State / Territory Benefits - Minnesota
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits
Health and Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
VA Medical Facilities in Minnesota
Summary: Minnesota offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including State Soldiers' Assistance Fund, Compensation for State Active Duty, Special License Plates, and Education Benefits for Minnesota Veterans, Educational Assistance-POW/MIA Dependents and Renewal of Professional License. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status.
State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility
State Tax Advantage: Minnesota military members are allowed to subtract certain active-duty military pay from taxable income on their state return. This generally reduces income tax liability and/or increases any refund. This subtraction may be claimed by:
- Members serving in the U.S. or U.N. armed forces who receive active-duty military pay that are subject to federal tax under U.S. Code Title 10.
- Members of the Minnesota National Guard and Reserves, who receive taxable active-duty pay for services or compensation for training and meetings under U.S. Code Title 10 and Title 32, such as ADSW (ADOS), AGR, natural disaster emergency response and missing persons searches, and reenlistment bonuses.
- Members of the National Guard and Reserves who receive pay for duties related to annual training, drill weekends, and meetings (whether training inside or outside of Minnesota).
Tax Debt Relief for Deceased Active Duty Military: Provides tax relief to the Family of any military member who dies during active service in the United States or United Nations armed forces. Under state law:
- The Service member's income will not be taxed in the year of their death.
- Any unpaid tax debts or penalties from prior years they were in active service will be abated (forgiven).
- Their heirs may request a refund of income tax the member paid while in active service. Refund claims must be filed within seven years of when the member's return was filed, or when the tax was paid or collected.
Retired Military Pay: Pensions are taxable.
Military Disability Retired Pay: Retirees who entered the military before September 24, 1975, and members receiving disability retirements based on combat injuries or who could receive disability payments from the VA are covered by laws giving disability broad exemption from federal income tax. Most military retired pay based on service-related disabilities also is free from federal income tax, but there is no guarantee of total protection.
VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes.
Military SBP/ RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.
Tax Credit for Military Service in Combat Zone: Service members who served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area on or after January 1, 2012 may be eligible. This credit is based on the number of months served and is refundable, so you may qualify to receive this credit even if you had no income or owed no tax. The credit is based on the number of full and/or partial months served. You will receive $120 for each month served in 2010 and going forward. To claim the credit, complete Form M99, Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone, for the year when you served in a combat zone or qualifying duty area and file within 3.5 years from the original due date of your tax return.
Eligibility: You may receive this credit if you meet ALL of the following requirements:
- You served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area anytime on or after Jan 1, 2012
- The pay you received is excluded as combat pay from federal gross income under IRS Code Section 112.
- Your home of record was Minnesota during your military service.
Tax Credit for Past Military Service: Beginning with tax year 2013, a nonrefundable credit of $750 is available to honorably discharged Veterans who receive a pension or other retirement pay for their service in the military even if they did not serve 20 years in the military, or have a 100 percent total and permanent service related disability. This includes National Guard or Reserve members who satisfy either the period of service or disability condition. Your adjusted gross income (from your federal return) must be less than $37,500. To determine the amount of your credit, complete the worksheet for Schedule M1C, Other Nonrefundable Credits. If you are a part-year resident of Minnesota or a nonresident, you may still qualify for the credit. When completing the worksheet for Schedule M1C, use your percentage of Minnesota income from Schedule M1NR, Nonresidents/Part-Year Residents. The credit and qualifications can be found in Minnesota Statutes 290.0677 Subdivision 2.
Eligibility: To qualify, you must have separated from military service before the end of the year and one of the following must be true:
- You served in the military for at least 20 years
- You have a service-connected disability rating of 100% total and permanent (as rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs), or You were honorably discharged and you receive a pension or other retirement pay for service in the military
Market Value Exclusion on Homestead Property of Disabled Veterans and Surviving Spouses: This program provides a property tax benefit to qualifying homeowners by reducing the value of their home for property tax purposes by up to $300,000. The benefit applies to certain disabled Veterans, their surviving Spouses, the surviving Spouses of military personnel who have died in the line of duty, and certain primary caregivers of disabled Veterans.
Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled (100% T&P) are eligible for a valuation exclusion of $300,000; Veterans who are not totally and permanently disabled, but who have a disability rating of 70 percent or higher, are eligible for an exclusion of $150,000. Surviving Spouses of deceased disabled Veterans that were eligible for the $300,000 exclusion are eligible to receive the same benefit for eight additional years after the Veteran's death. If a disabled Veteran does not own a house, but has a designated "primary Family caregiver" who does own a house, the caregiver can receive the exclusion for the time he or she continues in that role. Surviving Spouses of military personnel who have died in the line of duty are eligible to receive $300,000 exclusion for eight years following the Service member's death.
Eligibility: To qualify as a disabled Veteran, the Veteran must have been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces as indicated by U.S. Department of Defense form DD214 or other official military discharge papers, and must be certified by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (US/VA) as having a service-connected disability with a disability rating of 70 percent or higher.
