South Carolina Military and Veterans Benefits
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits
Health and Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities in South Carolina
South Carolina Military Resource Locator
Summary of South Carolina Military and Veterans Benefits: South Carolina offers special benefits for Service members, Veterans and their Families including income tax deduction for military retired pay, property tax exemptions, state employment preference, 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.
South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs, County Veterans’ Service Officers: The South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs (SCDVA) has trained staff at their County Veterans’ Affairs Offices who can assist Veterans, and their Families find and apply for benefits under federal, state and local laws. All their services are provided free of charge.
South Carolina Military and Veterans State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility
South Carolina Income Tax Exemption for Military Retired Pay: South Carolina does not tax military retired pay.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) does not withhold taxes for state or local income tax, but it is reported annually on IRS Form 1099-R. All TSP distributions are subject to state taxes and early distributions may incur higher taxes.
South Carolina Taxes on Military Pay: South Carolina taxes military pay received by South Carolina residents serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
South Carolina Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay: Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income. Some of the payments which are considered disability benefits include:
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to Veterans or their Families
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
- Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of limbs, or
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
See IRS Publication 525 for more information.
South Carolina Income Tax Exemption on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a tax free monetary benefit paid by the VA to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death was caused by a service-connected injury or disease.
South Carolina Income Tax Exemption for Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan (RSFPP): Surviving Spouses are not required to pay South Carolina income taxes on SBP, RCSBP, RSFPP annuities.
South Carolina Property Tax Exemptions for Disabled Veterans, Former Prisoners of War (POWs) and Medal of Honor Recipients: South Carolina provides property tax exemptions for the following Veterans and Surviving Spouses:
Disabled Veterans: Veterans who have a 100%, permanent and total, service-connected disability rating from the VA, qualify for the following property tax exemptions:
- Home and land up to five acres that is owner occupied and titled solely to the Veteran or jointly with their Spouse; exemption passes to the unremarried Surviving Spouse if they maintain sole ownership
- Two private passenger vehicles owned or leased by the Veteran or jointly with their Spouse; one vehicle exemption passes on to unremarried Surviving Spouse if they maintain sole ownership
Former POWs and Medal of Honor Recipients:Veterans who were former POWs, or Medal of Honor recipients qualify for the following tax exemptions:
- Home and land up to one acre that is owner occupied, and titled solely to the Veteran or jointly with their Spouse; exemption passes to the unremarried Surviving Spouse if they maintain sole ownership
- Two private passenger vehicles owned or leased by the Veteran or jointly with their Spouse; one vehicle exemption passes on to unremarried Surviving Spouse of a Purple Heart recipient, a two vehicle exemption passes to the unremarried Surviving Spouse of a Medal of Honor recipient if they maintain sole ownership
Eligible applicants can apply online at the South Carolina Department of Revenue, MyDORWAY webpage, or they can send a completed application and required documents (listed on the application) to:
Government Services Division
PO Box 125
Columbia, SC 29214-0720
South Carolina Reserve Component Service Member Tax Exemptions for Training: Income received by National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service members for annual training, weekend drills, and other inactive duty training is generally exempt from South Carolina Income Tax.
Who is eligible for the South Carolina Reserve Component Service Member Tax Exemptions for Training? National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service members are eligible for the following tax exemptions:
- All inactive duty pay for weekend drill and other inactive duty training
- 15 days of annual training pay
- 14 days of inactive duty annual training pay, plus up to two days of travel time (must be listed on orders)
- 15 days annual training pay and up to 24 days of weekend drill pay (a maximum of 39 days) for full-time Active Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, paid at daily rate
South Carolina Military Spouse Residency Relief Act: A nonresident Military Spouse who has the same state of residence as a nonresident Service member, who is stationed in South Carolina under military orders, is exempt from state income taxes on wages earned in South Carolina. The nonresident military Spouse must pay taxes (if required) to their state of residence.
South Carolina Taxes on Military Pay Received for Service in a Combat Zone and Extension to File: South Carolina does not tax combat or hazardous duty pay. Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in a combat zone have 180 days after leaving the combat zone to file and pay South Carolina income taxes.
