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June 25, 2021

Top 9 Ohio Veteran Benefits

Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Veteran Benefits in Ohio

A wealth of Ohio veteran benefits and exemptions that are unique to the state complement the federal benefits available to all eligible U.S. military veterans. 

More than 759,000 veterans make their home in the Buckeye state, and numerous veteran benefits in Ohio (including Ohio disabled veteran benefits) are available to honor and support those who served.

ohio veteran benefits
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What are the top veteran benefits in Ohio?

Ohio veteran benefits, including Ohio disabled veteran benefits, specifically include property tax exemptions, education and training programs, bonuses, housing assistance, recreational licenses and 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.  

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

Property Tax Exemptions for Ohio Veterans

Permanently and Totally (P&T) disabled veterans receive a property tax exemption in Ohio up to $25,000, which reduces the taxable value of a veteran’s home.

In order to qualify for the Ohio disabled veteran benefits reducing property tax, the veteran must be rated as P&T disabled by the VA on January 1st of the year they apply. Surviving spouses of eligible veterans may also apply for this benefit. 

You can apply for the Homestead Exemption Application online. Make sure to file with your county auditor by December 31 of the year you are applying for. 

va benefits ohio

Income Tax Exemptions for Veterans and Service Members In Ohio 

Ohio service members who are residents of the state do not have to pay state income tax if they are stationed outside of Ohio. Ohio income tax ranges from 0% to 4.797%, depending on income. 

Service members must still file a state income tax return. 

Additionally, Ohio veteran benefits include no taxation on:

  • Military retirement pay
  • Military disability pay
  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) pay

Veterans can simply deduct these payments from their adjusted gross income for the state.

You can learn more about Ohio’s military state income tax policies with the Department of Taxation. 

What education benefits are available to veterans in Ohio?

In addition to the federal programs available to all U.S. veterans, Ohio offers programs for veterans and service members (and their families) who seek tuition and education support. 

The Ohio GI Promise

The State of Ohio waives its normal 12-month residency requirement for in-state tuition rates for qualifying veterans. Qualified vets are also not required to be enrolled in a state college in order to gain residency for their dependents. Qualifying criteria includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  1. Honorable discharge or medical separation from the military with at least one year of time in service. Veteran dependents also are eligible if the veteran was killed in action, declared missing in action, or declared a prisoner of war.
  2. Eligibility must be documented via a DD214.
  3. The veteran and/or dependents must reside in Ohio as of the first day of enrollment. (Where the veteran was KIA, MIA or POW, only the dependents are required to live in Ohio.)
  4. Dependent eligibility must be documented as follows:
  • Proof of marriage/marriage certificate
  • Proof of dependent status as provided by the veteran parent’s federal tax paperwork submitted for the previous year
  • Documentation of the military member’s status as a POW, MIA, or KIA

Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program (ONGSP)

Ohio National Guard members can receive up to 96 credits of tuition assistance during their enlistment, which equates to four years towards an undergraduate degree at participating schools.

To be eligible for these Ohio veteran benefits, members must:

  • Not have a bachelor’s degree
  • Be currently serving in good standing
  • Be in an active six-year enlistment (to qualify for the full 96 credits of tuition assistance)

Members have five years from their discharge date to use remaining units once they apply.

Members may visit the online portal to apply.

Ohio War Orphan and Severely Disabled Veteran’s Scholarship

This scholarship pays for 100% of tuition and general fees at public universities and up to $7,044 for private institutions in Ohio to children of:

  • POW/MIA service members,  
  • Service members killed in the line of duty,  
  • Veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 60% or greater, or
  • Veterans with a VA Permanent and Total non-service-connected disability

To be eligible, applicants must be:

  • Enrolled full-time in undergraduate study
  • Age 16 to 25
  • Achieving a minimum GPA of 2.0
  • In financial need
  • A legal resident of Ohio for at least one year, OR a resident for the year preceding the year they apply plus any other four years during the last ten years

Apply for the Ohio War Orphan and Severely Disabled Veteran’s Scholarship online. 

Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund

This scholarship pays for 100% of tuition and general fees at public universities, up to $8,451 per year, for private institutions in Ohio to children of service members killed in the line of duty during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or a combat zone.

