The state of Louisiana extends unique benefits to Service members, Veterans, and their families, encompassing property tax exemptions, preferences in state employment, education, and tuition assistance, specialized vehicle tags, state park passes, and hunting and fishing license privileges. Eligibility for certain benefits may be contingent on factors such as residency, military affiliation, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Louisiana.
Louisiana Veteran Financial Benefits
- Louisiana State Taxes on Military Retired Pay: Military retired pay is excluded from Louisiana state income tax. Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) does not withhold taxes for state or local income tax, but it is reported annually on IRS Form 1099-R. All TSP distributions are subject to state taxes, and early distributions may incur higher taxes.
- Louisiana State Taxes on Military Pay: Louisiana resident Service members serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who were stationed out-of-state for 120 or more consecutive days are eligible for a state tax exemption of up to $50,000 of their military income.
- Combat Pay Exempt from Louisiana Taxes: Military pay that is exempt from federal taxes, such as combat pay and hazardous duty pay is also exempt from Louisiana state taxes.
- Louisiana Income Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 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.
- Louisiana State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free financial benefit provided to qualifying survivors of U.S. Armed Forces Service members who lost their lives in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.
- Louisiana State Taxes on Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) / Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) / Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP): SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP annuities are exempt from Louisiana state taxes.
- Louisiana Homestead Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans and Surviving Spouses: In addition to the standard homestead exemption authorized under Article VII, Section 20 of the Louisiana Constitution, which applies to the first $7,500 of the assessed value of the property.Disabled Veteran Exemption: Disabled Veterans may be eligible for an additional exemption of ad valorem property taxes based on their disability percentage.
Veterans who have the following disability ratings from the VA are eligible for an exemption of the specified amount:
- Service-connected disability rating of 100%, individual unemployability or totally disabled is exempt from all ad valorem taxes
- A service-connected disability rating of 70-99% is eligible for an additional exemption of $4,500
- A service-connected disability rating of 50-69% is eligible for an additional exemption of $2,500
The surviving spouse of an eligible deceased disabled Veteran (listed above) is also eligible for this exemption if they remain the owner and live on the property.
Surviving Spouse Exemption: The un-remarried surviving spouses of Service member who was serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Louisiana National Guard and died while serving on active duty is eligible for an exemption from all ad valorem taxes. If a surviving spouse moves to a new property, they can still receive the exemption but only up to the amount of the exemption on the first property.
Those eligible for an exemption should contact their local Parish Tax Assessor for more information.
Louisiana Special Assessment Level for Service Members, Disabled Veterans, Spouses, and Surviving Spouses: The Louisiana Special Assessment Level allows someone who meets eligibility requirements to have the assessed value of their property frozen. This does not freeze the amount of their tax bill but only the assessed value of the property will be frozen. The amount of taxes due could change because of an increase in the tax rate or if the size of the living area is increased. The occupying owner or owners must have a total combined adjusted gross income that is less than the amount determined by each Parish Tax Assessor.
Who is eligible for Louisiana Special Assessment Level for Service Members, Disabled Veterans, Spouses, and Surviving Spouses? To qualify for a special assessment level applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Service member or Veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 50% or more from the VA, or their surviving spouse who is 45 years old or older or has minor children
- Spouse of a Service member serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who is declared missing in action or a prisoner of war for more than 90 days
- Surviving spouse of a Service member who was killed in action
- Statewide: 4.45%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 7.0%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 9.55%
- Louisiana Resident Disabled Veterans Hunting and Fishing Licenses: Veterans who are residents and hold a permanent service-connected disability rating of 50% or higher from the VA qualify for complimentary recreational fishing and hunting licenses. This inclusive license covers Basic and Saltwater Fishing Licenses, as well as Basic, Deer, Waterfowl, and Turkey Hunting Licenses, along with a Wildlife Management Area Access Permit.
- Louisiana Resident Hunting and Fishing License for Nonresident Active Duty Service Members and Dependents: Nonresident active duty Service members and their dependents can acquire Louisiana hunting or recreational fishing licenses at resident rates. To do so, individuals must present a valid military ID card when obtaining the license.For hunting or fishing activities, Service members or their dependents must carry both their military or dependent ID card and the relevant license(s). Notably, active duty military licenses are applicable only during the period of the Service member’s active duty service.
- Purple Heart Recipients Can Purchase Louisiana Hunting and Fishing Licenses at Resident Prices: Nonresident Purple Heart recipients are eligible to purchase hunting and fishing licenses for resident prices. Applicants must submit a copy of their DD214 or any other military document that indicates the applicant received a Purple Heart.