South Carolina National Guard College Assistance Program (SCNG CAP): SCNG CAP will pay 100% of college tuition and fees at state supported institutions up to $5,500 per year, with a lifetime cap of $22,000 for eligible South Carolina National Guard Service members.
Who is eligible for SCNG CAP?South Carolina National Guard Service members are eligible for financial assistance for their first undergraduate degree only.
Service members must be in good academic standing with the institution to continue to receive funding. To determine eligibility please contact the South Carolina National Guard, Education Service Office at 803-299-2734.
SCNG CAP Online Application
South Carolina Education Assistance, Free Tuition for Certain Veteran's Children: South Carolina provides a tuition waiver to the Children of certain war Veterans attending South Carolina state supported colleges and universities or post high school technical education institutions.
Who is eligible for South Carolina Education Assistance, Free Tuition for Certain Veteran's Children? For the Child of a Veteran to be eligible the Veteran must meet the following requirements:
- Served during a wartime period
- Received an “other than dishonorable” discharge from active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Resident of South Carolina at the time of entry into service, during service and currently a resident, or
- Resident of South Carolina for at least one year and currently a resident, or
- If the Veteran is deceased, they were a resident for one year prior to their death
In addition, the Child’s Veteran parent must meet one of the following requirements:
- Killed in action
- Died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Died from a service-connected disease or disability
- Prisoner of war or declared missing in action
- Permanent and total disability rating from the VA from any cause
- Medal of Honor recipient
- Received the Purple Heart
Children must be 26 years or younger to be eligible for this waiver. For questions or more information please call 803-647-2434.
South Carolina Code 59-111-20
South Carolina Department of Veterans' Affairs, Online Application for Tuition Assistance for Certain Veterans' Children
In-State Tuition Rates at South Carolina Public Institutions of Higher Education for Veterans, Service Members and Dependents: Veterans, active and reserve component Service members and dependents are authorized in-state tuition and fee rates regardless of how long they have lived in South Carolina.
For a Child dependent whose parent is on active duty outside of South Carolina, the student must be receiving transferred VA educational financial assistance to be eligible for in-state rates. Once the VA assistance has been exhausted, students will be charged out-of-state rates, unless the student can claim South Carolina residency.
Who is eligible for In-State Tuition Rates at South Carolina Public Institutions of Higher Education for Veterans, Service Members and Dependents? Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- Veteran who served 90 days or longer on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Dependent using transferred VA education assistance
- Service member entitled to and receiving VA educational assistance
South Carolina Residency for Tuition Purposes for Nonresident Service Members and their Dependents: Nonresident Service members stationed in South Carolina and their dependents are charged in-state tuition and fees without having to establish a permanent home in South Carolina.
South Carolina Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3): The purpose of this compact is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:
- Facilitating the prompt 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 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 to achieve educational success for the student
Point of Contact
South Carolina Purple Star School Designation for Military-Friendly Schools: The South Carolina Purple Star School Designation recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and Families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces.
For a school to qualify for the Purple Star Award they must appoint a school liaison who is specially trained to handle the unique challenges experienced by military Families. This liaison will ensure that other teachers at their school are aware of special considerations that students from military Families can benefit from. Each school will also have a dedicated page on their school website featuring resources for military Families. For more information, please call 803-231-7144.
Military Child Education Coalition, Purple Star School Program
Military Leave for South Carolina State Employees: State employees receive 15 workdays of paid military leave for training.
A state employee who serves on active duty in a combat zone and has used all available military leave is entitled to receive an additional 30 days of military leave in any one year.
In addition, an employee may use up to 45 days of annual leave and up to 90 days of sick leave in a calendar year to serve on active duty because of an emergency or conflict declared by the President. South Carolina Code 8-7-90
Who is eligible for Military Leave for Military Duty for South Carolina State Employees? South Carolina National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service members who are state employees are eligible for military leave for military duty.
South Carolina State Employee Veterans Hiring Preference: South Carolina offers a Veterans hiring preference when hiring for state employment by requiring at least one qualified Veteran be interviewed for every full time equivalent position.
