State / Territory Benefits - South Carolina
Unemployment Compensation Benefits
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits
Health and Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
VA Medical Facilities
Summary: The State of South Carolina offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Income Tax Exemption on Retirement Pay, Property Tax Exemptions, State Employment Preferences, Education and Tuition Assistance, Vehicle Tags, as well as Hunting and Fishing license privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status. Section 25-11-10 of the SC Code provides that the Office of Veterans' Affairs shall assist all ex-service personnel, regardless of wars in which their service may have been rendered, in filing, presenting and prosecuting to final determination all claims which they have for money compensation, hospitalization, training and insurance benefits under the terms of federal legislation. These services are extended to eligible dependents, including parents, Widows, Children and orphans of ex-service personnel.
State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility
State Tax Advantage: Pay for required National Guard drill service is exempt from state tax.
Eligibility: South Carolina Air and Army National Guard Service member.
Retired Military Pay: Retirees with 20 or more years of active duty can deduct up to $3,000 annually until age 65 and up to $10,000 per year after age 65. This deduction extends to the surviving Spouse. Pension or retirement income received for time served in the National Guard or Reserve components is not taxable. 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.
Income Tax Exemption on Retirement Pay: Any person retired from the uniformed services or their surviving Spouse shall be allowed an exemption from the South Carolina State Income Tax of $3,000 until age 65. At age 65, $10,000 of retirement pay is exempt. This deduction extends to the surviving Spouse. Pension or retirement income received for time served in the National Guard or Reserve components is not taxable. Survivor benefits are taxed following federal tax rules.
Eligibility: Any person retired from the U.S. Armed Forces or surviving Spouse.
VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: VA benefits are not taxable because they generally are for disabilities and are 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.
Property Tax Homestead Exemption: The Homestead Exemption is a complete exemption of taxes on the first $50,000 in Fair Market Value of your Legal Residence for homeowners over age 65, totally and permanently disabled, or legally blind. The Homestead Exemption credit continues to completely exempt the value of $50,000 for all purposes except for school operating purposes.
Eligibility: Veterans who have been declared permanently and totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other state or federal agencies, This also applies to persons over age 65. The surviving Spouse of a qualified or potentially qualified Homestead recipient may receive the benefit as a surviving Spouse as long as they remain unmarried.
Property Tax Exemption: Provides that the dwelling house in which a Veteran resides may be tax exempt. The tax exemption may be transferred when purchasing another dwelling.
Eligibility: Veterans who have been rated as permanently and totally disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Property lot is not to exceed one acre of land. The surviving Spouse is also entitled to the exemption from property taxes if the Spouse remains unmarried, resides in the dwelling and acquires the ownership in the property in fee or for life.
South Carolina National Guard College Assistance Program will pay grants up to $4,500 per academic year towards a student's cost of attendance at state public and independent schools with a cap of $18,000 per Service member. SCNG College Assistance Program Application
Eligibility: Army and Air National Guard Service members. Available for first undergraduate degrees only. Only those identified as critical need and in good standing are eligible.
Education Assistance (Free Tuition for Certain Veteran's Children): Provides for free tuition to the Children of certain war Veterans attending South Carolina state supported colleges and universities as well as state supported post high school technical education institutions. Application
Eligibility: Certain residency requirements apply. For questions or to apply contact (803) 647-2434.
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:
Wanda Davis, Ombudsman, Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
Address: 1429 Senate St, Columbia, SC 29201
Employment Assistance: State employees receive 15 days of military leave for training and 30 days military leave for a declared emergency.
Eligibility: South Carolina Air and Army National Guard members and Army Reserve members.
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:
- 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
- Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
- 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976.
- 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:
- Have a service connected disability, OR
- Received a Purple Heart.
Veteran Reemployment Rights: The Federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), enacted in October 1994, provides reemployment protection and other benefits for Veterans and employees who perform military service. It clarifies the rights and responsibilities of National Guard and Reserve members, as well as their civilian employers. USERRA was significantly updated in 1996 and 1998 and applies almost universally to all employers, regardless of the size of their business.
