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July 16, 2021

8 Best New York Veteran Benefits

Last updated on March 27, 2024

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Your Ultimate Guide to New York Veteran Benefits and New York Disabled Veteran Benefits

There are many New York veteran benefits and exemptions provided by the state to current and former members of the Armed Forces who served honorably in the US military.

New York is ranked #5 in the country for veteran population by state, with over 700,000 veteran residents!

Table of Contents

new york veteran benefits


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What are the Best New York Veteran Benefits?

With such a large veteran population, it’s no wonder there are so many different New York veteran benefits. The state offers property tax exemptions, an extensive employment assistance program, and tuition assistance to its veteran population. 

An excellent resource for New York veterans is the state’s Division of Veterans’ Services, which assists veterans in securing all the benefits they rightfully earned. Make sure to compare the different types of exemptions you may qualify for as a veteran, especially when it comes to property tax exemptions and tuition-related educational options.

VA Claims Insider has built this complete guide to the BEST New York veteran benefits to help New York veterans like you find all the benefits you earned!

New York State Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans 

New York state veteran benefits include three different options for property tax exemptions. Keep in mind that each application must be submitted to your local assessor by March 1 of the current tax year. 

New York Alternative Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption

For the alternative veterans’ exemption, the home’s assessed value is reduced by 15% for veterans who served during a period of war. This amount increases to 25% total for veterans who served in a combat zone. 

The period of war requirement can be met with service in:

  • Persian Gulf Conflict
  • Vietnam War
  • Korean War
  • World War II
  • Or by receiving an Armed Forces, Navy, Marine Corps, or Global War on Terror expeditionary medal

Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption NY

If you’re also a New York disabled veteran, your home’s assessed value is additionally reduced by a percentage equal to one-half of your service-connected disability rating. 

For instance, if you’re 40% disabled, according to the VA, this would add a reduction of 20% to the 15% or 25% noted above, reducing your home’s total assessed value for tax purposes by 35% or 45%.

Maximum limits exist in each community, so check with your local assessor to take advantage of your full property exemption. 

New York Cold War Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption

For the Cold War veterans’ exemption, you must have: 

  • Served between September 2, 1945, and December 26, 1991
  • Received an honorable discharge.

If eligible, your assessed value will be reduced by 10-15%, depending on your local jurisdiction. 

For veterans with service-connected disabilities, the assessed value of the property will be reduced by an additional amount equal to one-half of your disability rating. For example, if your disability rating is 70%, a 35% reduction in assessed value could be claimed in addition to the 10-15% noted above.

New York Eligible Funds Property Tax Exemption

Partial property tax exemptions are granted to veterans who use eligible funds to purchase a property. 

Eligible funds include: 

  • Veterans pension
  • Bonus or insurance monies
  • Compensation paid to prisoners of war
  • Mustering-out pay

This exemption is typically up to $7,500 and is best used by veterans who don’t qualify for the other two exemptions. 

Of note, the property can be vacant or leased to others and does not have to be the veteran’s primary residence. The property can be in the name of an eligible family member of the veteran as well. 

You can apply for the Eligible Funds exemption with Form RP-458. You can also apply for each of the above New York veteran benefits with the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. 

New York tax laws are complex, and we recommend reading through the state veterans guide

new york disabled veteran benefits

Veteran Housing Benefits in New York

New York Veteran Housing Program: Homes for Veterans

New York veteran benefits include lower interest rates and monthly mortgage payments for veterans through the Homes for Veterans program. 

Benefits of this program include fixed interest rates that are .375% below market, with down payment assistance up to $3,000 or 3% of the home purchase price. 

To be eligible, veterans must be honorably discharged or first-time home buyers stationed in New York State. 

To participate, veterans must apply with the State of New York Mortgage Agency.

Veterans Homes in New York

New York veteran benefits include five Veterans Nursing Homes within the state. These homes are located in:

  • St. Albans
  • Batavia
  • Oxford
  • Long Island
  • Montrose

These homes offer long-term care for veterans in need. The homes are only for veterans and their spouses who require skilled nursing care.