Who is eligible for South Carolina State Employee Veterans Hiring Preference? To be eligible the Veteran must meet the following requirements:
- Served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (other than for training) and was discharged under honorable conditions
- Must meet the minimum training and experience requirements for the position
South Carolina Public Employees Receive Retirement Credit for Military Service: An active member of the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) may purchase up to six years of service credit for any period of service in the U.S. Armed Forces. They are not eligible to purchase service credit if they already have service credit in SCRS, Police Officer Retirement System or the General Assembly Retirement System.
The cost calculation is based in part on the employee’s current age and service credit, as well as their career highest annual pay at the time South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) receives the service purchase request.
The cost, which is determined by PEBA’s independent actuary, will not be less than 16% of their career highest annual pay for each year purchased. The Service members must have received a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable. Service members may decide in advance to continue making contributions to their retirement account when on military leave or may make the contributions after returning from military service.
South Carolina Operation Palmetto Employment: South Carolina Operation Palmetto Employment is a statewide initiative supported by the South Carolina National Guard, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, and other business and state agency partners. Operation Palmetto Employment is a commitment to help Service members, Family members and Veterans find meaningful civilian careers by:
- Accurately identifying South Carolina's military community
- Streamlining the employment process
- Leveraging military expertise
- Ensure cooperation between providers and employers
Who is eligible for South Carolina Operation Palmetto Employment Services? Unemployed Service members, Family members or Veterans are eligible for assistance.
Operation Palmetto Employment Home Page
SC WORKS Centers, Veteran Services: SC WORKS Centersacross South Carolina have staff who are specifically trained to assist Service member and Veteran jobseekers find civilian employment.
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) representatives provide intensive case management services for targeted Veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged.
Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) conduct employer outreach to help develop employment and training opportunities for Veterans. They market job-seeking Veterans and serve as advocates for Veterans with businesses, industries, and other community-based organizations.
Veterans will receive priority employment services, which includes group and individual career coaching, job referrals, resume preparation and job training programs and services.
Veterans also receive priority service through the SC WORKS Online Services webpage. For the first 24 hours that a job is listed only Veterans and Service members can view and apply for the position.
SC WORKS Centers Directory
Federal Employment Veteran's Hiring Preferences: By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans 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-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:
- During a war, or
- During the period April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955, or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976, or
- During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992, or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or
- In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference
10-point Compensable Disability (CP) Preference: Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30%.
10-Point 30% Compensable Disability Preference (CPS): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30% or more.
10-Point Disability Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:
- A Veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the VA but does not qualify as a CP or CPS, or
- A Veteran who received a Purple Heart.
10-Point Derived Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of Spouses, Surviving Spouses, or mothers of Veterans Both a mother and a Spouse (including Surviving Spouse) may be entitled to preference based on the same Veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the Veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.
Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the Spouse of a disabled Veteran who is disqualified for a federal position along the general lines of their usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the Veteran is unemployed and:
- Is rated by appropriate military or VA authorities to be 100% disabled and/or unemployable, or
- Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position because of a disability that is service-connected in origin, or
- Has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of their usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability.
Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.
A campaign medal holder or Gulf War Veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligible Veterans separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to Veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under Title 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA): USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of reserve components. USERRA also protects Service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
Absence from Work for Military Duty: USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years. Exceptions to the five-year limit, include initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual's service as long as the basic eligibility criteria are met.
Disability Accommodation: USERRA provides protection for disabled Veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Service members recovering from injuries received during service or training may have up to two years from the date of completion of service to return to their jobs or apply for reemployment.
Return to Work without Loss of Seniority: USERRA provides that returning Service members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. USERRA also requires that reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) be made to enable returning Service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for reemployment. USERRA also provides that while an individual is performing military service, they are deemed to be on a furlough or leave of absence and are entitled to the non-seniority rights accorded other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.
Extension of Health and Pension Plans: Health and pension plan coverage for Service members is provided for by USERRA. Individuals performing military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue employer sponsored health care for up to 24 months; however, they may be required to pay up to102% of the full premium. For military service of less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the Service member had remained employed. USERRA clarifies pension plan coverage by making explicit that all pension plans are protected.
