Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Veteran Benefits in Tennessee
There are a wealth of Tennessee veteran benefits and exemptions provided by the state to honor current and former members of the Armed Forces. With over 450,000 veteran residents in Tennessee, veterans make up over 6 percent of the state’s total population! VA Claims Insider has built this complete guide of Tennessee veteran benefits to help Tennessee veterans find all the benefits you earned!
Tennessee veteran benefits specifically include (but are not limited to) property tax exemptions, college grants and tuition assistance, employment assistance, vehicle sales tax exemptions, and recreational discounts.
An excellent resource for Tennessee VA benefits is the state’s Department of Veterans’ Services, which assists veterans in securing all the benefits they rightfully earned.
- Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Veteran Benefits in Tennessee
- Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans in Tennessee
- Income Tax in Tennessee
- What Tennessee veteran benefits are available for education and tuition?
- Hiring and Employment Benefits for Tennessee Veterans
- Housing Benefits for Veterans in Tennessee
- Veteran Health Care in Tennessee
- Tennessee Veterans Vehicle and Driver’s License Benefits
- Veterans Benefits in Tennessee for Recreation
- Are there special property tax exemptions for Tennessee veterans?
- Are there income tax benefits for Tennessee veterans?
- Does Tennessee award college credit for military training?
- Does Tennessee offer any tuition assistance to veterans?
- Do Tennessee veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
- Do Tennessee v veteran benefits include employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
- Are there any DMV benefits for veterans in Tennessee?
- Are there special Tennessee veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
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Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans in Tennessee
Tennessee veteran benefits include property tax exemptions up to $175,000 for disabled veterans. You must have an honorable discharge and meet one of the following categories to qualify:
- A permanent and total (P&T) VA disability rating
- A 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) VA disability rating as a result of being a POW
- A service-connected disability resulting from paraplegia; permanent paralysis of both legs or lower part of the body; the loss (or loss of use) of two or more limbs, or legal blindness
You must have received the disability rating by the last day of the year for which you are applying. The maximum value of the tax exemption is up to $175,000 as long as you own and live in your home.
Surviving spouses may also apply if the service member’s death was service-connected OR resulted from being deployed away from the home base in support of combat or peace operations.
To apply, complete form F-16 available through your county trustee’s office.
Income Tax in Tennessee
Residents of Tennessee don’t pay any state income tax!
What Tennessee veteran benefits are available for education and tuition?
Tennessee’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 Tennessee. According to the VA, in 2017, 243 Tennessee schools received Post 9/11 GI bill funds for over 13,000 students totaling over $101 million.
Resident College Tuition Rates in Tennessee
Tennessee thanks veterans and service members by offering in-state college tuition to those who have served our nation. Veterans enrolled in college in Tennessee and eligible for VA education benefits (including GI Bill benefits) will receive in-state tuition as long as they’re living in Tennessee during their course of study. Service members and their dependents stationed in Tennessee also qualify for resident tuition rates if they use veterans’ education benefits.
College Credit in Tennessee for Military Training
Tennessee veteran benefits include academic credit toward a college degree for military education and training. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission created a portal in 2019 to translate military experience into academic credit at public colleges in Tennessee.
Use the Tennessee Service Member Opportunity Portal to find out which colleges will award you credit for your military experience. The portal also provides information on how to get in contact with advisors at each institution for further assistance.
Note: this portal works for all branches except for the Air Force. Air Force veterans must submit their Community College of the Air Force transcript to request college credit with each institution in Tennessee.
Tennessee Helping Heroes Education Grant for Veterans
Tennessee veteran benefits for education include a grant of up to $2,000 per year for wartime veterans enrolled in college both full and part-time. To be eligible, you must be an honorably discharged active-duty veteran with wartime service. Current and former members of the Reserves and Tennessee National Guards with active military service are also eligible.
You must also meet these requirements:
- You’re a Tennessee resident for at least one year before applying for the grant
- You have an Iraq or Afghanistan Campaign Medal or a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- You haven’t yet earned a Bachelor’s degree
- You’re not in default on student loans, and follow all state and federal laws for receiving financial assistance
If awarded, you’ll receive the grant money after you complete the semester. Full-time students will receive $1,000 per semester and part-time students (students taking 6-11 credits) will receive $500 per semester. You can stay in the program for up to 8 full-time semesters as long as you maintain satisfactory progress towards your degree and don’t fail any classes.
