Welcome back to our series about VA benefits for veterans in each of America’s 50 states! This week, we’re delving into Arizona and looking into some of the ways our veterans can benefit from residency there. Read on to learn more about VA benefits in The Grand Canyon State.
Arizona provides state veterans homes in four different locations:
- Arizona State Veterans Home in Phoenix
- Arizona State Veterans Home in Tucson
- Arizona State Veterans Home in Flagstaff (under construction)
- Arizona State Veterans Home in Yuma (projected to open November 2022)
Each home, while maintained under state guidelines, offers a varying number of beds. For the most up-to-date information on each location, please visit the websites above.
Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemeteries
Veterans can be interred at one of three Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemeteries:
- Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista
- Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Marana in Marana
- Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Camp Navajo in Bellemont
At all three locations, any veteran with a discharge other than dishonorable is eligible for interment. Spouses and dependents are also eligible, though a small fee will be charged.
Tax Benefits for Veterans
The State of Arizona offers several financial benefits to veterans and their families:
- Income Tax
Under this benefit, all pay received by active-duty service members is tax-free, as are all federal civil service and military retirement payments.
- Native American Settlement Fund
This benefit provides a refund of Arizona income tax that was erroneously collected from Native Americans who served in the military while also claiming tribal lands as their homestead.
- Vehicle Registration Fees & License Taxes
Any veteran who has a disability rating of 100% will have their vehicle registration fees and license tax waived on their personal vehicle. Vehicles purchased through VA financial aid are also exempt from those fees and taxes, and the benefit extends to spouses, should the veteran pass away.
- Arizona Military Family Relief Fund
This fund provides financial assistance to the families of service members who are currently deployed, as well as military and veteran families who are suffering hardships due to their military service. Emergency assistance up to $3,000 is available for all applicants, but it should be noted that there is a lifetime limit of $20,000.
- Property Tax
Disabled veterans and their families may have their property tax waived under certain circumstances. To find out if you are eligible, contact your local County Assessor’s office.
Education Benefits for Veterans
Veterans may take advantage of two education benefits in Arizona:
- Arizona Veterans Tuition Waiver Program
Under this program, eligible veterans and surviving dependents receive a tuition-free education up to the undergraduate level at any public state university or community college throughout Arizona. Eligibility rules do apply to the program, and those rules can be found at the link above.
- Arizona Purple Heart Tuition Waiver
This benefit is available to post-9/11 veterans with a disability rating of at least 50%, who received a Purple Heart medal, and who lived in Arizona during their time in service. Dependent children younger than 30 and spouses of a veteran who was killed in active duty on or after 9/11 also may qualify. Lastly, any post-9/11 Arizona National Guard members who received a medical discharge or received a Purple Heart are eligible as well.
Employment Benefits for Veterans
Arizona provides four main employment benefits for its veterans:
- CDL Skills Test Waiver
Active-duty personnel and veterans may be eligible to have the Commercial Driver License (CDL) skills test waived when applying for their CDL. Applicants must be within one year of discharge and need to have operated a commercial motor vehicle or its equivalent for at least two years prior to being discharged.
- Hiring Preference
Any veteran who passes an exam for employment by the state, county, or city will be given a 5-point boost to their certification score. To be eligible, applicants need to have served for longer than six months and possess an honorable discharge. Those with honorable discharges who are also receiving disability compensation will receive a 10-point boost to their score. Spouses or surviving spouses may also be eligible for a 5-point boost if their veteran passed away due to a service-connected disability.
- Real Estate Licensing
Veterans, active-duty service members, and their spouses may benefit from reduced licensing requirements from the Arizona Department of Real Estate.
- Veteran Tool Kit
Created to support unemployed veterans in getting the items they need to start working, from boots and bicycles to tools and more. To qualify, veterans must live in Arizona, be enrolled in an Arizona Job Connection through ARIZONA@WORK and will need to identify the job they require tools for.
Recreation Benefits for Veterans
The State of Arizona provides recreation benefits for veterans as well:
- Arizona State Parks
Veterans can benefit from a few different discounts to any state park in the state. These include a 50% day-use discount for active-duty service members, reservists, and guardsmen, as well as three family members. The same discount is available for all military retirees, and any veteran who has a disability rating of 100% will receive admission at no charge.
- Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Any active-duty service member who is stationed in Arizona is eligible for hunting and fishing licenses at the resident rate. Any veteran who has a 100% disability rating can get both licenses at no charge, and veterans with a disability rating of 50% or lower will receive a discounted rate.