Public Employment 

The Hawaii Department of Human Resources Development manages the Hawaii Veterans Preference Program for public employment. Nondisabled veterans receive 5 veterans preference points; disabled veterans receive 10 points. Preference points are added to examination scores completed by applicants for open competitive recruitments only.

The 5-point veterans preference may be awarded to honorably separated veterans who served active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces:

  • From December 7, 1941 to July 1, 1955
  • For more than 180 consecutive days from January 31, 1955 through October 14, 1976 (not including initial active duty for training under Reserve or National Guard programs)
  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge or service medal was authorized

A 10-point veterans preference may be awarded to:

  • Honorably separated veterans with service-connected disability, as well as Purple Heart recipients
  • The spouse of an honorably separated veteran with a service-connected disability that disqualifies the veteran from state positions in their usual occupation
  • An unremarried, surviving spouse of a person who died while on active duty, or of an honorably separated veteran who served during the periods cited above

To receive 5 points, submit a copy of DD214 showing dates of honorable service with the application. To receive 10 points, submit an official statement from VA or the service branch, dated within the past 12 months, which confirms qualification to receive 10 points. Spouses or surviving spouses must also submit evidence of marriage or veteran’s death.

An application form and additional information regarding veterans preference points can be found here.

Learn more about Hawaii Veterans and Hawaii Disabled Veterans Hiring Preferences for Public Employment

Employment Services for Hawaii Veterans

The Workforce Development Division (WDD) and its network of American Job Centers (also called One-Stop Centers) offers an array of employment and training services to Hawaii veterans, as well as relevant applicant recruiting assistance tailored to the needs of the business community.

Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERs) are employed at the centers to help connect employers to veterans with specific skills and experiences. The LVER staff members are veterans themselves, and have received special training at the National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI).

Jobseekers can access employment search engines at HireNet Hawaii or by visiting any WDD office or One-Stop Career Center.

Additional information on veteran services and programs can be found in the Hawaii Workforce Development Division brochure.

Hawaii American Job Center directory

Learn more about Hawaii veteran unemployment services.

Learn more about Hawaii State Employee Military Caregiver Leave

Hawaii veterans school benefits min

Hawaii National Guard State Family Program

The Hawaii National Guard State Family Program serves service members, retired service members, veterans, and their families to promote resiliency and growth by providing education, resources, and assistance for the unique environment of today’s military life.

Any service member, retired service member, veteran, or their family members may find useful links, resources, and information on the Family Program website—including child and youth activities, psychological health services, suicide prevention, personal finance counselors, transition assistance, employment programs, and more.

Visit the Hawaii National Guard State Family Program.


Medical Coverage for Hawaii National Guard

If a member of the Hawaii National Guard or Hawaii state defense force suffers a personal injury arising out of and in the performance of duty, compensation is paid to the member or the member’s dependents by the State of Hawaii.

In any case arising after May 10, 1951, any compensation from the federal government is deducted from the amount paid by the State of Hawaii. 

National Guard members who suffer an injury or illness in the line of active duty are eligible for coverage.

Learn more about Hawaii National Guard medical coverage under Worker’s Compensation laws.


Hawaii State Employee Military Caregiver Leave

A state employee is eligible for up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a single 12-month period to care for a military relative (spouse, child, parent, or next of kin) if they have a qualifying serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty on active duty.


Hawaii Veteran Benefits for Vehicles, Licenses, and Special Plates

Hawaii does not have a statewide department of motor vehicles. Vehicle registration is managed by each county government.

Hawaii veterans benefits and Hawaii disabled veterans benefits include special privileges, discounted rates, and some fee exemptions.

Hawaii Disabled Veteran Benefits for Motor Vehicle Registration

Hawaii disabled veterans are entitled to a $45 state registration fee discount (must pay the balance due). For example, if the registration fee is $245, the cost to the Hawaii disabled veteran will be $200.

The veteran must meet all three eligibility requirements:

  • Resident of Hawaii
  • Other than dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Determined by VA or its predecessor to have a 100% service-connected disability rating

To prove eligibility requirements, fax (808) 433-0385 or email [email protected] to submit:

  • Copy of driver’s license (to prove residency)
  • Copy of current car registration (one vehicle only)
  • Copy of current VA 100% disability letter
  • Current mailing address, if different from license

The OVS will send Hawaii disabled veterans the original letter along with a copy for the records to the veteran’s mailing address; only the original letter will be accepted for registration.

There is also a tax exemption for passenger cars subsidized by VA.

For questions, contact the county driver license/state ID office:

County of Hawaii, Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division

City and County of Honolulu, Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing

County of Kauai, Treasury Division, Drivers Licensing and Motor Vehicles

County of Maui, Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division

Learn more about Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles.

Veteran Designation for Hawaii Driver Licenses and State Identification Cards

A “Veteran” designation for driver licenses and state ID cards is available to eligible Hawaii veterans and Hawaii disabled veterans.

All veterans discharged under other than dishonorable conditions are eligible. Applicants must provide a completed Hawaii driver’s license application or Hawaii ID card application and proof of qualification. Acceptable documents include:

  • DD214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty)
  • NGB 22 (National Guard Report of Separation from Active Duty)
  • Prior to January 1, 1950:  WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO, 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD, NAVCG 553, DD Form 217
  • Discharge certificate reflecting characterization of discharge
  • Verification letter issued by VA
  • Verification letter issued by the Office of Veteran Services
  • Military Retired ID Card (DD2, Retired)
  • Official Military Orders
  • Veterans Health ID Card (VHIC)

Applicants whose driver’s license, permit, or state ID is not within the renewal period may add the veteran designation by applying for a duplicate, or by presenting one of the documents listed above at a driver-license issuing facility. Regular duplicate fees apply.

