State / Territory Benefits - Montana

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State Taxes
Education Benefits
Employment Benefits
Unemployment Compensation
Motor Vehicle Division Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Parks & Recreation Benefits
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Miscellaneous Benefits
Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities
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Summary: Montana offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Property Tax Exemptions, Montana National Guard Tuition Scholarship Program, Education and Tuition Assistance, Point Preference or Alternative Preference in Initial Hiring, 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:

Retired Military Pay: The first $3,600.00 of retired military pay is exempt from income tax as long as your federal adjusted gross income is $30,000 or less and you are filing a single return, filing jointly with your Spouse and only one of you have taxable retirement income, or you are filing as head of household. If both you and your Spouse have received retirement income and you are filing jointly with your Spouse, and your federal adjusted gross income is $30,000 or less, you both can exclude the lesser of your taxable retirement income that you receive personally or $3,600 each for a maximum of $7,200. Survivor benefits are taxed following federal tax rules.

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/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.

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Certain Disabled or Deceased Veterans' Residences Exempt: A residence, including the lot on which it is built, that is owned and occupied by a Veteran or a Veteran's Spouse is exempt from property taxation. The exemption or reduction applies to the land up to five acres in size, Veteran's residence, and one attached or detached garage. Additional buildings do not receive the reduction or exemption. The application form and supporting documentation must be returned to the local Department of Revenue office before April 15 or no exemption or reduction can be allowed. Application must be made annually with proof of income and a letter of eligibility for the VA. If the disability rating is permanent, a letter of eligibility need only be submitted once. Property qualifying under sub-section is taxed at the rate provided in Montana Code 15-6-134, (2) (a) multiplied by a percentage figure based on income and determined from the following table:

Income

Income

Percentage

Single Person

Married Couple

Multiplier

$0 - $30,000

$0 - $36,000

0%

$30,001- $33,000

$36,001 - $39.000

20%

$33,001 - $36,000

$39,001 - $42,000

30%

$36,001 - $39,000

$42,001 - $45,000

50%

Eligibility: The Veteran was killed while on active duty or died as a result of a service-connected disability; or, if living, was honorably discharged from active service in any branch of the armed services and is currently rated 100% disabled or is paid at the 100% disabled rate by the U.S. department of Veterans affairs for a service-connected disability, as verified by official documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The property tax exemption under this section remains in effect as long as the property is the primary residence owned and occupied by the Veteran or, if the Veteran is deceased, by the Veteran's Spouse and the Spouse:
(a) is the owner and occupant of the house;
(b) is unmarried; and
(c) has obtained from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs a letter indicating that the Veteran was rated 100% disabled or was paid at the 100% disabled rate by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a service-connected disability at the time of death, or that the Veteran died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability.
Property qualifying under subsection (3) is taxed at the rate provided in Montana Code 15-6-134, (2) (a) multiplied by a percentage figure based on income and determined from the following table (Montana Code 15-6-211):

Income

Percentage

Surviving Spouse

Multiplier

$0 - $25,000

0%

$25,001 - $28,000

20%

$28,001 - $31,000

30%

$31,001 - $34,000

50%

 

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Education Benefits:

Montana National Guard Education Benefits: The Montana State Scholarship offers National Guard members $900.00 per semester ($75 per credit), up to 12 credits per semester when attending a Montana State Institution of higher learning or VA-approved Montana training program in an undergraduate degree-granting program with their Commander's recommendation.
Eligibility: National Guard Service members.

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War Orphans Waiver: A tuition waiver is available, upon approval of the Commissioner of Higher Education, for children aged 25 or less, whose parent(s) served on active duty during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts. Such members of the armed forces must have been Montana residents at the time of entry into service, and must have been killed in action or died as a result of combat related injury, disease, or other disability.

Honorable Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver: To be eligible, the student must have been honorably discharged from the service and have served with the United State Armed forces in any of its wars. The person must also be a resident of the state of Montana.

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Employment Benefits:

Point Preference or Alternative Preference in Initial Hiring: Subject to the restrictions in subsections (2) and (3), whenever a public employer uses a scored procedure, an applicant for an initial hiring, as defined in Montana Code 39-30-103, must have added to the applicant's score the following percentage points of the total possible points that may be granted in the scored procedure:
(a) 5 percentage points if the applicant is a Veteran; and
(b) 10 percentage points if the applicant is a disabled Veteran or an eligible relative.
(2) A Veteran, disabled Veteran, or eligible relative may not receive the percentage points provided for in subsection (1) unless the person:
(a) is a United States citizen; and
(b) meets the minimum qualifications required for the position. If no applicant meets the minimum qualifications and the public employer fills a training position, Veterans' preference must be applied.
(3) A disabled Veteran who receives 10 percentage points under subsection (1) (b) may not receive an additional 5 percentage points under subsection (1)(a).
(4) Whenever a public employer uses a selection procedure other than a scored procedure, the public employer shall give preference to a disabled Veteran, eligible relative, or Veteran, in that order, over any non-preferred applicant holding substantially equal qualifications, as defined in Montana Code 39-30-103.
Eligibility: A Veteran, disabled Veteran, or eligible relative. Montana Code 39-29-102

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Employment Assistance: Public employees receive 15 work days of paid military leave per year.
Eligibility: Public employees on orders for military service and who have been an employee for a period of at least 6 months.