Who is eligible for USERRA? Veterans, U.S. Armed Forces Reserve, or National Guard Service members who leave a position for training or active military service are eligible.
The Department of Labor, through the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) helps all who have claims under USERRA, including Federal and Postal Service employees.
VETS Regional Office Locations
South Carolina Unemployment Insurance (UI): South Carolina's Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) administers UI program that provides temporary financial assistance for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. UI is a partial, short-term replacement of lost wages while workers are seeking other work and is not intended to be a permanent source of income. Benefits are not based on financial need. Employers pay all costs of the UI program.
Applicants will need to provide the following information to file a claim:
- Social Security number
- Work history for the past 18 months including:
- Employers' business names
- Employers' addresses
- Employers' phone numbers
- Salary for each employer
- If not a U.S. citizen, alien registration number and documentation
- DD214 Form (Member 4 copy) for Service members who left the U.S. Armed Forces in the past 18 months
- SF-50 or SF-8 for former federal employees who left government service in the past 18 months
Initial claims are filed online through the South Carolina, MyBenefits portal. For more information, or assistance please call the DEW Customer Service at 866-831-1724.
South Carolina DEW, Applying for Benefits Webpage
“Veteran” Designation on South Carolina Driver’s Licenses, Beginner’s Permits and ID cards: The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) offers a "Veteran" designation on driver’s licenses, ID cards and beginner’s permits for eligible Veterans.
Who is eligible for the “Veteran” Designation on South Carolina Driver’s Licenses, Beginner’s Permits and ID Cards? Honorably discharged Veterans are eligible for the “Veteran” designation.
Veterans must provide one of the following documents listed below when they apply:
- DD214 (discharge paperwork) “Honorable” or “General Under Honorable Conditions”discharge
- National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22) that must show:
- “Honorable” or “General Under Honorable Conditions”discharge, and
- At least 20 years of qualifying military service in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Letter of eligibility for retired pay (20 year letter) from a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Veteran ID Card issued by the VA(does not include Veterans Health ID Card)
There is no fee for adding a designation to licenses or permits. To apply Veterans must visit a SCDMV location.
SCDMV Office Directory
South Carolina Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Military Test Waivers: South Carolinaoffers CDL testing waivers for Service members and former Service members based on their military training and experience. To be eligible Service members must have a South Carolina driver’s license and either be still serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or were discharged in the last 12 months.
Even Exchange Waiver, (Waiver of Knowledge and Skills tests): The even exchange option allows Service members who have certain Military Occupational Specialties/ Ratings in the U.S. Armed Forces to have their CDL knowledge and skills testing waived. To be eligible Service members must have worked in one of the following Military Occupational Specialties (MOS’s)/ Ratings:
- Army – 88M, 92F, 14T
- Air Force – 2T1, 2F0, 3E2
- Marine Corps – 3531
- Navy – EO
Skills Test Waiver: The skills waiver option is available for Service members who have military commercial driving training and experience but do not have the MOS/ Ratings for the even exchange option. Applicants must have been licensed for at least two years on a military vehicle similar to the commercial vehicle class they are applying for and have 3,000 miles or more of driving experience. This option only allows a waiver of the skills testing and does not include the knowledge testing requirement.
All applicants must also meet the following requirements for both waivers:
- Not had more than one license (except for a military license) in the past two years
- Not had any license suspended, revoked, or cancelled in the past two years
- Not had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for the disqualifying offenses (listed on the application)
- Not had more than one conviction for any type of motor vehicle for serious traffic violations (listed on the application)
- Have not had had any conviction for a violation of military, state or local laws relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) as a result of a traffic accident and has no record of an accident in which they were at fault.
Applicants must submit a completed South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, CDL Waiver Application for Military Personnel (including certification by their commanding officer) a copy of their active duty/reserve component military ID or discharge documents (DD214, WD-AGO, DD256, or NGB22) to:
SCDMV, CDL Help Desk
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0028
Extension of South Carolina Driver’s Licenses for Military Personnel and their Dependents: The driver’s license of Service members and their dependents who are stationed outside South Carolina remains valid until 90 days after discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces.
