Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Benefits for Veterans in Montana
There are many Montana veteran benefits and exemptions provided by the state to current and former members of the Armed Forces who served honorably in the U.S. military.
Although Montana’s veteran population is only 84,000 residents within the state, veterans make up over 10 percent of the state’s total population!
Since such a large portion of Montana’s residents are veterans, it’s no wonder that Montana offers so many different benefits for veterans. The state offers impressive property and income tax exemptions for qualifying veterans, as well as employment assistance, recreational licenses and discounts, and tuition assistance to its veteran population.
An excellent resource for Montana Veterans is the state’s Department of Military Affairs. This department assists veterans in securing all the benefits and services they earned with service to our nation. Make sure to compare all the types of exemptions for which you may qualify, especially when it comes to property tax exemptions, military retirement pay exemptions, and tuition-related educational options.
Read on for the ultimate guide to Montana veteran benefits to help Montana veterans like you find the benefits you rightfully earned!
- Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Benefits for Veterans in Montana
- Montana Veterans Get Property Tax Exemptions
- Income Tax Exemptions for Montana Veterans
- What education benefits are available to veterans in Montana?
- Hiring and Employment Benefits for Montana Veterans
- Financial Assistance Programs in Montana
- Montana Veteran Benefits for Housing
- VA Locations and Medical Facilities in Montana
- Montana Veterans Vehicle License Benefits
- Montana Veteran Benefits for Parks and Recreation
- Are there special property tax exemptions for Montana veterans?
- Are there income tax benefits for Montana veterans?
- Does Montana award college credit for military training?
- Do Montana veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
- Does Montana offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
- Does Montana offer any special financial assistance to veterans and their families?
- Are there special Montana veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
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Montana Veterans Get Property Tax Exemptions
Veterans with a 100 percent disability rating from the VA may be eligible for a property tax reduction on their home. The amount of the reduction depends on the federal adjusted gross income of the veteran.
To be eligible:
- The veteran must live in the home at least seven months per year
- The home must be owned by the veteran
Federal AGI Thresholds to Qualify for Montana Property Tax Exemption
|Single||Married or Head of Household||Surviving Spouse||Reduction|
|$0 – $41,590||$0 – $49,908||$0 – 34,658||100 percent|
|$41,591 – $45,749||$49,909 – $54,067||$34,659 – $38,818||80 percent|
|$45,750 – $49,908||$54,068 – $58,226||$38,819 – $42,976||70 percent|
|$49,909 – $54,067||$58,227 – $62,385||$42,977 – $47,136||50 percent|
Income Tax Exemptions for Montana Veterans
One of the best Montana veteran benefits is that Montana service members are exempt from paying state income tax! Even if you’re stationed in Montana, as a service member you still don’t pay state income tax on your military pay. National Guard and Reservist pay received while on active duty is also exempt from Montana state income tax.
One consideration for income tax is military retirement pay, as Montana does levy state income tax for retired military members. This state income tax percentage will range from 1 percent to 6.9 percent, depending on income.
Keep in mind you may qualify for exemptions. There is an exemption of up to $4,370 for those who have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) below $45,160. Additionally, veterans under age 65 who are permanently and totally (P&T) disabled with less than $15,000 AGI may also be eligible to exclude up to $5,200.
Although the state taxes military retirement, military disability pay and VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) pay are not taxed. As a veteran you can simply deduct your disability or DIC pay from your adjusted gross income for the state.
What education benefits are available to veterans in Montana?
In addition to the federal programs available to all U.S. veterans, Montana has excellent educational benefits for veterans and their families.
There are many military-friendly colleges in Montana to choose from. According to the VA, in 2017, 54 Montana schools received Post 9/11 GI bill funds for 1,941 students totaling over $11 million dollars.
Montana Resident Tuition for Nonresident Military Service Members and their Dependents
Members of the military, their spouses, and children can take advantage of Montana veteran benefits for in-state tuition if they’re stationed in Montana, regardless of state residency. Even if the military member is transferred out of Montana, as long as the military member or family member enrolls before the transfer, in-state tuition still applies. Veterans eligible for a VA education benefit or their spouse or dependent children are also eligible for resident tuition.
College Credit for Military Experience in Montana
Veterans are eligible for transfer credit of military training and experience in Montana. Most universities and local community colleges in Montana use the recommendations made by the American Council on Education (ACE) to award academic credit toward a degree for education and training received in the military. Send your transcripts to your Montana Institution of choice. Each school reviews and assigns credits differently, but you can check potential credit at ACENET.
Montana National Guard College Tuition Waiver
Montana National Guard members may receive up to 100 percent tuition assistance at any Montana University system school, with up to full tuition paid at the in-state rate (typically around $7,500). To be eligible, students must be a member of the Montana National Guard at the start of each semester they enroll in.
The lifetime maximum State Tuition Reimbursement benefit is 208 quarter or 144 semester credits. Members must apply online every academic year. Members are encouraged to contact the National Guard education office at (907) 428-6663 before registering. You can also view the application instructions online.
