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May 29, 2021

Top 8 Veteran Benefits in New Mexico (The Ultimate Guide)

A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Veterans in the State of New Mexico 

In addition to the federal benefits available to all eligible U.S. military veterans regardless of location, each U.S. state offers additional benefits and exemptions for veterans and their families that are unique to that state. New Mexico is no exception!

More than 170,000 veterans make their home in the Land of Enchantment, and numerous veteran benefits in New Mexico (including New Mexico disabled veteran benefits) are available to honor and support those who served.

veteran benefits in new mexico

What are the top veteran benefits in New Mexico?

Veteran benefits in New Mexico specifically include property tax exemptions, education and training programs, financial assistance, housing assistance, recreational licenses and discounts, vehicle registration 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.  

The New Mexico State Department of Veterans Services administers many of the veterans programs and benefits in New Mexico. This is a great place to learn about your state and national benefits, or get help with claims and applications. The department maintains 16 field offices throughout the state, staffed by nationally accredited Veteran Service Officers (VSOs) who are veterans themselves.

New Mexico State Department of Veterans Services

Read on for the ultimate guide to top service member and veteran benefits in New Mexico for 2021! Below we cover eight categories of veteran benefits in New Mexico (including New Mexico disabled veteran benefits): property tax exemptions, education benefits, employment benefits, vehicle license and registration benefits, recreation benefits, and miscellaneous tax benefits!


PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR NEW MEXICO VETERANS

Property tax exemptions are one of the best veteran benefits in New Mexico. New Mexico veterans may qualify for a $4,000 reduction in the taxable value of their real property for county taxation purposes. 

If a veteran is not a homeowner, this benefit can instead be used for a one-third discount when registering a vehicle in New Mexico. 

PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR NEW MEXICO

Any veteran who served a minimum of 90 days consecutive active duty (other than for training), was honorably discharged, and is a legal resident of New Mexico is eligible. If you did not serve for 90 continuous days, you must have been discharged due to a service-incurred disability.

This property tax exemption is also available to the un-remarried surviving spouse of a veteran who would have qualified for this benefit.

New Mexico disabled veteran benefits related to property taxes are even better. Any veteran rated 100% disabled with a service-connected disability by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), who is a legal resident of New Mexico, qualifies for a complete property tax waiver on their primary residence! 

To receive this exemption, the disability must be rated 100 permanent and total (P&T) and the property must be the veteran’s principal place of residence. This can include joint or community property of the veteran and the veteran’s spouse. Certain types of discharges may render a veteran ineligible for this benefit.

The tax exemption and property tax waiver application can be found here.


Veteran benefits in New Mexico for education are wide-ranging! The state offers a plethora of programs for veterans and service members (and their families) who seek tuition and education support.

New Mexico In-State Tuition 

Veterans, spouses and their children in New Mexico are given in-state tuition rates at any state-funded college, university, vocational school or vocational training program.

 All active duty Service members and their dependents are billed at in-state tuition rates while stationed in New Mexico. Further, the dependents maintain in-state status if they remain continuously enrolled and in good standing—even if the active-duty sponsor is transferred!

Learn more about tuition waivers at the University of New Mexico here.

New Mexico In State Tuition

Dependents do not have to be using a federal educational benefit; however, they must demonstrate intent to establish New Mexico residency. To demonstrate this intent, the following actions must be completed, with appropriate documentation submitted to the college admissions department:

Qualifying veterans, spouses, and dependents are no longer required by New Mexico state law to wait to establish in-state residency for college tuition purposes. According to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services, “Those who wish to use their G.I. Education Benefit Bill can now immediately take advantage of less-expensive resident in-state tuition rates.”

In addition, an active member of the National Guard or his/her spouse and children are authorized in-state tuition rates at any state funded college, university, vocational school or vocational training program.

Priority Enrollment

Priority enrollment status is automatically assigned to incoming students for the New Mexico schools system whose active-duty, National Guard, or Reservist parent is transferred to a New Mexico military facility.  

Full Tuition Waiver for Children of Deceased Veterans

New Mexico offers a full tuition waiver (free tuition) to dependent children of qualifying veterans who were killed in action (in a period of armed conflict) or died as a result of wounds sustained in battle. The waiver covers all matriculation fees, room, board, books and supplies. Students also receive a stipend of $300 per year. 

