State / Territory Benefits - South Dakota
Motor Vehicles Division
Health Insurance Benefits
Parks & Recreation Benefits
Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities
Summary: South Dakota offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Property Tax Exemption for Veterans and their widow or widower, Compensation for State Active Duty, South Dakota Tuition for Veterans, Hunting and Fishing Cards for Disabled Veterans and Free Admission and Reduced Camping Fees for Veterans. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status.
State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility
State Tax Advantage: Retirement Income is not taxed.
Personal Income Taxes: No state personal income tax.
Property Tax Exemption for Paraplegic Veterans and Their Widow or Widower: Exempts the property from all property taxes. Property is the house, garage and the lot upon which it sits or one acre, whichever is less
Eligibility: To be eligible:
- The property must be owned by a paraplegic Veteran, a Veteran with loss or loss of use of both lower extremities, or the un-remarried Widow/Widower of such Veteran.
- The property must be specifically designed for wheelchair use within the structure.
Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans: Exempts up to $100,000 of the assessed value for qualifying property. (The property subject to this exemption is the same property eligible for the owner-occupied classification.)
Eligibility: To be eligible:
- The property must be owned and occupied by a disabled Veteran or an un-remarried surviving Spouse.
- The Veteran must be rated as permanently and 100% disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.
To apply: Application are available at the county courthouse or from the Property Tax Division.
Sales and Property Tax Refund for Senior & Disabled Citizens: Offers eligible senior citizens and disabled individuals a once-a-year refund of sales OR property taxes.
Eligibility: To be eligible the senior or disabled citizen must be at least 66 years old on or before Jan 1 of the current year OR must be a Veteran disabled with a rating of 60% or higher. Additionally, the individual must have been a South Dakota resident for the entire previous year and meet the annual income requirements. For 2013 the income limit for a single-member household is $11,670; for a multiple member household the limit is $15,730.
Applications are accepted from May 1 to July 1.
Free Tuition for Veterans: Certain Veterans are eligible to take undergraduate courses at a state supported university without payment of tuition provided they are not eligible for educational payments under the GI Bill or any other federal educational program.
Eligibility: To qualify the Veteran must:
- have been discharged under Honorable conditions
- must be a current resident of South Dakota and qualify for in-state tuition, and
- meet one of the following:
- served on active duty between August 2,1990 and date to be determined, OR
- received an Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, or other United States campaign, expeditionary, or service medal awarded for participation in combat operations against hostile forces outside the boundaries of the United States, OR
- has a Service connected disability rated 10% or more, disabling.
Veterans have twenty (20) years from the ending date of the particular conflict during which they served and earned eligibility for this program, or six years following discharge, whichever, date is later, to use the free tuition program. Veterans who qualify because of a service connected disability have twenty (20) years from the date they were originally rated by the VA as 10%, or more, disabled.
Veterans may receive one month of free tuition for each month of 'qualifying service' with a minimum of one, up to a maximum of four academic years. Qualifying service is defined as: The amount of time served on active duty between the beginning and ending dates of the particular period of conflict or hostilities during which the Veteran earned eligibility for this program. (SDCL) 13-55-2 to 13-55-5
Free Tuition for Children of Veterans Who Die During Service: The Child of a Veteran who suffered death, for any cause, while on active duty may be eligible for free tuition at a state supported school or any postsecondary technical institute. The deceased Veteran must have been a bona-fide resident of South Dakota for at least six months immediately preceding entry into active service.
The Application for Free Tuition is available at the schools' financial aids, Veterans representative or registrars offices or, they can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Eligibility: The Child must be under the age of twenty-five and a resident of South Dakota. (SDCL) 13-55-6 to 13-55-9
Free Tuition for Dependents of POW's and MIA's: The Spouse or Child of a Veteran who is a prisoner of war or who is listed as missing in action, may be entitled to free tuition at a state supported school or vocational school, provided they are not eligible for equal or greater federal benefits. The Veteran must have been a bona-fide resident of South Dakota at the time of entry into active service.
The Application for Free Tuition is available at the schools' financial aids, Veterans representative or registrars offices or, they can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Eligibility: The Child or Spouse must be a resident of South Dakota and not eligible for equal or greater federal benefits. (SDCL) 13-55-9.1 to 13-55-9.6
Free tuition for Child or Spouse of National Guard Members Disabled or Deceased in the Line of Duty: Dependents of a SD National Guard member who dies or becomes permanently disabled while on state or federal active duty may be entitled to free tuition for any course or courses of study in any state supported educational institution.