For a Veteran who is totally and permanently disabled, the surviving Spouse continues to receive program benefits in the eight calendar years following the death of the Veteran, provided that the surviving Spouse continues to own and reside in the house. There is no survivor benefit for Spouses of Veterans qualifying at the 70 percent standard. There is also no survivor benefit for Spouses of disabled Veterans who are not enrolled in the program before the Veteran's death.
Higher Education Veterans Programs: MDVA's Higher Education Veterans Programs helps connect Veterans with educational benefits and resources to succeed in college. The programs support the success of Veterans, current military members and their Families at Minnesota's colleges and universities by providing on-site comprehensive information about benefits and resources as well as creating institutional readiness in support of the unique needs of these students. This nation-leading program provides staff at colleges and universities throughout Minnesota to help identify and remove barriers to Veterans' enrollment and access to benefits, as well as to create and manage campus Veterans resource centers.
Specifically, the Higher Education Veterans Program coordinators help schools establish "Veteran friendly" policies and procedures. They can also help with things like:
- Payment extensions while awaiting properly applied for educational benefits
- Military transfer credit
- Veteran resident status
- Options for withdrawal from classes due to deployment
Veteran Education Assistance: Veteran Education Assistance is provided to Veterans in the form of a one-time $750 grant for tuition to Veterans who have exhausted, through use, all of their GI Bill benefits to assist with completing a bachelor's degree. This grant is paid directly to the institution, or may be reimbursed to Veteran upon verification that tuition has been paid. You may apply for this benefit by accessing the application below and submitting directly to MDVA or applying with assistance through your County Veterans Service Officer.
Eligibility: To be eligible, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The Veteran shall have been a resident of the State of Minnesota at the time of entry into the Armed Forces, and for six months immediately preceding entry
- The Veteran must be a citizen of the United States and a current resident of Minnesota
- The Veteran must have completely exhausted his/her federal educational benefits prior to the delimiting date or within the eligibility period during which benefits were available. Veterans who have allowed their educational benefits to expire without completely using them do not qualify for this program
Minnesota National Guard Tuition and Textbook Reimbursement: The National Guard Tuition and Textbook Reimbursement Program reimburses Minnesota Guard members up to 100% of the tuition cost at any VA approved school. The maximum benefit is 100% of the undergraduate per credit rate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.
Eligibility: Minnesota National Guard members. If a member of the Minnesota National Guard is killed in the line of state active service or federally funded state active service, the member's surviving Spouse, and any surviving dependent who has not yet reached 24 years of age, is eligible for a tuition and textbook reimbursement grant.
Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit: Surviving Spouses and eligible dependents are allowed admission to Minnesota postsecondary education institutions, either operated by this state or are operated publicly or privately and maintains academic standards substantially equivalent to those of comparable institutions operated in this state. Surviving Spouses and dependents will be able to attend free of tuition until he/she obtains a bachelor's degree. In addition, MDVA will pay $750 per fiscal year for fees, books and supplies, and/or room and board. You may apply for this benefit by accessing the application below and submitting directly to MDVA or applying with assistance through your County Veterans Service Officer.
Eligibility: Surviving Spouse and Dependent Education assistance is provided to Spouses and dependents, including adopted and step-Children, whose Veteran Spouse and/or Veteran parent died while on active duty, or as a result of a service-connected condition. The Veteran must have been a resident of Minnesota when entering the U.S. military, or have been a resident of Minnesota for at least six months prior to passing away due to a service connected disability as determined by the USDVA. Applicants must be Minnesota residents and the Spouse cannot be remarried. There is no age limitation for eligible survivors.
Minnesota G.I. Bill: The Minnesota GI Bill program was enhanced in 2013 to provide postsecondary educational assistance to eligible Minnesota Veterans, non-Veterans who served in the military and eligible Spouses and Children. Full-time undergraduate or graduate students may be eligible to receive up to $1,000 per semester and part-time students can receive up to $500 per semester (up to $3,000 per academic year and $10,000 per lifetime). OJT and Apprenticeship individuals are eligible for up to $2,000 per fiscal year for either program. Apply online or download application here.
Eligibility: You must be a Minnesota resident under the age of 62, enrolled at a Minnesota institution who meets the following requirements:
- Veteran who is serving or has served honorably in any branch of the United States armed forces at any time, or;
- Non-Veteran who has served honorably for a total of five years or more cumulatively as a member of the Minnesota National Guard or any other active or Reserve component of the United States armed forces, and any part of that service occurred on or after September 11, 2001, or;
- Surviving Spouse or Children of a person who has served in the military at any time on, and who has died or has a total and permanent disability as a direct result of that military service, only if the surviving Spouse or Child is eligible to receive Federal education benefits under Chapter 33 as amended, or Chapter 35 as amended.
