Veteran Benefits for Arkansas
The state of Arkansas offers many veteran benefits for service members and Veterans that have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. These benefits include income and property tax exemptions, financial exemptions, education and training programs, hunting and fishing licenses, vehicle registrations, and assistance with employment. Your residency, military career, and disability status may result in certain differences in what benefits you may be eligible for. The following are benefits for the state of Arkansas.
Arkansas Veteran Financial Benefits
- Military Pay Exempt from Arkansas State Taxes: The Military Pay Exemption (Act 1408 of 2013) created a 100% exemption from income tax for service pay or allowance received by an active duty member of the Armed Forces for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. Active duty includes all members of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserve Units.
- Arkansas Military Spouses Residency Relief Act: Exempts a Military Spouse’s income from Arkansas tax if the Service member’s Home of Record is not Arkansas and the Spouse’s domicile is the same as the Service member’s Home of Record. Effective January 1, 2009.
- Arkansas Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 (Act 372 of 2009): Provisions of this act include exclusion of gain on sale of a principal residence, deduction of overnight travel expenses for National Guard and Reserve members, and exclusion from income of “qualified military benefits.”
- Arkansas Homestead and Personal Property Tax Exemption: Disabled Veterans shall be exempt from payment of all state taxes on the homestead and personal property owned by the disabled Veteran. Arkansas Veterans who have been rated, by the VA, as 100% service-connected (Permanent and Total) or awarded Special Monthly Compensation for loss or loss of use of one or more limbs total blindness in one or both eyes. Surviving Spouses, so long as they do not remarry, dependent Children, during their minority, are also eligible for this entitlement if the Veteran was killed or died in the scope of his military duties, is missing in action, or died from service-connected causes as certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If subsequent marriage is terminated, Surviving Spouse may be reinstated. In all cases, annual re-certification of continued entitlement by the VA is required.
- Arkansas Gross Receipts or Gross Proceeds Tax Exemption: Gross receipts and gross proceeds derived from the sale of motor vehicles and adaptive equipment to disabled Veterans who have purchased the vehicles or adaptive equipment with the financial assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs as provided under 38 U.S.C. 1901-1905. Gross receipts or proceeds derived from the sale of new automobiles to a Veteran who is blind as a result of a service-connected injury. Registration will require an entitlement letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs and will be limited to one new vehicle every two (2) years. This exemption defines “automobile” as a passenger vehicle or pickup truck but does not include trucks with a maximum gross load in excess of three-quarter (3/4) ton and does not include any trailer. A Veteran who is blind as a result of a service-connected injury. Registration will require an entitlement letter from the VA and will be limited to one new vehicle every two (2) years.
- Military Retirement Pay is Exempt from all Arkansas State Taxes: Act 141 of Arkansas’ 91st General Assembly exempts Military Retired Pay from Arkansas State Income Taxes effective January 1st, 2018.
- Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (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.
- Statewide: 6.5%
- Counties: can levy a sales tax of no more than 5.00%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 8.60%
Discounted Hunting & Fishing Licenses for Military Retirees: Military retirees can get a discounted lifetime hunting, fishing or combination license. Arkansas Veterans who are 100% permanently disabled can get discounted lifetime hunting, fishing, or combination licenses.
Active Duty Hunting & Fishing Licenses: Active duty members stationed in Arkansas can get licenses at the resident rate.
Arkansas State Parks: Veterans who are 100% permanently disabled can receive 50% off most Arkansas State Parks.
Arkansas National Guard Tuition Assistance Program: Arkansas National Guard Tuition Assistance pays up to 120 credit hours or until completion of a bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first.
All current National Guard Service members that meet the following criteria:
- Arkansas Resident
- Completed Basic Training
- Does not already hold a bachelors or higher degree
- Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at an Arkansas public institution of higher education
- Not flagged for serious misconduct (such as AWOL, ASAP, etc.)