Apply online by September 1 for fall enrollment. Mail your DD214 to:
Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation
312 Rosa Parks Blvd, 9th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
The Tennessee Reconnect Grant
Tennessee veteran benefits include school programs to help veterans graduate with an associate’s degree! The Tennessee Reconnect Grant is designed to help veterans pay for the remaining balance of tuition after financial aid and GI Bill benefits have been applied.
You can use grant money from this program to pay for an associate’s degree or technical degree at a Tennessee community college or technical college. If you attend a four-year public or private college, the grant will still provide some money but won’t cover all tuition and fees. The amount you receive is based on the average cost of community college.
State Tuition Assistance for Tennessee National Guard Members
If you’re a member of the Tennessee National Guard, you may be eligible to receive tuition assistance to completely cover the cost of your undergraduate degree from a Tennessee college or university under the Tennessee STRONG Act!
The program pays in-state tuition for up to 120 credit hours, or 8 full-time semesters, at the UT Knoxville resident tuition rate. This means you could receive up to $13,264 per year!
You can pursue either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. You don’t have to attend a public college, but keep in mind that private colleges are typically much more expensive and you will have to cover the cost difference using other funding.
To apply for these Tennessee veteran benefits, you must be currently serving in good standing with the TN National Guard, attend a Tennessee community college or university, use Federal Tuition Assistance if available, and maintain a 2.0 GPA minimum for each semester you receive tuition assistance.
Hiring and Employment Benefits for Tennessee Veterans
There are a number of Tennessee veteran benefits that offer support with employment, and many resources are available to help veterans and their families find jobs and advance their careers.
Tennessee Veterans Hiring Preference
Tennessee recognizes the sacrifice of service members by offering employment preference to veterans when they apply for federal, state, county, and local government jobs in Tennessee.
Veterans with an honorable discharge will automatically be invited to compete in the first round of interviews, as long as they are minimally qualified for the position. Tennessee also offers interview preference to spouses and gold star spouses.
The qualifying veteran must be 100 percent permanent and totally (P&T) disabled or have passed away in the line of duty. The spouse must be a Tennessee resident for at least two years before applying for the job to receive preference. As long as spouses meet the minimum requirements for the position, they’re guaranteed an interview for the position.
Tennessee Veterans Employment Assistance
Tennessee veteran benefits include American Job Centers located throughout the state to help veterans find civilian employment after their military careers end. Services include personalized career counseling, job search assistance, training, free workshops, resume and interview help, job referrals, and on-the-job training.
Specialty services are available to disabled veterans, homeless veterans, and service members who have separated in the last three years or been unemployed for more than 27 consecutive weeks in the past year.
Bring your proof of service (DD214) with you to a local Job Center near you to get employment assistance.
Housing Benefits for Veterans in Tennessee
Veterans Homes in Tennessee
Tennessee veteran benefits include four Veterans Home to honor veterans and their service to our nation. These homes are located in Murfreesboro, Humboldt, Knoxville, and Clarksville, and are designed to promote a feeling of community and enhance veteran quality of life. The homes are designed for veterans who require intermediate and skilled nursing care. Spouses and Gold Star Parents are also admitted based on space available.
To apply for residency in one of the Veterans Homes, a veteran must either be a current resident of Tennessee, born in Tennessee, have entered the military as a Tennessee resident, have Tennessee as their military Home of Record, or have an immediate family member who is a Tennessee resident and will serve as the primary caregiver.
To learn more about each home and how to apply, visit the respective homes’ website:
- Murfreesboro Veterans Home
- Humboldt Veterans Home
- Knoxville Veterans Home
- Clarksville Veterans Home
- Cleveland Veterans Home (coming soon)
- Arlington Veterans Home (coming soon)
Veteran Health Care in Tennessee
List of VA Locations in Tennessee
Tennessee Veterans Vehicle and Driver’s License Benefits
Tennessee 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 Tennessee driver’s license or ID card.
The word “Veteran” printed near the top of a license allows Tennessee veterans to validate their honorable service with a government-issued ID card.
To apply for Tennessee veteran benefits through the Division of Motor Vehicles, veterans must bring a DD214 in-person to a Driver Service Center.
Vehicle Sales Tax Exemptions
Disabled Veterans and POWs
If you’re a disabled veteran, you may be eligible for a vehicle sales tax exemption in Tennessee. You must have a 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) VA disability rating, receive an automobile grant from the VA, or be a former POW.
Service Members Stationed in Tennessee
Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces, along with members of the National Guard and Reservists serving in a full-time capacity or in a combat zone, are also eligible for a vehicle sales tax exemption if they’re stationed in Tennessee. The exemption is valid through 90 days past the end of the active orders to a combat zone.