Children are only eligible for this fund if they do not qualify for the Ohio War Orphan and Severely Disabled Veteran’s Scholarship.

Learn more about the Ohio Safety Officer College Memorial Fund online. 

Honorary High School Diplomas for Ohio Veterans Of World War II, The Korean War or Vietnam

A high school diploma is offered to any Ohio resident who was honorably discharged from military service and left high school to serve in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam before graduating. 

Women who left high school before graduating to join the workforce to support family during the war effort are also eligible. 

The diploma may be awarded posthumously. 

Contact your local County Veterans Service Office to apply. 

College Credit for Military Experience in Ohio

In 2013, an executive order began requiring Ohio colleges to consider military training and experience and award appropriate credit and credentialing.   

Under the program, an ongoing review of educational policies and practices is evolving to simplify the process of awarding college credit for military experience. Consult your campus Veteran Services representative to learn what current rules are applicable before you apply.

ohio disabled veteran benefits

Hiring and Employment Benefits for Ohio Veterans

There are a number of Ohio veteran benefits that offer support with employment, and many resources are available to help veterans and their families find jobs and advance their careers.

Hiring Preference for Veterans in Ohio

If you are an Ohio veteran with an honorable discharge, you receive a 20% added credit to the Ohio civil service exam for state jobs. 

Anyone currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard also receives a 15% added credit as long as they successfully complete initial entry-level training with their component. 

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)

This state agency works with the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation to help residents with physical, intellectual, mental health, or sensory disabilities find and keep employment. 

Services include:

  • Evaluation and treatment of an individual’s disability;
  • Information and referral services;
  • Vocational counseling and training;
  • Job search and job placement assistance;
  • Educational guidance (tuition resources and other support);
  • Transportation services;
  • Occupational tools and equipment;
  • Personal attendant services (reader, interpreter, etc.).

Eligibility is based on a veteran’s ability to work and whether or not the veteran can benefit from services that lead to employment. You can take an online assessment to determine eligibility. 

Ohio Educator License Fee Elimination

Veterans and current service members are eligible to have all educator license fees waived within Ohio. 

The VA will also reimburse educators for taking any Ohio Assessment for Educators. 

Upload your DD214 when applying for a license, or fill out an application for reimbursement of licensing or certification test fees here

Ohio Licensed Occupations for Veterans

Veterans can get assistance in translating their military experience to civilian occupations with a new online tool that helps veterans learn how to obtain state-issued licenses in their military career fields. 

You can use the MOS to state issued license and certification tool here.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of Reserve components. It does this by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and making federal government employees eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.

Housing Programs for Veterans in Ohio

Ohio Heroes Home Loan

This Ohio Heroes Home loan is a great Ohio veteran benefits option. Mortgage rates are about .25% lower than market rates. 

If you meet the basic requirements below, you may qualify for a Ohio Housing Finance Authority loan:

  • Your credit score is 640 or higher
  • You meet income and price purchase limits. These limits are typically between $80,000 to $100,000 for income and $360,000 purchase price for a one-family home. 

Financial Benefits for Ohio Veterans  

The Ohio Veterans Bonus Program is one of the main programs that demonstrates Ohio’s commitment to veterans! The state’s motto for this Ohio veterans benefit is, “You Served. Now Let Ohio Say Thanks.” The program is designed to reward veterans who served in Afghanistan.

The Ohio Veterans Bonus pays up to $1,500 to most service members. The bonus is calculated by adding up time served in both Afghanistan and time served elsewhere in the world. Veterans earn $100 for each month served in Afghanistan (up to $1000), and $50 per month elsewhere excluding training time (up to $500).

To be eligible for the Ohio Veterans Bonus, veterans must:

  • have served 90 days outside of training
  • have received an honorable discharge (or still be serving)
  • have entered service as an Ohio resident
  • Currently be an Ohio resident
  • have not received a similar bonus from another state

Ohio also gives a special bonus as part of this program to family of service members who die as a result of service in Afghanistan or are declared POW/MIA. This bonus is $5,000. 