Qualifying ages for this scholarship include dependents between the ages of 16-26. Residency is a requirement.  The veteran also must have been a resident of New Mexico at the original time of entry into the Armed Forces. A VA death certificate or other official paperwork must be submitted along with the application for this scholarship.

State of New Mexico Vietnam Veteran Scholarship

The Vietnam Veteran Scholarship is an excellent veteran benefit in New Mexico. It will pay tuition at any state-supported college in New Mexico. This benefit reimburses for all tuition, fees and books at any post-secondary school in the state that receives state funds. If a veteran served in Vietnam, received the Vietnam Campaign or Service Medal, and has been a New Mexico legal resident for at least 10 years, he or she can tap the Vietnam Veteran Scholarship. 

Tuition can also be reimbursed at a non-state institution, but tuition may not exceed an amount higher than the highest resident tuition charged at a state institution, and the fees and costs of books must not exceed financial aid guidelines.  

All billing is directed to the New Mexico Higher Education Department.   

Each scholarship is for a period of one academic year and is renewable if the student maintains satisfactory progress. 

To apply, students should contact their chosen institution’s financial aid office. 

State of New Mexico Vietnam Veteran Scholarship
State of New Mexico Vietnam Veteran Scholarship

To be eligible, the student must::

  • Be certified by the New Mexico Veterans Service Commission that they are an eligible Vietnam Veteran
  • Have received an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces
  • Have been a resident of New Mexico at original time of entry into the Armed Forces, or lived in New Mexico for 10 years or more
  • Have been awarded the Vietnam Campaign Medal for service in Vietnam during the period of August 5, 1964 to the official termination of the Vietnam conflict

To learn more about this scholarship, visit: https://hed.state.nm.us/financial-aid/scholarships/vietnam-veterans

New Mexico Wartime Veteran Scholarship

New Mexico also has a scholarship for certain veterans who exhaust their GI Bill before receiving their degrees. These scholarships are open to those who meet the below requirements and have been New Mexico residents for at least 10 years. The scholarship may be used at any state-funded school for undergraduate or master’s degree work.

To be eligible for the New Mexico Wartime Veteran Scholarship, a veteran must: 

  • Be certified by the New Mexico Veterans Service Commission that they are an eligible wartime veteran
  • Have received an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces
  • Have been a resident of New Mexico at original time of entry into the Armed Forces or who has lived in New Mexico for 10 years or more
  • Have been awarded a Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal or any other medal issued for service in the armed forces of the United States in support of any United States military campaign or armed conflict (as defined by Congress or presidential executive order) 

This scholarship is also sometimes called the State of New Mexico Combat Veterans’ Scholarship Award. 

To apply, fill out the New Mexico Application for Wartime Veterans Scholarship application: https://vrc.unm.edu/Forms/wartime-veterans-scholarship.pdf

New Mexico National Guard Tuition Scholarship Program

The New Mexico National Guard Tuition Scholarship Program (NMNGTSP) is also referred to as State Tuition Assistance (STA). The scholarship provides eligible members of the New Mexico National Guard an opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree.  

STA applies to students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree or below (no second equivalent or certificate level is allowed). STA is paid directly to the school and is invoiced after the term’s Last Day to Drop a Class. Teh Air National Guard yearly cap is $8,000.  The Army National Guard yearly cap is $4,000. STA fiscal year is from July 1-June 30.  

For more information: https://mvp.nmsu.edu/tuition-assistance/state-tuition-assistance/

Here is the NM STA Application Checklist

Honorary High School Diplomas for New Mexico Veterans of World War II, Korea or Vietnam 

A high school diploma is offered to any New Mexico resident who was honorably discharged from military service and left high school before graduating to serve in World War II or Korea. The diploma may be awarded posthumously to those with military service within the following qualifying dates:

  • World War Two: December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
  • Korean War: June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955

A veteran of these two wars must have been scheduled to graduate after 1940 and before 1955 in order to qualify for the high school diploma.

In 2020, Vietnam veterans who left a New Mexico high school before graduating to serve in the Vietnam conflict were added to this benefit. State lawmakers passed this bill so that Vietnam veterans honorably discharged and scheduled to graduate after Feb. 28, 1961 and before May 7, 1975 can also receive a high school diploma from the school they would have graduated from.

New Mexico Lottery Scholarship

Military service members who go directly out of high school into the service and have not used their New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship are eligible to use it after separation from the military. 

