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October 21, 2021

Top 9 Minnesota Veteran Benefits

Last updated on October 22, 2021

Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Veteran Benefits in Minnesota

There are many Minnesota veteran benefits and exemptions provided by the state to current and former members of the U.S. military. Over 320,000 veterans live in Minnesota, with veterans making up 5% of the population.

Minnesota offers excellent tax exemptions for both property and income tax. Military retirement pay is not taxed in Minnesota, making it an attractive option for retired veterans.  Employment assistance programs, educational support, financial assistance, and recreational benefits also honor those who have served our nation. 

MINNESOTA VETERAN BENEFITS

An excellent resource for veterans is the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, which administers many Minnesota veteran benefits. Make sure to compare the different types of exemptions you may qualify for as a veteran, especially when it comes to the two types of property tax exemptions and the many tuition-related educational options.

VA Claims Insider has put together this guide to the best Minnesota veteran benefits to help you find all the benefits you’ve earned!

Table of Contents

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Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans in Minnesota

For veterans with a disability, Minnesota veteran benefits include two different property tax exemption options under the state’s market value exclusion program. 

Minnesota Veteran Property Tax Exemption up to $150,000

Veterans with a service-connected disability of 70 percent or greater can qualify for a homestead exemption worth up to $150,000. Primary family caregivers designated by the VA as the primary caregiver for a qualifying disabled veteran also qualify for this exemption if they own and occupy the residence. For the primary caregiver to qualify, the veteran cannot own homestead property in Minnesota. 

Minnesota Veteran Property Tax Exemption up to $300,000

Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) qualify for a homestead exemption worth up to $300,000. Primary family caregivers and surviving spouses of qualifying disabled veterans also can get this exemption. 

Additionally, surviving spouses receiving dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) are eligible for the exemption regardless of the veteran’s disability status. Unremarried surviving spouses may claim this exemption within two years of the veteran’s death and may qualify for $300,000 of market value exclusion until they remarry, sell, transfer, or dispose of the property. 

Apply with your local county assessor. Remember that each application must be submitted to your local assessor by December 15 to qualify for taxes payable in the next year. 


Minnesota Veteran Benefits Include Income Tax Exemptions

While Minnesota has a relatively high state income tax rate (ranging from 5.35 percent to 9.83 percent), the good news is that Minnesota exempts both military pay and retirement pay from taxation. Military pay is exempt for service members on active duty, Minnesota National Guard members, and Reservists. Also, the state exempts re-enlistment bonuses from state income tax! 

To claim a tax exemption for military service or military retirement pay, service members and veterans in Minnesota must file a tax subtraction to receive an exemption. You can file a tax subtraction by completing Form M1M.

MINNESOTA VETERAN TAX BENEFITS

Tax Credit for Past Military Service

Minnesota offers qualifying veterans a tax credit worth up to $750 if your adjusted gross income is below $37,500. This credit applies to active duty, National Guard, and reservist veterans. To qualify for these Minnesota veterans benefits, you must have separated from service and meet one of these requirements:

  • Have at least 20 years of service
  • Have a 100 percent total and permanent VA rating, OR
  • Receive military retirement pay (with an honorable discharge)

Note that you cannot claim both this tax credit and the state income tax subtraction for military retirement pay. 

To claim this tax credit, complete Schedule M1C, Nonrefundable Credits

Tax Credit for Service in a Combat Zone

If you served in a qualifying combat zone (or hazardous duty area) and are a resident of Minnesota, you may qualify for a $120 tax credit for each month you served there. You can qualify for this benefit even if you owe no tax. Eligible areas include Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Arabian Peninsula, former Yugoslavia, and the Sinai Peninsula. 

Make sure to apply within 3.5 years from the date of the original tax return to receive the credit by completing Form M99. Surviving family members may also apply for this benefit by also completing Form M23.


What are the best Minnesota veteran benefits for education? 

Minnesota’s educational benefits are excellent for veterans and their families, augmenting the federal education support available to all U.S. veterans.

There are many military-friendly colleges in Minnesota. According to the VA, 154 Minnesota schools received Post 9/11 GI Bill funds in 2017 for over 10,800 students totaling over $81 million!

MINNESOTA EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR VETERANS

Minnesota Higher Education Veterans Programs

Minnesota’s Department of Veteran Affairs maintains this excellent program to help veterans like you go back to school. Many campuses across the state have On-Campus Resource Centers with local MDVA representatives. These representatives are available to help answer questions about many topics, from transfer credits to veteran residency status. They can even help you withdraw from a class if you deploy. 