This only applies if their license expired during one of the following:
- Serving outside South Carolina for 90 continuous days or more
- Serving outside the state and it expired within 90 days of the start of that service
After discharge Service members and dependents must renew their license at a South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) Branch Office, applicants must bring documentation of their discharge. If more than 90 days after discharge, they must take the knowledge and road tests.
SCDMV, Branch Office Directory
Renewal of South Carolina Driver’s License Online or by Mail if Stationed Outside of South Carolina: Active duty Service members and their dependents who are stationed outside of South Carolina may renew their driver's license online or by mail.
To renew online go to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle (SCDMV), Online Transaction webpage .
To renew a license by mail, applicants must submit all the following documents:
- SCDMV, Application for Beginner’s Permit, Driver’s License, or ID Card Provide current address where the document is to be mailed to
- Current color photograph (from the top of head to shoulders) with no face or head covering
- Military orders showing continuous active duty outside of South Carolina
- Check made out to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV), for $25
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0035
South Carolina Military and Veteran License Plates: TheSouth Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) offers 53 distinctive license plate designs to honor the service and sacrifice of U.S. Armed Forces Service members, Veterans, retired Service members and eligible Family members. Each license plate has specific eligibility and documentation requirements. Applications for military plates will only be processed by mail at SCDMV Headquarters in Blythewood. To request a military or Veteran License plate applicants must mail all the following:
- Completed SCDMV, Application for Military License Plate
- Official military documentation (DD214, NGB22, official orders, Veterans ID Card from the VA)
- Any other required documents (listed on the application under plate requirements)
- Applicable fees (listed on the application)
- For all military license plates labeled "Wheelchair," the applicant must include the SCDMV, Application for Placard and/or License Plate for People who have a Disability
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0038
South Carolina Medal of Honor License Plate: Recipients of the Medal of Honor are eligible for three free sets of South Carolina Medal of Honor license plates. Recipients must submit a copy of their DD214 or other official documentation as of proof of eligibility.
Owners of Medal of Honor license plates are authorized free parking at municipal parking meters. Unremarried Surviving Spouses of Medal of Honor recipients are also eligible to request this license plate. Medal of Honor license plates are also available for motorcycles.
South Carolina Purple Heart License Plate: South Carolina Residents who are recipients of the Purple Heart are eligible for three free sets of South Carolina Purple Heart license plates. Applicants must provide a copy of their DD214, Purple Heart Citation, or a letter from the VA certifying they were awarded the Purple Heart.
Owners of Purple Heart license plates are authorized free parking at municipal parking meters. Purple Heart license plates are also available for motorcycles and with a disability access symbol.
South Carolina Veteran License Plate: TheSouth Carolina Veteran license plate is available to South Carolina residents who have served in an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge. Veterans must provide a copy of their DD214 (or discharge paperwork).
Only four plates within the Veteran plate class to include Veteran, Veteran Motorcycle and Veteran with disability access may be issued. The cost for this plate is the regular registration fee. No additional fees are required.
South Carolina Disabled Veteran License Plate: The South Carolina Disabled Veteran Handicapped license plate is a free license plate, available to disabled wartime Veterans who are certified by the VA and eligible for compensation for the following disabilities:
- Loss of use of one or both legs or arms, or
- Permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a degree as to constitute virtual blindness, or
- Classified as totally and permanently disabled due to service-connected disabilities
Veterans must provide a letter or other documentation from the VA certifying their disability. Veterans are authorized three license plates of either vehicle or motorcycle license plate. This plate allows free parking at municipal parking meters.
Gold Star Family License Plate: The South Carolina Gold Star Family license plate is available for the immediate Family members (parent, Spouse, sibling, or Child) of a fallen Service member. Applicants must ensure they check the appropriate box in the Statement of Relationship on the application. When applying for this plate, applicants must provide a DD2064, Certificate of Death (Overseas), or a DD1300 Report of Casualty. Each qualifying Family member is authorized three license plates of either a vehicle or motorcycle and they may be personalized. This plate allows free parking at municipal parking meters. There is no fee for this plate.
South Carolina National Guard Compensation for Injury, Illness, Disability and Death Incurred in the Line of Duty are Covered by Workers’ Compensation: South Carolina National Guard Service members who are injured, become ill, become disabled or die in the line of duty are eligible for benefits and compensation under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws.