The Lottery Scholarship pays tuition only, not fees, and can be used for up to 8 semesters. To be eligible for this scholarship, a veteran must be a New Mexico resident who graduated from a New Mexico public (or accredited private) high school or received a state GED. 

Further requirements include:

  • Entered active duty directly out of high school
  • Did not have a chance to start at a public higher education institution between graduation and active duty
  • Upon separation/retirement from the military, entered a public higher education institution and enrolled in a Baccalaureate degree program during the first regular semester
  • Earn at least 12 credit hours with a minimum 2.5 grade point average during the first semester in college

More information: New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship


HIRING PREFERENCES AND VETERAN BENEFITS IN NEW MEXICO FOR EMPLOYMENT

There are several veteran benefits in New Mexico that support veterans and their families with employment.

Hiring Preference

 All veterans with other than dishonorable discharges receive a 5-point employment preference over non-veteran competitors for state jobs (5 extra points added to their successful exam scores, giving them a hiring preference over non-veterans). Veterans with a disability rating of 10% or more get an advantage of 10 points. Surviving spouses may also be entitled to this benefit.

Anyone currently serving in the National Guard also gets five points added to their final passing score on hiring exams for state employment.  

New Mexico On-The-Job Training (OJT)

The state offers On-the-Job-Training (OJT) programs which typically last between six months to two years. Participating veterans work under a skilled worker’s supervision and draw monthly benefits from the U.S. Veterans Administration. Upon completion, the veteran is awarded a certificate by the employer indicating the successful completion of that training program. 

New Mexico On The Job Training OJT

Some of the programs offered under the OJT program are heating and air conditioning repair, law enforcement, security and corrections officer training, warehouse operations, shipping and receiving clerks, landscaping, welding, commercial painting, auto mechanics and the beverage & food industry. For more info, call 505-383-2431.

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions—Veterans’ Employment

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions ensures that job and training services are offered to veterans on a priority basis. Veterans have priority over non-veterans regarding job placement, counseling, testing, referral to supportive services, job development, and job training. Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVERs) and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Representatives (DVOPs) provide these services to Veterans in New Mexico.

More info: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Office Directory

New Mexico Operation Sound Stage

Operation Sound Stage is one of the most unique veteran benefits in New Mexico. This pilot program is a multi-state agency partnership that aims to increase the hiring and training of military veterans for production by movie studios and television production companies in New Mexico. The partnership includes New Mexico Film Office, the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of Reserve components by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive the Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.


NEW MEXICO VETERANS VEHICLE LICENSE AND DRIVER’S LICENSE BENEFITS  

Any honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces is eligible for the following New Mexico veterans’ license plates. Veterans must show proof of service and eligibility.

The Armed Forces and Women’s Veteran license plates are available for a one-time $17.00 fee. Recipients are then responsible for any annual vehicle license fee which may apply:

NEW MEXICO VETERANS VEHICLE LICENSE

The following license plates are available free of charge for any qualified veteran who can provide proof of eligibility: 

  • Disabled Veteran (50% or more)
  • Purple Heart
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor 
  • Ex-POW
  • Medal of Honor

Application for military special plates:

http://nmdvs.sks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/DV-Plates-2015-1.pdf

The Gold Star Family License Plate is available for any family who has had a son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, parent or step-parent killed in combat. There is a four-plate limit per family. The first plate is free and all fees will be waived over the lifetime of the recipient. The remaining three plates are also free, but these recipients are responsible for an annual $17.00 plate re-registration fee.

Application for Gold Star plates:

http://nmdvs.sks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/GOLD_STAR_FAMILY_plate-1.pdf


VETERANS BENEFITS IN NEW MEXICO FOR RECREATION

New Mexico veterans looking to enjoy the state’s numerous outdoor resources may be eligible for reduced license costs and recreational fees. There are additional New Mexico disabled veterans benefits for recreational licenses and facilities.

  • Any veteran rated 50% or higher service-connected disabled may obtain an annual free day-use pass and three free nights of camping for personal use only.
  • Any veteran rated 50% or higher service-connected disabled may obtain a free State Monument and Museum pass for personal use only.
  • Any veteran rated 100% service-connected disabled is eligible for a free lifetime New Mexico small-game hunting and fishing license.
  • Disabled veterans may apply for a reduced fee $10 small-game & fishing license, regardless of disability rating.
  • Hunting licenses for deer, antelope, elk, javelin, and turkey may be sold to non-resident disabled veterans at resident license-fee rates if the applicant is undergoing a rehabilitation program utilizing hunting activities that is supported by the VA or an authorized nonprofit organization.
  • Any active duty military personnel, National Guard, or Reserve member who is a legally domiciled resident of New Mexico can apply for a temporary active duty fishing or small game hunting license.

