Indiana provides exclusive benefits for Service members, Veterans, and their families. These benefits comprise state income tax exemptions, exemptions for military retired pay and property tax, educational and tuition support, unique military vehicle tags, and access to hunting and fishing licenses, as well as state park privileges. Please note that eligibility for certain benefits may be contingent upon factors such as residency, military affiliation, and the Veteran’s disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Indiana.
Indiana Veteran Financial Benefits
- Indiana residents who are Service members in either the active or reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces can take advantage of a $5,000 income tax deduction for their military pay. For Service members deployed outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico who are obligated to file Indiana income tax, there’s an automatic 60-day extension provided for tax filing. Those serving in a combat zone have up to 180 days after returning from deployment to file their Indiana income taxes.
Additionally, any military pay earned while serving in a combat zone is not subject to Indiana income tax.
- Indiana National Guard and Reserve Component Service Member Pay Income Tax Deduction: Resident Service members in the Indiana National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves are eligible to deduct all military pay from their Indiana Income tax if they are called to federal active duty.
- Indiana Income Tax on Military Retired Pay: Starting in tax year 2022 military retired pay is exempt from Indiana Income tax.
- Indiana Non-resident Military Spouse Earned Income Deduction: Non-resident military spouses do not have to pay Indiana income tax for wages earned in Indiana.
Who is eligible for the Indiana Non-resident Military Spouse Earned Income Deduction? To be eligible non-resident military spouses must meet the following requirements:
- Service member and their spouse are residents of the same state other than Indiana
- The service member is in Indiana to comply with military orders
- Military spouse is in Indiana only to be with the Service member, and they live in the same residence
- Indiana 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 service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income. Some of the payments that 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
- Indiana State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a tax-exempt financial benefit disbursed to qualifying survivors of U.S. Armed Forces Service members who lost their lives while in the line of duty, or eligible survivors of Veterans whose demise was directly linked to a service-related injury or illness.
- Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) / Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) / Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Indiana State Tax Benefits: Starting in tax year 2022 military survivor benefits are exempt from Indiana Income tax.
- Indiana Disabled Veterans Property Tax Deductions: Indiana offers three property tax deductions for resident disabled Veterans.
- Deduction for Totally Disabled Veterans, Partially Disabled Veterans over age 62, and spouses: A $14,000 deduction for Veterans and Surviving spouses who meet the following requirements:
- Served at least 90 days in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge (can be peacetime service) and
- Has a total disability rating from the VA (does not have to be service-connected) or
- 62 years old or older and has a 10% or more service-connected disability rating
- Surviving spouse of:
- An eligible Veteran
- Service member killed in action
- Service member who died while serving on active or inactive duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Deduction for Veteran with Partial Disability: A $24,960 tax deduction is available for Veterans and their Surviving spouses who meet the following requirements:
- Received an honorable discharge for service in the U.S. Armed Forces during the following time periods:
- World War II – December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946
- Korea – June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam – August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975
- Gulf War – August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation, and:
- Has at least a 10% or more service-connected disability rating from the VA
- The surviving spouse of an eligible Veteran can claim this deduction
- Received an honorable discharge for service in the U.S. Armed Forces during the following time periods:
- Deduction for Property Received from a Tax-Exempt Organization: Indiana offers a property tax deduction on the assessed value of property given to disabled Veterans by charitable organizations. The property tax deduction is equal to the percentage of service-connected disability the VA has awarded the Veteran. Veterans must have served during a wartime period for at least 90 days received an honorable discharge and have a service-connected disability rating greater than 50%.
Percentages of property tax deductions:
- Total disability rating (100%) – deduction is equal to 100% of the assessed value
- 90% disability rating – deduction is equal to 90% of the assessed value
- 80% disability rating – deduction is equal to 80% of the assessed value
- 70% disability rating – deduction is equal to 70% of the assessed value
- 60% disability rating – deduction is equal to 60% of the assessed value
- 50% disability rating – deduction is equal to 50% of the assessed value
- Vehicle Excise Tax Deduction for Disabled Veterans: Veterans or their spouses who meet the eligibility criteria for any of the deductions mentioned but find that the assessed value of their property is lower than the available deduction can direct the surplus amount towards the excise tax for a maximum of two vehicles. Veterans and their eligible spouses have the opportunity to receive a $2 credit for every $100 of the remaining property tax deduction, which can be used to offset their excise tax liability. It’s important to note that an individual cannot simultaneously claim both a vehicle credit and a property tax credit.
- Statewide: 7.0%
- Counties: cannot levy an additional sales tax
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 7.0%
- Indiana Golden Hoosier Passport Half Price for Disabled Veterans and Former Prisoners of War (POWs): Disabled Veterans and Former Prisoners of War (POWs) have the opportunity to acquire the Hoosier Golden Passport at a 50% discount. This passport offers unrestricted access to all Indiana State-owned parks, recreational areas, reservoirs, and forests for a full calendar year. Please note that it does not grant access to historic sites, museums, or memorials.