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Unemployment Compensation:

Unemployment Insurance: Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits lighten the burden of unemployment for the unemployed individual, maintain purchasing power in the community, and allow laid off employees to remain in the area so they will be available for re-employment. The program stabilizes the local and state economy by preventing a sharp drop in consumer spending during periods of unemployment. UI benefits are paid with Montana employer's Unemployment Insurance contributions.

You will need to provide the following information to file your claim:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your current mailing address
  • Your telephone number and/or email address
  • Complete name, address and phone number of all employers you have worked for since 01-01-2012

Direct Deposit:

  • If you wish to have your benefits deposited directly to your bank account, you will need your account number and bank routing number for the account you want your benefits deposited in.

If you are an ex-military member:

  • A copy of your DD214, Member 4 will need to be mailed to our office. Note: You may file an unemployment claim after your discharge date shown on your DD214, Member 4.

If you were a Federal employee:

  • Your SF8 or SF50 may assist you in filing your claim.

If you obtain work through a union:

  • The name and local number of your union hall

If you are not a U.S. Citizen:

  • Alien registration card number and expiration date

If you wish to open a claim or need information on unemployment insurance, call the center serving your county. Click here for the center in your region. Claims Processing Center hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday hours are 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. The Claims Processing Centers are closed on all state and federal holidays.

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Motor Vehicle Division Benefits:

Military Plates available for Military Personnel, Veterans, Spouses, and Gold Star Families: Special plates available include Army Reserve, Army Veteran, Disabled Veteran, Gold Star Family, Legion of Valor, National Guard, National Guard Retired, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Ex-Prisoner of War, Purple Heart Veteran, and the Purple Heard Disabled Veteran.

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Special Plates for Military Personnel, Veterans, Spouses, and Gold Star Families:
Active military personnel, Veterans, or the surviving Spouse of an eligible Veteran, if the Spouse has not remarried, may be issued special military or Veteran license plates. Special military or Veteran license plates may not be issued for a motorcycle, quadricycle, travel trailer, trailer, semi-trailer, or pole trailer. Special military or Veteran license plates bearing a wheelchair as the symbol of a person with a disability may be issued to a person who meets the qualifications under 61-3-332(9) and this section. Upon application, after paying all applicable motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer, or pole trailer registration fees and special license plate fees and providing an official certificate from the applicant's Unit Commander verifying the individual's eligibility and authorizing the department to issue the plates to the individual, eligible military personnel may be issued one set of special military license plates as provided in this subsection. (Montana Code 61-3-458)

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Special Military or Veteran License Plates: Under MCA 61-3-458, special military or Veteran license plates may be issued to:

  • Active military personnel
  • Veterans
  • The surviving Spouse of an eligible Veteran if the Spouse has not remarried, as determined by the military
  • Those eligible for a Gold Star Label Button because a Family member died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces

Eligibility: Montana residents who are active members of the regular armed forces, National Guard or Reserve armed forces may be issued special license plates according to their branch of service. However, they must surrender the plates to the department when they are no longer eligible.

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Special Vehicle License Plates for Veterans and Spouses: Motor vehicle registration fee and Veterans' cemetery fee waivers - Some people are exempt from all motor vehicle fees, as well as the Veteran's cemetery fee (provided in 61-3-459), for two sets of special Veteran license plates. These license plates are to be used for two motor vehicles that are not used for commercial purposes.
The following persons are eligible for the waiver provided in subsection:

(a) a Veteran who was a prisoner of war who presents official documentation from the U.S. Department of Defense verifying the Veteran's status, or the Veteran's surviving Spouse, if the Spouse has not remarried;
(b) a Veteran who is currently rated 100% disabled or is paid at the 100% disabled rate by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a service-connected disability, as verified by official documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Veteran's surviving Spouse, if the Spouse has not remarried;
(c) a Veteran determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be 50% or more disabled because of a service-connected injury and who has been awarded the Purple Heart, as verified by official documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veteran's military service record issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, or the Veteran's surviving Spouse, if the Spouse has not remarried. However, in this case, the Veteran or the surviving Spouse shall pay the Veterans' cemetery fee as provided for in 61-3-459;
(d) the surviving Spouse, if the Spouse has not remarried, of a military Service member killed while on active duty as verified in official documentation issued by the U.S. department of defense; and
(e) the surviving Spouse, if the Spouse has not remarried, of a military Service member or Veteran who died of a service-connected injury or disability as determined by and verified in official documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (Montana Code 61-3-460)