Credit of State Retirement for Military Service: A person leaving employment with the State for military duty may continue with the State's Retirement Program if he/she continues to make payments based on the salary he/she was receiving when employed by the State. An employee of the State with two (2) or more years of credited service with the South Carolina Retirement System may also purchase additional credit, up to six years, for military service towards his/her State retirement. Contact State Retirement Systems at 1-800-868-9002 / 803-737-6800 for a cost analysis.
Unemployment Insurance: South Carolina's Department of Employment and Workforce administers the Unemployment Insurance (UI), providing temporary assistance and partial wage replacement to unemployed South Carolina workers. Unemployment Compensation (UC) is money paid to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The program, funded by employer paid taxes, aids in maintaining the economic stability within a community by safeguarding the income and purchasing power of the unemployed worker.
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims process is made up of three steps. Before you file a claim, make sure you understand each step so you can decide which method of filing works best for you. Please note that the below information is a general guideline; the ultimate outcome of your claim is subject to your specific situation.
Filing from out-of-state? Click here.
If you need assistance applying for benefits, claims representatives are available through Telclaim at 1.866.831.1724 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
You must submit an initial claim in order for DEW to determine if your circumstances meet the eligibility requirements of the UI program. Filing a claim is the only way for eligibility to be determined.
Initial claims are filed online through the MyBenefits portal. If you don't have computer access, you can apply online using a computer at one of the SC Works centers. Learn more about using the MyBenefits portal here.
Filing your claim will go faster if you have the following important information handy:
- Your Social Security number
- Your work history for the past 18 months including:
- Employers' business names
- Employers' addresses
- Employers' phone numbers
- Your salary for each employer
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, your alien registration number and documentation.
- If you served in the military in the past 18 months, DD-214 Form (Member 4 copy).
- If you are a federal civilian employee, SF-50 or SF-8 Form.
When applying for benefits, you will choose to receive benefit payments via debit card or direct deposit. For more information, please visit our payment page. Please note that you are required to pay taxes on UI benefits.
You should also make sure to download the Claimant Handbook and read it thoroughly.
When you have successfully submitted your application for UI benefits, you will receive a confirmation number and next-step instructions. If you do not receive a confirmation number, your application has not been submitted.
Once you have submitted your application, DEW will review your claim and determine if you qualify for benefits.
It takes several weeks for DEW to issue a determination on your eligibility for UI benefits. If you are deemed eligible, please note that you will not be paid for the first week of eligibility in each benefit year; this is considered a waiting week.
Upon establishing proof of eligibility to entitlement for Veteran or special motor vehicle license plates, the S.C. Department of Public Safety may issue the following special motor vehicle license plates:
Disabled Veteran License Plate: Two plates may be issued per applicant and a surviving Spouse may maintain the license plate until remarried. The plate is free of charge and provides for an exemption of municipal parking meter fees.
Eligibility: Veteran must submit a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that applicant is a war time disabled Veteran who: 1) is entitled to compensation for the loss of use of one or both legs or arms, or 2) has a permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a degree as to constitute virtual blindness and is entitled to a special monthly statutory award by reason thereof, or 3) is a South Carolina Veteran classified as totally and permanently disabled due to service-connected disabilities as determined from the medical records on file with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Disabled Veteran Motorcycle Plate: This is a free and permanent license plate. Limit two plates per applicant either two vehicle plates, two motorcycle plates or one of each. The applicant cannot have four plates.
Eligibility: Veteran must submit a statement from the County Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that s/he is a war time disabled Veteran who: a) is entitled to compensation for the loss of use of one or both legs or arms, or b) has a permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a degree as to constitute virtual blindness and is entitled to a special monthly statutory award by reason thereof, or c) is a SC Veteran classified as totally and permanently disabled due to service-connected disabilities as determined from the medical records on file with the U.S. or county Department of Veteran Affairs.
Gold Star Family Plate: There is no fee for this plate. Each qualifying Family member may receive, for vehicles registered in their name, a maximum of two plates.