- Indiana Hunting License Exemption for Service Members on Leave: Indiana residents who are Service members on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and are on leave within the state can engage in hunting without the need for a license. However, Service members must have their leave papers and either a valid Indiana driver’s license or a voter registration card with them while hunting.
- Indiana Hunting and Fishing Licenses at Resident Prices for Nonresident Service Members: Nonresident active duty Service members stationed in Indiana can purchase hunting and fishing licenses for resident prices.
- Indiana Disabled Veterans Hunting and Fishing Licenses: Indiana resident disabled Veterans have the option to acquire an annual license for hunting and fishing at a cost of $2.75 or a 10-year license for $27.50. It’s important to note that the Disabled Veteran license covers exclusively small game hunting and fishing. For waterfowl, Trout, Salmon, deer, and turkey, separate stamps must be obtained at the standard rates.
Indiana Wartime Veterans High School Diploma Program: Indiana offers high school diplomas to Veterans who left high school to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during the following wartime periods:
- December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946 (World War II)
- June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955 (Korea)
- August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975 (Vietnam)
Who is eligible for the Indiana Wartime Veterans High School Diploma Program? Veterans must meet these requirements to be eligible:
- Was a student in good standing at an Indiana high school and did not graduate or receive a diploma due to entering the U.S. Armed Forces
- Received an honorable discharge
Diplomas may be awarded posthumously; applications should be submitted to the address on the application.
Indiana Financial Aid for Military Service Members and Families: Indiana offers several educational benefits to resident Service members, Veterans, and eligible family members.
- Tuition and Fee Exemption for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans – Provides 100% tuition and regularly assessed fees for children of deceased Veterans and a portion of tuition and regularly assessed fees for children of disabled Veterans (20% of tuition plus the percentage of the Veterans service-connected disability), funding is limited to 124 credit hours and may be used at the undergraduate and professional degree level
- Tuition and Fee Exemption for Children of Purple Heart Recipients– Provides 100% of tuition and regularly assessed fees for the children of Purple Heart recipients, funding is limited to 124 credit hours and may be used at the undergraduate and professional degree level
- Supplemental Grant for Children and Spouses of Indiana National Guard Service Members – Provides 100% of tuition and regularly assessed fees for the child or spouse of an Indiana National Guard Service member who is killed in the line of duty while serving on state active duty, funding is limited to 124 credit hours
- Tuition and Fee Exemption for Indiana Purple Heart Recipients – Provides 100% of tuition and regularly assessed fees for Purple Heart recipients, funding is limited to 124 credit hours and may be used for a certificate, or undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree
- Soldier’s and Sailors’ Children Home – Provides 100% of tuition and regularly assessed fees for students who are former students or graduates of Morton Memorial High School and former residents of the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home, funding is limited to 124 credit hours and may be used at the undergraduate, graduate or professional degree level
- Indiana National Guard (ING) Supplemental Grant (NGSG): The Indiana National Guard State Grant (INGSG) covers 100% of tuition and the standard fees for Service members who are part of the Indiana National Guard (ING) enrolled in Indiana’s public colleges and universities. This benefit applies to both full-time and part-time attendance, specifically during the Spring and Fall semesters.
- ING Scholarship Extension Program: The ING Scholarship Extension Program is open to former Indiana National Guard (ING) Service members who could not finish their degree because of active duty deployment. Eligible former Service members should have previously utilized the NGSG, engaged in active duty overseas after September 10, 2001, and have received an honorable discharge. Participants in this program have the flexibility to attend classes on either a full-time or part-time basis.
- Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), State Approving Agency (SAA), Apprenticeships and On-the Job Training (OJT) for Veterans and Reserve Component Service Members: The Indiana State Approving Agency (SAA) authorizes On-the-Job Training (OJT) and apprenticeship training programs for Veterans and eligible Service members, enabling them to utilize their VA education benefits. These programs offer a hands-on approach to acquiring a trade or skill, replacing traditional classroom instruction.
Veterans and Service members typically enter into a formal training agreement with an employer or union, specifying a designated duration. Upon completing the training period, they earn job certification or journeyman status. During OJT or apprenticeships, employers often provide a reduced wage, which must be a minimum of 50% of the journeyman’s wage. Participants can expect periodic wage increases, reaching 85% of a fully trained employee’s wage in the last full month of their training.
Apprenticeship programs come in both union and non-union varieties and usually span two to five years. In Indiana, there are over 860 different occupations eligible for apprenticeships, offering a wide range of opportunities for skill development.
- Indiana Resident Tuition Rates for Indiana National Guard Service Members, Active Duty Service Members and Dependents: Nonresident Service members and their dependents may be eligible for resident tuition rates at Indiana public colleges and universities.
- Indiana Resident Tuition for Veterans: Nonresident Veterans and former Indiana National Guard Service members who enroll in a Indiana public colleges and university within 12 months after receiving an honorable discharge are eligible for resident tuition rates.
