State / Territory Benefits - Mississippi

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State taxes
Education Benefits
Employment Benefits
Unemployment Compensation
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Related Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
Miscellaneous Benefits
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Veterans (VA) Affairs Facilities in Mississippi
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Summary: The State of Mississippi offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Tax Exemptions on Military Pay and Retired Military Pay, Property Tax Exemptions, State Employment Assistance and Preferences, Education and Tuition Assistance, Special Military Vehicle Tags, as well as Hunting and Fishing License privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status.

 

State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

State Taxes:

State Tax Advantage: $15,000.00 military pay exempt. Compensation which qualifies for exclusion includes payment received for inactive duty training (monthly or special drills or meetings,) active duty training (summer camps, special schools) and for state active duty (emergency duty.)
Eligibility: Mississippi National Guard and Reserve Service members.

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Retired Military Pay: Retired pay is exempt. The exemption is also available to the Spouse or other beneficiary upon the death of the primary retiree. Widows' pensions received from the VA are not 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. Retired military exemption is also available to the Spouse or other beneficiary upon the death of the primary retiree (SBP).

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Education Benefits:

The Mississippi State Educational Assistance Program (SEAP): pays tuition up to $250 per hour, maximum $4,500 per year to state supported colleges for National Guard Soldiers not authorized FTA as funds are available. GPA of 2.0 minimum is required. Associates and/or bachelors degree only.
Eligibility:

  • Member of the Mississippi National Guard in good standing and enlisted through the end of each semester

  • Completed Basic Training

  • Registered voter in the State of Mississippi

  • Enrolled in a state or regionally accredited college or university within the state of Mississippi

  • Maintain a 2.0 semester GPA

  • Be used solely for an undergraduate degree

  • Not currently receiving Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA)

  • 10 Year window from the first time payment is made until expiration of SEAP eligibility

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Mississippi National Guard Education Benefits: The Adjutant General is authorized to pay the tuition for any member in good standing with the active Mississippi National Guard who is enrolled within the State of Mississippi in an accredited institution of higher learning, vocational education school or junior college and who is not eligible for GI Bill educational assistance and who meets requirements specified in Mississippi law.
Eligibility
: To be eligible for such benefits, the individual, at the time of his initial enrollment, must be a captain, lieutenant, warrant officer, cadet, officer candidate or enlisted member of the Mississippi National Guard, or a member of such guard who is participating in the educational program authorized by this section as of July 1, 1978; be at least seventeen (17) years of age; and be a resident and a qualified elector of the State of Mississippi.

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Mississippi National Guard Officer Producing Education Benefit: The State Adjutant General is authorized to pay tuition, room and board expenses for active military members of the Mississippi National Guard participating in officer producing programs.

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In-State Tuition for Service Members Stationed in Mississippi: Military personnel stationed in Mississippi and their dependents are classified as state residents for the purposes of payment of tuition at state colleges and universities ,such classification shall terminate upon their reassignment for duty elsewhere in the continental U.S.

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Children of MIA and POWs: Dependent Children of MIA and POWs can receive an eight-semester scholarship, without cost, exclusive of books, food, school supplies, materials and dues or fees for extracurricular activities at any state supported college or university within the State.
Eligibility: Candidate must be the Child of a Mississippi Veteran presently or formerly listed as MIA in Southeast Asia or who has been a prisoner of a foreign government as a result of the military action against the U.S. naval vessel Pueblo. Applicant is eligible until age 23 and must be enrolled in a Mississippi public college or university.

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Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:

  • Facilitating the timely enrollment of Children of military Families and ensuring 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.
  • Facilitating 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. Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic and social activities.
  • Facilitating the on-time graduation of Children of military Families.
  • Providing for the promulgation and enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact.
  • Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools and military Families under this compact.
  • Promoting coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military Children.
  • Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents and the student in order to achieve educational success for the student.

Primary Point of Contact: None

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Employment Benefits:

Employment Assistance: State employees receive 15 working days paid military leave per year.
Eligibility: Mississippi Army National Guard and Reserve Service members.

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Mississippi State Personnel Board: Applications for state employment are processed by the State Personnel Board (SPB). The SPB also maintains an internet web site listing state jobs which are on recruitment. The SPB web site also provides job descriptions and minimum qualifications for the positions on recruitment.