Who is eligible for Compensation for Injury, Illness, Disability and Death Incurred in the Line of Duty are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?South CarolinaNational Guard Service members are eligible for coverage and benefits under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Life Insurance: The VA provides valuable life insurance benefits to Veterans, active and reserve component Service members, and their Families to provide financial security given the extraordinary risks involved in military Service. The VA provides the following life insurance benefit programs:
- Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
- Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
- Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
- Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program (TSGLI)
- Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (S-DVI)
- Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
TRICARE Reserve Select Health Insurance: TRICARE Reserve Select is a premium-based plan, available worldwide for Selected Reserve, (U.S. Armed Forces Reserve and National Guard Service members) and their Families who meet the following qualifications:
- Not on active duty orders
- Not covered under the Transitional Assistance Management Program
- Not eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program or currently covered under FEHB, either under their own eligibility or through a Family member.
The plan provides comprehensive health care coverage when a Service member is not activated and covered by active duty TRICARE benefits.
South Carolina Reduced Fee State Park Passes for Disabled Residents and South Carolina National Guard: The South Carolina All Park Passport is available for purchase at half price for, senior citizens (age 65 and older), legally blind, or 100% disabled residents and active members of the South Carolina National Guard.
All Park Passport: The All Park Passport is $49.50 and provides unlimited entry to all South Carolina state parks for everyone in the pass holder's vehicle. The hangtag pass is valid for one year from the date of purchase and can be transferred from one vehicle to another.
The All Park Passport also comes with the following added benefits:
- Free admission to regularly scheduled historic home tours at Redcliffe, Rose Hill and Hampton plantations (maximum four people per visit)
- Free admission to the historic lighthouse at Hunting Island State Park (maximum four people per visit)
- Free admission to the historic Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park (maximum four people per visit)
Passes can be purchased at any South Carolina state park, at the South Carolina State Park Service central ofﬁce in Columbia, at the State House Gift Shop located in the South Carolina State House or by calling 803-734-0156. Applicants must be able to provide documentation proving eligibility.
The central office is located at:
South Carolina State Parks
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
The person eligible for the passport must be in the vehicle when entering the park. A park employee may request ID of the passport holder at the time the passport is presented.
South Carolina State Park Directory
Free South Carolina Hunting and Fishing Privileges for Disabled Resident Veterans: The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) offers free Disability Combination licenses and Disability Fishing licenses to disabled Veterans. These licenses are good for three years.
Disability Combination licenses authorizes:
- Freshwater fishing
- Freshwater set hook
- Saltwater fishing
- State hunting
- Big game hunting
- Wildlife Management Area Permit
- Migratory Waterfowl Permit
The Disability Fishing Licenses authorizes:
- Freshwater fishing
- Saltwater fishing
Who is eligible for Free South Carolina Hunting and Fishing Privileges for Disabled Resident Veterans? Resident Veterans who have a disability rating from the VA and are eligible for compensation may apply. Applicants must Include a copy of their unexpired state driver’s license or ID card and a current copy of their disability certification from the VA (dated within the last 12 months).
Mail applications and documentation to:
SCDNR License Office
PO Box 11710
Columbia, SC 29211-1710
SCDNR Phone: 803-734-3833
South Carolina Resident Hunting and Fishing License Privileges for Nonresident Service Members and their Dependents: Service members and their dependents stationed at a duty station in South Carolina for thirty days or longer, or who live in South Carolina, are eligible for resident hunting and fishing privileges. Valid military ID must be presented when applying.
Hunting and Fishing License Exemptions for Resident Active Duty Service Members Stationed outside South Carolina and Home on Leave: Resident active duty Service members who are stationed outside of South Carolina and home on leave, may fish and hunt without purchasing a hunting, freshwater fishing, or saltwater fishing license.
Permits are still required to hunt big game, migratory birds, migratory waterfowl and hunt on Wildlife Management Area land. Tags are required to hunt antlerless deer and turkey, use nongame fish devices, or for taking shrimp over bait. Service members must carry their Leave and Earnings Statement (that declares South Carolina as their home state) and military ID when hunting or fishing.