Montana Honorably Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver
Montana rewards all honorably discharged veterans with wartime service who are residents of the state by offering additional educational Montana veteran benefits after GI Bill benefits have expired or been exhausted. You can use this waiver for up to 12 semesters. To be eligible, you must be pursuing your first associate or bachelor degree.
The waiver covers in-state tuition only at a Montana University System college and cannot be combined with any other waivers.
Tuition Waivers for Service Members Killed in the Line of Duty
Montana’s War Orphan Tuition Waiver is available in the Montana University System for children of service members killed on active duty during wartime. Children must be age 25 or younger. This waiver only covers tuition for undergraduate degrees and can’t be used with other tuition waivers. Service members must have been Montana residents at the time of entry into duty. Send in your application to the Scholarship Department of the Montana University System.
Hiring and Employment Benefits for Montana Veterans
There are a number of Montana veteran benefits that offer support with employment, and many resources are available to help veterans and their families find jobs and advance their careers.
Montana Veterans’ Employment Preference
Montana recognizes those who have served by offering employment preference to veterans and their family members when they apply for federal, state, county, and local government jobs in Montana. This also includes members of the Montana National Guard with at least six years of service.
Veterans with an honorable discharge receive five points added to their civil service exam as they’re qualified for the position. Montana disabled veteran benefits are even better: ten total points for Purple Heart recipients or disabled veterans with any disability rating. If the disabled veteran is not able to work, the spouse is eligible to receive employment preference instead.
Montana Veteran Job Services
Montana’s Job Services are committed to helping all veterans and their eligible spouses obtain meaningful employment. Priority of service is available to veterans and includes resume and cover letters, application and interview assistance, and on-the-job training. Veterans can also take advantage of state apprenticeships sponsored by employers, with paid training as veterans transition into a new civilian career.
Be sure to check which locations employ veterans specialists to get the most out of your visit to a Job Services location. Find a location near you with a veterans specialist here.
Montana Unemployment Insurance for Veterans
Transitioning service members may be eligible for Montana Unemployment Insurance. Filing eligibility begins for veterans after the discharge date on your DD214. You can file through the online claim portal with MontanaWorks.
Financial Assistance Programs in Montana
Montana Military Family Relief Fund (MMFRF)
Montana veteran benefits include financial aid for Montana National Guard members and Reservists who serve on active duty in a contingency operation. Keep in mind that the MMFRF program is not designed for active duty U.S. military. The program covers the cost of food, housing, utilities, medical services, and other expenses that are difficult to cover when a Montana National Guard member or Reservist is deployed or placed on active duty. Service members must be Montana residents to apply. Three programs are available:
$250 Per Eligible Dependent
This grant is available for National Guard members or Reservists who are activated with service in a contingency operation for at least 30 days. Complete MMFRF Form 1 to apply.
Up to $2000 Based on Need
This grant is available for National Guard members or Reservists with a military income 30 percent less than their civilian income. Families experiencing emergencies can still apply for this grant even if they don’t meet the 30 percent income qualifier. Complete MMFRF Form 2 to apply.
$2000 for Service Members Injured in Combat
Montana is dedicated to helping service members injured in combat. National Guard members and Reservists are eligible for a $2000 payment if they are injured in combat and are awarded a Purple Heart. Complete MMFRF Form 3 to apply.
Montana Veteran Benefits for Housing
Veterans Homes in Montana
Montana veteran benefits include three Veterans Nursing Homes within the state. These homes are located in Columbia Falls, Glendive, and Butte, and offer long-term care for veterans in need. The homes are only for veterans and their spouses who require skilled and intermediate nursing care. Spouses and surviving spouses are admitted on space-available basis.
Veterans must have an honorable discharge to be eligible. Although Montana residency isn’t a requirement, preference is given to residents and based on length of residency.
To learn more about each home and how to apply, visit the respective homes’ website:
- Montana Veteran’s Home Columbia Falls
- Eastern Montana Veteran Home in Glendive
- Southwest Montana Veterans Home in Butte
VA Locations and Medical Facilities in Montana
|Location||Medical Facilities for Montana Veteran Benefits|
|Anaconda:||Anaconda VA Clinic|
|Billings:||Benjamin Charles Steele VA Clinic (Billings Specialty Clinic)|
|Billings:||Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow VA Clinic (Billings CBOC)|
|Billings:||Billings Vet Center|
|Bozeman:||Bozeman VA Clinic|
|Cut Bank:||Cut Bank VA Clinic|
|Fort Harrison:||Fort Harrison VA Medical Center|
|Glasgow:||Glasgow VA Clinic|
|Glendive:||Glendive VA Clinic|
|Great Falls:||Great Falls VA Clinic|
|Great Falls:||Great Falls Vet Center|
|Hamilton:||Hamilton VA Clinic|
|Havre:||Merril Lundman VA Clinic (Havre, MT)|
|Helena:||Helena VA Clinic (Sleep Disorders)|
|Kalispell:||Kalispell VA Clinic|
|Kalispell:||Kalispell Vet Center|
|Lewistown:||Lewistown VA Clinic|
|Miles City:||Miles City VA Clinic and Community Living Center|
|Missoula:||Missoula VA Clinic (Multi-Specialty)|
|Missoula:||Missoula Vet Center|
|Plentywood:||Plentywood VA Clinic|
Montana Veterans Vehicle License Benefits
Montana Veteran Designation on Driver License or Identification (ID) Cards
For a small fee, any honorably discharged veteran can request a Veteran designation on the front of his or her Montana driver’s license or ID card.