Eligibility: To be eligible:
- The Child must be less than twenty-five years of age and a current resident of South Dakota.\Any person who is a resident of this state whose Spouse has died or has sustained a total disability, permanent in nature, resulting from duty as a member of the South Dakota National Guard, while on state or federal active duty or any authorized training duty, is entitled to tuition without cost and is entitled to attend any course or courses of study in any state educational institution under the control and management of the Board of Regents. (SDCL) 13-55-10
Reduced Tuition for South Dakota National Guard Members: National Guard members, who meet the requirements for admission, are eligible for a fifty percent (50%) reduction in undergraduate tuition charges at any state supported school for up to 128 credits and graduate programs up to 32 credits., approved by the state Board of Education, at any state vocational school upon payment of fifty percent (50%) of the tuition charges. The receipt of federal educational benefits does not affect eligibility for this program.
Eligibility: To qualify the National Guard member must:
- Be a resident of this state and a member of the South Dakota Army or Air Guard throughout each semester or vocational program for which he or she applies for benefits
- Have completed required active duty for training
- Attend 90% of drills and training periods and maintain a satisfactory academic grade level
- Provide proper notice to the institution at time of registration for the term in which benefits are sought. (SDCL) 33-6-5 to 33-6-8
Honorary High School Diploma: SDCL 33A-2-34 provides for honorary high school diplomas for Veterans who served during certain wartime periods. As stated in the law, the school district selected by the veteran shall award the diploma to the Veteran.
Eligibility: Eligible veterans include anyone who served on active duty at any time during the periods: December 7, 1941 to September 2, 1945; June 25, 1950 to July 31, 1953; or February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975.
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:
DR. Loren Scheer, Commissioner
Address: 400 Patriot Dr, Box Elder, SD 57719
Employment Assistance: State employee receives 15 days military leave per year for Federal or State active duty and can apply their active duty points toward their state retirement.
Eligibility: National Guard or reserve Service member who is a state employee on orders for Training. (SDCL) 3-6-22
Veterans Hiring Preferences 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-points Hiring Preference:
- 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.
10-points Hiring Preference: (added to the passing score or interview of):
- Have a service connected disability, OR
- Received a Purple Heart.
Unemployment Insurance: South Dakota's Department of Labor and Regulation administers the Unemployment Insurance (UI), providing temporary financial assistance for people who have lost their jobs, through no fault of their own, until they find other employment. South Dakota's unemployment insurance program is financed by employers through payroll taxes; workers do not contribute to this plan.
To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must:
- File an application for benefits.
- Be totally or partially unemployed.
- Have worked at a job where your employer paid unemployment insurance tax on your wages.
- Lost your last job through no fault of your own.
- Earned a certain amount of wages in the last 15 to 18 months.
- Be registered with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation through SDWorks or your designated state workforce agency, unless exempted.
- Be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work by making personal contact with employers.
- Be willing to accept suitable work when offered and apply for suitable work when directed to do so by a local South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation office. You are being directed to apply for suitable work when referred by your local South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation office. If you refuse a referral or fail to apply for a job when referred, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits.
You need to file a claim for unemployment benefits within the first week that you become totally or partially unemployed. A delay may cost you benefits. You have two options for filing a claim. No matter which option you choose, you will need some important information available before filing.
- File online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Log in to file a claim online
- Contact the Call Center at 605.626.3179 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. (CST). See below
Tips for Using the Call Center.
Disabled Veteran Plate: Before a person can receive a disabled Veteran plate, he or she must be an owner of a motor vehicle or motorcycle and a resident Veteran who is either::
- A recipient of a Veterans' Administration K Award; or
- A recipient of an automobile under Public Law 187; or
- A recipient of a statutory benefit for loss or loss of use of one or more extremities; or
- A recipient of a Veteran's allotment for total disability which is a service connected injury.
In addition, the injury must have been incurred in active duty during a time of war or while participating in a military mission involving armed conflict.
Disabled Veteran plates are available for passenger vehicles and motorcycles. A $10.00 plate fee will be charged annually for the Disabled Veteran plate, no registration fee is charged. It will be necessary to complete a South Dakota Military License Plate Application.
