Welcome to the first post in our series about VA benefits for veterans in each of America’s 50 states. Did you know that VA benefits differ from state to state?
This week, we’re taking a look at Alabama and discussing some of the great ways our veterans can benefit from residency there. Read on to learn more about the VA benefits in the Heart of Dixie.
There are four main veterans’ homes located throughout Alabama. To begin the admission process, a veteran must pay monthly fees, have an honorable discharge from any branch of the military, and possess at least one full day of wartime service.
It is important to note that each home will have varying rules for admission. It is always best to check the website of each individual home for up-to-date guidelines and application procedures.
- Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City
- Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville
- William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette
- Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City
Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Spanish Fort is home to the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery, which follows the same eligibility rules as the National Cemetery Administration. To be interred here, veterans must be Alabama residents. Spouses and children are eligible for interment as well but will need to pay a fee. It is also acceptable for a veteran to have a discharge other than honorable.
Tax Benefits for Veterans
The state of Alabama offers veterans a few important tax benefits. These include the following:
- Property Tax for Homes of Totally Disabled Persons Over 65
This benefit states that any Alabama resident who is permanently and totally disabled and/or 65 and older and who has a yearly net income of $12,000 or less is exempt from taxes on their home and adjacent land up to 160 acres.
- Property Tax for VA Specially Adapted Houses
With this benefit, any Alabama veteran who has a home that was acquired through the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing Grant is tax exempt if the home is owned and occupied by the veteran or his/her spouse.
- Income Tax
In the state of Alabama, all military benefit pay and payments from the Survivor Benefit Program was exempt from state, county, or municipal income tax.
Employment Benefits for Veterans
Veterans who live and work in Alabama can take advantage of a few different employment benefits, including the following:
- Tuition Waiver for Purple Heart Recipients
Any veteran who has received a Purple Heart may be eligible for a free education at two- and four-year technical colleges, community colleges, and junior colleges throughout Alabama.
- Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship Program
For the dependents of veterans who are Alabama residents, who have an honorable discharge, and who have at least 90 continuous days of military service, dependents may qualify for this program. The state will waive up to $250 per semester hour and $1,000 for books every semester at any two- or four-year technical college, community college, or junior college. Any dependent who is under the age of 26 and whose parent is an Alabama resident with a disability rating of at least 40% may be eligible for benefits for up to five years. Spouses or surviving spouses who are not re-married who have a disability rating of 100% permanently and totally disabled are also eligible for five years of benefits.
- Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program (ANGEAP)
This program provides tuition assistance to eligible National Guard service members. Payments will be made for any education costs that remain after federal GI Bill payments have been made. The program only covers tuition expenses and does not apply to books or living expenses. Applicants must be over the age of 17, active within the Alabama National Guard, show a financial need, and must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0. It is important to note that this program only applied to undergraduate degrees.
Recreation Benefits for Veterans
The state of Alabama also provides several other general and recreation benefits for veterans. Some of these are as follows:
- Retired Military Pistol Permit: Retire members of the military who are legally allowed to possess firearms are eligible for a pistol permit free of charge.
- Alabama State Park Admission: Veterans who are Alabama residents are granted entry to any state park free of charge.
- Fishing License: Any veteran with a disability rating of at least 20% is eligible for a discounted freshwater fishing license.
- Special Hunting License: Any veteran who has a disability rating of 100% are eligible for a reduced hunting license cost of $2, plus issuance fees. Veterans with a disability rating of at least 50% are eligible for half off the regular price of a hunting license, plus issuance fees.
- Non-Resident License: Any active-duty service member who is stationed in Alabama or a neighboring state is eligible for in-state license costs. Families are also eligible.