Veterans must be state residents for one year prior to application or have entered military service from New York state. Veterans must also have an honorable discharge and at least 30 days of active service. 

To learn more about each home and how to apply, visit the New York State Veterans’ Home website

Education Benefits for New York Veterans

New York State Veterans Tuition Awards

Veteran benefits in NY include college tuition awards for veterans.

Veterans receive a maximum tuition award worth the value of the State University of New York in-resident tuition ($7,070 per year) for up to four years of undergraduate study, three years of graduate study, or two years of vocational training. 

To be eligible, a veteran must have been a New York resident for at least 12 months. The veteran must have an honorable discharge, be a high school graduate, be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester, and have already applied for tuition assistance and federal aid.

 Veterans can apply for tuition awards online with the Higher Education Services Corporation. 

Regents Award for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans

New York state veterans education benefits for dependents: Children of eligible veterans can receive up to $450 per year for college. 

Veterans must have served during wartime and died due to service OR have a disability rating of 40% or higher.  

Apply for the award by June 30 of the current academic year.  

Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship

The MERIT scholarship is an excellent opportunity for children, spouses, and financial dependents of military members who became severely and permanently disabled as a result of military service. 

The scholarship will pay up to $24,250 annually for students living on campus. It covers tuition, room and board, and books and supplies for four years of undergraduate study.  

Students must be enrolled in 12 semester credit hours, have a high school degree, and be in good academic standing. 

You can apply for the MERIT scholarship online. You’ll need to submit proof of the veteran’s Permanent and Total disability.

High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans in New York

New York’s Operation Recognition issues high school diplomas to eligible veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam as part of New York veteran benefits. 

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

Diplomas can also be requested by members of a deceased veteran’s family.

Learn more about Operation Recognition in New York.

veterans tax exemption ny

Employment Benefits for Veterans in New York

New York veteran benefits include employment support and hiring preference with the state. 

New York Veteran State Employment Preference

All state resident veterans with an honorable discharge from wartime service receive a 5-point employment preference over non-veterans in interviews and exams for state jobs or 2.5 points for promotion exams. Veterans with a disability rating receive a total of 10 points, or 5 points, for promotion exams.

New York Veteran Employment Assistance

New York veteran benefits include State Career Centers that help veterans seeking jobs.

Services include job search planning, career counseling, resume development, translating military experience to the civilian sector, interview skill development, and more. 

You can find your local New York State Career Center online.

New York State Veterans with Disabilities Employment Program

This program reserves 500 entry-level government positions for qualifying wartime veterans with disabilities. To qualify for these NY state disabled veterans benefits, you must:

  • Have served on active duty other than training
  • Have a purple heart OR a 10% or more VA rating
  • Have served during one of the following periods:
    • Vietnam War – February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975
    • Hostilities in Lebanon – June 1, 1983, through December 1, 1987
    • Hostilities in Grenada – October 23, 1983, through November 21, 1983
    • Hostilities in Panama – December 20, 1989, through January 31, 1990
    • Hostilities in the Persian Gulf – August 2, 1990, through the date on which hostilities end
    • Veterans who received an Expeditionary Medal

You can find instructions for applying on the New York State website.

New York Veterans Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance (UI) provides temporary financial aid to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. To qualify for these veterans benefits in NY, you must be ready, willing, and able to work and actively looking for a job.

What’s needed to file a claim:

  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license or Motor Vehicle ID card number
  • Complete mailing address
  • Daytime contact phone number where applicants can be reached 8 am-5 pm, Monday through Friday
  • Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)
  • Names and addresses of all employers for the last 18 months
  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN) of the most recent employer (FEIN can be found on W-2 forms)
  • Copies of forms SF8 and SF50 for former federal employees
  • The most recent DD214, for former Service members
  • Bank account number and routing number for direct deposit payments

You can file a claim on the New York State website.