State Tuition Reimbursement (STR): Minnesota State Tuition Reimbursement (STR) will pay for 100% of your tuition (not including student fees) up to the undergraduate and graduate rate at the University of Minnesota for 144 semester credits. This benefit is available to current members of the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard and may be used in conjunction with the GI Bill and Federal Tuition Assistance (again, FTA and STR can be combined but only to equal 100% of tuition). This benefit is paid to the military member after a final grade is received for the course. Submission of required materials, including tuition fee statement and semester grade report, goes through the designated unit official. Like FTA, STR requires a "C" or better or "pass". The undergraduate reimbursement rate is up to 100% of the undergraduate rate of the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus) with a maximum yearly benefit of $17,000 per fiscal year (01 JUL through 30 JUN). The Graduate reimbursement rate is up to 100% of the graduate rate of the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus) with a maximum yearly benefit of $36,000 per fiscal year (01 JUL through 30 JUN).
- You must be a member of the MN National Guard.
- You are eligible for STR for any classes that you attend, at an accredited college, after completion of basic training.
- You must remain in the Minnesota National Guard during the entire term of courses.
- E1 to O5, including Warrant Officers are eligible for State Tuition Reimbursement. The lifetime maximum State Tuition Reimbursement benefit is 208 quarter or 144 Semester credits.
- Army National Guard Enlisted Soldiers must apply for Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) in order to be eligible to apply for State Tuition Reimbursement. Apply for FTA at https://www.goarmyed.com
- State Tuition Reimbursement has been extended to Service members who have satisfactorily completed their service contract in the Minnesota National Guard who served honorably in federal active service or federally funded state active service since September 11, 2001.
- Eligibility is extended for a period of two years, plus the amount of time equal to the duration of that person's active service.
- State Tuition Reimbursement has been extended to Service members who have been separated or discharged from that organization due to a service-connected injury, disease, or disability.
- Eligibility period is extended for eight years beyond the date of separation.
Paid Leave for National Guard and Reserve Service Members: State employee receives 15 days military leave per year for training, Federal or State active duty.
Eligibility: National Guard or Reserve Service member who is a state employee
Veteran's Hiring Preference (State): The Minnesota Veterans Preference Act (VPA) grants most Veterans a limited preference over non-Veterans in hiring and promotion for most Minnesota public employment positions. The Minnesota VPA Statutes apply to Minnesota public employment, "civil service laws, charter provisions, ordinances, rules or regulations of a county, city, town school district or other municipality or political subdivision of this state."
Eligibility: 10 Point Veteran's credit will be added to the competitive open examination rating of a Non-disabled Veteran, 15 points Veteran's credit will be added to Veterans with 50 percent or more permanent service-connected disability provided that the Veteran obtained a passing rating on the examination without the addition of the credit points.
A preference may be used by the surviving Spouse of a deceased Veteran and by the Spouse of a disabled Veteran who because of the disability is unable to qualify.
Veteran's Hiring Preferences (Federal): By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans both in hiring into the Federal civil service and in retention during reduction in force. Veterans may be entitled to 5 or 10 points included in any scoring process for examination or interviews.
5-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:
- During a war; or
- During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or
- During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or
- In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.
10-point Compensable Disability (CP) Preference: Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of:
- A Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent but less than 30 percent.
10-Point 30 Percent Compensable Disability Preference (CPS): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.
10-Point Disability Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:
- A Veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs but does not qualify as a CP or CPS; or
- A Veteran who received a Purple Heart.
10-Point Derived Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of Spouses, Widows, Widowers, or Mothers of Veterans as described below. This type of preference is usually referred to as "derived preference" because it is based on service of a Veteran who is not able to use the preference. Both a Mother and a Spouse (including Widow or Widower) may be entitled to preference on the basis of the same Veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the Veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.
Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the Spouse of a disabled Veteran who is disqualified for a Federal position along the general lines of his or her usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the Veteran is unemployed and
- Is rated by appropriate military or Department of Veterans Affairs authorities to be 100 percent disabled and/or unemployable; or
- Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position on the basis of a disability that is service-connected in origin; or
- Has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of his or her usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability.
Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.
A campaign medal holder or Gulf War Veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligible Veterans separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to Veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.
Compensation for State Active Duty: Pay and Allowance are $130 per day minimum.
Eligibility: Army National Guard Service member on state active duty.
Veterans Employment Representative: Current or former military members, no matter the era of service, receive priority services in all WorkForce Centers across the state and can be assisted by specially trained Veterans employment representatives. Veterans employment representatives can help you if you if you have significant challenges finding or keeping a job; or have a service-connected disability. They work one-on-one with you to provide services custom-tailored to meet your individual needs.
Services typically include such things as:
- Help with developing or polishing resumes and cover letters
- General job search guidance
- Information on licensure, certification and apprenticeships
- Explaining employment benefits, rights and preferences for Veterans
- Direct referrals to job openings
- Referrals to other state and federal agencies for additional services
To find a Veterans employment representative near you download this list.
Eligibility: Any Service member that has been discharged or left active duty within the past three years.
Unemployment Insurance: The Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program provides a temporary partial wage replacement to those Minnesota workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. It is an economic stabilizer/stimulator in times of economic downturn and helps maintain an available skilled workforce for employers. The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) supervises and administers the UI program.