Prisoner of War (POW) Plate: For resident Veterans who were held as a prisoner of war while serving on active duty and who received an honorable discharge. A $10.00 plate fee will be charged annually for the POW plate, no registration fee is charged. A $5 mailing fee is also assessed. It will be necessary to complete a Application for Special License Plates (MV-101).
Pearl Harbor Survivor Plate: Any resident of South Dakota who was serving in the United States Armed Forces and survived the attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and who received an honorable discharge may apply to the Secretary of Revenue and Regulation for special motor vehicle license plates. A $10.00 plate fee will be charged annually for the Pearl Harbor plate, no registration fee is charged. A $5 mailing fee is also assessed. It will be necessary to complete an Application for Special License Plates (MV-101).
Purple Heart Plate: Any resident Veteran owner of a motor vehicle or motorcycle who has received the Purple Heart medal may apply to the Secretary of Revenue and Regulation for special motor vehicle license plates. The applicant must submit a copy of DD Form 214, discharge papers, verifying eligibility. A $10.00 plate fee will be charged annually for the Purple Heart plate, no registration fee is charged. A $5 mailing fee is also assessed. It will be necessary to complete an Application for Special License Plates (MV-4000).
Medal of Honor Plate: Any resident Veteran owner of a motor vehicle who has received the Medal of Honor may apply to the Secretary of Revenue and Regulation for special license plates. If the applicant no longer qualifies for the plates or dies, the special plates may not be displayed on the vehicle beyond the expiration of the plates or renewal stickers. There is no fee charged for this plate. A $5 mailing fee is also assessed. It will be necessary to complete an Application for Special License Plates (MV-101).
Gold Star Plate: A resident owner of a motor vehicle who is a Parent, a Spouse, a sibling, or a Child of a member of the US Armed Forces who died while in service to this country or who died as a result of the service. If applicant dies, the plates may be retained by the plate owner's Family, but may not be displayed on the vehicle beyond the expiration date of the plates or stickers. A $10.00 special plate fee will be charged for the initial plate plus the annual registration fee assessed. A $5 mailing fee is also assessed. Applicant must complete a South Dakota Special License Plate Application form (MV-101 and submit for verification purposes a copy of the Department of Defense Report of Casualty (DD Form 1300) or death notice, or verification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that the service member's death was service-related.
Veterans Plate: Any resident Veteran owner of a motor vehicle, who has a valid SD driver's license and who signs an affidavit attesting that he/she is an honorably discharged Veteran having served on active duty in the armed forces of the U.S.. Applicants will choose the emblem and the indicator below the emblem. If no indicator is chosen the branch of service will be printed below the emblem. Veterans will pay the registration fee and an initial $10.00 special plate fee. Veteran must complete an South Dakota Application for Veteran and Active Duty Military Member License Plates and Affidavit.
National Guard Plate: A resident owner of a motor vehicle who is a regularly enlisted or commissioned member of the National Guard, other than an inactive member, may receive National Guard license plates. A retired member of the South Dakota National Guard, with twenty (20) years or more of creditable service is entitled to make application for National Guard plates. These plates are subject to the same limitations and conditions as are applicable to active members. Any member of the National Guard who is discharged, separated, or furloughed to a reserve or inactive status shall surrender the National Guard plates to the Division of Motor Vehicles.. The Fee for an initial National Guard plate is $10.00, in addition to the registration fee. There is no additional fee for the renewal of the special plate, but the registration fee is assessed. A $5 mailing fee is also assessed. t will be necessary to complete an Application for Special License Plates (MV-101).
Active Duty Military Plate: Distinctive plate indicating the current Service member's branch of service (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard). Service members will pay the regular plate fee and an initial $10.00 special plate fee. Complete an South Dakota Application for Veteran and Active Duty Military Member License Plates and Affidavit.
Veteran Designation on Driver License or ID Card: Veterans who have been honorably discharged from the military have the option of adding the word "Veteran" to the front of their South Dakota driver license or identification card. Veterans who wish to add the designation to their driver license or non-driver ID card may visit any South Dakota driver license office. They will need to present their DD-214, which shows their honorable discharge status from active duty, or present a certificate signed by a county or tribal Veterans service officer verifying their status. Effective July 1, 2014, an honorably discharged Veteran may show a DD Form 2 (Retired) or DD Form 2A (Reserve Retired) to obtain the Veteran designator on their South Dakota driver license or identification card. They will also need to provide the other documents required of any applicant and pay the appropriate duplicate or renewal fee.
