Iowa Military and Veterans Benefits

State Taxes
Education Benefits
Employment Benefits
Unemployment Compensation
Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
Iowa Military Resource Locator
Miscellaneous Benefits
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities
Resources

Summary of Iowa Military and Veterans Benefits: Iowa offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Veterans Employment Assistance, War Orphans Education Aid, Special Vehicle License Plates, as well as Hunting, Fishing license and State Park privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status.


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Iowa Military and Veterans State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

 
What are my Iowa Military and Veterans State Tax Benefits?

Iowa State Taxes on Military Pay: Members of the Armed Forces, Armed Forces military reserve and the national guard in an active duty status can exclude pay received from the federal government for military service performed, to the extent it was included in line 15, Gross Income.

Members who are employed full-time in the National Guard (as defined in Title 32 of the U.S. Code) are not considered in an active duty status, so their pay is not excluded from Iowa tax.

Learn more about Iowa State Taxes on Military Pay

Iowa Retired Military Pay Income Taxes: Military Retirement Benefits Exclusion from Iowa Income tax - enacted legislation (2014) exempts federal retirement pay received for military service and survivor benefits from state individual income tax. This exemption is in addition to the general $6,000 / $12,000 pension exclusion available for Iowa individual income tax for taxpayers 55 years of age or older.

For example, if a married individual age 65 receives $20,000 in military retirement pay and $25,000 in pension income from John Deere, that individual will be able to exclude $32,000 ($20,000 plus $12,000) of pension income on their Iowa income tax return.

Learn more about Iowa Retired Military Pay Income Taxes

Iowa State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay: Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Disabled Veteran with prostetic leg  You were entitled to receive a disability payment before September 25, 1975

  • You were a member of the military (active or reserves) or were under a binding written commitment to become a member on September 24, 1975

  • You receive disability payments for a combat-related injury. This is a personal injury or sickness that:

    • Resulted directly from armed conflict

    • Took place while you were engaged in extra-hazardous service

    • Took place under conditions simulating, including training exercises such as maneuvers, or

    • Was caused by an instrumentality of war

  • You would be entitled to receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if you filed an application for it (the exclusion under this condition equals the amount you would be entitled to from the VA)

Learn more about Iowa State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay

  Iowa State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity CompensationHonor Guard in VA cemetery (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

Learn more about Iowa State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Iowa State Tax Benefits: Enacted 2014 legislation exempts military survivor benefits from state individual income under 10 U.S.C. 1447. The exemption is available for both residents and nonresidents of Iowa.

Learn more about Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Iowa State Tax Benefits

Iowa Military Student Loan Income Tax Exemption: Military student loan repayments included in federal adjusted gross income are exempt from Iowa income tax if the following criteria are met. This exemption may be taken by persons in the:

  • Armed Forces

  • Armed Forces military reserve

  • National Guard

The individual must be on active duty at the time of the loan repayment.

Learn more about the Iowa Military Student Loan Income Tax Exemption

Forgiveness of Iowa State Income Tax for Deceased Service Members and those Missing and Presumed Dead: Iowa income tax is forgiven if:

  • the person's federal income tax was forgiven because

  • the deceased was killed in a combat zone, or

  • the taxpayer is missing in action and presumed dead, or

  • the deceased was killed outside the United States due to terrorist or military action while they were a military or civilian employee of the United States

Single Status: Iowa income tax is forgiven for the tax year in which the individual was killed or was missing and presumed dead and for the tax year prior to the year of death.

Married / Year of Death: If the deceased was married at the time of death, all tax is forgiven for the year of death if the filing status is joint or married filing separately on the combined return for that tax year.

Married / Prior Year: All tax is forgiven if the deceased was married at the time of death and a joint return or a married filing separate return was filed for the year prior to death. Please note that if the deceased had filed using the married filing separately on the combined return status, only the state income tax attributable to the deceased will be forgiven. Prior-year returns cannot be amended to change the filing status. (701 IAC 39.11)

Learn more about Forgiveness of Iowa State Income Tax for Deceased Service Members and those Missing and Presumed Dead

Iowa Military Property Tax Exemption: Reduces a Veteran's assessed home value for property by $1,852.
Who is eligible for Iowa Military Property Tax Exemption? Must have served on active duty during a period of war or for a minimum of 18 months during peacetime. The home must have been owned by 1 July of each claimed year.
Iowa Tax Form 54-146, Application for Military Exemption

Learn more about the Iowa Military Property Tax Exemption

Iowa Disabled Veteran's Homestead Tax Credit: The State of Iowa offers a 100% property tax credit to eligible Veterans and certain dependents.