- Social Security number
- Alien Registration number, if you are not a U.S. citizen
- Driver's license number or other state government identification number
- Mailing address
- Telephone number
- Birth date
- Employment history for the past 18 months, including:
- Each employer's name, address and telephone number
- Dates of employment (month and year)
- Pay rate
- Reason you no longer work for the employer
- Information for special circumstances:
- If you are a union member, you will need the union name and local/lodge number
- If you were in the military in the last 18 months, you will need information from your DD-214 Member 4 (not mandatory to apply)
- If you were a federal employee in the last 18 months, you will need information from your SF 8
- Your bank account number and bank routing number, if you want to use direct deposit for benefit payment. You can also request direct deposit at a later time.
Customer Service hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, except on holidays.
Twin Cities area: 651-296-3644
Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-866-814-1252
Special Vehicle License Plates - The State of Minnesota has a number of license plates that are available to Veterans, Service members and their eligible dependents and/or Family members. You must apply for Veteran plates at a deputy registrar office or by mailing a Special Plate Application form, required documentation and appropriate fees to:
Driver and Vehicle Services
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 164
St. Paul, MN 55101
Note: In order to prove eligibility, Veteran applicants are required to present a copy of their separation papers (DD 214 or equivalent). Current Service members must submit a DA Form 638 Recommendation for Award or other official documentation verifying eligibility for a specific license plate at the time of application.
State law requires that these discharges be certified (bearing a raised impression of a seal or a statement attesting to their authenticity).
"Ex-POW" may have plates for one vehicle and must have certification from the commissioner of Veterans' affairs
- May be displayed on any passenger class vehicles, one-ton pickups, or self-propelled recreational vehicle, owned or jointly owned by a Veteran.
- Initial Application Fees: $10 plate fee, $10.00 filing fee. (There is no fee for an Ex-POW or Medal of Honor Plate.)
- Plates may be ordered with a disability symbol if you qualify for a disability license plate.
- Applicant must supply a copy of their separation papers (DD214) showing discharge under honorable conditions or if still in the military, a current military ID. Laos Veterans will need to supply a copy of the Laos War Veteran Certificate or similar document proving service.
- For more information about Veteran plates, please refer to the Special Plate Application. Click Here for Application Form.
Women's Veteran Plate: Women's Veteran license plates may be issued to any female Veteran of the Armed Forces. The plate cannot be personalized at this time.
Proud to be a Veteran Plate: There is no date of service restriction. A one-time $30 donation is due at the time of initial application. The contribution benefits the Minnesota WWII memorial fund and programs for Veterans and their Families. (Motorcycle plates also available.)
Medal of Honor Plates: Medal of Honor license plates are issued to the recipients of the Medal of Honor. Original, duplicate or replacement plates are issued free of charge and no registration tax is due. Only one set of plates may be issued. An application may only be made at the time of first registration or renewal of registration.
Silver Star Plates: Silver Star license plates are issued to the recipients of the Silver Star Medal. DD214 must state applicant was awarded the Silver Star Medal.
Bronze Star Plates: Bronze Star license plates are issued to the recipients of the Bronze Star Medal. DD214 must state applicant was awarded the Bronze Star.
Combat Wounded (Purple Heart) Plates: Veteran must submit their separation papers that indicate that they were awarded the Purple Heart, or must have a document from the Veteran's Administration.
Pearl Harbor Survivor Plates You must have been stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii or offshore during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and a member of a Pearl Harbor Survivor organization.
World War II Plates: Veterans must have served within required dates of service from December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946.
Korea Plates: Veterans must have served within required dates of service from June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955.
Vietnam Plates: Veterans must have served within required dates from July 1, 1961 through June 30, 1978.
Laos War Plates: Veterans must have served within required dates from July 1, 1961 through June 30, 1978.
Gulf War Plates: Veteran must have been issued the Southwest Asia Service Medal after August 1, 1990, for service during operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, or any other military action in the Persian Gulf. (Motorcycle plates also available)
Global War on Terrorism: DD214 must indicate that applicant was a recipient of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary or Service Medal. (Motorcycle plates also available.)
Iraq Plates: Veteran must have been issued the Iraq Campaign Medal. Applicants must submit, with the plate application, a certified copy of the separation papers (DD214 or equivalent) or an ERB, signed DA 638 or other official document denoting receipt of the campaign ribbon.
Afghan Plates: Veteran must have been issued the Afghanistan Campaign Medal Applicants must submit, with the plate application, a certified copy of the separation papers (DD214 or equivalent) or an ERB, signed DA 638 or other official document denoting receipt of the campaign ribbon.
Ex-POW Plates: Veteran is eligible for plate if they were a member of the military forces of the U.S. and were captured, separated and incarcerated by an enemy of the U.S. during a period of armed conflict. Application must be verified by the commissioner of Veteran's Affairs whose signature must appear in Section D of the application form.