Medical Benefits: Same as active duty
Eligibility: National Guard Service member injury or illness incurred in line-of-duty. (SDCL) 33-7-1 to 33-7-7
Workers Compensation: Workers Compensation equivalent to State employees.
Eligibility: National Guard Service member Injury occurs while serving on State Active Duty.
Injury/Death Benefits: Injury same as active duty, death in accordance with VA schedule.
Eligibility: National Guard Service member Injury/Death occurs while serving on State Active Duty. (SDCL) 33-7-7
Hunting and Fishing Cards for Disabled Veterans: For a $10 fee, eligible Veterans may receive a hunting and fishing card which is valid for four years. This card is the equivalent of the resident fishing and small game license.
Eligibility: The Veteran must be rated as totally disabled from service-connected injuries or, be in receipt of the VA "K" award or, have been held as a Prisoner of War or, be in receipt of Social Security benefits because of a total disability. Application forms are available from the Game, Fish and Parks Regional Office. The application, along with verification of eligibility, is submitted to Game, Fish and Parks, 412 West Missouri, Pierre, SD 57501. (SDCL) 41-6-10.2
Special Provisions for Handicapped Hunters: Veterans who are missing an upper limb, or are physically incapable of using an upper limb or who are confined to a wheelchair may use a crossbow to take game birds and animals once they have obtained a disabled hunter permit. A legally blind or quadriplegic, legally licensed individual who possesses a disabled hunter permit and who is physically present and participating in the hunt may claim game birds and animals taken by a designated hunter in accordance with the license or licenses possessed by the handicapped hunter.
Eligibility: Applications are obtained from the Game, Fish and Parks office in Pierre or from a game warden. (SDCL) 41-8-31
Free Admission and Reduced Camping Fees for Veterans: Certain resident Veterans may obtain free admission to any South Dakota state park and are eligible for a fifty percent discount on any camping fee or associated electrical fee. Veterans Disability Park Entrance Application
Eligibility: The Veteran must be totally disabled from service-connected disabilities or be in receipt of the VA " K" award or have been held as a Prisoner of War. Application forms may be obtained from the local park manager or through the Game, Fish and Parks office in Pierre. (SDCL) 41-17-13.4
Veterans Bonus: South Dakota is paying a bonus to members of the Armed Forces who were legal residents of the state for no less than six months immediately preceding their period of active duty and who served on active duty during one or more of the following periods.
- August 2, 1990 to March 3, 1991 - All active service counts for payment.
- March 4, 1991 to December 31, 1992 - Only service in a hostile area qualifying for the Southwest Asia Service Medal counts for payment.
- January 1, 1993 to September 10, 2001 - Only service in a hostile area qualifying for any United States campaign or service medal awarded for combat operations against hostile forces counts for payment.
- September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined - All active service counts for payment.
Applicants living outside of South Dakota may obtain an application by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your branch of the military and dates of service. If you do not have email you may request an application and instructions by writing SD Veterans Bonus, 425 E. Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501 or by calling 605-773-7251.
Applicants living in South Dakota may apply through the nearest County or Tribal Veterans Service Officer.
Free Certified Copies of Veterans Records: South Dakota counties may not charge for certified copies of birth, death, marriage, adoption, divorce, and guardianship or conservatorship papers.
Eligibility: When such records are required in support of a claim against any agency of the federal or state government by, or on behalf of a Service member or Veteran, or the Spouse, surviving Spouse or dependents of a Service member or Veteran. (SDCL) 34-25-54
Veterans Home: Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veterans Home located in Hot Springs has 53 beds for Nursing / Special Care and 102 beds for Independent Living.
Eligibility: Be a resident of South Dakota. Be an honorably discharged Veteran or the Spouse, Widow, or widower of such a Veteran. Be ambulatory and able to care for self and living area.
Burial Allowance for Veterans, Spouses, or Widows: A payment of up to $100 may be paid by the state to help defray the burial and funeral expenses of any honorably discharged Veteran or the Spouse, Widow or Widower of a Veteran when the estate, or immediate Family, of the deceased is lacking in funds to pay the expenses.