South Carolina National Guard (SCNG) Veteran Advisors:SCNG Veteran Advisors assist Veterans, Service members and Family Members regarding all benefits and entitlements they are eligible for, by coordinating with regional partners to maximize local resources and minimize delays in services. The advisors assist in the following areas:
- VA claims and compensation
- Employment services
- Education benefits
- Medical issues or documents
- Behavioral health concerns
- Financial issues and advice
- Family services
- Legal services
- Housing assistance, VA Home Loans
- Records: separation, medical, or awards
- Health and wellness
- Unit leadership assistance
- Any other matters associated with service in the U.S. Armed Forces
A directory of Regional Advisors is located at “Learn more…” link below.
Presentation of South Carolina State Flag to Families of Deceased Members of the South Carolina National Guard: The South Carolina Adjutant General's Office will present a state flag to the Family of a deceased member of the South Carolina National Guard.
Service members must have served at least one year in the South Carolina National Guard and at the time of death was either currently serving, honorably discharged, or retired from the South Carolina National Guard. For more information, please call 803-299-4200.
South Carolina Military Family Relief Fund (SCMFRF): SCMFRF provides monetary grants to Families of South Carolina National Guard Service members and South Carolina residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves who were called to active duty. The active duty service must have been because of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or future operations as determined by the President or the Governor of South Carolina. Grants are based on need, status and service-connected injury or illness.
SCMFRF grants are to help Families pay for the costs of food, housing, utilities, medical services, and other expenses that become difficult because of active military service.
- Status Based Grants are $500
- Casualty-Based Grants are $1,000
- Needs Based Grants are for up to $2,000
Individuals may receive a grant only one time in each fiscal year and only one time for each active duty order. Applicants must mail their application and any required documentation (listed on the application) to:
South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs
ATTN: SCMFRF Coordinator
1205 Pendleton Street, Ste. 369
Columbia, SC 29201
Recording of Discharges and Certified Copies for South Carolina Veterans: South Carolina County Clerks will record official military discharge documents free of charge and will provide certified copies for not more than 50 cents.
South Carolina Clerks of Court Directory
Marriage, Birth, Death and Divorce Verification when required by Official State and Federal Agencies: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will issue certified copies of marriage, birth, death, and divorce records free when they are required for applying for Veterans benefits.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Vital Records Webpage
South Carolina State Veterans Nursing Homes: South Carolina has five state Veterans nursing homes for Veterans who require skilled or intermediate nursing care.
Veterans Nursing Homes Locations
2200 Harden Street
Columbia, SC 29203
Veterans' Victory House
2461 Sidneys Road
Walterboro, SC 29488
Richard M. Campbell Veterans Nursing Home
4605 Belton Highway
Anderson, SC 29621
1200 E. National Cemetery Road
Florence, SC 29506
Palmetto Patriots Home
120 Hampshire Drive
Gaffney, SC 29341
Some of the services provided at South Carolina State Veterans Nursing Homes includes:
- Medical care
- Nursing care
- Rehabilitative therapies
- Pharmacy service
- Recreational and therapeutic activities
- Social services
- Beauty and Barber services
- Transportation service
- Laundry service
Who is eligible for care at the South Carolina State Veterans Nursing Homes? Veterans must meet the following requirements to be eligible for admission to a South Carolina State Veterans Nursing Home:
- Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge
- South Carolina resident for at least one year
- Require skilled or intermediate nursing home care as determined by the VA
For more information, please contact a South Carolina, County Veterans’ Affairs Office, or the nursing home directly.
South Carolina State Veterans Homes, Application Packet
South Carolina, County Veterans' Affairs Office Directory
South Carolina M.J. “Dolly” Cooper State Veterans Cemetery: The M.J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery, located on 57 acres, near Anderson South Carolina, offers a dignified final resting place for South Carolina Veterans, their Spouses and Children.
The cemetery offers:
- Grave space
- Grave opening and closing
- Grave liner
- Grave marker
- Perpetual care
- Columbarium for cremated remains
- Scattering garden for cremations
- In-ground garden for cremations
There is no cost for the plot, grave liner, permanent marker, or the opening and closing of the gravesite for the Veteran, there is a $300 fee for the burial of a Spouse and for each Child.