Resident College Tuition Rates in Minnesota

In-state tuition rates represent just one of the great Minnesota veteran benefits for education.  Under the Military and Veterans Enactments in 2006, resident tuition rates are available at any Minnesota public college or university undergraduate program for active-duty military personnel, members of the Minnesota National Guard, Reservists, veterans, and their dependents (regardless of their residency status). Veterans who are graduate students are eligible for in-state tuition rates if they enlisted as a Minnesota resident and are within two years of discharge from active duty. (Minnesota Statute 197.775)

College Credit in Minnesota for Military Training

All universities and local community colleges in Minnesota 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. 

To claim college credit for military training, request a transcript from your military service branch. Army, Navy, Marines, Space Force, and Coast Guard members should request a Joint Services Transcript. Air Force members should request a Community College of the Air Force transcript. Both methods let service members order online copies of their transcripts. Each service branch will provide official copies to schools at no charge.

College Assistance with the Minnesota GI Bill

Don’t confuse Minnesota’s GI Bill with federal VA education benefits. Minnesota’s GI Bill is a state program that offers veterans up to $10,000 for higher education expenses, on-the-job training, apprenticeship, or licensing and certification.

Here are the annual limits for the Minnesota GI Bill, based on how you choose to utilize this benefit:

  • Higher education – maximum $3,000 per academic year
  • OJT/Apprenticeship – maximum $2,000 per fiscal year 
  • License and Certification – maximum $3,000 in reimbursement per fiscal year

You can apply for benefits if you served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time and are a Minnesota resident. You also qualify as a Minnesota National Guard member or Reservist with at least five years of cumulative service (after September 11, 2001). If a surviving spouse or child is eligible for federal education benefits, they can also apply if the veteran died due to service or is permanently disabled. 

Apply online using the Minnesota GI Bill application portal

Minnesota Veteran Education Assistance

Minnesota veteran benefits for education include a one-time $750 grant for tuition (for a bachelor’s degree and other educational pursuits) for veterans who have no GI Bill benefits left. To be eligible, you must be a current Minnesota resident (with Minnesota residency for at least six months before entering the military). 

You have some flexibility with how you utilize this benefit. The grant can be used towards public universities and community colleges, vocational-technical colleges, any college accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, law school, theological seminary, nursing school, or a vocational-technical trade or business school approved by the Minnesota Department of Education. 

To apply for this grant, complete the application form and submit it to the MDVA.

Tuition Reimbursement Program (STR) for Minnesota National Guard Members

The Minnesota National Guard State Tuition Reimbursement (STR) program covers up to 100 percent of your tuition cost!

The STR program in Minnesota covers up to 144 semester credits. The annual cap for this benefit is the University of Minnesota undergraduate rate for tuition, currently $18,000 per fiscal year (from July 1 to June 30). The STR program can apply towards a graduate degree, which will reimburse up to 50% of your tuition up to $28,000 per fiscal year. 

The program covers any accredited college, but keep in mind that private colleges tend to be more expensive than public colleges. The benefit maxes out at $18,000 per year for undergraduates. You can choose to use this if you’re in pay grades E-1 through O-5 (includes Warrant Officers). This can be used in addition to GI Bill benefits.

You must have two years left on your obligation to use this tuition benefit from the course end date. If you’ve separated from the National Guard due to a service-connected disability, you can use this benefit for up to eight years after discharge. 

You must apply through your unit representative and complete a Memorandum of Understanding no later than 90 days from the start of the course. 

Minnesota Surviving Spouse and Dependent Education Benefit

Minnesota takes care of the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Surviving spouses and children of veterans who die due to service may be eligible for free tuition at any approved Minnesota college or university to earn their bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, the state offers up to $750 per fiscal year for fees, books and supplies, and room and board. 

You must apply for and be accepted into a school to qualify for this benefit. When applying, make sure to check your veteran is eligible based on residency. Veterans must have been a resident of Minnesota when they entered the military (or have been a resident for at least six months before their death). There is no age limit for applicants, but applicants must be Minnesota residents to qualify.

Apply for a tuition waiver through the MDVA. 


Hiring and Employment Benefits for Minnesota Veterans

Several Minnesota veteran benefits offer support with employment, and many resources are available to help veterans and their families find jobs and advance their careers.

Minnesota Veterans Preference Act

Minnesota recognizes those who have served by offering employment preference to veterans applying for federal, state, county, and local government jobs in Minnesota.

Veterans with an honorable discharge receive ten points added to a civil service exam as long as they’re qualified for the position. Minnesota disabled veteran benefits are even better: Disabled veterans with a permanent VA disability rating of 50 percent or more receive 15 points added to their exam scores.  If the disabled veteran cannot work, the spouse is eligible to receive employment preference instead. 

Learn more about Minnesota veteran benefits for state employment preference here.