National Guard Plates: Plates may be issued to the owner of a passenger class vehicle. You must certify that you are a regular enlisted, commissioned, or retired member of the Minnesota National Guard, other than an inactive member who is not a retired member.
Ready Reserve Plates: Plates may be issued to the owner of a passenger class vehicle. You must certify that you a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Ready Reserve as described in U.S. code, title 10, section 268.
Gold Star Family License Plates: Plates may be issued to the Surviving Spouse, Parents, Children, or siblings (Brother or Sister) of a Soldier who died in service. There is no charge for the plates themselves but a $10 filing fee is still collected and yearly vehicle registration costs are not affected. Applicant must provide the name of the armed forces member and a copy of the Military Form DD1300 "Report of Casualty" or DD2064 "Certificate of Death."
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal: DD214 must state applicant was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
Korean Defense Service Medal: DD214 must state applicant was awarded the Korean Defense Service Medal. (Motorcycle plates also available.)
American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars/ Disabled American Veterans: You must be a member of the Veteran Service Organization and, at the time of application, you must submit a copy of your membership card for the appropriate organization.
Medical Benefits: Full coverage for injuries incurred in Line of Duty (LOD).
Eligibility: National Guard Service member on State active duty.
Group Insurance: The State Sponsored Life Insurance (SSLI) program is derived from United States Public Law 93-289, May 1974, Title 37, Section 707 and is offered through the National Guard Association of Minnesota (NGAMN). This program is comprised of a combination of six voluntary group life policies available to the military members of the Minnesota National Guard and are designed to help meet the needs of our membership.
Key Benefits of the SSLI:
Over $1,000,000 in coverage available for the Minnesota National Guardsman through a combination of the SSLI plans
Coverage available for the Spouse and Children
Rates do not go up just because you separate from the National Guard -you can keep the coverage when you separate
Coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
No War Exclusion - you are covered in combat
No Aviation Exclusion - aviators are covered
New Recruits are eligible for $10,000 SSLI coverage under the MIT Group Life Insurance Plan at no cost for the first year of service in the Minnesota National Guard. Enrollment must occur within 90 days of joining the Minnesota National Guard
Eligibility: National Guard Service members and their eligible dependents
Workers Compensation: Workers Compensation equivalent to State employees.
Eligibility: National Guard Service member injury occurs while serving on state active duty.
Optical Assistance: Upon application, optical benefits are provided on an annual basis to Veterans and their dependents. This benefit is income and asset-based, and upon approval of eligibility you and your dependents may receive up to $400 paid to your choice of providers for annual eye exams and prescription eyewear, to include contact lenses. Please contact your County Veteran Service Officer for assistance or more information on this or other benefits.
Dental Assistance: Dental Benefits are provided to Veterans and their dependents for routine dental, extraction, and denture procedures. This benefit is income and asset based, and upon MDVA approval of eligibility you and your dependents may receive up to $1,000 for annual routine dental care paid to your choice of providers. If your dental provider determines that dentures are necessary, MDVA will issue an additional denture authorization for up to $3,000 of once-per-lifetime benefits, and if needed, an additional once-per-lifetime extraction authorization for up to $2,000 specifically for tooth extractions in preparation for the dentures. Please contact your County Veteran Service Officer for assistance or more information on this and other benefits
Veterans Campground on Big Marine Lake: The Veterans Campground on Big Marine Lake is a Family campground that provides facilities and opportunities for recreation, rest, and recovery for all who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, whether still serving or have served in the past, their Families, and sponsored friends. Eligibility: Each registrant MUST BE or HAVE BEEN a member of the United States Armed Forces. Verification of this status will be requested upon registration. Proof must be provided in the form of a DD-214, or other separation papers. Priority will be given to service-connected disabled Veterans. The un-remarried Spouse of a deceased Veteran (whether disabled or not) is also authorized to register for camping, with approved proof of status.
Minnesota State Park Vehicle Permits: Any active military service personnel stationed outside of Minnesota within the past 90 days can get a free one-day Minnesota state park vehicle permit. Bring your current military orders and military ID, and let the park attendant know your military status when you arrive.
Military personnel or their Dependents who have a Federal government access pass to Federal recreational sites can get a free one-day Minnesota state park vehicle permit. Bring your Federal access pass and military ID, and let the park attendant know your military status when you arrive.
Any resident Veteran with any level of service-connected disability can get a free one-day Minnesota state park vehicle permit. Bring a copy of your determination letter and a photo ID, and let the park attendant know your military status when you arrive.
Any Veteran who has a permanent and total service-connected disability can get a free annual Minnesota state park permit. Present a copy of your determination letter or VA ID card to the park attendant for the free annual sticker, which must be placed on a vehicle that is owned by the Veteran. If the Veteran with the permanent service-connected disability does not own the vehicle transporting the Veteran, you can still get a free one-day Minnesota state park permit.