This exemption is limited to a 1/2 acre where the home and the buildings, if any, are located when within a city limit. For properties located outside city limits the maximum size is 40 acres which includes the house and any buildings.
Who is eligible for the Iowa Disabled Veteran's Homestead Tax Credit? Veterans with 100% service-related disability status qualify for this credit. Veterans also qualify who have a permanent and total disability rating based on individual unemployability paid at the 100% disability rate. The Veteran must own and occupy the property as a homestead on July 1 of each year, declare residency in Iowa for income tax purposes and occupy the property for at least six months each year. Persons in the military or nursing homes who do not occupy the home are also eligible.

A Surviving Spouse of a disabled Veteran receiving DIC payments also qualifies. The Surviving Spouse as a beneficiary of the estate of a Veteran who received the credit may continue to receive the credit as long as the Spouse resides in the qualified homestead and does not remarry. Your claim must be filed on or before July 1. A current Benefits Paid letter and a DD214 must be included with your application.
Iowa Department of Revenue, Application for Disabled Veterans Homestead Tax credit
Iowa Department of Revenue, Disabled Veterans Homestead Tax Credit FAQ

Learn more about the Iowa Disabled Veteran's Homestead Tax Credit

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What are my Iowa Military and Veterans Education Benefits?

Iowa National Guard Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS) : The Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS) provides annual awards to Iowa National Guard members who attend eligible Iowa colleges and universities. Maximum individual awards cannot exceed the current average resident tuition rate at Iowa Regent Universities. The INGSS may be combined with other federally funded programs such as Federal Student Aid, Federal Tuition Assistance, and the GI Bill programs to assist in covering education costs.

The maximum award per SM for fall semester 2020 or spring semester 2021 will not exceed 100% of the regent’s resident tuition rate or 100% percent of the tuition rate at the institution attended by the SM, whichever is lower. The State Board of Regents has not met to set tuition and fees rates for Academic Year 2020-2021. At this time, maximum resident Regent tuition rate for fall 2020 and spring 2021 is estimated at $4,037/semester or $8,073/year.
Who is eligible for the Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS)? Service members must meet the following requirements

  • Iowa college student aid commission logo Iowa resident

  • Member of an Iowa Army or Air National Guard unit for each term the member receives benefits

  • Satisfactorily complete required Guard training

  • Maintain satisfactory performance of Guard duty

  • Pursue a certificate or undergraduate degree at an eligible Iowa college or university (students with BA degrees are not eligible to participate even if pursuing a second BA degree) and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

  • Note: A qualified individual cannot receive an INGSS award for more than 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent (effective July 1, 2015) of undergraduate study.

Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS), Online Application Page
Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS), Flyer
Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS), Adjutant General Memo
Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS), National Guard Webpage

Learn more about the Iowa National Service Scholarship (INGSS)

Iowa War Orphans Tuition Assistance: The Iowa War Orphans Education Aid program is for Children of Veterans who died before September 11, 2011. A war orphan is the Child of a Veteran who died during active federal military service while serving in the Armed Forces or during active federal military service in the Iowa National Guard or other military component of the United States, or who died as a result of such service. A Veteran is further defined as a resident of Iowa who served in the Armed Forces of the United States at any time during the following dates and was discharged under honorable conditions:

  • Occupation of Germany from November 12, 1918 through July 11, 1923

  • American expeditionary forces in Siberia from November 12, 1918 through April 30, 1920

  • Second Haitian suppression of insurrections from 1919 through 1920

  • Yangtze service with Navy and Marines in Shanghai or in the Yangtze Valley from 1926 through 1927 and 1930 through 1932

  • China service with Navy and Marines from 1937 through 1939

  • World War II service between September 16, 1940 through December 31, 1946

  • Korean Conflict service between June25, 1950 through January 31, 1955

  • Vietnam Conflict service between February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975