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Disabled Veteran License Plate: Disabled Veterans may be issued special license plates displaying the letters "DV", which entitle them to disabled parking privilege. Disabled Veterans may be issued up to two sets of DV license plates for their vehicles. Unlike other military license plates, DV plates cannot be transferred to a surviving Spouse.
Eligibility:
Disabled Veterans are entitled to this plate if they:

  • Have been awarded the Purple Heart and have been rated as 50% or more disabled because of a service-connected injury.
    • Necessary documentation - an official letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs stating the disability rating and U.S. Department of Defense form DD-214 verifying receipt of a Purple Heart.

OR

  • Are currently rated 100% disabled or are paid at the 100% disabled rate for a service-connected disability.
    • Necessary documentation - an official letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stating the disability rating or payment status.

Gold Star Family License Plate: U.S. military Family members who are eligible for a Gold Star Lapel Button may be issued special Gold Star Family license plates upon application and after paying all applicable motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer registration fees and special license plate fees. Necessary documentation - Complete the State of Montana Application for Gold Star Family License Plate (Form MV57) and provide supporting documentation, DD Form 1300 or Death Notice.

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Health and Insurance Benefits:

Medical Benefits: Workers compensation equivalent to State employees.
Eligibility: Injury or illness occurs while incurred in Line of Duty (LOD).

Group Insurance: MT NGA offers active Guard members $1,000 free term life and up to $250,000 additional through ReliaStar/AFBA. Spouse/Family coverage available.
Eligibility: Member of Army/Air National Guard.

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Workers Compensation: Workers Compensation equivalent to State employees.
Eligibility: Injury occurs while serving on State Active Duty.

Injury/Death Benefits: Workers Compensation equivalent to State employees less any VA payments received.
Eligibility: Injury/Death occurs while serving on State Active Duty.

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Parks and Recreation Benefits:

Resident with a Disability Conservation License: This license allows disabled Montana residents to obtain a Conservation License for $8 and a Deer A and an Elk license at a reduced cost. The Conservation License includes Fishing, Warm Water Fishing, State Migratory Bird, Upland Game Bird, and State Lands licenses. Application

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Permit to Modify Archery Equipment: This permit allows a person with a disability to use modified archery tackle that supports the bow, and draws, holds, and releases the string to accommodate the individual's disability. The permit holder must have a companion to assist in aspects of the hunt. The companion may also assist the permit holder by hunting (by the legal use of archery equipment only) a game animal that has been wounded by the permit holder when the hunter with a disability is unable to pursue and kill the wounded animal. Crossbows may not be used during archery season. Application

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Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle: This permit authorizes the permit-holder to hunt from a vehicle wherever vehicular traffic is allowed and permission to hunt is authorized. The permit holder must be accompanied by a companion who is able to assist in immediately dispatching, field dressing and retrieving any game animal wounded or killed. This permit DOES NOT provide any automatic waiver or exemption from travel restrictions imposed by a private landowner or land management agency. Application

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Resident Lifetime Fishing License for the Blind: A Montana resident who is blind can purchase a lifetime fishing license for $10. The application for this license is available from FWP and requires medical certification. A Conservation License is not a prerequisite for this license. Application

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State Parks Biennial Fee Rule: The State Parks Biennial Fee Rule, Section VIII, provides for disabled residents to receive a 50% discount on camping fees.

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Miscellaneous Benefits:

Veterans' Clubhouse Exemption -- Incompetent Veterans' Trusts: A clubhouse or building erected by or belonging to any society or organization of honorably discharged United States military personnel that is used primarily for educational, fraternal, benevolent, or purely public charitable purposes rather than for gain or profit, together with the personal property necessarily used in the building, is exempt from taxation. The exemption provided for in this section applies even if a business, intended primarily for the use of the members, is required to be open to the public and is operated in a portion of the building. All property, real or personal, in the possession of legal guardians of incompetent Veterans of U.S. military service or minor dependents of the Veterans, when the property is funds or derived from funds received from the United States as pension, compensation, insurance, adjusted compensation, or gratuity, is exempt from all taxation as property of the United States while held by the guardian, but not after title passes to the Veteran or minor in the minor's own right on account of removal of legal disability. (Montana Code15-6-203)

