A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Veterans in the State of Oregon
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. Oregon is no exception!
More than 320,000 veterans make their home in the Beaver State (about 8% of the population), and numerous veteran benefits in Oregon (including Oregon disabled veteran benefits) are available to honor and support those who served.
- A Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Veterans in the State of Oregon
- Property Tax Exemptions For Oregon Veterans
- Education-related Veteran Benefits In Oregon
- Oregon In-State Tuition
- Disabled Veterans’ Dependent Tuition Waiver
- Voyager Aid Program for Oregon National Guard and Reserve
- Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance
- Priority Enrollment
- Oregon Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
- Honorary High School Diplomas for Oregon Veterans of World War II, Korea or Vietnam
- Are There Veteran Benefits In Oregon For Employment?
- Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Financial Assistance Program (OVEFAP)
- Oregon Veterans Vehicle License Benefits
- Oregon Veteran Benefits For Recreation
- Housing Programs For Veterans In Oregon
- Veteran Health Care in Oregon
- What about Income Tax for Veterans in Oregon?
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
- About the Author
What are the top veteran benefits in Oregon?
Veteran benefits in Oregon specifically include property tax exemptions, education and training programs, recreational licenses and discounts, help with employment, and emergency financial assistance.
A veteran’s (or service member’s) military branch, career status, and disability status as well as residence status can affect benefit eligibility.
The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs administers many of the veterans programs and benefits in Oregon. This is a great place to learn about your state and national benefits, or get help with claims and applications.
Read on for the ultimate guide to top service member and veteran benefits in Oregon for 2021! Below we cover eight categories of veteran benefits in Oregon (including Oregon disabled veteran benefits): property tax exemptions, education benefits, employment benefits, vehicle license benefits, recreation benefits, financial emergency benefits, health care, and housing benefits!
Property Tax Exemptions For Oregon Veterans
Property tax exemptions for veterans are among the benefits for disabled veterans in Oregon. If you’re a disabled veteran or the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner of a disabled veteran, you may be entitled to exempt $23,370 or $28,045 of your property’s assessed value from property taxes. (This amounts to an average savings of $350.)
The exemption amount increases by 3 percent each year. The exemption is first applied to your home and then to your taxable personal property.
To qualify for the $23,370 exemption, you must meet ONE of these requirements:
- Be a veteran officially rated as 40% disabled or more by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces; or
- Be a veteran who served with the U.S. Armed Forces and is certified each year by a licensed physician as being 40% or more disabled AND, in the year before the exemption year, whose total gross income does not exceed 185 percent of the annual Federal Poverty Level Guidelines.
To qualify for the $28,045 exemption, you must meet one of these requirements:
- Be a veteran who is officially certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces as having service-connected disabilities rated 40 percent or more; or
- Be a veteran’s surviving spouse or partner who hasn’t entered into a new marriage or partnership, where the veteran died due to service-connected injury or illness, or the veteran received at least one year of the maximum exemption.
Active-duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve members, may also qualify for a residential property tax exemption.
If you are serving in the Oregon National Guard or Military reserve forces and have been ordered to federal active duty (Title 10) or deployed under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), you are eligible for the exemption if:
- You are an Oregon resident
- You own your home and it is your primary residence
- You live in your home except for time away for military service
- You are ordered to serve under federal active duty (Title 10) or deployed under the EMAC for more than 178 consecutive days. You will file an Oregon Active Duty Military Service Member’s Exemption Claim form #150-303-084 along with support documents showing the dates of service (such as your military orders or DD-214).
(If you are regular active enlistment or on a regular tour of duty, you do not qualify.)
NOTE: In Oregon, “partner” means the surviving registered domestic partner of a veteran. ORS 106.340 provides that domestic partners who have registered as provided in ORS 106.325 have the same privileges as spouses. So a surviving registered domestic partner of a veteran is also eligible for this exemption.
The exemption claim form is at: https://www.oregon.gov/DOR/forms/FormsPubs/veteran-exemption-claim_303-086.pdf
Education-related Veteran Benefits In Oregon
Are there educational veteran benefits in Oregon? Yes! The state offers a plethora of programs for veterans and service members (and their families) who seek tuition and education support.
The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs offers educational benefits for veterans and their dependents, including programs for individuals who served in the Guard or Reserves.
Oregon In-State Tuition
A public university listed in ORS 352.002 or community college offers tuition and fees no greater than the resident rate if the student:
- Served in the armed forces of the United States.
- Was discharged from that service with either an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions.
- newly enrolled after September 15, 2013 (undergraduate), or newly enrolled after September 15, 2014 (graduate student).
- Provides proof that the student has established a physical presence in Oregon within 12 months of being enrolled at the public university or community college.
Disabled Veterans’ Dependent Tuition Waiver
A child (including adopted children and stepchildren) or unremarried spouse of an individual who served in the U.S. military and who died while serving, who died due to a service-connected disability, or who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected disability, is eligible for a full tuition waiver at any Oregon public university or community college. This benefit does not include fees. It can be applied toward a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
Additionally, a child of a veteran (living or deceased) who has been awarded a Purple Heart in 2001 or later due to injuries sustained in combat, and who received a discharge under honorable conditions, is also eligible for a tuition waiver.