DMV Benefits for New York Veterans

New York Veteran Designation on Driver License or Identification (ID) Cards

Any honorably discharged veteran can request a Veteran designation at no additional cost on the front of his or her New York driver’s license or ID card.

The word “Veteran” printed on the upper left hand of a license allows New York veterans to validate their honorable service with a government-issued ID card. 

To apply for the designation, veterans must submit an application form along with their DD214 either in person or by mail. 

New York Commercial Driver License (CDL) Military Skills Test Waiver

New York veteran benefits include offering a military skills waiver for current and former service members based on their military training. 

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Currently have a valid New York State driver’s license or have a valid out-of-state driver’s license to be exchanged for a New York State driver’s license
  • Meet all other requirements to qualify for a New York State CDL
  • Currently employed (or within the last year) in a military duty position that requires the operation of a military vehicle similar to a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
  • Operated a CMV of the type the driver operates or expects to operate for at least two years before:
    • Application date if still serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
    • Date of discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces

In addition, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Not had more than one license (except for a military license) in the past two years
  • Not had any license suspended, revoked, or canceled in the past two years
  • Not had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for the disqualifying offenses (listed on the application)
  • Not had more than one conviction for any type of motor vehicle for serious violations (listed on the application)

E-Z Pass for New York Disabled Veterans

New York disabled veteran benefits include free, unlimited travel anywhere on the Thruway to certain qualifying disabled Veterans. 

You must be eligible for the fee-exempt vehicle registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to qualify. 

New York Vehicle Registration Exemptions

Disabled veterans who receive vehicles from the VA to accommodate a disability are exempt from registration and vehicle plate fees in New York. 

Eligible veterans can register their vehicles with the New York DMV via a Statement to Register a Vehicle Under Title 38. 

POWs and Medal of Honor recipients are also eligible for registration exemption on one vehicle. 

New York veterans license plate benefits min

Parks and Recreation Benefits for New York Veterans 

Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Annual License Discounts

The following military members get free hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses:

  • New York State Organized Militia
  • U.S. Reserve Forces
  • Resident active military members stationed outside of New York home on leave for 30 days or less

Active duty military members stationed in New York are eligible to purchase licenses at resident prices, saving up to $358.

Any New York resident veteran with an honorable discharge and a VA disability rating of 40% or more is eligible for a $5 fishing, hunting, and trapping license combination. 

NY disabled veterans also receive preference on Deer Management Permit selection. The deadline for DMP is October 1. 

You can purchase licenses online, but if seeking a disability discount, you must provide proof from the VA at a license-issuing agent location

Free New York State Park Entrance for Disabled Veterans

New York disabled veterans benefits include free state park access. Under the New York State Park Lifetime Liberty Pass, disabled wartime veterans with a VA disability rating of 40% or more are eligible for free vehicle entry to all New York State Parks. Veterans must be New York residents to be eligible. 

Either email or mail your Lifetime Liberty Pass application to New York State Parks. 

Miscellaneous New York Veteran Benefits

New York VA Cemeteries

The VA maintains seven national cemeteries in New York, but there are no state cemeteries. Veterans who are eligible include: 

  • A veteran who received an honorable or general discharge or
  • A service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or
  • The spouse or minor child of a veteran, even if the veteran died first or
  • In some cases, the unmarried adult dependent child of a veteran

Visit the VA website to find out more about eligibility for burial in a VA national cemetery and burial allowances

New York State Supplemental Burial Allowance for Veterans Who Gave Their Lives in Combat

New York veteran benefits offer surviving family members a burial allowance of up to $6,000. 

To qualify, the service member must meet the following criteria: 

  • The veteran was a New York resident at the time of death, or the service member was in the NY Army National Guard or NY Air National Guard when they entered active duty.
  • The service member passed away:
    • In a combat zone OR
    • While receiving hazardous duty pay OR
    • From wounds sustained in a combat zone or while receiving hazard duty pay

Fill out the application and submit proof of the service member’s combat-related death as well as New York residency. 

veterans benefits property tax min

Income Tax for New York Veterans

Veterans Tax Exemption NY: Although the New York income tax rate is on the higher end, from 4% to 10.9%, veterans receiving pension and retirement payments are exempt from paying state, New York City, and Yonkers income tax on their retirement. 