Arkansas Military Dependents Scholarship Program (MDS): The Military Dependents Scholarship Program (MDS), provides financial aid for undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s degree or certificate of completion at any public college, university or technical school in Arkansas who qualify as a spouse or dependent child of an Arkansas resident who has been declared to be missing in action, killed in action, a prisoner of war, or killed on ordnance delivery, or a Veteran who has been declared to be 100% totally and permanently disabled during, or as a result of, active military service.
Arkansas Diplomas for Wartime Veterans: High School Diplomas can be obtained for WWII Veterans as well as Korean and Vietnam Veterans who were called up for active duty service before finishing high school. Qualifying Veterans should contact their school superintendent or the Arkansas Department of Education.
Arkansas In-State Tuition for Veterans, Service Members, and Dependents: Regardless of residence, a state-supported institution of higher education, trade schools, or vocational schools shall classify a student as in-state, in-county, in-district, or resident for the purpose of tuition and fees applicable for all programs of study, including distance learning programs, if the student is a:
- A Veteran who was discharged or released from a period of not less than ninety (90) days of active duty in the military, naval, or air service within three (3) years before the date of enrollment in a program of study;
- Dependent of a Veteran
- A member of the Armed Forces
- A Spouse of a member of the Armed Forces
Arkansas 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:
- 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
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Eligibility for admission:
- Veterans must have served in the Armed Forces (deployment necessary)
- Veterans must have an honorable discharge
- Have no criminal record(s)
- Arkansas residents have first priority
- Spouses or un-remarried surviving spouse (including Gold Star Parents) are also eligible provided they meet the age and residency requirements
- Have a medical need for nursing home placement
Employment and Job Training: Veteran’s Preference
Veterans with an honorable discharge (including reserve/guard members) with at least six years of service will get an additional 5 point preference on state hiring exams. Disabled Veterans, and their spouses, will get an additional 10 point preference.
Arkansas State Employee Leave for Military Duty: State employees have 15 days of paid military leave per year for annual training requirements or other duties performed in an official duty status; Personnel called to duty in emergency situations by the Governor or the President shall be granted leave with pay not to exceed thirty (30) working days after which leave without pay will be granted. Arkansas National Guard or Reserve Service members that are state employees are eligible for leave for military duty.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protect civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA also makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive the Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
Burials and Memorials
Please note that your preference regarding burial in a national cemetery and use of a headstone provided by VA should be documented and kept with your paperwork and medical records. Veterans who have an other than dishonorable discharge are eligible for interment, along with certain others. Spouses and dependent children are also eligible. There is no cost for the veteran and a $300 cost for the spouse or dependent.
National Cemeteries include:
Fayetteville: Fayetteville National Cemetery
Fort Smith: Fort Smith National Cemetery
Little Rock: Little Rock National Cemetery
Arkansas VA Benefit Resources
Arkansas provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Arkansas VA Regional Benefit Offices
- North Little Rock: North Little Rock Regional Benefit Office
Arkansas VA Medical Centers
- Fayetteville: Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks
- Little Rock: Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital
- North Little Rock: Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center
Important information for Arkansas Veteran Benefits:
For Veterans applying for VA benefits for the first time, you must submit a copy of your DD 214 (discharge paperwork). This will provide your discharge status, along with your full name, social security number, branch of service, and dates for which you served. Honorable and general discharges qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.
You should always keep your paperwork, along with your medical records, in a safe place where you and your family can have access to them. It is imperative to have it in a location where it cannot be destroyed or tampered with, which includes a safe.
Your eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Any Veteran discharged from the military under the conditions of “Dishonorable” due to bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits. VA regional offices can clarify the eligibility of prisoners, parolees, and individuals with multiple discharges issued under differing conditions.
*This information is accurate as of December 2019
Arkansas Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Arkansas and are VA rated 90% or less, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Contact Veterans Guardian for a free consultation with no obligation. Let us review your claim to determine if you are eligible for an increase in VA compensation and whether you qualify for additional benefits.