- 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 in order to achieve educational success for the student.
- Indiana 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:
- Indiana Purple Star School Designation for Military-Friendly Schools: The Indiana Purple Star School Designation for military-friendly schools recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces. Designated schools also offer a guaranteed job interview for Service members and their immediate family members, who meet the minimum qualifications for job openings within the school.
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.
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Eligibility for admission:
- Honorably discharged Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Spouse or Surviving spouse of an eligible Veteran (must have been married to the Veteran for five years prior to application)
- Indiana resident for at least one year immediately prior to application for admission, applicants can apply for an admission waiver if they enlisted from, or were discharged to Indiana
- Gold Star parents of a Service member who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
Employment and Job Training: Veteran’s Preference
- Military Leave for Indiana National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service Members: Indiana National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service members are eligible for 15 days of military leave per calendar year for required military training. This leave may be granted, with or without pay, at the discretion of the employer.
- Who is eligible for Leave for Indiana National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service Members Military Training? Indiana National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service members are eligible for military leave. Upon return, the Service member must be returned to their previous or a similar position.
- Indiana Military Family Leave: Indiana employers must grant 10 days unpaid leave for Family members of Service members who have received deployment orders. The leave can be taken in the 30-day period before the deployment, while the Service member is on leave during the deployment, or within 30 days at the end of their deployment.
- Who is eligible for Indiana Military Family Leave? Indiana employers that have more than 50 employees must grant military Family leave to the Family members of a Service member who is ordered on an active duty deployment. The spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling who has been employed for 12 months is eligible.
- Indiana Voluntary Veterans’ Hiring Preference Policy for Private Employers: A private employer may have a policy granting preference to Veterans regarding hiring, promotion, or retention (during a reduction in force). The policy must be in writing and applied uniformly to all employees.
- Indiana State Employment Veterans’ Hiring Preference: Indiana offers Veterans’ preference in Indiana civil service employment for Veterans. Preference is given by adding 10% to the scores of Veterans during the hiring process.
Who is eligible for Indiana State Employment Veterans Hiring Preference? To be eligible, Veterans must meet the following requirements:
- Served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 181 days
- Received an honorable discharge
- Indiana Employment Assistance for Veterans: The Indiana Department of Workforce Development offers dedicated employment support to Indiana Veterans. This support is delivered through two key programs: the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) and the Local Veterans’ Employment Representative (LVER) Program.
Indiana’s Workforce Development Offices play a crucial role in aiding Veterans in their transition from the U.S. Armed Forces to civilian life. The DVOPs focus on providing personalized training and job placement options specifically designed for Veterans dealing with service-connected disabilities and other employment barriers. Meanwhile, the LVER program coordinates an array of services for Veterans, encompassing counseling, testing, and the identification of training and employment prospects.
- Federal Employment Veteran’s Hiring Preferences: Federal law mandates that Veterans, especially those with disabilities or those who served during specific time periods or in military campaigns, are granted preference over non-veterans when it comes to Federal civil service hiring and retention during workforce reductions. In various scoring processes for examinations and interviews, Veterans may be eligible for an additional 5 or 10 points.
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
- 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 a 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 for 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 if 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 to 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 to 102% 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 Benefits? 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.
Burials and Memorials
The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) pays tribute to eligible Veterans and their family members by providing a final resting place and a lasting memorial to commemorate the Veteran’s dedicated service to the nation.
The burial benefits encompass a gravesite in any of our open cemeteries with available space, the opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government-furnished headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, all at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also meet the criteria for a burial allowance. Cremated remains are interred or inurned in national cemeteries with the same honors and respect as casketed remains.
Burial benefits extend to eligible spouses and dependents, including burial alongside the Veteran and perpetual care of the interment site. The name and relevant dates of birth and death of the spouse or dependent are inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone at no expense to the family. Importantly, spouses and qualified dependents are eligible for burial even if they pass away before the Veteran and are not required to be interred in the same national cemetery as the Veteran.
National Cemeteries include:
Indianapolis: Crown Hill Cemetery Confederate Plot
Indianapolis: Crown Hill National Cemetery
Marion: Marion National Cemetery
New Albany: New Albany National Cemetery
Terre Haute: Woodlawn Monument Site
Indiana VA Benefit Resources
Indiana provides Veterans with a District Benefits Office and a Regional Benefits Office, along with VA Medical Centers.
Indiana VA District Benefits Office
- Indianapolis: Midwest District
Indiana VA Regional Benefits Office
- Indianapolis: Indianapolis Regional Office
Indiana VA Medical Centers
- Fort Wayne: VA Northern Indiana Health Care System-Fort Wayne Campus
- Indianapolis: Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center
- Marion: VA Northern Indiana Health Care System – Marion Campus
Important information for Indiana 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, or 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 October 2023
Indiana Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Indiana 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 whether you qualify for additional benefits.