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Veterans' Preference: Veterans' Preference gives eligible Veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants. Veterans' preference applies, to virtually all new appointments in both the competitive and excepted service. Veterans' preference does not guarantee Veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.
Eligibility: Veterans' Preference gives eligible Veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants. Veterans' preference applies, to virtually all new appointments in both the competitive and excepted service. Veterans' preference does not guarantee Veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.
Eligibility: There are two types of preference eligibility:

You are a 5 point preference eligible if your active duty service meets any of the following:

  1. 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a future date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
  2. Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
  3. 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976.
  4. In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.

You are a 10 point preference eligible if you served at any time, and you:

  1. Have a service connected disability, OR
  2. Received a Purple Heart.

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State Retirement: Qualifying active duty military service credit is available at no cost and for purchase. Military service performed after terminating from covered public service or while drawing a retirement allowance is not eligible for credit.
Eligibility: Military service credit at no cost requires that you must:

  • have served on active duty in:
    • the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard;
    • maritime service during periods of hostility in World War II; or
    • the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service prior to 1972. This credit is available only to members who retire on or after July 1, 2002.
  • have entered or reentered state service after discharge from qualifying service and be vested in PERS;
  • not have received a dishonorable discharge;
  • not have credit for this service in any other retirement system administered by PERS and not have overlapping service for the same period of time; and
  • provide necessary documentation prior to retirement

If eligible, you may receive, at no cost, up to four years of service credit, or more if you were retained in the armed forces or maritime service during World War II by causes beyond your control and without opportunity for discharge. You must submit a copy of your DD-214 discharge form or comparable documentation to qualify for this additional credit.

You also may be eligible for service credit as a National Guard or Reserve member if your unit was federally activated into the U.S. Armed Forces and you provide PERS with a copy of your DD-214. Neither the Guard NGB Form nor the U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Center Chronological Statement of Retirement Points will be accepted to establish eligibility for active duty military service.

Military Service Credit for Purchase: Under certain circumstances, you may be awarded credit for military service that interrupts public service, provided the appropriate member and employer contributions are paid.

To purchase service under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), you must have worked for a covered employer, left employment for a military leave of absence, and returned to work with the same employer within 90 days of discharge or release, except as otherwise provided under USERRA.

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Re-employment: Any person who is a member of any Reserve Component of the Armed Forces of the United States who, in order to perform duties or receive training with the Armed Forces of the United States or of the State of Mississippi leaves a position, other than a temporary position, in the employ of any employer, and who shall give evidence of the satisfactory completion of such duty or training, and who is still qualified to perform the duties of such position, shall be entitled to be restored to his previous or a similar position, in the same status, pay, and seniority. Such period of absence for military duty or training shall be construed as an absence with leave but may be without pay.

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Military Personnel Professional License: Provides that the professional license of military personnel shall not expire while they were on federal active duty or for 90 days afterward.

Eligibility: Any member of the Mississippi National Guard or the United States Armed Forces Reserves.

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Unemployment Compensation:

Unemployment Insurance: Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a program designed to provide income to those unemployed due to no fault of their own. The amount of your unemployment insurance is determined by the amount of wages in your base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the effective date of your claim.

The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX) program provides benefits for eligible ex-military personnel. If you had military employment within the last 18 months, the wages you earned during that period may be used to establish a claim for unemployment benefits. You may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits by calling 601-855-3133 or 1-888-844-3577. You will be asked to provide the Member 4 copy of your DD214.

You should also be prepared to prove the following information:

  • Your Social Security number,
  • Your complete mailing address and phone number,
  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers for all your employers in the last eighteen (18) months,
  • The dates you worked and the reason you left each employer,
  • Alien Registration number or Visa number, if you are not a U.S. Citizen

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Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits:

Special Vehicle License Plates:

Honoring Veterans License Plate: Eligible applicants are privileged to obtain the Honoring Veterans license plate. This license plate costs an additional $31.00 over regular license plate fees.

Medal of Honor Plate: Eligible applicants are privileged to obtain annually, one (1) motor vehicle license plate or tag for a private passenger motor vehicle or pickup truck in the county of his/her residence. The CMH license plate or tag is exempt from all motor vehicle registration fees and privilege taxes.
Eligibility: Any legal resident of the State of Mississippi, who is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the unmarried surviving Spouse of such person.