To find out if you are eligible for any of these benefits, use the online eligibility tool. 

ohio veterans bonus

Driver’s License and License Plate Benefits for Ohio Veterans

Veteran Designation on Ohio Driver License ID

Ohio veterans can get an “Armed Forces” designation on their driver license or ID card for no additional cost.

To be eligible, you must present a DD214 or equivalent that indicates “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” discharge; a VA ID card; or a copy of your current orders at a deputy registrar license agency when applying.

List of Ohio Deputy Registrar License Agency locations.

Ohio Veterans License Plates

Ohio veteran benefits from the BMV include 63 license plates to honor the service and sacrifice of eligible service members, veterans, retirees, and family members. There is no fee for these license plates unless you want personalization, but you may be required to provide documentation for specific plate types.

See the military license plate application.

Ohio Disabled Veteran License Plate

Veterans eligible for this plate are completely exempt from driver’s license fees. Veterans must be rated 100% disabled by the VA. 

Apply for a disabled veteran license plate here. 

ohio veterans bonus program

Are there recreational Ohio veteran benefits?

Yes! Ohio veteran benefits for hunting, fishing and camping are especially generous, particularly for Ohio disabled veterans.

Free Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Ohio Disabled Veterans 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers free hunting and fishing licenses to former POWs and permanently disabled veterans with a 5-year license.

Active duty members who are Ohio residents home on leave are not required to purchase hunting and fishing licenses, Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamps, or fur taker permits. All other licenses are required.

Active duty members stationed in Ohio may purchase licenses at resident rates. 

Learn more about Ohio Department of Natural Resources licenses.

Free Watercraft Registration for 100% Disabled Veterans In Ohio

100% disabled veterans, Medal of Honor recipients, and former POWs receive free boat registration in Ohio. 

Discounted Camping in Ohio

Ohio offers a 10% discount for active military and veterans at Ohio State Park campgrounds for one campsite or rental unit per visit. Former POWs and 100% Permanently and Totally disabled veterans who are also Ohio residents can camp for free. 

Miscellaneous Benefits for Ohio Veterans

Ohio Patriot Program For Veterans, Active Duty Military, National Guard And Reserve Personnel

This program for veterans and service members provides a variety of services from the Ohio Attorney General. Services include:

  • Consumer protection
  • Charities for veterans in need
  • Collections help
  • Legal assistance
  • Civil rights protection
  • Identity theft

Veterans can learn more about the Patriot Program online or by calling (800) 282-0515.

Military members with certified firearms training do not need a concealed carry permit.

If you are an Ohio active duty service member with military firearms training certification, you may not need to obtain a concealed carry license to carry under certain circumstances. Note that these Ohio veteran benefits do not apply to full-time Ohio National Guard members. 

Make sure to carry proof of service as well as your firearms training certification with you if you are carrying. 


Are there special property tax exemptions for Ohio veterans?

Yes, 100% P&T disabled veterans receive a property tax exemption in Ohio up to $25,000, which reduces the taxable value of a veteran’s home. In order to qualify, the veteran must be rated as P&T disabled by the VA on January 1st of the year they apply. Surviving spouses of eligible veterans may also apply for this benefit. 

Are there income tax benefits for Ohio veterans?

Active service members who are residents of Ohio do not have to pay state income tax if they are stationed outside of Ohio.

Does Ohio award college credit for military training?

In 2013, an executive order began requiring Ohio colleges to consider military training and experience, and award credit and credentialing appropriately.   

Do Ohio veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?  

Ohio veterans with an honorable discharge receive a 20% added credit to the Ohio civil service exam for state jobs.

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

The Ohio Veterans Bonus Program is designed to reward veterans who served in Afghanistan. It pays a bonus of up to $1,500 to most service members, calculated by adding up time served in both Afghanistan and time served elsewhere in the world. 

Are there home-buying benefits for Ohio veterans?

Yes, the Ohio Heroes Home loan offers mortgage rates about .25% lower than market rates. 

Are there special Ohio veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers free hunting and fishing licenses to former POWs and permanently disabled veterans. Former POWs and 100% permanently disabled veterans veterans who are also Ohio residents can camp for free. There’s a 10% discount for other veterans and active military at Ohio State Park campgrounds for one campsite or rental unit per visit. 


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 not sure how to get started – reach out to us! You served … you deserve.

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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