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State Veteran's Home: The institutions at Montana Veterans' Nursing Home in Columbia Falls with 105 intermediate/skilled-care beds including a 15-bed Special Care Unit, and 12 domiciliary beds. The nursing facility includes a 15-bed Alzheimer's unit. And in Eastern Montana in Glendive an 80-bed intermediate/skilled-care facility including a 16-bed Special Care unit are the Montana Veterans' homes and their primary function is to provide a home and subsistence for Veterans. The department of public health and human services may also admit Spouses or surviving Spouses of Veterans to the homes if spaces allows.
Eligibility:
Honorably discharged Veterans Spouse, or surviving Spouse, be 55 years of age or, if younger than 55, an invalid and/or unable to earn a livelihood and meet medical and physical requirements for intermediate nursing care or domiciliary care.

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State Veterans' Cemeteries: There are three Veteran's cemeteries located in Montana. Montana State Veterans Cemetery located at Fort William Henry Harrison, Helena, Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery located in Missoula, and Eastern Montana State Veterans Cemetery located in Miles City.

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Military Installations in Montana

Army:
No active duty Army installations are located in Montana.

Air Force:
Malstrom Air Force Base: http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/

National Guard:
Montana Army National Guard: http://www.montanaguard.com/main.cfm
Montana Air National Guard: http://montanadma.org/montana-air-national-guard

United States Army Reserve (USAR):
88th Regional Support Command: http://www.usar.army.mil/ourstory/commands/88RSC/Pages/default.aspx

Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities in Montana:

Veterans Health Administration
VA Health Care System
Fort Harrison: VA Montana Health Care System, 3687 Veterans Dr, 877-468-8387 / 406-442-6410

Outpatient Clinic
Hamilton: Hamilton Primary Care Telehealth Outreach Clinic, 299 Fairgrounds Rd Suite A, 406-363-3352 / Fax: 406-363-7522
Havre: VA Montana Health Care System, Havre CBOC, 130 13th St, Suite 1, 406-265-4304 / Fax: 406-265-4305
Libby: Libby Rural Health Care, 211 E. Second St, 406-293-8711 / Fax: 406-293-8735
Plentywood: Plentywood Primary Care Telehealth Outreach Clinic, Sheridan Memorial Hospital, 440 West Laurel Ave, 406-765-3718

Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Anaconda: Anaconda VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 118 E. 7th Street, Suite 2A, 406-496-3000 / Fax: 406-496-3030
Billings: Billings VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1775 Spring Creek Lane, 406-373-3500 / Fax: 406-373-3520
Bozeman: Bozeman VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 300 N. Wilson, Suite 703G, 406-582-5300 / 406-582-5399
Cut Bank: Cut Bank VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, #8 2nd Ave SE, 406-873-9047 / Fax: 406-873-2439
Glasgow: Glasgow VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 630 Second Ave South, Suite A, 406-228-4101 / Fax: 406-228-4104
Glendive: Glendive VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 2000 Montana Ave, 406-377-4755 / Fax: 406-377-4757
Great Falls: Great Falls VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1417 9th St South, Suite 200 and 300, 406-791-3200 / Fax: 406-791-3230
Kalispell: Kalispell VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 31 Three Mile Dr, Suite 102, 406-758-2700 / Fax: 406-758-2750
Lewistown: Lewistown VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 629 NE Main, Suite 1, 406-535-4790 / Fax: 406-535-4793
Miles City: Miles City VA Community Based Outreach Clinic/Nursing Home, 210 S. Winchester, 406-874-5600 / Fax: 406-874-5696
Missoula: Missoula VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 2687 Palmer St, Suite C, 406-493-3700 / Fax: 406-493-3772

Vet Center
Billings: Billings Vet Center, 2795 Enterprise Ave, Suite 1, 406-657-6071 / Fax: 406-657-6603
Great Falls: Great Falls Vet Center, 615 2nd Ave North, 406-452-9048 / Fax: 406-452-9053
Kalispell: Kalispell Vet Center, 690 North Meridian Rd, Suite 101, 406-257-7308 / Fax: 406-257-7312
Missoula: Missoula Vet Center, 500 N. Higgins Ave, Suite 202, 406-721-4918 / Fax: 406-329-3006

Veterans Benefits Administration
Regional Office
Fort Harrison: Fort Harrison Regional Office, 3633 Veterans Dr, 800-827-1000

Intake Site
Fort Harrison: Malmstrom Air Force Base, VA Regional Office, 3633 Veterans Dr

Learn more


Resources

http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/index.shtml

http://montanadma.org/

http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/state.asp?State=MT&dnum=ALL

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

https://doj.mt.gov/driving/license-plates/#militaryplates

https://doj.mt.gov/driving/plate-designs-and-fees/military/

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

Document Review Date: 10 October 2013