HOUSING PROGRAMS FOR VETERANS IN NEW MEXICO

Aid and Attendance Benefit

A New Mexico veteran benefit is the Aid and Attendance pension benefit, which is available to New Mexico senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. 

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for New Mexico seniors, including disabled New Mexico veterans. The Aid and Attendance Pension program makes this level of improvement a little more attainable. Eligible New Mexico vets and their surviving spouses can qualify if they need aid in activities for daily living (also known as ADLs). These tasks could include functions like dressing, bathing, eating, transportation for errands and appointments, and medication management. Eligible applicants don’t need to require aid with everything in order to qualify. 

A&A recipients can also utilize these funds to help pay for costs associated with home care, skilled nursing home care, or assisted living.

The application process to receive A&A benefits can take several months to complete, but benefits are retroactive to the original application date when approved. 

Here is more information on the Aid and Attendance benefit for New Mexico veterans.

New Mexico State Veterans’ Home (NMSVH)

Senior veterans or veterans needing extra daily care may find a potential solution at the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home (NMSVH). This state-of-the-art facility was established as the state’s only state veterans’ home in 1985. In May of 2015, the VA awarded a $17.1 million grant to the facility for the construction of a 59-bed expansion project to include a 39-bed Alzheimer’s unit, a 20-bed Skilled Nursing Unit, a new rehabilitation section for inpatient and outpatient services, and a new pool.

Located in Truth of Consequences, the home is situated on 16 beautifully landscaped acres. The home strives to provide integrated services in an atmosphere that promotes physical, social, and emotional well-being as well as a sense of independence and dignity. 

The facility offers 135 nursing home beds and 10 assisted-living beds. 

For info: https://www.nmhealth.org/about/ofm/ltcf/nmsvh/

New Mexico Veterans Integration Center (NMVIC)

Veterans facing homelessness, or loved ones of those who are, can find assistance through the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center (NMVIC), which provides transition services for homeless and at-risk NM veterans. The NMVIC offers help with transitional housing, food pantry, thrift shop, and services for families such as rapid rehousing, meal services, temporary financial assistance, and basic necessities. 

 The NMVIC facility is located at 13032 Central Ave SE in Albuquerque.

For info: https://nmvic.org


MISCELLANEOUS TAX BENEFITS FOR NEW MEXICO VETERANS

New Mexico offers a few unique veteran benefits that ups the game on veteran benefits in New Mexico.

TAX BENEFITS FOR NEW MEXICO VETERANS

Business Tax Credit for Hiring Recently Returned Veterans

Any business in the state of New Mexico can qualify for up to a $1,000 business tax credit for each hire of a recently-returned veteran. 

For more information, contact the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department for additional information at (505) 827-0700 or http://www.tax.newmexico.gov

Additional 5% Procurement Advantage for Veteran-Owned Businesses or Contractors

The state of New Mexico sets aside an additional 5% hiring preference for

veteran-owned businesses or contractors over the existing 5% preference currently established for locally-owned businesses during the bidding process for state contracts and jobs. 

New Mexico veteran-owned businesses who want to obtain either a resident veteran business preference or a resident veteran contractor preference must first apply for and obtain certification from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD). A business that has been certified by TRD may obtain a bidding preference when participating in a formal bid process or formal request for proposal process for the sale of goods or services to a New Mexico state or local public body. 

As long as a business initially meets and continues to meet the necessary requirements, a certification issued by TRD is valid for three years from the date of issue.

For more information: https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/businesses/in-state-veteran-preference-certification/


INCOME TAX BREAKS FOR VETERANS IN NEW MEXICO

Active duty income earned by active duty members of the armed forces is exempt from New Mexico’s personal income tax. File a PIT-1 resident tax return and use a PIT-ADJ schedule to deduct any military active duty pay.

In most cases, New Mexico does tax retired military pay. The only exemptions authorized are the same exemptions are offered to all residents based on medical expenses and age as well as to low-income and mid-income residents.

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.

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.

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