Cross Country Ski Pass Exemptions: Minnesota residents who have served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and has been discharged from active service is exempt from the pass requirement if the resident possesses official military discharge papers (DD214). Minnesota residents in the US Military who are stationed outside the state and home on leave are also eligible for a pass exemption, (must have leave form).
Fishing Licenses: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, (DNR) has a number of benefits for military Service members and Veterans:
- A person in the U.S. Armed Forces who is stationed or training in the state may purchase a resident fishing license. (Includes those in training at Camp Ripley.)
- A resident who has served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and has been discharged from active service may take fish without a license. Discharged residents must carry proof of Minnesota residency and official military discharge papers. Trout stamps are not required. (Note: Free sturgeon tags are available only from the DNR License Center in St. Paul.)
- Any Minnesota Veteran with a 100% service-connected disability may obtain a permanent angling license. These permanent licenses are available only from the DNR License Center. A trout stamp is not required with this license.
- Permanent Angling License Application
The following are Exempt from Fishing License Requirements:
- Minnesota residents in the U.S. Military who are stationed outside the state and home on leave. Military staff must carry leave or furlough papers.
- Patients of a U.S. Veterans Administration hospital (with written permission of the superintendent or chief executive of the institution).
- Authorization to Fish Form
Residents on Leave Hunting License: Who have maintained legal residency in Minnesota (must have a valid MN DL or Public Safety ID) and who are serving in the U.S. Military and stationed outside the state may:
- Hunt small game without a license while on leave. No Minnesota Waterfowl Stamp or Pheasant Stamp is needed but must have a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp to hunt waterfowl.
- May hunt deer (Firearms: Code 232; Archery: Code 233, Muzzleloader: Code 234), bear (Code 663), and wild turkeys (Spring: Code 615; Fall: Code 654) and Wolf (Early Season Firearm: Code 691; Late Firearm Code 692; Trapping Code 693) without charge after obtaining the appropriate licenses and tags from an ELS license agent by presenting official leave papers.
- Does not include Moose, Elk or Deer bonus permits. Such service personnel must carry proof of Minnesota residency and official leave papers on their person while hunting. Licenses are valid immediately upon issuance.
Residents Discharged Hunting License: Application
- Discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces within 10 days of the start or during the Firearms Deer Season may purchase a Firearms Deer License during the season upon showing official discharge papers. The license is valid immediately after purchase.
- Veterans who have served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and have been discharged from active service may:
- Take small game without a license. Discharged residents must carry proof of Minnesota residency and official military discharge papers. No state stamps required. (Federal stamp required for migratory waterfowl hunting.)
- Obtain a free deer license. Eligibility is limited to one deer license per person per year. Discharged residents must provide proof of residency and a copy of their official military discharge papers. (Firearms: Code 232, Archery: Code 233, Muzzleloader: Code 234).
- Obtain a free wolf license. Eligibility is limited to one wolf license per person per year. Discharged residents must provide proof of residency and a copy of their official military discharge papers. (Early Firearms Season: Code 694, Late Firearm Season Code 695; Trapping Code 696)
- Veterans who have served at any time during the past 24 months, in active service as a member of the United States armed forces, including the National Guard or other military reserves will receive first preference in drawings for special deer hunts, bear and turkey permits.
Resident 100% Disabled Veterans Hunting License: With proof of a 100% service-related disability may obtain a free Small Game License (241) and a free Firearms (242), or Muzzleloader (240), or Archery (243) Deer License from an ELS license agent. In addition, a disabled Veteran is exempt from purchasing state pheasant or waterfowl stamps, but must purchase a turkey stamp and license to hunt turkeys and a federal duck stamp to hunt waterfowl. Disabled Veterans with 100% service connected disability will receive first preference in drawings for special deer hunts, bear and turkey permits.
Note: Military personnel and Veterans who are issued firearms deer licenses under these provisions may take antlerless deer, but are restricted to bucks-only hunting in those lottery deer permit areas that have an either-sex permit quota of zero. To participate in special deer hunts, they must apply and be drawn. They may also purchase bonus permits. Application
Resident Veteran 100% Permanent Card: Resident Veterans who have 100% permanent service-connected disability as defined by the United State Department of Veterans Affairs may apply for a permanent card that may be presented to an agent annually to receive a free Small Game and/ or a Deer License. This card will assist with the process of receiving these types of license's, however all eligibility requirements must be meet prior to receiving the license(s). Application
Resident Purple Heart Recipients: Purple Heart recipients must purchase licenses, but will receive first preference in drawings for antlerless deer permits, bear and turkey permits. Application
Nonresident Hunting and Fishing Licenses:
- Nonresident Spouses of residents on active military duty may purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses. Nonresidents must provide proof of Spouse's residency and active military duty.
- A person in the U.S. Armed Forces who is stationed in the state may purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses, but not moose or elk licenses.
Firearms Safety Training: Military personnel who are on active duty and has successfully completed basic training in the US armed forces, reserve component, or National Guard may obtain a hunting license or approval authorizing hunting regardless of whether the person is issued a firearms safety certificate. Note: They must be on active duty, home on leave with leave papers (they then qualify only for that time frame). Once discharged or no longer on active duty, they must complete the firearms safety training course or online adult course the same as all others born after Dec 31, 1979.