Minnesota Veteran Job Services

Minnesota’s CareerForce centers are committed to helping all veterans and their eligible spouses obtain meaningful employment. Specialty employees trained to help veterans staff these centers, known as Local Veterans Employment Representatives. Priority of service is available to veterans and includes resume and cover letters, application and interview assistance, and education and training opportunities. 

Be sure to check which locations employ veterans specialists, so you can get the most out of your visit to a CareerForce location. Find a location near you with a veterans specialist here.


Financial Assistance Programs in Minnesota

Minnesota Short-Term Financial Assistance for Veterans and Surviving Spouses

These Minnesota veteran benefits, known as the Subsistence program, provide temporary assistance of up to six months to help veterans cover rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and health insurance if they meet certain financial limits. 

To be eligible, veterans must be unable to work a regular job due to a temporary or permanent disability, and be waiting to receive a long-term benefit such as VA compensation, VA military retirement, or Social Security. Veterans must show medical proof during the application process. 

Surviving spouses are also eligible to apply up to a year after the veteran passes away. 

You can learn more about applying for the Subsistence program here through your local County Veterans Service Officer.


Housing Benefits for Veterans in Minnesota

Veterans Homes in Minnesota

Minnesota veteran benefits include five Veterans Nursing Homes within the state. These homes (located in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne, Minneapolis, and Silver Bay) offer long-term care for veterans and eligible family members in need. The homes provide quality care to veterans in both skilled nursing and independent living environments. Spouses and surviving spouses are admitted on a space-available basis. 

MINNESOTA PROPERTY TAX BENEFITS

Veterans must have an honorable discharge to be eligible. They also must have Minnesota residency or have entered service from Minnesota. They must have served 181 consecutive days on active duty. Spouses are also eligible if they are at least 55 and meet residency requirements. 

To learn more about each home, visit the respective homes’ website:

You can apply to each of the homes using the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs admission application. 


Veteran Health Care in Minnesota

Medical Assistance from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs

The MDVA operates two programs to help veterans in need get medical care for themselves and their families: optical and dental assistance. These benefits are both based on family income and assets. 

Optical Assistance

Eligible veterans and their families may receive up to $400 annually for eye exams and prescription glasses. 

Dental Assistance

Eligible veterans and their family members can claim up to $1,000 annually for routine dental care. The MDVA will even provide a one-time payment of up to $3,000 for dentures or $2,000 for tooth extractions. 

To apply for either of these health care programs, contact your local County Veteran Service Officer or call 888-546-5838

List of VA Locations in Minnesota

LocationMedical Facilities for Minnesota Veteran Benefits
Albert LeaAlbert Lea VA Clinic
AlexandriaAlexandria Community Based Outpatient Clinic
AnokaBrooklyn Park Vet Center
BemidjiBemidji VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic
BrainerdBrainerd VA Clinic
DuluthDuluth Vet Center
EaganVISN 23 VA Midwest Health Care Network
ElyEly VA Clinic
Fergus FallsFergus Falls VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic
HibbingHibbing VA Clinic
MankatoLyle C. Pearson VA Clinic
MaplewoodMaplewood VA Clinic
MinneapolisMinneapolis VA Health Care System
MontevideoMontevideo VA Clinic
RamseyNorthwest Metro VA Clinic
RochesterRochester VA Clinic
Saint PaulSt. Paul Vet Center
ShakopeeShakopee VA Clinic
St. CloudSt. Cloud VA Health Care System
St. JamesSt. James VA Clinic

Minnesota Veterans Vehicle and Driver’s License Benefits

Minnesota Veteran Designation on Driver License or Identification (ID) Cards

Any honorably discharged veteran can request a Veteran designation on the front of a Minnesota driver’s license or ID card. The word “Veteran” printed on the license allows Minnesota veterans to validate their honorable service with a government-issued ID card. 

To apply for Minnesota veteran benefits through the Driver and Vehicle Services division, veterans must apply in person with their DD214. 

MINNESOTA LICENSE BENEFITS FOR VETERANS

Licensing Options and Tax Exemptions

Minnesota offers 25 unique military-themed license plates to honor your service. These plates all require a $10 plate fee and $10 filing fee, unless you’re applying for an Ex-POW or Medal of Honor plate. You can apply for each plate at a local Deputy Registrar Office.

In addition, if you’re a former POW, you’re exempt from paying sales tax. If the VA has helped you modify your vehicle, you’re exempt from paying both registration tax and sales tax. 

File a Claim for Motor Vehicle Refund to apply for this benefit.


Veterans Benefits in Minnesota for Recreation

When it comes to hunting and fishing in Minnesota, it pays to be a Minnesota resident. The price of resident licenses are five times less expensive than non-resident licenses! 