- Louisiana Resident Retired Service Member Reduced Cost Hunting and Fishing License: Louisiana residents or native-born retired Service members who served in an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to purchase a combination hunting and fishing license for $20. Applicants must provide:
- Residents: copy of valid Louisiana driver’s license or Louisiana ID card (issued a minimum of six months prior to applying) and a copy of their retired military ID card
- Nonresidents: a certified copy of their Louisiana birth certificate, a copy of their driver’s license and a copy of their retired military ID card
- Louisiana Resident Surviving Spouse Reduced Cost Hunting and Fishing License: A Louisiana resident Surviving spouse of a Service member who was killed in action, or while serving in a combat zone may be eligible for the Louisiana Resident Disabled/Special Needs License for $4. This license includes Basic and Saltwater Fishing Licenses, Basic, Deer, Waterfowl, and Turkey Hunting Licenses, and a Wildlife Management Area Access Permit.Surviving spouses must have lived in Louisiana continuously for at least six months prior to application and are required to provide copies of the following documents when they apply:
- DD1300 Report of Casualty
- Death certificate
- Valid Louisiana driver’s license or ID card
- Louisiana State Parks Benefits for Veterans and Service Members: Louisiana State Parks offers several benefits for Service members, Retired Service members, Veterans and disabled Veterans.
- Free Entrance to Louisiana State Parks for Disabled Veterans: Disabled Veterans are eligible for a free Louisiana State Parks Permit that authorizes the Veteran and those with them (in a single private vehicle) free entry into a Louisiana State Park. Veterans can apply at their local parish Veterans Service Office.
- Reduced Admission and Discount for Service Members and Veterans: Service members serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and one immediate Family member receive a 50% discount for day-use entry to a state park, historic site, or world heritage site. Service members must show their military ID card to receive the discount.
- Discount for Service Members and Retired Service Members: Service members serving in an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces and retired Service members receive 15% off all rentable facilities. Service members and retired Service members must show their military ID card to receive the discount.
Louisiana Military & Veteran Miscellaneous Benefits
- Louisiana Military Family Assistance Fund (MFA): MFA provides financial support to Veterans, Service members, and their
- Families when they experience financial hardships. These funds can be used for things such as housing, utilities, medical services, and other essential expenses that may have incurred undue financial hardship. MFA can pay up to $10,000 per claim in a 12-month period.Who is eligible for MFA? To be eligible applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Louisiana resident
- A service member in good standing in the Louisiana National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, or
- Veteran who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an Honorable or Under Honorable Conditions discharge (DD214 and/or NGB22 is required) and meets one of the following conditions:
- Served at least 24 months of continuous active duty (other than for training)
- Served at least 90 days on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an Early or Hardship Discharge Title 10 U.S.C. 1171, 1173
- Has a service-connected disability and is eligible for compensation from the VA
- Received a discharge after less than 90 days of service in the U.S. Armed Forces due to a service-connected disability
- Recording of Discharges for Louisiana Veterans: Louisiana Clerks of Court will record a Service member’s honorable discharge documents free of charge. Once recorded these documents are confidential and cannot be released or shown to any person except the Veteran or someone they designate.
- Upon the death of the Veteran, these records can be provided to the executor of their estate, Surviving spouse or a Family member. Those requesting these records must provide official documentation of the Veteran’s death.
- Toll and Parking Fee Exemption for National Guard Service Members on Official Business and Disabled Veterans: Louisiana National Guard Service members in uniform and under official orders are not required to pay for parking or tolls for ferries or bridges when going to, engaged in, or returning from official business.Any private vehicle operated by a disabled Veteran is not required to pay for parking or tolls for ferries or bridges, as well as parking facilities owned or operated by the state. These exemptions do not apply to Crescent City Connection bridges.
- Louisiana Educational Benefits for Children, Spouses and Surviving Spouses of Veterans: Louisiana will provide educational financial assistance for the children and Surviving spouses of certain resident Veterans.
- Those eligible may attend a state supported college, university, trade or vocational technical school and are exempt from paying tuition and school-imposed fees, student-imposed fees are not exempt. Students are eligible for four years of schooling that must be completed within five years.