Eligibility: The Veteran must have been a citizen of the United States for one year preceding entrance into military service or one year preceding the death. This payment cannot be made to another unit of government. The surviving Spouse, or relatives, must furnish an affidavit that sufficient funds are not available for payment of the expenses. Affidavit and a copy of the funeral bill must be submitted to the Pierre office within one year from the date of the burial. (SDCL) 33A-5-2 and 33A-5-3
Headstone Setting Fee: The state will pay $100 towards the cost of setting a government headstone or marker at the grave of a Veteran.
Eligibility: The Veteran was a resident of this state for one year preceding entrance into the military service or one year preceding death. Application for Veterans Headstone Setting Fee must be submitted to the Pierre Office within one year from the date of setting of the headstone or marker. (SDCL) 33A-5-4
Military Installations and Veterans Affairs Facilities in South Dakota
No active duty Army installations are located in South Dakota.
Ellsworth Air Force Base:
Full service military installation providing DEERs enrollment and Military ID cards. Additional services include a Base Exchange, Commissary, Medical and Dental Facilities, Teen and Youth Activities and Employment Assistance.
Veterans Health Administration
VA Health Care System
Fort Meade: VA Black Hills Health Care System - Fort Meade Campus, 113 Comanche Rd, 605-347-2511 / 800-743-1070
Hot Springs: VA Black Hills Health Care System - Hot Springs Campus, 500 North 5th St, 605-745-2000 / 800-764-5370
Sioux Falls: Sioux Falls VA Health Care System, 2501 W. 22nd St, 605-336-3230
Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Aberdeen: Aberdeen VA Clinic, 2301 8th Ave NE, Suite 225, 605-229-3500 / Fax: 605-229-3505
Eagle Butte: Eagle Butte VA Clinic, Prairie Community Health, 8000 Highway 212, 605-964-8000 / Fax: 605-964-7999
Eagle Butte: Faith VA Clinic, Prairie Community Health, 8000 Highway 212, 605-967-2644
Eagle Butte: Isabel Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Prairie Community Health, 8000 Highway 212, 605-466-2120
McLaughlin: McLaughlin VA Clinic, Veterans Industries, Sales Barn Rd, P.O. Box 519, 605-347-2511 x7161
Mission: Mission CBOC, Horizon Health Care, Inc. 153 Main St, 605-856-2295 / Fax: 605-854-2755
Pierre: Pierre VA Clinic, Linn Medical Clinic, 1601 North Harrison, Suite 6, 605-945-1710 / Fax: 605-945-1741
Pine Ridge: Pine Ridge VA Clinic, Next to Dialysis Building across from IHS Hospital, 605-867-2393 x 4033
Rapid City: Rapid City VA Clinic, 3625 5th St, 605-718-1095
Wagner: Wagner CBOC, 400 West Hwy 46, 605-384-2340 / Fax: 605-384-2345
Watertown: Watertown CBOC, 917 - 29th St SE, 605-884-2420 / Fax: 605-884-2425
Winner: Avera Winner VA Clinic, 1436 East 10th St, 605-842-2443 / Fax: 605-842-1650
Vet Center - 877-927-8387
Martin: Pine Ridge Vet Center Outstation, P.O. Box 910 105 E. Hwy 18, 605-685-1300 / Fax: 605-685-1406
Rapid City: Rapid City Vet Center, 621 6th St, Suite 101, 605-348-0077 / Fax: 605-348-0878
Sioux Falls: Sioux Falls Vet Center, 3200 W 49th St, 605-330-4552 / Fax: 605-330-4554
Veterans Benefits Administration
Sioux Falls: Sioux Falls Regional Office, 2501 W 22nd St, 800-827-1000 / Fax: 605-333-5316
National Cemetery Administration
Hot Springs: VA Medical Center, 605-647-3830 / Fax: 605-720-7298
Sturgis: Black Hills National Cemetery, 20901 Pleasant Valley Dr, 605-347-3830 / Fax: 605-720-7298
Sturgis: Fort Meade National Cemetery, Old Stone Rd, 605-347-3830 / Fax: 605-720-7298
South Dakota Department Of Veterans Affairs
425 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Document Review Date: 30 July 2014