  • Lebanon or Grenada service from August 24, 1982 through July 31, 1984

  • Panama service from December 20, 1989 through January 31, 1990

  • Persian Gulf conflict service from August 2, 1990, through the date the President or Congress of the United States declares a cessation of hostilities

  • Former members of the reserve forces of the United States who served at least twenty years in the reserve forces after January 28, 1973 and who were discharged under honorable conditions. However, a member of the reserve forces of the United States who completed a minimum aggregate of ninety days of active federal service other than training and was discharged under honorable conditions, or was retired under Title X of the United States Code shall be included as a Veteran

  • Former members of the Iowa National Guard who served at least twenty years in the Iowa National Guard after January 28, 1973 and who were discharged under honorable conditions. However, a member of the Iowa National Guard who was activated for federal duty, other than training, for a minimum aggregate of ninety days and was discharged under honorable conditions or was retired under Title X of the United States Code shall be included as a Veteran

  • Former members of the active, oceangoing merchant marines who served during World War II at any time between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946 both dates inclusive, who were discharged under honorable conditions

  • Former members of the Women’s Air Force service pilots and other persons who have been conferred Veteran’s status based on their civilian duties during World War II in accordance with federal Pub. L. No. 95-202, 38 U.S.C.} 106

The amount of War Orphans Educational Aid allowed to eligible War Orphans is based upon an annual appropriation made by the Iowa Legislature. Payment is limited to $600.00 per calendar year for each War Orphan with a lifetime maximum benefit of $3,000.00.
Who is eligible for Iowa War Orphans Tuition Assistance?

  • A War Orphan MUST have graduated from a high school or educational institution offering a course of training equivalent to high school training

  • A War Orphan MUST have lived in the State of Iowa for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the filing of an application

  • A War Orphan MUST attend a University, College, Junior College, School of Nursing, Business School, or Trade School located within the State of Iowa and approved by the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs

Iowa War Orphans Tuition Assistance Instructions
Iowa War Orphan Tuition Assistance Application
Chapters 35A.5 and 35A.13 of the Iowa Code Application for Iowa War Orphans Education

Learn more about Iowa War Orphans Tuition Assistance

Iowa “Operation Recognition” High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans: This program furnishes an honorary high school diploma to qualifying Veterans who did not complete high school (in Iowa) due to armed service enlistment. The application form is used by the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education to establish eligibility for honorably discharged Veterans.
Iowa “Operation Recognition” High School Diploma Application
Who is eligible for the Iowa “Operation Recognition” High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans?
Iowa Veterans who served during the following time periods:

  • April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918 (World War I)

  • September 16, 1940-December 31, 1946 (World War II)

  • June 25, 1950-January 31, 1955 (Korean Conflict)

  • February 28, 1961-May 5, 1975 (Vietnam Conflict)

Learn more about the Iowa “Operation Recognition” High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans

Branstad/Reynolds, Children of Fallen Iowa Service Members Scholarship Fund: The Branstad-Reynolds Scholarship fund provides post-secondary educational scholarships for Children of deceased military Service members who died while in an active military status after September 11, 2001. The Scholarship is administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.
Branstad/Reynolds, Children of Fallen Iowa Service Members Scholarship Fund Information and Application
Who is eligible for the Branstad/Reynolds, Children of Fallen Iowa Service Members Scholarship Fund?
The Branstad-Reynolds Scholarship will consider those that qualify within these guidelines:

  • Children of a deceased Service member that died while serving in an active military status since September 11, 2001

    • Qualifying Service member must have met the following requirements

      • Was a resident of Iowa at the time of entering military service and at the time of death

      • Death does not have to be combat-related

      • Military status includes active Federal service in the Armed Forces, or Iowa based unit, National Guard, or Reserves

  • Student is attending or will attend an Iowa post-secondary educational institution.

Scholarships may be used to subsidize the costs of tuition, books, fees, housing, special tools and equipment required for coursework, school-approved tutoring, and any other required educational expenses. Once all educational expenses are met, any remaining funds will be released to the student in order to cover other expenses as needed. This is a state funded program and may be used in conjunction with any federal benefits. Unique applications presented to the scholarship committee in writing will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about the Branstad/Reynolds, Children of Fallen Iowa Service Members Scholarship Fund

Iowa 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:

  • Children sitting on the steps of a school 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:
Misty Nissen, Commissioner
Therapeutic Educational Consultant
Address: 1080 Highway 17
Corwith, IA 50430
Email: mistynissen@gmail.com
Phone: 515-269-1073

Learn more about the Iowa Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

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What are my Iowa Military and Veterans Employment Benefits?