Who is eligible for Burial at the South Carolina M.J. “Dolly” Cooper State Veterans Cemetery? Eligibility requirements for the burial at the M.J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery are the same as for VA National Cemeteries. Exact eligibility requirements can viewed at the VA, National Cemetery Administration Eligibility webpage. The following are the general eligibility requirements:
- Discharged from active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable, or
- Died while serving on active duty, or
- Served at least 20 years in the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves and is eligible for military retired pay (or would been eligible except their death occurred before age 60), or
- Reserve component Service members if they were activated for federal service, (active duty for training does not qualify)
- Spouses and dependents (burial of dependent Children is limited to unmarried Children under 21 years old, or 23 years old if a full-time student at an approved educational institution, or a Child who develops a lifelong disability prior to age 21)
All Veterans are encouraged to complete the M.J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery Eligibility Pre-Certification Application to establish eligibility prior to need. For more information, please call 864-332-8022.
South Carolina Veterans Treatment Mentor Court Program: The South Carolina Veterans Treatment Mentor Court program is designed to help Veterans who have pending charges in Richland or Kershaw counties.
The purpose of this program is to assist Veterans by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they will need to lead productive lives. Veterans Treatment Mentor Court program participants receive help from fellow Veteran mentors, the VA and Veterans service organizations.
Treatment may include:
- Anger management
- Domestic abuse counseling
- Family and marriage counseling
- Substance Abuse and mental health counseling
- Other therapies geared toward PTSD and other combat trauma
Who is eligible for the South Carolina Veterans Treatment Mentor Court Program? Veterans must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- Charged with non-violent misdemeanor or felony offense in Richland or Kershaw counties
- Eligible for Veterans services benefits
- Diagnosed with a treatable behavioral, mental health or chemical dependency problem
For more information, please call 803-576-1893.
University of South Carolina, School of Law, Legal Clinic for Veterans: Low-income Veterans living in South Carolina can receive free legal services though the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of South Carolina, School of Law. The clinic will handle legal issues that include:
- Credit and related financial matters
- Housing issues
- Government benefits
- Family law issues
The clinic is on the third floor of the School of Law, located at 1525 Senate Street in Columbia, South Carolina. Hours of operation are 9 am through 5 pm weekdays.
For more information please call 803-777-2278 or complete the University of South Carolina, School of Law, Veterans Legal Clinic Intake Form.
University Of South Carolina, School of Law Press Release
South Carolina Palmetto Pathfinder Program: The Palmetto Pathfinder Program is a South Carolina Veteran peer-support program made up of Veteran volunteers who provide personal support for Service members leaving the U.S. Armed Forces. The Pathfinder Program helps by connecting Veterans to resources and services in their community to help them reach their personal and professional goals and thrive after military service.
South Carolina Veteran and Armed Services Legal Outreach (SC-VALOR) Program: The SC-VALOR Program is a collaboration between the Attorney General’s Office, the South Carolina Bar, and the South Carolina Military Department that coordinates existing legal resources for Service members and Veterans.
The program provides free legal clinics, and a referral line to connect Service members and Veterans with lawyers who will provide free or heavily-discounted legal help. The legal clinics are able to handle simple legal issues like writing wills and powers of attorney documents as well as common legal issues including:
- Service Member Civil Relief Act issues
- Issues related to deployment:
- Property Owner/ tenant issues
- Employment issues
- Not receiving lower interest rates that are required by law when deployed
For more information, please call 803-734-VETS (803-734-9387).
SC-VALOR Program Intake Form
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities in South Carolina: The VA has numerous resources available for Veterans and Family members. Please see the local location listing for your nearest facility.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Cemeteries in South Carolina: The VA National Cemetery Administration maintains three national cemeteries in South Carolina. Please see the local location listing for the nearest cemetery.
Military Installations in South Carolina
Please see the South Carolina Military Resource Locator for additional information
Shaw Air Force Base
Joint Base Charleston
South Carolina Military Department
U.S. Army Reserve (USAR)
81st Readiness Division