St. Paul and Fargo/ Northwest Claims Assistance: The St. Paul Claims Division represents Veterans and their dependents, which live within the jurisdiction of the St. Paul VA Regional Office while the Northwest/Fargo Claims Division represents Veterans and their dependents, which live within the 15 Minnesota counties under the jurisdiction of the Fargo VA Regional Office. The Claims Assistance Offices provide assistance when seeking federal Veterans benefits with regards to compensation, non-service connected pension, vocational rehabilitation or educational benefits. The division has an established relationship with County Veterans Service Officers and the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure Veterans are appropriately served. Please contact your County Veteran Service Officer for assistance in applying for Subsistence benefits. County Veteran Service Officer Locations
Field Operations - Veterans Outreach Assistance: MDVA Field Operations seeks to identify and serve Veterans of all social and economic backgrounds including those who are unable to seek assistance due to disability or geographical location. They act as a liaison and personal advocate to those seeking benefits such as subsistence, dental, optical, counseling, Federal claims and Federal Department of Veterans Affairs health care. Field Operations is the mobile unit of the MDVA Claims Division with flexibility to travel to those in need while offering professional service and advocacy. Please contact your County Veteran Service Officer for assistance in applying for Subsistence benefits. County Veteran Service Officer Locations
Women Veterans Program: The mission of the Minnesota Women Veterans Program is to ensure women Veterans have equitable access to federal and state benefits and services. They respond to the gender specific needs of women Veterans and ensure that women Veterans are treated with dignity and respect. Outreach events are geared to improve the awareness of available benefits, services, and eligibility criteria for the women who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Tribal Veteran Service Officer (TVSO): The MDVA TVSO initiative operates in partnership with the Governmental and Tribal agencies, the Governor's Office, Minnesota State Legislators and the Minnesota Native American Nations. Working with Veterans in areas such as Red Lake and Grand Portage, MDVA staff recognized a need for culturally connected service representatives, leading to the development of this program.
Short Term Financial Assistance (Subsistence): The Subsistence program provides temporary assistance with shelter payments (rent/mortgage), current utility bills and health insurance premiums to eligible Veterans and their Dependents. This benefit is income and asset based, and is designed to assist Veterans for up to six months for those who are unable to work his/her normal occupation due to a temporary disability, or who are permanently disabled and are waiting to receive a permanent disability benefit from VA Compensation, VA Pension, Social Security or other long term benefit.
Eligibility: Veterans must provide proof of the temporary disability by his/her doctor on a medical report, and must have worked within one year of the date on the medical report. Surviving Spouses may also be eligible for this benefit without a temporary disability if he/she applies within the first 12 months of his/her Veteran Spouse's death. After that time limit the surviving Spouse must provide proof of his/her own temporary disability via a medical report. Please contact your County Veteran Service Officer for assistance in applying for Subsistence benefits. County Veteran Service Officer Locations
LinkVet: LinkVet is a one-stop service center for Minnesota Veterans and their Families. A team of support specialists trained through the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) staffs LinkVet. The program is dedicated to serving Veterans and their Families by assisting them in securing state and Federal benefits, and by providing programs and services relating to higher education, benefits, burial, claims, outreach and Veterans preference. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact LinkVet using live chat or by calling 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838).
Minnesota Veterans Homes: Currently there are five Veterans Homes located throughout the state in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne, Minneapolis and Silver Bay. The mission of the Veterans Homes is to oversee and guarantee high-quality health care for Veterans and dependents in its care.
Eligibility: Honorably discharged Veterans who entered service from Minnesota, or are current Residents, who served 181 consecutive days on active duty, unless discharged earlier because of disability incurred in the line of duty, OR, the Spouse of an eligible Veteran who is at least 55 years old and meets residency requirements and are able to demonstrate a medical or clinical need for admission.
Military Funeral Honors: The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) and the Minnesota Army National Guard (ARNG) Military Funeral Honors Coordinator are committed to ensuring Veterans receive proper military funeral honors to commemorate their service to the Nation and to assist Veterans Service Organizations in their efforts to provide these honors. A stipend is available to VSO who meet certain requirements. Military funeral honors for Veterans are provided by volunteers with local Veteran Service Organizations and are arranged through the funeral home. Please coordinate with your funeral director.
State Veterans Cemetery: The Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries are located in Little Falls, MN and Preston, Minnesota. Burial is open to all Veterans discharged from active military service under conditions other than dishonorable. Their Spouses, minor Children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult Children are also eligible for burial. Eligible Spouses may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran. Also eligible for burial are members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces, the Army and National Guard, and the Reserve Officer Training Corps who die while on active duty for training or performing service, or who have 20 years of service in reserve components of the Armed Forces creditable for retired pay.