Disabled Veteran Plate: Eligible applicant is privileged to purchase annually one (1) motor vehicle license plate or tag for a private passenger motor vehicle or pickup truck in his or her county of residence for the sum of one dollar ($1.00) in total cost.
Eligibility: Any legal Veteran resident of the State of Mississippi with a 100% permanent service-connected disability rating by the Veterans Administration and the unmarried surviving Spouse of such person.

Iraq Veteran License Plate: Eligible applicant may purchase a special license plate recognizing service. Additional fee is $31.00.
Eligibility: Any Veteran who was awarded either the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in, or support of operations in Iraq.

Afghanistan Veteran License Plate: Eligible applicant may purchase a special license plate recognizing service. Additional fee is $31.00.
Eligibility: Any Veteran who was awarded either the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in, or support of operations in Afghanistan.

Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal Plate: Eligible applicant may purchase a special license plate recognizing that award. The applicant must present satisfactory proof of award of the medal and pay an additional onetime $30.00 tag fee.
Eligibility: Veterans who were awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross or Air Medal while in military service.

Ex-Prisoner of War Plate: Eligible applicant is privileged to obtain annually one (1) motor vehicle license plate or tag for a private passenger vehicle or pickup truck in the county of his or her residence. The EX-POW license plate or tag is exempt from all motor vehicle registration fees and privilege taxes.
Eligibility: Any legal resident of the State of Mississippi who was a prisoner of war and the unmarried surviving Spouse of such person

Killed in Action Plate: Eligible applicant is privileged to purchase annually, one (1) motor vehicle license plate or tag for a private passenger vehicle or pickup truck in the county of his or her legal residence, for the sum of Two Dollars ($2.00) in total cost. The KIA license plate or tag is exempt from all privilege taxes.
Eligibility: Any legal resident of the State of Mississippi who is the un-remarried surviving Spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, a reserve component of the Armed Forces or of the National Guard, who, while on active duty, is killed or dies in time of war or national emergency declared by the President of the United States, or in an area determined by the Secretary of Defense to be of immediate military hazard.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Plate: Eligible applicant is privileged to obtain one (1) distinctive motor vehicle license plate or tag for a one time additional tag fee of fifteen dollars ($15.00) for use on a private passenger vehicle (to include station wagons, recreational motor vehicles and pickup trucks) in the county of his or her legal residence.
Eligibility: Any resident of the State of Mississippi who is an honorably discharged former member of one of the Armed Forces of the United States and while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States was present during the attack on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, between the hours of 7:55 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., Hawaii time.

Purple Heart Plate: Eligible applicant is privileged to obtain one free distinctive license plate or tag for use on a private passenger vehicle (to include station wagons, recreational motor vehicles and pickup trucks) in the county of his or her legal residence.
Eligibility: Any resident of the State of Mississippi who:
1) Is an honorably discharged former member of one of the Armed Forces of the United States and can provide written proof that while serving in the Armed Forces of the United State he or she was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
2) Is the unmarried surviving Spouse of a deceased person who was issued a Purple Heart Medal license plate or tag. Eligible applicant may apply for or retain one (1) such license plate or tag which shall be exempt from taxes and fees.

Gold Star: Eligible applicant is privileged to purchase annually, one (1) motor vehicle license plate or tag for a private passenger vehicle or pickup truck in the county of his or her legal residence. There is no additional charge for the wife and mother; other close Family members fee is $31, $24 of which goes to the Veterans Nursing Home.
Eligibility: Any legal resident of the State of Mississippi who is the un-remarried surviving Spouse, mother or close Family member of a Service member, who, while on active duty, is killed or dies in time of war or national emergency declared by the President of the United States, or in an area determined by the Secretary of Defense to be of immediate military hazard.

Reserve, National Guard, Merchant Marine, Retired: Eligible applicant may be issued distinctive motor vehicle license plate or tag at no additional cost in the county of his or her legal residence.
Eligibility: Reserve, National Guard, Merchant Marine, Retired who is a resident of the State of Mississippi and who has completed an active duty career with the Armed Forces of the United States and active duty and retired members of the Army National Guard, United States Reserves and those United States Merchant Marines in maritime service during the period from December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945, and their surviving Spouses.

Silver Star or Bronze Star Medal Plate: Veterans who were awarded the Silver Star or Bronze Star Medal while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States may purchase a special license plate recognizing that award.
Eligibility: The applicant must present official written proof of the award of the medal and pay an additional $30.00 tag fee, $24.00 of which benefits indigent Veterans residing in the State Veterans Nursing Homes.