State Employee Paid Leave for Military Duty: A non-temporary state employee who is a member of the uniformed services, when ordered by proper authority to serve in the uniformed services, shall be granted leave without loss of pay for 30 work days each calendar year.
Who is eligible for State Employee Paid Leave for Military Duty? Non-temporary state employees when ordered to military duty are eligible

Learn more about State Employee Paid Leave for Military Duty

Iowa Veterans Employment Centers: Each Regional Workforce Development Center has a Veteran's Employment Representative coordinating all specific services provided to Veterans. Services include identifying training opportunities; identifying employment opportunities; ensuring priority for certain jobs; working with Vocational Rehab; conducting outreach to employers, community and Veterans organizations, unions, local counseling, and social service agencies; developing job interview and resume writing skills; and helping conduct productive job searches.
Who is eligible for Iowa Veterans Employment Centers? Veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Learn more about Iowa Veterans Employment Centers

Iowa Veterans Employment Services: Iowa is committed to providing quality employment services to Veterans at our IowaWORKS Centers. Veteran Representatives, who are all honorably discharged Service members, coordinate all services provided to eligible Veterans within the IowaWORKS system. They work with eligible Veterans and clients of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of skill levels

  • Assist in development of an individual employment plan

  • Conduct individual Career planning services

  • Develop job interviewing and resume writing skills

  • Help place eligible Veterans in federally-funded employment and training programs

  • Monitor job listings from federal agencies and federal contractors to ensure Veterans get priority service in referral to these jobs; and

  • Provide intensive services to meet the employment needs of eligible Veterans

These services provide Veterans with the necessary information needed to find and secure suitable employment. These services can also help Veterans make the transition from the military to the civilian workforce easier.
Who is eligible for Iowa Veterans Employment Services?
To qualify for services, you must register with your local Iowa WORKS Center and meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • a Veteran who is receiving service-connected disability benefits from the VA or have a disability claim pending with the VA

  • a Vietnam era Veteran who served between Feb. 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975, in the Republic of Vietnam or between Aug. 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, in all other cases

  • currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

  • has been incarcerated

  • a recently separated Service member who has been unemployed for 27 or more weeks in the previous 12 months

  • lacking a high school diploma or equivalent certificate; or

  • low-income as defined by WIOA

  • aged 18-24

  • a member of the Armed Forces who is wounded, ill or injured and receiving treatment in a military treatment facility or warrior transition or the Spouse or other Family caregiver of such an Armed Forces member

In addition, under the priority of service provisions of the Jobs for Veterans Act, a Veteran who is eligible or Spouse of an eligible Veteran who is entitled to receive Priority of Service is a person who has served at least one day in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released from service under any condition other than a dishonorable discharge. This definition includes Reserve united and National Guard units activated for Federal Service. Veterans and eligible Spouses have the right to take precedence in obtaining all employment and training services.

Depending on the type of service or resource being provided, taking precedence may mean:

  • the covered person receives access to the service or resource earlier in time than the non-covered person; or

  • if the service or resource is limited, the covered person receives access to the service or resource instead of or before the non-covered person

Learn more about Iowa Veterans Employment Services

Iowa State Employment Veteran Hiring Preference: In all examinations and appointments under this chapter, Veterans who are citizens and residents of the United States shall have five percentage points added to the Veteran's grade or score attained in qualifying examinations for appointment to positions. Five additional percentage points are added to the grade or score if the Veteran has a service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability benefits, or pension under laws administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Exclusions include promotions and appointments of chief of the police department and chief of the fire department.

An honorably discharged Veteran who has been awarded the Purple Heart incurred in action shall be considered to have a service-connected disability. However, the percentage points shall be given only upon passing the exam and shall not be the determining factor in passing. Veterans' Preference percentage points shall be applied once to the final scores used to rank applicants for interview selection. There are basically two types of preference eligibility:

  • disabled (10-point preference eligible)

  • non-disabled (five-point preference eligible)

Learn more about Iowa State Employment Veteran Employment Preference