Applicants for new or renewal driver’s licenses, instructional permits, and state IDs are required to provide the necessary documents for proof of name, date of birth, Social Security number, principal residence, and legal presence status.

Follow these links for more details:

Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Hawaii Driver License Documents

Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Legal Presence Law

Hawaii, Department of Transportation, State Issued ID Fact Sheet

With specific questions, call the county driver license/state ID office:

County of Hawaii: 808-961-2222

City/County of Honolulu: 808-532-7730

County of Kauai: 808-241-4242

County of Maui: 808-270-7363 (Molokai: 808-553-9067; Lanai: 808-565-7878)

Learn more about veteran designation for Hawaii driver licenses/state ID cards.

Special License Plates for Hawaii Veterans

Hawaii offers specialty license plates to Hawaii veterans and Hawaii disabled veterans. For the same cost as a regular license plate, qualified Hawaii veterans may choose auto license plates designated:

  • Veteran
  • Combat or Combat Wounded
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor
  • Former POW
  • World War II Veteran
  • Korea Veteran
  • Vietnam Veteran
  • Persian Gulf Veteran
  • Gold Star Family

These options are also available for motorcycle plates.

For more information and application forms, contact:

va home loan hawaii

Hunting Licenses for Nonresident Military at Resident Rates

Active-duty military personnel and their dependents stationed in Hawaii are considered residents for the purposes of obtaining a hunting license.

Learn more about hunting in Hawaii.


Hawaii Veterans Home

The Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo provides high-quality nursing and personal care with courtesy and compassion. Managed by Avalon Care Center, its dedicated staff caters to the individual. The home is a VA- and Medicare/Medicaid-certified health care community that strives to honor veterans.

To be eligible for care, the veteran must meet the following requirements:

  • Is certified by a physician to require skilled or long-term nursing home care as defined by the VA, MedQuest, or Medicare 
  • For adult day health services, must meet VA or MedQuest criteria as certified by a physician
  • Is at least 55 old
  • Honorably discharged
  • Resided in Hawaii prior to induction in the military, or has one-year residency in Hawaii
  • Able to pay the resident’s portion of the cost of care (if not covered by other payers such as Medicare, MedQuest, etc.)

On a space-available basis, the home may accept spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents. Admission of individuals under age 55 is handled on a case-by-case basis by the admission team, with consideration given to the ability of the home to meet the needs of the veterans.

In case of a waiting list, the admission team considers the following priorities:

  • Severity of disability
  • Capacity to earn a living
  • Length of military service
  • Amount of combat experience
  • Circumstances of immediate family
  • Satisfaction of all other patient clinical criteria for admissions, as outlined in clinical related policies

Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home
1180 Waianuenue Ave.
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
(808) 961-1500

Additional information and application form

Best VA Home Loan Lenders in Hawaii

There are good reasons why Hawaii is known as the Paradise of the Pacific—and many veterans who may have seen it briefly during deployment dream of returning and making a home there.

It’s not such a far-fetched dream, with crucial help from the VA. An article in U.S. News & World Report has listed Hawaii’s best mortgage lenders as well as mortgage rates in the state, a mortgage calculator, Hawaii home buyer programs, and the best VA home loan mortgage lenders of 2021.


Hawaii Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Hawaii disabled veteran benefits include property tax exemptions?

Yes, the State of Hawaii offers tax exemptions on real property owned and occupied as a home by a totally disabled veteran or widow(er). The exemption remains in effect as long as the veteran claiming it remains totally disabled or the widow(er) remains unmarried.

Also available are tax exemptions on passenger cars when they owned by Hawaii disabled veterans and subsidized by VA. This benefit varies by island.

Do Hawaii veterans receive hiring preference for public employment?

Yes. The Hawaii Department of Human Resources Development manages the Hawaii Veterans Preference Program for public employment. Nondisabled veterans receive 5 preference points; disabled veterans receive 10 points. Preference points are added to examination scores completed by applicants for open competitive recruitments only.

Are there state resources for Hawaii veterans seeking employment?

The Workforce Development Division (WDD) and its network of American Job Centers (also called One-Stop Centers) offers an array of employment and training services to Hawaii veterans, as well as relevant applicant recruiting assistance tailored to the needs of the business community.

Are there family support services among Hawaii veterans’ benefits?

Without a doubt: Any service member, retired service member, veteran, or their family members may find useful links, resources, and information on the Hawaii National Guard Program website. Resources include child and youth activities, psychological health services, suicide prevention, personal finance counselors, transition assistance, employment programs, and more.

Do Hawaii disabled veteran benefits include help with auto registration?

You bet! Hawaii disabled veterans with a 100% service-connected disability rating are entitled to a $45 state registration fee discount (must pay the balance due). For example, if the registration fee is $245, the cost to the Hawaii disabled veteran will be $200.

Are there special license plates available to Hawaii veterans and their families?

Hawaii offers specialty license plates to Hawaii veterans and Hawaii disabled veterans. For the same cost as a regular license plate, qualified Hawaii veterans may choose from 10 different distinctive plates.

Does the VA help Hawaii veterans buy their own homes?

An article in U.S. News & World Report listed Hawaii’s best mortgage lenders as well as mortgage rates in the state, a mortgage calculator, Hawaii home buyer programs, and the best VA home loan mortgage lenders of 2021.


MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE

Regardless of what state you live in, it’s important 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 Strategy Session 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 & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.

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