Veteran Plate: In recognition of the patriotic service rendered by Mississippians who are honorably discharged Veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces, any such person is privileged to obtain distinctive motor vehicle license plates or tags for each motor vehicle registered in his name identifying his status as a Veteran. In addition, decals indicating branch and period of military service are to be affixed to the license tags. An additional annual tag fee of thirty dollars ($31.00) shall be collected for such license plates for the benefit of indigent Veterans who are residents of the State Veterans Nursing Homes.

Vietnam Veteran Plate : Veterans awarded the Vietnam Service Ribbon can purchase a special license plate recognizing such service for an additional tag fee of $31.00 which benefits indigent Veterans residing in the State Veterans Nursing Homes.

Special Tag Fee Distribution

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Health and Insurance Benefits:

Medical Benefits: National Guard members on State Active Duty have full coverage on their medical expenses.
Eligibility: Mississippi Army National Guard Service members.

Injury/Death Benefits: P/A, 12 months maximum. State Active Duty: survivor benefits; $500.00 burial allowance, $10,000.00 state insurance policy for accidental death for Army National Guard and $25,000 state insurance policy for accidental death for National Guard.
Eligibility: Mississippi Army National Guard Service members on State Active Duty.

Group Insurance: Mississippi National Guard Association offers members $55,000.00 for $12.25/mo; $40,000.00 for $8.95/mo; $26,000.00 for $6.00/mo; $15,000.00 for $3.80/mo. Spouse and dependents coverage available.
Eligibility: Mississippi Army National Guard Service members.

Workers Compensation: State military employees not on State Active Duty are covered under workers compensation.
Eligibility: Mississippi Army National Guard Service members.

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Parks and Recreation Benefits:

Hunting and Fishing Privileges: Veterans who have a total service-connected disability from the Veterans Administration are not required to purchase hunting or fishing license.
Eligibility: Veterans must have on their person proof of age, residency and 100% service-connected disability rating while engaged in hunting or fishing.

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Non Resident Armed forces 14-Day Hunting/Fishing License: Applicants must provide a current military identification card showing that the applicant is an active member of the United States Armed Forces (excluding Reserves and the National Guard). Each applicant may only purchase two (2), Non-Resident Armed Forces 14-Day Hunting/Fishing License during a license year.

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Miscellaneous Benefits:

Exemption from jury duty: Any member of the Mississippi National Guard on active duty shall be exempt from jury duty upon presenting a current written statement from his superior officer that such jury service will be likely to interfere with his military duties.
Eligibility: Mississippi National Guard Service member on active duty.

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Exemption from arrest: No person belonging to the military forces of this state shall be arrested by any civil authority under any civil or criminal process while going to, remaining at or returning from any place at which he may be required to attend military duty except for treason or felony.

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The Veterans Home Purchase Board: Provides low interest mortgage loans in amounts up to $225,000 for eligible Veterans, active duty military personnel, or current members of the Mississippi National Guard or reserves with over six years of service and unmarried surviving Spouses to purchase an existing single Family home or to construct a new home.
Eligibility:

  • A Veteran must have been a Mississippi resident immediately prior to entering Military Service or have resided in Mississippi for two (2) consecutive years immediately preceding the loan application.
  • The Veteran must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • The Veteran must have been discharged from active duty service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Reserve and National Guard personnel who have 6 years of service or more are eligible to apply for a loan.
  • Active duty military personnel are eligible to apply for a loan, two year residence required.
  • Reserve & National Guard Personnel who have been activated for extended active duty service under Title 10 US Code are eligible to apply.
  • An unmarried surviving Spouse of the above described eligible Veterans who died as a result of service or service-connected injuries may qualify for this program.

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State Veterans Nursing Homes: The four State Veterans Nursing Homes, Mississippi State Veterans Home in Kosciusko, The Mississippi State Veterans Home of Oxford, Mississippi State Veterans Home in Jackson and The Mississippi State Veterans Home in Collins, have 150 beds each and provide skilled nursing home care for eligible Veterans and Spouses.
Eligibility: Admission to the Homes requires that a Veteran be or have been a Mississippi resident, have active duty military service, have a "good" military discharge, or be the Spouse of a Veteran who resides in one of the Veterans Homes. Out of state Veterans may be admitted to the Homes if there are no Mississippi residents waiting to accept a bed. Applicants must have a medical need for nursing home care and must be able to pay the daily charge for care in the Home. Applications for admission to the Veterans Homes can be obtained from any of our offices. Indigent Veterans can request assistance with the expense of care in the facilities.

