A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
More than 280,000 veterans make their home in “The Bluegrass State” (nearly 8 percent of the state’s population). A wide range of Kentucky veteran benefits complement the federal benefits that are available to all eligible U.S. military veterans. There are also numerous Kentucky disabled veteran benefits, supporting the nearly 34 percent of the state’s veteran population that has a VA disability rating.
- A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
- What are the top veteran benefits in Kentucky?
- Kentucky Veteran Benefits Include Property Tax Exemptions
- What about income tax benefits for Kentucky veterans?
- Education Benefits for Veterans in Kentucky
- Kentucky Resident Tuition for Nonresident Military Service Members and Dependents
- College Credit for Military Experience in Kentucky
- Full Tuition Waivers for Eligible Veterans and Family Members
- National Guard Tuition Award Program
- High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans in Kentucky
- Hiring and Employment Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
- Housing Programs for Veterans in Kentucky
- Financial Assistance Programs in Kentucky
- Kentucky Transportation Licensing Benefits
- Kentucky Veteran Benefits for Recreation
- Veteran Health Care in Kentucky
- Miscellaneous Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
- About the Author
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What are the top veteran benefits in Kentucky?
Kentucky is known for its robust education program for veterans and their families, especially for Kentucky disabled veterans. Other benefits include financial assistance to prevent homelessness, property tax exemptions, recreational licenses and discounts, vehicle registration discounts, and help with employment.
A veteran’s (or service member’s) military branch, career status, and disability status as well as residence status can affect benefit eligibility.
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs administers many of the veterans programs and benefits in Kentucky. This is a great place to learn about your Kentucky and national benefits, or get help with claims and applications. The department maintains19 field offices throughout the state, staffed by Veterans Benefits Field Representatives who are veterans themselves.
Read on for the ultimate guide to top Kentucky veteran benefits for 2021!
Kentucky Veteran Benefits Include Property Tax Exemptions
Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Disabled veterans with a service-connected disability receive a homestead exemption, which cuts the taxable value of your home. The 2021 and 2022 exemption is worth $40,500. You only need to apply for the homestead exemption once, and once approved you’ll automatically receive it annually as a disabled veteran.
Local Property Valuation Administrators (PVAs) are responsible for assessing property in Kentucky. To apply, you must fill out the form below and contact your local PVA.
What about income tax benefits for Kentucky veterans?
Kentucky offers excellent state income tax benefits for military members and veterans receiving military retirement.
Kentucky has a flat 5 percent state income tax for residents. One of the rewarding Kentucky veteran benefits includes exemption for members of the military from paying income tax on their military pay! This includes active duty and members of the National Guard, as well as reservists.
Military Retirement Income Tax Exemptions
If you are receiving military retirement, you can exclude up to $31,110 of your retirement income from your state income tax return. Keep in mind this applies to all federal retirement payments, so if you receive more than this amount, the remainder is subject to state income tax.
If your retirement service credit was earned before January 1, 1998, you may be eligible to have all of your military retirement income excluded.
VA disability pay is not included in taxable income.
Education Benefits for Veterans in Kentucky
In addition to the federal programs available to all U.S. veterans, Kentucky veteran benefits include excellent educational benefits for veterans and their families.
There are many military-friendly colleges in Kentucky. According to the VA, 138 Kentucky schools received Post 9/11 GI bill funds in 2017, for more than 6,686 students totaling over $46 million dollars.
Kentucky Resident Tuition for Nonresident Military Service Members and Dependents
Veterans and active duty service members are eligible for in-state tuition at any University of Kentucky system school. Veterans must have received an honorable discharge within the last three years from the time of enrollment and also be eligible for Title 38 GI Bill benefits to receive in-state tuition. Active duty military members stationed in Kentucky as well as their spouse and dependents are also eligible for in-state tuition.
College Credit for Military Experience in Kentucky
All universities and local community colleges in Kentucky use the recommendations made by the American Council on Education to award academic credit toward a degree for education and training received in the military. Many schools in Kentucky only award credit that can be applied towards the chosen degree of study.
To claim college credit for military training, request a transcript from your military service branch at Air University for the Air Force and Joint Services Transcript (JST) for all other branches and contact your local veterans services coordinator.