Disabled veterans and service members receive licenses at steeply discounted prices.

Hunting and Fishing License Discounts

Licenses for Disabled Veterans

Minnesota disabled veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating are eligible for a free small game license, one free deer license per year, first preference in drawings for special deer hunts and lotteries, and a free permanent angling license.  Purple Heart recipients are also eligible for preference in lotteries.

Minnesota veteran benefits include a waiver for fishing licenses for veterans living in a Minnesota Veterans Home.  

You can apply for a permanently disabled veteran card, military preference during lotteries, and a permanent angling license through the Department of Natural Resources. 

Licenses for Service Members

Residents of Minnesota on active duty home on leave receive special privileges while hunting and fishing in-state. If you’re a Minnesota resident service member, you may hunt small game or fish and use ski trails without a license. You’re also eligible to hunt deer, wild turkey, and wolf for free after purchasing the correct license or tag. Bring your leave paperwork with you while enjoying the great outdoors. 

Active-duty residents of Minnesota also receive preference in lotteries for deer hunts, the antlerless deer lottery, and bear and turkey lotteries. 

Active-duty military members stationed in Minnesota (or Minnesota National Guard members) can purchase licenses at resident prices, excluding elk licenses. Spouses are also eligible.

Licenses for Recent Veterans

If you’ve served in the Armed Forces overseas and have been discharged within the past two years, Minnesota veteran benefits include hunting small game without a license, fishing without a license, and using ski trails without a license. You’ll also receive first preference in lotteries and drawings for special hunts. 

You can file for military preference in lotteries and hunts here. 

Free Minnesota State Park Passes for Military and Disabled Veterans

Active-duty military, Purple Heart recipients, and disabled veterans with any disability status receive a free annual state park pass, regardless of residency. 

To check your eligibility for all licenses and passes, take the Department of Natural Resource’s quiz to determine exact qualifications. 


FAQs

Are there special property tax exemptions for Minnesota veterans?

Yes! Minnesota disabled veterans with a VA rating of 100% (P&T) receive a property tax exemption of up to $300,000. Minnesota disabled veterans with a VA rating of 70% (or higher) receive a property exemption of up to $150,000. These exemptions also apply to primary family caregivers if the veteran lives with the primary caregiver and does not own a home in Minnesota. Unremarried surviving spouses of service members may also apply for this benefit within two years of the veteran’s death.

What Minnesota VA benefits exist for income tax?

Both active duty service members and military retirees are exempt from paying Minnesota state income tax on their active duty or military retirement pay.

Does Minnesota award college credit for military training?

Yes! Minnesota uses the American Council on Education’s recommendations to translate military training and experience into college credit.

Does Minnesota offer any tuition assistance to veterans?
Minnesota offers a multitude of tuition assistance programs to veterans. Minnesota offers full tuition for spouses and children of veterans who died in service of our country. An annual stipend of up to $750 may also be available to help cover the cost of fees, books, and room and board. The Minnesota GI Bill also provides a maximum of $10,000 to service members, veterans, and eligible family members for college, OJT or apprenticeships, or licensing and certification. Family members are eligible if the veteran has a P&T disability rating or died in service of our country. Minnesota National Guard members may be eligible for tuition reimbursement worth up to $18,000 per year for undergraduate degrees and $16,000 per year for graduate degrees, with a two-year service commitment at the end of the term of study. 

Do Minnesota veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?  

Yes! Minnesota veterans with an honorable discharge receive 10 points added to their passing Minnesota civil service exam score for Minnesota jobs. Disabled veterans with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or more receive a 15-point addition. Surviving spouses also receive employment preference. 

Does Minnesota offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment? 

Yes! Minnesota operates CareerForce centers throughout the state staffed with Local Veterans Employment Representatives to help veterans prepare for civilian employment. 

Does Minnesota offer any special financial assistance to veterans and their families? 

The Minnesota Short-Term Financial Assistance for Veterans and Surviving Spouses program helps veterans cover basic living expenses for up to six months. The program will help cover mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, and health insurance. Veterans must be unable to work and awaiting compensation from the VA or Social Security Administration to qualify.

Are there special Minnesota veteran benefits offering reduced hunting, fishing, and recreational fees?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers limited free hunting and fishing licenses to 100 percent disabled veterans. Service members, disabled veterans, and Purple Heart recipients are eligible for preference in hunting lotteries and drawings. All veterans and service members are eligible for free annual Minnesota state park passes. 


MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE

Regardless of what state you live in, it’s important that veterans pursue the monthly compensation payments due them for disabilities connected to their 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 unsure how to get started – reach out to us! You served … you deserve.

Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. 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.

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