A New York resident military member who spent less than 30 days in the state is not required to pay state income tax on military pay. You must still file a Nonresident Tax Return

Spouses of service members who are nonresidents and only residing in New York state due to military orders are also exempt from New York state income tax. 

Combat pay for active-duty military members also reduces adjusted gross income (AGI). You can subtract the amount of combat pay you received from your AGI each year. 

VA Locations and Medical Facilities in New York

List of VA Healthcare and Vet Center Locations in New York

Veterans Medical Facilities in New York
VA Health Care System for New York Veteran Benefits
Buffalo: VA Western New York Healthcare System
Montrose: VA Hudson Valley Health Care System
New York: VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
VA Medical Centers in New York
Albany: Albany VA Medical Center: Samuel S. Stratton
Batavia: VA Western New York Healthcare System at Batavia
Bath: Bath VA Medical Center
Bronx: James J. Peters VA Medical Center (Bronx, NY)
Brooklyn: Brooklyn Campus of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
Buffalo: VA Western New York Healthcare System at Buffalo
Canandaigua: Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Montrose: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Campus of the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System (Montrose)
New York: Manhattan Campus of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
Northport: Northport VA Medical Center
Syracuse: Syracuse VA Medical Center
Wappingers Falls: Castle Point Campus of the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System
Domiciliary in New York
Jamaica: St. Albans Community Living Center
Outpatient Clinic in New York
Syracuse: Behavioral Health Facility
Community-Based Outpatient Clinics in New York
Auburn: Auburn VA Outpatient Clinic
Bainbridge: Bainbridge VA Outpatient Clinic
Bay Shore: Bay Shore Clinic
Binghamton: Binghamton VA Outpatient Clinic
Carmel: Carmel Community Clinic/Putnam County
Catskill: Catskill VA Outpatient Clinic
Clifton Park: Clifton Park VA Outpatient Clinic
Dunkirk: Dunkirk VA Outpatient Clinic
East Meadow: East Meadow Clinic
Elmira: Elmira VA Outpatient Clinic
Fonda: Fonda VA Outpatient Clinic
Freeville: Tompkins/Cortland County
Glens Falls: Glens Falls VA Outpatient Clinic
Goshen: Goshen Community Clinic
Jamestown: Jamestown VA Outpatient Clinic
Kingston: Kingston VA Outpatient Clinic
Lockport: Lockport VA Outpatient Clinic
Massena: Massena VA Outpatient Clinic
Monticello: Monticello Community Clinic
New City: New City Community Clinic
New York: Harlem Community Clinic
Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls VA Outpatient Clinic
Olean: Olean VA Outpatient Clinic
Oswego: Oswego VA Outpatient Clinic
Patchogue: Patchogue Community Clinic
Pine Plains: Eastern Dutchess Pine Plains Community Clinic
Plattsburgh: Plattsburgh VA Outpatient Clinic
Port Jervis: Port Jervis Community Clinic
Poughkeepsie: Poughkeepsie Community Clinic
Riverhead: Riverhead Clinic
Rochester: Monroe County VA Clinic
Rochester: Rochester VA Outpatient Clinic
Rome: Rome – Donald J. Mitchell VA Outpatient Clinic
Saranac Lake: Saranac Lake
Schenectady: Schenectady VA Outpatient Clinic
Springville: Springville
Staten Island: Staten Island Community Clinic
Sunnyside: Thomas B. Noonan Community Clinic (Queens)
Troy: Troy VA Outpatient Clinic
Valley Stream: Valley Stream Clinic
Watertown: CANI
Watertown: Watertown VA Outpatient Clinic
Wellsville: Wellsville VA Outpatient Clinic
West Seneca: West Seneca
Westport: Westport
White Plains: White Plains Community Clinic
Yonkers: Yonkers Community Clinic
Vet Centers In New York
Albany: Albany Vet Center
Amherst: Buffalo Vet Center
Babylon: Babylon Vet Center
Binghamton: Binghamton Vet Center
Bronx: Bronx Vet Center
Brooklyn: Brooklyn Vet Center
Hicksville: Nassau Vet Center
Middletown: Middletown Vet Center
New York: Harlem Vet Center
New York: Manhattan, NY Vet Center
Rochester: Rochester Vet Center
Staten Island: Staten Island Vet Center
Syracuse: Syracuse Vet Center
Watertown: Watertown Vet Center
White Plains: White Plains Vet Center
Woodhaven: Queens Vet Center
VISN in New York
Bronx: VISN 2: New York/New Jersey VA Health Care Network
Veterans Benefits Administration Locations in New York
Regional Benefit Offices for New York Veteran Benefits
New York: New York Regional Office
Buffalo: Buffalo Regional Office
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance) in New York
Fort Drum: Fort Drum
National Cemetery Administration Locations in New York
National Cemeteries in New York
Albany: Albany Rural Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot
Bath: Bath National Cemetery
Brooklyn: Cypress Hills National Cemetery
Calverton: Calverton National Cemetery
Corfu: Western New York National Cemetery
Elmira: Woodlawn National Cemetery
Farmingdale: Long Island National Cemetery
Schuylerville: Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery

Useful Resources

New York State Income Tax Information for military members and veterans
New York State Division of Veterans’ Services
Meet virtually with a New York State Veterans’ Benefits Advisor
New York State Veterans Scholarships

New York Veteran Benefits (FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

New York State property tax exemption for veterans

New York veteran benefits include three types of standard property tax exemptions. Eligible veterans can reduce taxable home values by 10% to 25% for standard exemptions. These exemptions increase for veterans with service-connected disabilities and are limited by individual counties. 

Of note, one of the property exemptions for New York veterans reduces the assessed value for properties purchased with eligible funds such as veterans pension, bonus or insurance monies, compensation paid to prisoners of war, or mustering-out pay. This exemption is up to $7,500.

The unique aspect of this exemption is that, unlike many other states, New York does not require the veteran to occupy the residence, and it can be owned by extended family members—including spouse or unremarried surviving spouse, dependent parents, or children under 21. This exemption even applies to vacant land.

Does New York offer veterans tuition assistance for college?

New York veteran benefits include tuition awards annually of the in-state resident tuition at the State University of New York. Currently, this is $7,070. Veterans are eligible for this award for up to four years if they’re pursuing an undergraduate degree and taking 12 credit hours per semester or eight years if attending college part-time.

Veterans must be New York residents for at least 12 months and have an honorable discharge with wartime service to apply for the tuition award. New York veteran benefits also offer a variety of scholarships for children of disabled veterans. 

Are there income tax benefits for New York veterans?

Active service members who are residents of New York don’t have to pay state income tax if they’re stationed outside of New York and spend less than 30 days in the state. Combat pay for active-duty military members is also not taxed in New York. Non-resident spouses who reside in New York with active-duty military members are not required to pay income tax. Veterans do not have to pay income tax on military retirement pay.

Do New York veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?  

New York veterans with an honorable discharge receive a 5-point employment preference in interviews and exams for state jobs or a 2.5-point preference in promotion exams. Veterans with a disability rating of 10% or higher receive a 10-point employment preference for interviews and exams and 5 points for promotion exams.

Does New York offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans?

New York operates State Counseling Centers designed to help veterans with career counseling, resume development, job search planning, interview skills, and more. 

Are there home-buying benefits for New York veterans?

Yes. New York veteran benefits include home-buying benefits. The New York Homes for Veterans loan offers mortgage rates about .375% lower than market rates. 

Are there New York veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation offers a discounted fishing, hunting, and trapping license combination for only $5 for veterans with a disability rating of 40% or more. Resident disabled veterans with a rating of 40% or more are also eligible for free entry into New York State Parks. 


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 25,000 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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