Eligibility: Available to Family members of service personnel killed in action or while in service. To apply for the plate you must present one of the following documents: DD-2064 DoD Certificate of Death (Overseas) or a DD-1300 DoD Report of Casualty.
Medal of Honor: Two plates may be issued per applicant. This plate is free of charge and provides for an exemption of municipal parking meter fees.
Eligibility: Veteran must present a letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that he/she is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
National Guard: Only three plates may be issued per applicant. The fee for this plate is the regular registration fee.
Eligibility: The National Guard plate is available to members of the Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Retired National Guard or State National Guard. When applying for this plate, DMV will provide a label, which should be placed in top blue area of the plate that reflects guard status. Applicant must present a military I.D. that reflects either current or retired status.
Pearl Harbor Survivor: The fee is a regular registration fee plus an additional fee of $15.00. All applications for Pearl Harbor survivor license plates must be verified by the South Carolina State Chairman of Pearl Harbor Survivors. Applicants for or holders of Purple Heart plates may also receive a handicapped decal that can be affixed to the Purple Heart plate. In order to qualify for the handicapped decal applicants must submit Form DMVB-16 Disabled Placards & Tags Application, with a physician certifying the handicap.
Eligibility: The Pearl Harbor plate is available to residents who 1) were a member of the United States Armed Forces on December 7, 1941; 2) were on station on December 7, 1941, during the hours of 7:55 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., Hawaii time at Pearl Harbor, the Island of Oahu, or offshore at a distance not exceeding three miles; and 3) received an honorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces.
Korean War Veteran Plate: The cost is $20.00 every two years in addition to the regular registration fees. This plate is available by mail only to SC residents who served on active duty during the Korean War.
Eligibility: Applicants must present a form DD-214 or other official documentation certifying active duty service in Korea during the time period of June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1954, or provide certification of receiving the Korean War Service Medal along with a completed Application for Military License Plate (MV-37).
Prisoner of War: Only two plates may be issued per applicant. This plate is free of charge.
Eligibility: Applicants require a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that he/she is a prisoner of war in WW2, Korean Conflict or Vietnam Conflict.
Purple Heart: Only two plates may be issued per applicant at no cost. A third plate may be obtained for a $30.00 special plate fee plus the regular registration fee. Available by mail only.
Eligibility: Applicants must submit Form DD-214, Purple Heart Citation or letter from the Regional Veterans Administration certifying that the applicant is a recipient of the Purple Heart.
Purple Heart Disabled Plate: Available to SC residents who are Purple Heart recipients and who are ALSO certified as permanently handicapped by their physicians. Applicants are limited to two Purple Heart plates at NO COST. A third plate may be purchased for $30.00 plus the regular registration fee. Available by mail only.
Eligibility: The applicant must complete DMV Form MV-37 Application for Military License Plate and must submit a Form DD-214, Purple Heart Citation or a letter from the U.S., Regional or County Veterans Administration certifying that he or she is a recipient of the Purple Heart. To obtain this plate, applicants must also be certified permanently handicapped by a licensed physician on DMV form RG-007.
Purple Heart Motorcycle Plate: Limit two plates per applicant. A third plate may be purchased for $30.00 plus the regular registration fee. Available by mail only. The plate can be transferred to another motorcycle owned by the owner, provided that the owner makes application to DMV for the transfer. There is no registration fee for this plate.
Eligibility: The applicant is required to submit a Form DD-214, Purple Heart Citation or a letter from the Regional Veterans Administration certifying that s/he is a recipient of the Purple Heart.
Silver Star Plate: The cost for the plate is the regular registration fee. This plate is available by mail only.
Eligibility: Applicants must present a form DD-214 or other official documentation certifying that s/he has been awarded the Silver Star Service Medal along with a completed Application for Military License Plate (MV-37).
Bronze Star Plate: The cost for the plate is the regular registration fee. This plate is available by mail only.
Eligibility: Applicants must present a form DD-214 or other official documentation certifying that she/he has been awarded the Bronze Star Service Medal along with a completed Application for Military License Plate (MV-37).
U.S. Armed Forces Retired: Only two plates may be issued per applicant. The fee is $30.00 every two years plus the registration fee.