All applicants must be residents of Oregon and must be an admitted to a public university or community college. At the time a child applies for a tuition waiver for a bachelor’s degree, he or she must be 23 or younger.
To apply for a tuition waiver, complete the application form and send it to the Veterans’ Clerk Certifying Official at the educational institution you are attending. You must submit the application at least two weeks before you start school (though in some cases, exceptions may be made).
Voyager Aid Program for Oregon National Guard and Reserve
Oregon offers a tuition benefit to residents of Oregon who have served in a combat zone since September 11, 2001. The Voyager Aid Program will make up the difference between educational benefits from the VA and remaining tuition and fee costs. Students ineligible for VA educational benefits must submit proof of ineligibility. The Voyager Aid Program does not cover E-Campus or distance courses. For more information, contact the financial aid office at your educational institution.
Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance
The Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4035 in 2018 authorizing the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to administer $2.5 million in grants to Oregon National Guard Service members attending Oregon community colleges or public universities. This grant provides funding for tuition at Oregon community colleges (up to 90 credits) and public universities (up to 180 credits) for current Oregon National Guard members.
The Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds are used. The grant is a “last dollar” program, meaning it is calculated after other state and federal grants for which eligible students qualify.
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.
Oregon Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
This compact was designed to remove barriers to educational success faced by children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents. This program:
- Facilitates the timely enrollment of children of military families and ensures that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements.
- Facilitates the student placement process through which children of military families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment
- Facilitates the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic and social activities
- Facilitates the on-time graduation of children of military families
- Provides for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools and military families
- Promotes coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military children
- Promotes flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents and the student in order to achieve educational success for the student
Honorary High School Diplomas for Oregon Veterans of World War II, Korea or Vietnam
Veterans who were unable to complete their high school education due to entry into the military may be eligible to have a high school diploma awarded to them. Diplomas can be requested in the school district the veteran attended or in the school district in which the veteran now resides. A representative of a veteran who is deceased may also request the diploma.
- high school attendance prior to military service, and
- military service either:
- during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War
- during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Urgent Fury or Operation Enduring Freedom, OR
- in an area the President designated as a combat zone, AND
- discharge or release under honorable conditions
A DD-214 is required to establish eligibility.
Contact the Oregon Department of Education for more information.
Are There Veteran Benefits In Oregon For Employment?
There are several veteran benefits in Oregon that support veterans and their families with employment.
Veterans and disabled veterans receive preference when applying for federal, state, county, and local government jobs in Oregon.
All veterans with other than dishonorable discharges receive a 5-point employment preference over non-veteran competitors (5 extra points added to their successful exam scores, giving them a hiring preference over non-veterans). Disabled veterans in Oregon get an advantage of 10 points.
To receive the preference, you must have served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States:
- For more than 90 consecutive days beginning on or before January 31, 1955; or
- For more than 178 consecutive days; or
- For 178 days or less and has a disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs; or
- For at least one day in a combat zone;
- Received a combat or campaign ribbon or an expeditionary medal for service in the Armed Forces
- Be receiving a non-service-connected pension from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Provide proof of eligibility by submitting a copy of your DD214/DD215 form (documentation must include character discharge).
A disabled veteran must have:
- A discharge or release from active duty for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; or
- A disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; or
- The Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
Anyone currently serving in the National Guard also gets five points added to their final passing score on hiring exams for state employment.
More information: https://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/jobseekers/Pages/Veterans.aspx
Direct Professional Licensing for Military Experience
Veterans leave military service with a wealth of transferable skills and professional experiences. Thanks to an Oregon law passed in 2012, you may be able to attain official accreditation for those skills in the civilian workforce.
The program, designed to quickly get service members back to work after serving in the military, requires certain professional licensing agencies and boards in Oregon to accept military training or experience as an allowable substitution for traditional civilian education or experience required for licensure, certification or registration. That means veterans in certain fields don’t need to go back to school for training they have already received in the military.
Certain professions may have special requirements that must be met in addition to military education or experience.
Priority of Service in Training and Referrals
Through WorkSource Oregon, veterans and spouses of veterans may qualify for Priority of Service in employment and training services. This includes priority referrals to jobs and other services over non-veteran applicants with the same qualifications.
Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Financial Assistance Program (OVEFAP)
The Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Financial Assistance Program (OVEFAP) is for veterans and their immediate family (spouse, unremarried surviving spouse, child, or stepchild) who are in need of emergency financial assistance. Assistance is granted one time only and average award amounts vary.
For information: https://www.oregon.gov/odva/benefits/pages/emergency-assistance.aspx
Oregon Veterans Vehicle License Benefits
Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services offers specialty license plates to veterans, disabled veterans, and qualifying family members.