Full Tuition Waivers for Eligible Veterans and Family Members
Dependent Tuition Waiver and Tuition Exemptions for Kentucky Schools
For Kentucky resident service members or veterans who are 100 percent or Permanently & Totally disabled, Kentucky offers their children under age 26 and unremarried surviving spouses full tuition waivers. This applies to veterans who served on active duty, in the National Guard, or the Reserves.
Dependents are also eligible if they are related to service members who died on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability, or are/were Prisoners of War or Mission in Action.
Any two- or four-year institution or vocational/technical school is covered if it’s operated by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Dependents don’t need to be state residents to use this benefit, and can use it for up to 45 months.
National Guard Tuition Award Program
Kentucky National Guard members may be eligible for up to 100 percent tuition assistance for in-state tuition at any Kentucky public college. To be eligible, students must remain in the Kentucky National Guard during the period of enrollment and be in good standing. All Kentucky National Guard members are encouraged to contact the Boone National Guard at (502) 607-1039 with any application questions.
High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans in Kentucky
Kentucky’s Operation Recognition issues high school diplomas to eligible veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. This is one of the Kentucky veteran benefits you earned with your service and sacrifice, so take advantage of the opportunity to get your high school diploma!
Veterans who left high school to join the military during World War II, Korea, or Vietnam are eligible to receive a high school diploma if the veteran:
- Is an honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces
- Left high school in any U.S. state before graduation to serve in the war
To apply, complete the application and mail to the Kentucky Department of Veteran’s Affairs along with the veteran’s discharge papers to:
KDVA High School Diploma Program
1111B Louisville Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
Hiring and Employment Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
There are several Kentucky veteran benefits that support veterans and their families with employment. As service members transition into civilian life, Kentucky employment resources can help with everything from career advancement to transitioning into a new career path.
Veterans and disabled veterans receive preference when applying for federal, state, county, and local government jobs in Kentucky.
Kentucky Veterans’ Employment Preference
Kentucky recognizes those who have served by offering interview preference to veterans and their family members. Veterans must have an honorable discharge to receive preference. As long as veterans meet the minimum requirements for the position, they are guaranteed an interview if there are five or less applicants with veterans’ preference. The same preference applies to spouses of service members and veterans, as well as dependent parents of a disabled or deceased veteran.
Veterans’ Preference at Kentucky Career Centers
Kentucky thanks veterans with Veterans Express services at local Career Centers. Veterans get access to career assessments, job search assistance, interview preparation, resume assistance, and help translating their military experience into the civilian job sector. Disabled veterans also have the option to utilize specialized services through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Online Employment Training for Veterans
Kentucky Veterans Employment, Training and Support Program (KyVETS) offers training to improve skills, resume assistance, networking, and interview preparation help to veterans—all from the comfort of your own home.
Paid Days Off for Military Spouses who are Kentucky State Employees
Kentucky authorizes state employees to take two paid days off—one when a military spouse deploys and one day on the spouse’s return. This also applies to members of the National Guard or Reserves if they deploy.
Housing Programs for Veterans in Kentucky
Kentucky Veterans Centers
Care at any of the four Veterans Homes in Kentucky is an earned benefit to honorably discharged veterans, providing veterans a community fostering independence, preserving dignity and providing compassionate care.
Each of the four centers is a skilled nursing facility that provides long-term care to include memory care in several locations. Only veterans are eligible for admittance and must be a Kentucky resident in need of nursing care.
The four centers are:
- Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard, KY
- Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, KY
- Western Kentucky Veterans Center near Madisonville, KY
- Radcliff Veterans Center in Radcliff, KY
The monthly cost is covered by the VA for veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 70 percent or higher. Contact each location’s admissions coordinator for more information.
Financial Assistance Programs in Kentucky
Kentucky Homeless Veterans Program
Kentucky is going to great lengths to end veteran homelessness. The state has a Homeless Veterans Trust Fund that provides financial assistance to honorably discharged former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Financial assistance includes help paying utilities or avoiding eviction. Veterans should provide notice of utility cut-off or eviction notices along with their application.
Kentucky Transportation Licensing Benefits
Kentucky Veteran Designation on Driver License or Identification (ID) Cards
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet offers a veteran designation that you can choose to place on your Kentucky driver’s license or ID card. To receive the veteran designation, veterans must provide proof of service and meet the requirements for a Kentucky driver license.
The “Veteran” printed vertically on the left side of the license allows honorably discharged Kentucky veterans to validate their honorable service with a government-issued ID card.