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Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery: Burial in the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery is open to all members of the Armed Forces and Veterans who have met the minimum service duty requirements and have been discharged under honorable conditions. Their Spouses, Widow or Widower, 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. Members of reserve components of the Armed Forces who die while on active duty, or while performing training duty, or who have 20 years of service in reserve components of the Armed Forces credible to retire pay, may also be eligible for burial.

the following services are provided for eligible Veterans, Spouses and dependent (if eligible):

  • Opening and closing of the gravesite
  • Furnished grave or columbarium space
  • Grave Liner
  • User of Committal Shelter for services
  • Supply and installation of suitable headstones or markers
  • Perpetual care for the entire facility

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Veterans Affairs Facilities in Mississippi  

Veterans Health Administration
VA Medical Centers
Biloxi: VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, 400 Veterans Ave, 228-523-5000 / 800-296-8872
Jackson: G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, 1500 E Woodrow Wilson Dr, 601-362-4471

Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Byhalia: Byhalia, Mississippi CBOC, 12 East Brunswick St, 662-838-2098 / Fax: 662-838-7945
Columbus: Columbus Clinic, 824 Alabama St, 662-244-0391 / Fax: 662-244-0395
Greenville: Greenville CBOC, 1502 S Colorado St, 662-332-9872 / Fax: 662-332-9878
Hattiesburg: Hattiesburg CBOC, 231 Methodist Blvd, 601-296-3530 / Fax: 601-296-3535
Kosciusko: Kosciusko Clinic, 332 Hwy 12W, 662-289-1800 / Fax: 662-289-2486
McComb: McComb, 1308 Harrison Ave, 601-250-0965
Meridian: Meridian CBOC, 2103 13th St, 601-482-7154 / Fax: 601-482-2852
Mt. Pleasant: Mt Pleasant Clinic, 154 Mt Pleasant Rd, 662-851-7939
Natchez: Natchez CBOC, 105 Northgate Dr, Suite 2, 601-442-7141 / Fax: 601-442-7343
Smithville: Smithville, Mississippi CBOC, 63420 Hwy 25 North, 662-651-4637
Tupelo: Tupelo CBOC, 499 Gloster Creek Vlg Ste D-1, 662-690-8007

Vet Centers - 877-927-8387
Biloxi: Biloxi Vet Center, 288 Veterans Ave, 228-388-9938 / Fax: 228-388-9253
Jackson: Jackson Vet Center, 1755 Lelia Dr Suite 104, 601-965-5727 / Fax: 601-965-4023

VISN VISN 16: South Central VA Health Care Network

Veterans Benefits Administration
Regional Office
Jackson: Jackson Regional Office, 1600 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave

Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
Biloxi: Keesler Air Force Base, 400 Veterans Ave, Bldg 2 Rm 1040

National Cemetery Administration
National Cemetery
Biloxi: Biloxi National Cemetery, 400 Veterans Ave, 228-388-6668 / Fax: 228-523-5784
Corinth: Corinth National Cemetery, 1551 Horton St, 901-386-8311 / Fax: 901-382-0750
Natchez: Natchez National Cemetery, 41 Cemetery Rd, 601-445-4981 / Fax: 601-445-8815

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Military Installations in Mississippi

Active Duty

Army
Camp Shelby

Navy
Gulfport Naval Construction Battalion Center
Meridian NAS

Air Force
Columbus AFB
Keesler AFB

National Guard
Mississippi Army National Guard

Mississippi Air National Guard
172nd Airlift Wing, Jackson
186th Air Refueling Wing, Meridian

United States Army Reserve (USAR)
81st Regional Support Command

 

Resources

http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isFlash=1

http://www.dor.ms.gov/

http://www.vab.ms.gov/

http://www.nasdva.us/

http://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-kansas-new-mexico#MISSISSIPPI

http://www.nationalguard.com/

http://www.dor.ms.gov/mvl/ html

http://www.vab.ms.gov/files/Benefits.pdf

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/realifelines/stateinfo.htm?state=MS

http://mic3.net/pages/contact/Map/mississippi.aspx

Document Review Date: 27 February 2014