Available plate styles include:
- Branch of service
- Campaign or service medals
- Permanent disabled veteran
- Specialty plates that support service organizations such as the Gold Star Family plate or the Purple Heart plate.
Veterans can purchase a license plate set displaying the word VETERAN for a $10 surcharge in addition to normal fees from a local Oregon Division of Motor Vehicles office. The $10 surcharge goes to the support of the Oregon Veterans’ Home.
Proof of honorable military service is required. Former POWs, members of the active Oregon National Guard and certain veteran service organization names are available on license plates.
Oregon Disabled Veterans Benefits for Registration Fees
Service-connected disabled veterans qualify for a one-time registration fee for motor vehicle registration. There are no additional costs other than regular plate fees or replacement plate fees.The registration is valid for as long as the person who qualified for Disabled Veteran Plates remains an owner. These plates do not allow parking in designated disabled parking spaces.
The registration fee for Disabled Veteran Plates is $15 regardless of vehicle type.Only one set of plates may be issued per qualifying veteran.
See the DMV Application for Disabled Veteran Plates(Form 735-6736) for more information.
Application for veteran plates: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Forms/DMV/7069fill.pdf
For more information: Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services: License Plates
Oregon Veteran Benefits For Recreation
Oregon veterans looking to take advantage of the Beaver state’s beautiful outdoor recreational resources may be eligible for reduced license costs and recreational fees.
Oregon State Parks
You don’t have to be an Oregon resident to qualify for these benefits! Service-connected disabled veterans get free parking and camping at Oregon state parks. You may camp for free in a tent, RV or standard horse campsite for 10 nights at a time at a single state park, or a total of 10 nights in a 30 day period, regardless of the location. If you stay longer than 10 nights at a park, you will pay the standard rate for the extra days. You also have to pay the reservation fee.
Active duty members get the same benefit, but they have to pay upfront and then file for reimbursement. Additionally, all active duty service members can visit Oregon state parks for free on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.
For more information: Oregon State Parks: Special Access Pass
Hunting and Fishing Licenses
A free hunting and angling license for disabled war veterans with a federal VA-rated service-connected disability of 25 percent or more is offered through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Veterans must be Oregon residents for at least six months.
Also, non-resident uniformed service members are able to hunt or fish in Oregon for the same cost as a state resident.
For more information: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Hunters and anglers with disabilities
Housing Programs For Veterans In Oregon
Oregon Veterans Home Loans
Since 1946, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) has helped more than 334,000 veterans realize their dreams of owning a home, loaning over $7.5 billion to veterans.
ODVA offers a state veterans’ home loan that is an additional and separate benefit from the Federal VA Home Loan Guaranty Program. The current maximum loan amount is $417,000 for a single family, owner occupied residence and veterans are now eligible to use the loan as a lifetime benefit. The program is designed specifically to provide veterans the lowest interest rate possible and is secured through special federal bonding only available to state home loan programs.
The eligibility for the program expires 30 years after discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces. ODVA also offers home improvement loans.
Learn more about Oregon Veterans Home Loans at http://www.oregon.gov/ODVA/HOMELOANS/Pages/index.aspx .
Or call: 1-800-828-8801.
Oregon Veterans Homes
Care at the Oregon Veteran’s Homes is an earned benefit available to veterans, their spouses and parents who had a child die while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. To be eligible for this benefit, qualifying veterans must have served as defined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Federal VA) and received an honorable discharge from their branch of service.
The Homes are Medicare and Medicaid Certified. A veteran may be eligible to have some or all of the cost of care at the Veterans’ Home covered by the VA. This requires a VA physician’s certification that nursing home care is needed due to a service-connected disability. Typically veterans who have a 70% or greater service-connected disability and are in need of skilled nursing care due to their disability are eligible to have the cost of care covered by the VA.
The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs has Admission Liaisons to assist veterans and their families with questions about care and the admissions process at the two homes.
The Dalles Oregon Veterans’ Home
700 Veterans’ Drive, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 Tel: (541) 296- 7190 or 800-846-8460.
Program Director: Dallas Swafford Tel: 541-296-7152.
The Dalles website http://www.thedalles.oregonveteranshomes.com.
Lebanon Oregon Veterans’ Home
600 North 5th Street, Lebanon, Oregon 97355
Tel: (541) 497 -7265.
Program Director: Jeremy Woodall (541) 497-7268.
Lebanon website http://www.lebanon.oregonveteranshomes.com.
Veteran Health Care in Oregon
Oregon provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Oregon VA Regional Benefits Office
- Portland: Portland Regional Office
Oregon VA Medical Centers
- Roseburg: Roseburg VA Health Care System
- White City: White City or VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center
What about Income Tax for Veterans in Oregon?
All active-duty pay earned outside Oregon and up to $6,000 of active-duty pay earned in Oregon is tax-free.
In Oregon, military retirement pay isn’t taxable either. (Only California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Virginia require veterans to pay taxes on their retirement income.) VA disability payments and Social Security disability payments are tax-free in all states.
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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.
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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.