Veteran Recognition License Plates
Kentucky offers veterans and their family members 53 unique specialty license plates.
Discounted License Plates and Vehicle Registration for Disabled Veterans
Disabled veterans with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher are eligible for a disabled veteran license plate. This plate and all renewals are free for veterans who are 100 percent disabled if their disability is service-connected.
Kentucky Veteran Benefits for Recreation
Discounted Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Kentucky Veterans
The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources offers discounted hunting and fishing licenses for $12 to Kentucky residents with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher. These can be renewed every three years.
The license includes combination hunting/fishing, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, Kentucky migratory bird/waterfowl permit and trout permit.
Exemption for Kentucky Service Members on Leave
If a Kentucky resident service member is on leave for three or more days, they do not need a license to hunt or fish.
Discounted Camping in Kentucky
Kentucky offers a 10 percent discount for active military and veterans at Kentucky State Park campgrounds for one campsite or rental unit per visit. 100 percent disabled veterans who are also Kentucky residents can camp or stay for free for up to three nights per year.
Veteran Health Care in Kentucky
|Locations||Kentucky Federal VA Medical Centers|
|Bellevue||Bellevue Community Based Outpatient Clinic|
|Berea||VA Clinic Berea|
|Bowling Green||Bowling Green VA Clinic|
|Carrollton||Carrollton VA Clinic|
|Clarkson||Grayson County VA Clinic|
|Florence||Florence Community Based Outpatient Clinic|
|Ft Knox||Ft. Knox VA Clinic|
|Ft. Thomas||Cincinnati VA Medical Center-Fort Thomas|
|Hazard||VA Clinic Hazard|
|Hopkinsville||Hopkinsville, Kentucky OPC|
|Lexington||Lexington VAMC: Cooper Division|
|Lexington VAMC: Leestown Division|
|Lexington Vet Center|
|Louisville||Robley Rex VA Medical Center|
|Newburg VA Clinic|
|Shively VA Clinic|
|Stonybrook VA Clinic|
|Louisville Vet Center|
|Mayfield||Mayfield Community Based Outpatient Clinic|
|Morehead||VA Clinic Morehead|
|Owensboro||Owensboro Community Based Outpatient Clinic|
|Paducah||Paducah Community Based Outpatient Clinic|
|Prestonsburg||Prestonsburg VA Clinic|
|Somerset||VA Clinic Somerset|
Miscellaneous Benefits for Kentucky Veterans
Missing Service Members DNA Project
Sadly, there are 207 Kentuckians whose bodies have not been returned from the Korean War. Kentucky created a project for family members of these POW/MIA service members to provide DNA samples that will be helpful in identifying remains as they are found and returned to the U.S.
Kentucky Women Veterans Program
Kentucky is focusing on ensuring that women veterans receive the benefits they earned. The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs has compiled a list of resources just for women, including outreach events and hotline information.
Are there special property tax exemptions for Kentucky veterans?
Yes, disabled veterans receive a property tax exemption in Kentucky up to $40,500, which reduces the taxable value of a veteran’s home. Surviving spouses of eligible veterans may also apply for this benefit.
Are there income tax benefits for Kentucky veterans?
Military members who are residents of Kentucky don’t have to pay state income tax on their military pay. Veterans may exclude up to $31,110 of their military retirement pay from their state income tax return.
Does Kentucky award college credit for military training?
Kentucky public universities and colleges consider military training and experience and award credit appropriately, as long as the credit is applicable to the degree of study chosen by the veteran.
Do Kentucky veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
Kentucky veterans with an honorable discharge receive a guaranteed interview for a state job if there are five or less applicants with veterans’ preference. They still have to meet the minimum requirements for the job.
Does Kentucky offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
Kentucky offers many services to veterans including career assessments, job search assistance, interview preparation and resume assistance along with many more through local Veteran Representatives.
Does Kentucky offer any special financial assistance to veterans and their families?
Kentucky veterans may be eligible for financial assistance from the Homeless Veterans Trust fund to get aid with utility bills and avoid eviction. Learn how to apply online.
Are there special Kentucky veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources offers discounted hunting and fishing licenses to disabled veterans with a disability rating of 50 percent or more. There’s a 10 percent discount for other veterans and active military at Kentucky State Park campgrounds for one campsite or rental unit per visit. 100 percent disabled veterans can stay free for up to three nights per year.
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 for a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call, 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.