Eligibility: Applicant must provide a Form DD-214, Retirement Order, copy of military I.D. reflecting retired status or other verification that applicant is a retired member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
U.S. Military Reserve: The fee for the plate is $30.00 every two years plus the registration fee.
Eligibility: The Commanding Officer must certify on the application that he/she is an active member and is currently serving in the U.S. Military Reserve.
Veteran License plate: is available to SC residents who have served in the United States Armed Forces active or reserved components. This plate is available for both passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Only two plates within the Veteran plate class to include Veteran, Veteran Motorcycle and Veteran Wheelchair may be issued to vehicles registered in the name of the Veteran. The cost for this plate is the regular registration fee. No additional fees are required.
Eligibility: Applicant must present their DD-214, indicating that you were honorably discharged, along with a completed Application for Military License Plate (MV-37).
Veteran Wheelchair License plate: is available to SC residents who have served in the United States Armed Forces active or reserved components and are ALSO certified as permanently handicapped by their physicians.
This plate is available for both passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Only two plates within the Veteran plate class to include; Veteran, Veteran Motorcycle and Veteran Wheelchair may be issued to vehicles registered in the name of the Veteran. The cost for this plate is $10.00 plus the regular registration fee.
Eligibility: Applicant must present their DD-214, indicating that you were honorably discharged, along with a completed Application for Military License Plate (MV-37) AND Disabled Placard and License Plate Application with an attached prescription order.
Vietnam Veteran: The fee is $20.00 every two years plus the registration fee.
Eligibility: Applicant must present a form DD-214 or documentation certifying that he/she was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal or that he/she served on active duty in Vietnam. The plate is only available to Vietnam War Veterans who served on active duty during the period of February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975.
World War II Veteran: The World War II special license plate is available to all World War II Veterans and their Spouses for private motor vehicles registered in their name. The regular registration fee is the only required fee for this plate.
Eligibility: Applicant must provide official documentation of their World War II service
Parking Fee Exemption: The exemption of municipal parking meter fees is allowed when the Veteran's vehicle bears a Disabled Veteran (" V" tag), Purple Heart or Medal of Honor license plate.
Medical Benefits: National Guard members on State Active Duty receive worker's compensation.
Eligibility: South Carolina Air and Army National Guard members.
Injury/Death Benefits: National Guard members on State Active Duty receive worker's compensation.
Eligibility: South Carolina Air and Army National Guard members.
Reduced Rates for State Parks: Provides that any South Carolina resident who is a permanently and totally disabled Veteran may enter any state park at a reduced rate upon presentation of supporting disability documentation. The Veteran may also apply for a reduced fee "Palmetto Passport." Certain services may require an additional fee.
Eligibility: Veterans with 100% service connected disability rating who are South Carolina residents. For more information dial (803) 734-0156. You may also find information about SC State Parks at http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/
Hunting and Fishing Privileges: Provides for free hunting/fishing license to Veterans who are totally disabled.
Eligibility: Veterans with 100% service connected disability rating. License must be applied for directly from SC Department of Natural Resources showing proof of disability. SCDNR phone 803-734-3838. You may also find information at the SC Department of Natural Resources http://www.dnr.sc.gov/
Presentation of The State Flag to Families of Deceased Members of the South Carolina National Guard: Provides that the State Adjutant General's Office shall present to the Family of each deceased member of the South Carolina National Guard a flag of the State of South Carolina, appropriate for use as a burial flag, upon application of a member of the Family of the deceased. For more information, call 803-734-0200
South Carolina Military Family Relief Fund (SCMFRF): Provides monetary grants to Families of South Carolina National Guard members and South Carolina residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve components who were called to active duty as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Recording of Discharges: A certified copy of the recorded discharge may be obtained upon request. Any person desiring a certified copy of any discharge or certificate of lost discharge, may apply to the County Clerk of Court or the County Veterans Affairs Officer in which the discharge or certificate of lost discharge is registered and shall be furnished a certified copy. Fees for furnishing a certified copy of discharge or DD Form 214 may be established by each County, but may not exceed fifty cents.
