Welcome back to our series about VA benefits for veterans in each of America’s 50 states! This week, we’re looking into the ways our veterans can benefit from residency in Arkansas. Read on to learn more about VA benefits in The Wonder State.
In Arkansas, there are two state veterans’ homes that provide 24-hour nursing services and a staff physician to help ensure all resident medical needs are met:
There are certain criteria that must be met for admission to either of these homes. A veteran must not have a criminal record, have an honorable discharge, and prove a medical need to be admitted to the home. Note that Arkansas residents will have first priority when it comes to admittance and that spouses and Gold Star parents may also apply for admission.
Veterans Memorial Cemeteries
The state of Arkansas is home to two state veterans’ cemeteries:
There are also three federal cemeteries:
For a veteran to qualify for interment at any of these cemeteries, certain criteria must be met. Any member of the armed forces – including National Guard and Reserve service members – is eligible if they have a discharge other than dishonorable. Spouses and dependent may be eligible as well. For the most up-to-date requirements, please visit the websites above.
Veterans can take advantage of an array of financial benefits in Arkansas:
- Military Pay Exempt from State Taxes
All military pay – including retirement pay – received by active-duty service members and veterans is exempt from Arkansas income tax rules. Disability pay is not included in taxable income either.
- Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
This is a monthly benefit paid to survivors of service members who died in the line of duty or whose death was a result of service-connected injuries or disease.
- Arkansas Homestead and Personal Property Tax Exemption
Any disabled veteran homeowner is exempt from taxes on their homestead and any personal property. This exemption must be recertified every year.
- Arkansas Gross Receipts or Gross Proceeds Tax Exemption
Disabled veterans are not required to pay taxes on their specially adapted vehicles or other equipment that is purchased with help from the VA. There is a limit of one new vehicle every two years.
Arkansas provides three different education benefits for veterans and their dependents:
- Arkansas Military Dependents Scholarship Program (MDS)
This program provides a tuition waiver for the spouses and dependents of veterans and certain other service members. The waiver is to be used for a bachelor’s level degree or certificate of completion at any institution of higher learning throughout Arkansas. It cannot be used to cover the cost of books, utility bills, dorm room accessories, or auto permits, and eligibility is limited to eight semesters or the completion of a degree or certificate program. Further eligibility rules can be found at the link above.
- Arkansas Diploma for Wartime Veterans
Veterans of World War II, Korea, or Vietnam who left high school to serve in the military are eligible for a high school diploma from local school districts.
- Arkansas Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3)
This program helps remove barriers to quality education that may be caused by frequent moves and deployments. More information can be found at the link above.
There are a couple employment benefits available for Arkansas veterans:
- Arkansas State Employment Veterans Hiring Preference
Veterans will receive a hiring preference when applying for a job with the state. If an exam is part of the process, eligible veteran applicants will receive added points totaled into their final score.
- Federal Employment Veterans Hiring Preference
Any disabled veteran who served on active duty during certain time periods or during certain military campaigns will receive preference over non-veteran applicants when applying for a position in Federal civil service sectors. If an exam is part of the hiring process, veterans will receive extra points.
Veterans can take advantage of recreation benefits from the state as well:
- Discounted Camping at Arkansas State Parks
Any disabled veteran will receive a 50% discount on camping at any Arkansas State Park. Proof of a 100% disability rating must be presented.
- Hunting & Fishing Licenses
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission provides sever hunting and fishing benefits to veterans. All licenses require proof of disability rating from the VA, as well as an application submitted by mail.