The vehicle must be registered in the veteran’s or service member’s name and registered in Tennessee. This exemption only applies to motor vehicles. Bring documentation of military service (and disability, if applicable) to your local county clerk to waive sales tax.
Veteran License Plates
Tennessee veteran benefits include over 50 license plates to honor the service of eligible veterans and their family members. Disabled veteran license plates, Medal of Honor license plates, Purple Heart license plates, and Gold Star Family license plates are free for eligible veterans or their family members, with no annual fee for the first plate. To qualify for a disabled veteran license plate, Tennessee veterans must have a permanent and total (P&T) VA disability rating.
Veterans Benefits in Tennessee for Recreation
Free Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License for Disabled Veterans
If you’re a disabled veteran living in Tennessee with a VA disability rating of 30% or higher, you may be eligible for a free lifetime hunting and fishing license. To qualify, you must have an honorable discharge and your disability rating must be from wartime service. If you’re 100 percent disabled, there is no wartime service disability rating requirement.
You can apply for free lifetime licenses by mailing your application to:
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
P.O. Box 41729
Nashville, TN 37204-1729
Fishing Discounts for Active Duty Service Members
If you’re serving on active duty and you’re home in Tennessee on leave, you don’t need to purchase a fishing license to fish in the state. If you’re stationed in Tennessee but you aren’t a state resident, you can purchase a Tennessee fishing license at resident rates.
Veteran Camping Discounts at Tennessee State Parks
Tennessee honors all veterans and active duty service members by offering discounts to residents. A 25 to 50 percent discount is available year-round to active duty service members at all state park lodging and campgrounds. Tennessee veteran benefits at state parks also include discounts on all state-run golf courses and gift shops.
For veterans, a 50 percent discount is available at most campgrounds during the off season, which is December 1st to February 28th. Even better, disabled veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating are always eligible for this discount year-round. On Veterans Day, all veterans are eligible for one free night of camping at any Tennessee State Park. Be ready to show proof of Tennessee residency when you check in!
You can make camping reservations online here with the active duty or veteran discount up to one year in advance.
Are there special property tax exemptions for Tennessee veterans?
Yes, eligible veterans receive a property tax exemption of up to $175,000. Permanent and total (P&T) disabled veterans are eligible, as well as those who have a service-connected disability resulting from paraplegia; permanent paralysis of both legs or lower part of the body; the loss (or loss of use) of two or more limbs; or legal blindness. Surviving spouses of eligible veterans may also apply for this benefit.
Are there income tax benefits for Tennessee veterans?
Tennessee does not levy a state income tax.
Does Tennessee award college credit for military training?
Yes, Tennessee colleges consider military training and experience, and award credit and credentialing appropriately through the Tennessee Service Member Opportunity Portal or the member’s Community College of the Air Force transcript.
Does Tennessee offer any tuition assistance to veterans?
Yes, Tennessee offers grants of up to $2,000 annually to wartime resident veterans enrolled in college full-time, or $1,000 for part-time enrollment. The Tennessee Reconnect Grant also helps pay for veterans to complete an associate’s degree or technical degree at a community or technical college. Members of the Tennessee National Guard are also eligible for in-state tuition assistance for up to 120 credit hours, making this benefit worth over $13,000 per year!
Do Tennessee veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
Tennessee veterans with an honorable discharge will automatically receive an invite to the first round of interviews for a position if they meet minimum qualification requirements. Spouses of 100 percent P&T veterans or those who passed away in the line of duty receive the same interview preference.
Do Tennessee v veteran benefits include employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
Yes, American Job Centers across the state help veterans transition into civilian employment by offering career counseling, job search assistance, training, and resume and interview preparation.
Are there any DMV benefits for veterans in Tennessee?
Yes, disabled veterans with a 100 percent P&T rating, and active duty service members in Tennessee who purchase and register a motor vehicle in Tennessee, are exempt from paying state sales tax. This includes National Guard members and Reservists serving full-time, or 90 days after their return from service in combat operations.
Are there special Tennessee veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
Tennessee offers a free lifetime hunting and fishing license to honorably discharged wartime veterans with a VA disability rating of 30 percent or higher. Tennessee residents home on leave don’t need to purchase a fishing license. There’s also a 25 to 50 percent discount for active duty veterans and 100 percent disabled veterans at Tennessee State Parks. All veterans can camp for free on Veterans Day.
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 not sure how to get started – reach out to us! You served … you deserve.
Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Strategy Session with an experienced veteran coach. 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 & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.