The word “Veteran” printed on the center of a license allows Montana veterans to validate their honorable service with a government-issued ID card.
To apply for Montana veteran benefits through the Motor Vehicle Division, veterans must submit an application form along with documentation from the Montana Veteran Affairs confirming veteran status either in-person or by mail.
Reduced Fees for Vehicle Registration in Montana
If you’re serving on active duty or in the reserves and entered service as a Montana resident, you may be eligible for reduced vehicle registration fees if you’re stationed outside of Montana. Submit the application to your county treasurer’s motor vehicle office annually.
Montana disabled veteran benefits include reduced vehicle registration fees. This includes veterans with a 100 percent disability rating or those awarded the Purple Heart with a 50 percent or higher disability rating. Eligible veterans can apply at the local county treasurer’s office by submitting a letter from the VA that states the disability rating, along with a DD214 verifying the veteran’s Purple Heart medal, if applicable.
Montana Veteran Benefits for Parks and Recreation
Hunting and Fishing License Discounts
When it comes to hunting and fishing in Montana, it pays to be a Montana resident. Nonresident prices of licenses are ten to twenty times the price of resident licenses!
Disabled veterans and service members receive licenses at steeply discounted prices. If you’re a nonresident disabled veteran considering hunting in Montana, you can also take advantage of discounts.
To hunt in Montana, you need these three licenses:
- A conservation license
- A base hunting license fee
- License for the species you’re hunting
While conservation licenses and base hunting licenses cost a combined total of around $20, the species licenses can get expensive, especially for nonresidents. Disabled veteran and service member discounts reduce this expense.
Licenses for Disabled Veterans
Nonprofit organizations in Montana donate hunting licenses to disabled veterans. Disabled veterans in Montana are eligible for a free donated hunting license if they meet the following requirements:
- A charitable organization selects and sponsors the veteran to provide hunting as part of rehabilitation
- The veteran is a Purple Heart recipient
- The veteran has a VA disability rating of 70 percent or higher
There is no requirement to be a state resident for these Montana disabled veteran benefits!
If you aren’t sponsored by a charitable organization, you may still be eligible for a discounted deer and antelope hunting license as a disabled veteran. You must meet the following requirements:
- The veteran is a Purple Heart recipient
- The veteran has a permanent and total (P&T) disability rating
- The veteran has a non-ambulatory or substantially impaired mobility condition
All Purple Heart recipients may fish and hunt upland game birds with a conservation license. Veterans can apply at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks offices.
Montana veteran benefits include a free fishing permit for veterans and service members in VA hospitals. Permits are available on-site at the VA hospital.
Licenses for Service Members
Active duty military members stationed in Montana and their dependents are eligible to purchase licenses at resident prices after 30 days in Montana.
Discounted Montana State Park Camping for Disabled Veterans
Montana veteran benefits include camping in state parks at a discount of 50 percent for resident veterans. When making your reservation online, select “Montana Veteran” at checkout to receive the discount.
Are there special property tax exemptions for Montana veterans?
Yes, 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses receive a property tax exemption reducing the property tax value from 50 to 100 percent, depending on federal AGI. In order to qualify, the veteran or surviving spouse must apply by April 15th of the year they request the exemption.
Are there income tax benefits for Montana veterans?
Active service members who are residents of Montana don’t have to pay state income tax. Military retirement pay is taxed by Montana, but veterans with an AGI under $45,160 are eligible for an exemption up to $4,370.
Does Montana award college credit for military training?
Montana Institutions award credit on a case-by-case basis for military training and experience after veterans send in their transcripts.
Do Montana veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
Montana veterans with an honorable discharge receive a five-point employment preference on exams for state jobs. Veterans with a disability rating, or recipients of the Purple Heart, receive a ten-point employment preference on exams. Spouses are also eligible for employment preference if the eligible veteran is unable to work.
Does Montana offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
Yes! Veterans Montana’s Job Services locations across the state offer priority service and employ specialists to help veterans and spouses obtain meaningful employment.
Does Montana offer any special financial assistance to veterans and their families?
The Montana Military Family Relief Fund offers a grant to Montana National Guard members and Reservists placed in financial need when they make less money on active duty than in their civilian jobs. The grant is worth from $250 per dependent up to $2000 to cover emergency costs.
Are there special Montana veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks division offers discounted hunting and fishing licenses to disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, and service members stationed in Montana. Veterans with a Purple Heart who also have a permanent and total disability are eligible for a 50 percent discounted hunting license. There’s also a 50 percent discount for other veterans and active military at Montana state campgrounds.
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.
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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.