Bronze Star Markers: The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs offers Bronze Stars Grave Markers to mark the grave site of any Veteran buried in the state, where permitted. Bronze Star Markers must be requested through your County Veterans Service Officer.
U.S. VA Medallion: The federal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs now offers a permanent medallion to signify the deceased's status of a Veteran. This medallion honors Veterans with a nationally recognized symbol of their service. All Veterans and their Families seeking burial markers should order the medallion directly through the VA. The medallion is available in three sizes: 5 inches, 3 inches and 1 1/2 inches. Each medallion bares the inscription "VETERAN" across its top and the branch of service at the bottom. More information is available through the U.S. VA Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000
Vital Statistics Records, Certified Copies: A certified copy of a birth, death, marriage, divorce, dissolution of marriage record, or certified copy of Veteran's discharge recorded will be issued promptly by the officer charged with the keeping of the records upon the request of, and without any charge.
Eligibility: Any Veteran, the surviving Spouse or next of kin of the Veteran, service officers of any Veterans organization chartered by the Congress of the United States, or the Department of Veterans Affairs, for use in the presentation of claims to the United States Veterans Administration or in connection with any Veterans organization or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Minnesota Service C.O.R.E.: The Minnesota Service C.O.R.E. is a nation-leading program designed to bring essential, community-based services directly to Veterans, military members and their Families across Minnesota at no cost to them. Due to its unique structure, this program will also provide resources to previously underserved areas around the state.
By partnering with Lutheran Social Service (LSS), Minnesota Service C.O.R.E. provides comprehensive assistance through the existing statewide network of resources. Services include individual and Family counseling, financial counseling, debt management, addiction counseling, disability services and in-home counseling. The goal is to help all Veterans and their Families develop skills and draw on their own strengths to bring about successful and lasting Family stability.
LSS case workers are based in field offices located throughout the state, including the Twin Cities metro area, Alexandria, Bemidji, Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Fergus Falls, Mankato, Moorhead, St. Cloud and Willmar.
Veterans Health Administration
VA Health Care System
Minneapolis: Minneapolis VA Health Care System, One Veterans Dr, 612-725-2000 / 866-414-5058
St. Cloud: St. Cloud VA Health Care System, 4801 Veterans Dr, 320-252-1670 / 800-247-1739
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Albert Lea: Alberta Lea VA Clinic, 1665 West Main St, 507-377-6051
Alexandria: Max J. Beilke Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 515 22nd Ave, 320-759-2640
Bemidji: Bemidji VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 705 5th St NW, Suite B, 218-755-6360 / Fax: 218-755-6399
Brainerd: Brainerd VA Clinic, 722 NW 7th St, 218-855-1115 / Fax: 218-855-1183
Ely: Ely VA Clinic, 720 Miners Dr East, 218-365-0001 / Fax: 218-365-0005
Fergus Falls: Fergus Falls Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1839 North Park St, 218-739-1400 / Fax: 218-739-1401
Hibbing: Hibbing VA Clinic, 990 West 41st St, Suite 5, 218-263-1400 / Fax: 218-262-1915
Mankato: Mankato CBOC, 1961 Premier Dr, Suite 330, 507-387-2939 / Fax: 507-387-6377
Maplewood: Maplewood VA Clinic, 1725 Legacy Pkwy, Suite 100, 651-225-5420 / Fax: 651-777-6494
Montevideo: Montevideo VA Clinic, 1025 North 13th St, 320-269-2222 / Fax: 320-269-8929
Ramsey: Northwest Metro VA Clinic, 7545 Veterans Dr, 612-467-1100
Rochester: Rochester VA Clinic, 3900 55th St NW, 507-252-0885 / Fax: 507-529-8452
Shakoppe: Shakopee VA Clinic, 1111 Shakopee Town Square, 952-445-4070 / 952-445-1501
St. James: South Central VA Clinic (St James), 1212 Heckman Court, 507-375-9670 / Fax: 507-375-9668
Vet Center - 877-927-8387
Brooklyn Park: Brooklyn Park Vet Center, 7001 78th Ave N, Suite 300, 763-503-2220 / Fax: 763-503-6179
Duluth: Duluth Vet Center, 4402 Haines Rd, 218-722-8654 / Fax: 218-723-8212
New Brighton: St. Paul Vet Center, 550 County Rd D, Suite 10, 651-644-4022 / Fax: 651-917-2555
Eagan: VISN 23: VA Midwest Health Care Network, 2805 Dodd Rd, Suite 250, 651-405-5600 / Fax: 651-452-0399
Veterans Benefits Administration
St. Paul: St. Paul Regional Office, 1 Federal Dr, Fort Snelling, 800-827-1000 / Fax: 612-970-5415
National Cemetery Administration
Minneapolis: Fort Snelling National Cemetery, 7601 34th Ave, S, 612-726-1127 / Fax: 612-725-2059
Military Installations in Minnesota
Please see the Minnesota Resource Locator for additional information.
Minnesota Air National Guard
United States Army Reserve (USAR)
Document Review Date: 26 January 2016