- Who is eligible for Louisiana Educational Benefits for Children, Spouses, and Surviving Spouses of Veterans? The Veteran must meet one of the following prerequisites for their dependents to be eligible:
- Died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, or
- Died from a service-connected disability incurred during a wartime period, or
- The service member was declared missing in action or a prisoner of war, or
- Veterans who are rated by the VA as 90% or more service-connected disabled or unemployable (only children are eligible)
In addition to meeting the prerequisites listed above deceased Veterans must have been a resident of Louisiana for at least 12 months immediately prior to entry into the U.S. Armed Forces, or a living Veteran must have been a resident for not less than 24 months immediately prior to their Child’s admission into an educational program.
The surviving spouse must use this benefit within 10 years of the date of eligibility. A Child must be between the ages of 16 and 25. Students must be attending full-time to be eligible.
- Louisiana State Tuition Exemption Program (STEP): STEP provides an exemption from all tuition charges at a Louisiana state-supported educational institution for eligible Louisiana National Guard Service members. This exemption may be used for five separate academic years or until the Service member receives an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, or professional level, whichever occurs first.
- Louisiana Residency for Tuition Purposes for Service Members, Dependents, and Veterans: Nonresident Service members serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who are stationed in Louisiana and their dependents are authorized residency for tuition purposes at Louisiana public colleges and universities.The child or spouse of a nonresident Service member who has been reassigned out of Louisiana will keep their residency for tuition purposes if they stay in Louisiana to continue their education.
In addition, Veterans using VA educational benefits or students using transferred VA educational benefits who remain continuously enrolled and live in Louisiana also qualify for residency for tuition purposes.
- Louisiana 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:
- 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 to achieve educational success for the student
- Louisiana Purple Star School Award Program for Military-Friendly Schools: A recent Senate Resolution has authorized the creation of the Louisiana Purple Star School Award program for military-friendly schools. The program recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces.
- 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:
- Who is eligible for care at the Louisiana State Veterans Homes?
- To be eligible for admission at a Louisiana Veterans Home, Veterans must have served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for 90 days or more and received an honorable discharge for their most recent period of active duty service. If the Veteran’s active duty service was less than 90 days, the Veteran must have been discharged due to a service-connected disability. Veterans must be a resident of Louisiana unless the are referred from an in-state VA Medical Center or by an LDVA Counselor.
- In addition, the spouse, surviving spouse, and Gold Star Parents of an eligible Veteran may also be admitted.
Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference
- Paid Leave for Louisiana State Employees for Military Duty: State employees who are members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for 15 days of paid leave per calendar year when ordered to duty or training. When they return from duty, they must be restored to their state employment without loss of pay, time, annual leave, or efficiency rating.
- Louisiana Veterans’ Employment and Training Services: The Louisiana Workforce Commission, Veterans’ Employment and Training Services provide job assistance, job training referrals, and job placement services for Veterans and eligible spouses. Additionally, those eligible will receive priority of service for all Louisiana Workforce Commission job training programs. Priority of service means that Veterans and eligible spouses are entitled to preference over others for a service, either earlier in time or, if the resource is limited, they receive access instead of those not eligible.
- In addition, Veterans or Service members leaving the U.S. Armed Forces who have significant barriers to employment can receive intensive services from a Disabled Veteran’s Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist.
- Priority of Service Eligibility:Veteran Eligibility:
- Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (other than for training) for 180 days or more and received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Was released after less than 180 days of service due to a service-connected disability and received an other-than-dishonorable discharge
- Reserve component Service members who are ordered to active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized and received an other than dishonorable discharge
Spouse Eligibility: The spouse or un-remarried surviving spouse of the following are eligible:
- Veteran who died of a service-connected disability
- Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who is listed for 90 or more days as:
- Missing in action
- Captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
- Forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power
- A veteran who has a total service-connected disability rating from the VA
- Veteran who died while a disability (as above) was in existence
DVOP Assistance Eligibility: Veterans or Service members who have significant barriers to employment are eligible for DVOP Specialist assistance:
- Has a service-connected disability
- Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
- Recently separated and unemployed
- Did not receive a high school diploma
- Offender released in last 12 months
- Low income
- Between the ages of 18 and 24
- Vietnam Era Veteran
Louisiana Veterans Initiative, (LAVETBIZ): LAVETBIZ is a certification program that is designed to help eligible Louisiana Veteran-owned and service-connected disabled Veteran-owned small businesses gain greater access to purchasing and contracting opportunities at the state government level. LAVETBIZ provides:
- Business and contact information to state purchasing officials and prime contractors who are looking for subcontractors
- State agencies are encouraged to get quotes from and use qualified, certified companies whenever possible
- For small purchases (less than $30,000), state agencies can waive the required additional quotes if a certified company submits a quote that is reasonable
- 12% of the total evaluation points can be added to a bid on a Request for Proposal (RFP)
- Prime contractors who use a Veteran business as a subcontractor on a bid for an RFP are also eligible to receive additional percentage points on their bid
- Who is eligible for Louisiana LAVETBIZ? The program is open to all Louisiana businesses that meet the following eligibility requirements for a Small Entrepreneurship (SE) under the Veteran Initiative:
- 51% or more of the business must be owned by a Veteran
- The principal place of business is in Louisiana
- The company must have less than 50 full-time employees
- Average annual gross receipts must not exceed $6 million for non-construction and $10 million for construction companies
- Business must be independently owned and operated
- Business must not be dominant in its professional field
- Owned by a Louisiana resident
- Owned by and have officers who are U.S. citizens or legal residents
- Service-Connected Disabled Veteran: This is an additional distinction available within the Veteran Initiative for service-connected disabled-Veteran-owned businesses. To qualify, the business must meet all the requirements above, as well as at least 51% of the business must be owned by a service-connected disabled Veteran.
- Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative: The Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative was created to recognize and promote businesses that are at least 51% owned by Veterans, active or reserve component Service members or surviving spouses.
- Companies must have its principal place of business in Louisiana and be owned by Louisiana residents who are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
- Louisiana Civil Service Veterans’ Hiring Preference: Louisiana offers a Veterans’ Hiring Preference for state employment to Veterans, their spouse, surviving spouse and surviving parents. Those eligible can receive five or ten points added to the final passing scores on civil service examinations. These additional points are added only in new hiring situations and do not apply for promotions.
- Five preference points were awarded to Veterans who were honorably discharged or discharged under honorable conditions who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the following periods:
- June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955 (Korean Conflict)
- July 1, 1958, through August 4, 1964 (Vietnam Theater)
- August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975 (Vietnam Era)
- August 2, 1990, through an indeterminate date (must have received the Southwest Asia Service Medal)
- During any time a campaign medal was awarded (must be plainly stated on DD214)
- At least 90 days of active duty service (other than for training) after September 11, 2001
Ten preference points are awarded to only one of the applicants listed below:
- Honorably discharged Veteran who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and has a service-connected disability rating from the VA
- Spouse of a Veteran whose disability prevents them from working
- Un-remarried surviving spouse of a deceased Veteran who served during any of the time periods listed above
- Un-remarried surviving parent of a Service member who died while serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or a Veteran who has a service-connected total and permanent disability
- Divorced or separated parents of a Service member who died on active duty while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, or a Veteran who has a service-connected total and permanent disability
- Louisiana Testing Exemptions in Civil Employment for Veterans: A state employment hiring authority may hire a Veteran for a probational appointment or job appointment without requiring a civil service examination, for Veterans who meet the minimum qualifications of the job.
- Reinstatement to Louisiana State Employment after Military Service: State employees who leave their position to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces are entitled to be reemployed to their same position, or a position of similar seniority, status and pay after they are discharged from military service. The Veteran must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible.
- Louisiana Professional Licensing Military and Veteran Benefits: Louisiana professional licensing boards are authorized by Louisiana law to provide the following benefits for Service members, Veterans, and military spouses:
- Accept military education and experience toward meeting licensing requirements
- Military-trained applicants are authorized Louisiana professional licenses if they have a current license issued by another state (or jurisdiction) whose regulations meet or exceed Louisiana licensing requirements
- May issue professional licenses to military spouses who have a current license issued by another state (or jurisdiction) whose regulations meet or exceed Louisiana licensing requirements
- Issue temporary licenses and offer accelerated processing while a full license application is being processed
- 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
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. 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:
Baton Rouge: Baton Rouge National Cemetery
Pineville: Alexandria National Cemetery
Zachary: Louisiana National Cemetery
Zachary: Port Hudson National Cemetery
Louisiana VA Benefit Resources
Louisiana provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Louisiana VA Regional Benefits Office
- New Orleans: New Orleans Regional Office
Louisiana VA Medical Centers
- New Orleans: Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System
- Pineville: Alexandria VA Health Care System
- Shreveport: Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
- Shreveport: Shreveport
Important information for Louisiana 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 November 2023
Louisiana Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Louisiana 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.