Marriage, Birth, Death and Divorce Verification: Provides for the verification of marriage, birth, death, and divorce records without cost when such is required by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the South Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs, the County Veterans Affairs Offices, or any out of state Veterans Affairs entities. For more information, call 803-734-0200
State Veterans Nursing Homes: There are three facilities in South Carolina: the E. Roy Stone Jr., Pavilion, which is located in Columbia, the Richard Michael Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson, and the Veterans Victory House in Walterboro. Contact Information: C. M. Tucker, Jr. Nursing Care Center Stone Pavilion - Columbia, SC / (803) 737-5301; Richard M. Campbell Home - Anderson, SC / (864) 261-6734; Veterans Victory House - Walterboro, SC / (843) 538-3000. Additional information can be found on the web at: http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/dir_facilities.htm#CMT
Eligibility: Admission to these facilities is limited to Veterans who have been separated from the U.S. Armed Forces under honorable conditions and qualify as South Carolina residents who are in need of skilled or intermediate nursing home care. To apply for admission, contact the Department of Mental Health at (803) 737-5441 or 737-5282.
Burial Benefits: Veterans and armed forces members who die on active duty are eligible for burial in one of VA's 114 national cemeteries. Burial benefits include the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave and perpetual care. The South Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, M.J. "Dolly" Cooper Veterans Cemetery, is located in Anderson, SC.
Eligibility: To be eligible, a Veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under honorable conditions and have completed the required period of service, though other circumstances may also be qualifying. The Veteran must have been a resident of South Carolina either when the Veteran entered the Armed Forces (Home of Record); or when the Veteran died; or for five years. To determine a copy of the Service member's DD-214 or Military Discharge showing character of discharge and dates of active service, or the retirement letter from the Reserves or National Guard. VA may also provide headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of Veterans or for memorial plots, burial flags to drape the casket of a Veteran and Presidential Memorial Certificates. Eligible Veterans may receive reimbursement for some burial expenses.
Veterans Health Administration
VA Medical Center
Charleston: Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, 109 Bee St, 843-577-5011 / 888-878-6884
Columbia: Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center, 6439 Garners Ferry Rd, 803-776-4000
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Aiken: Aiken Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 951 Millbrook Ave, 803-643-9016
Anderson: Anderson County Clinic, 1702 E. Greenville St, 864-224-5450 / Fax: 864-224-6394
Beaufort: Beaufort Clinic, 1 Pinckney Blvd, 843-770-0444 / Fax: 843-770-0808
Florence: Florence CBOC, 1822 Sally Hill Farms Rd, 843-292-8383
Goose Creek: Goose Creek CBOC, 2418 NNPTC Circle, 843-577-5011
Greenville: Greenville Clinic, 41 Park Creek Dr, 864-299-1600
Myrtle Beach: Myrtle Beach CBOC, 3381 Phillis Blvd, 843-477-0177
Orangeburg: Orangeburg County Clinic, 1767 Villagepark Dr, 803-533-1335 / Fax: 864-422-2604
Rock Hill: Rock Hill Clinic, 205 Piedmont Blvd, 803-366-4848 / Fax: 864-422-2604
Spartanburg: Spartanburg CBOC, 279 North Grove Medical Park Dr, 864-582-7025
Sumter: Sumter County Clinic, 407 North Salem Ave, 803-938-9901 / Fax: 864-422-2604
Vet Center - 877-927-8387
Columbia: Columbia Vet Center, 1710 Richland St, Suite A, 803-765-9944 / Fax: 803-799-6267
Greenville: Greenville, SC Vet Center, 3 Caledon Court, Suite B, 864-271-2711 / Fax: 864-370-3655
Myrtle Beach: Horry County Vet Center, 2024 Corporate Centre Dr, Suite 103, 843-465-0713
N. Charleston: Charleston Vet Center, 5603-A Rivers Ave, 843-789-7000 / Fax: 843-566-0232
Military Installations in South Carolina
Joint Base Charleston
Shaw Air Force Base
United States Army Reserve (USAR)
81st Regional Support Command
Document Review Date: 26 February 2014