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Veteran Benefits for Michigan

Veteran Benefits for Michigan

Michigan offers special benefits for Service members, Veterans, and their families, including property tax exemptions, Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program, Michigan National Guard state retirement pay, employment assistance, civil service preference, special vehicle license plates, and hunting and fishing license benefits. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status.

The following are benefits for the state of Michigan.

Michigan Veteran Financial Benefits

  • Michigan Income Taxes on Military Retired Pay: Military retired pay is exempt from Michigan individual 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.
  • Michigan State 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 either 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 their limbs or
    • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
  • Michigan State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.
  • Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Michigan State Tax Benefits: Survivor annuities paid to the Surviving spouse of retired Service members are exempt from Michigan individual income tax.
  • Michigan Veteran, Service Member, and Surviving Spouse Homestead Property Tax Credit: Service members, Veterans, and surviving spouses may claim a property tax credit on their Michigan primary residence for up to $1,500. For most people, the credit is based on comparing household income and property taxes. Homesteads can have a taxable value of up to $136,600.
  • Michigan Disabled Veteran Homestead Property Tax Exemption: Michigan offers a total property tax exemption of the primary residence owned and occupied by an eligible disabled veteran or their surviving spouse.

    Who is eligible for the Michigan Disabled Veteran Homestead Property Tax Credit? To qualify for the exemption, the Veteran must be a Michigan resident, received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces, and meet one of the following requirements:

    • Permanent and total service-connected disability rating from the VA
    • Received financial assistance from the VA for specially adapted housing
    • Rated by the VA as individually unemployable
    • An un-remarried resident surviving spouse of a disabled Veteran is also eligible for this exemption.

Sales Tax:

  • Statewide: 6.00%
  • Counties: cannot levy an additional sales tax
  • Common exceptions at the state level:
    • Prescription medicines are exempt
    • Unprepared foods are exempt


  • Michigan Hunting and Fishing Privileges for Service Members: Michigan residents serving federal active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses.Nonresident Service members serving on federal active duty stationed in Michigan can receive resident pricing on hunting and fishing licenses.

    Licenses are available at all DNR Customer Service Centers or online. Service members must carry documentation of their active duty status and their DNR license whenever hunting or fishing.

  • Michigan Hunting and Fishing Licenses Free for Resident Disabled Veterans: Michigan resident Disabled Veterans with a 100% disability rating or individually unemployable are eligible for all non-lottery licenses for free.Veterans must provide a letter from the VA stating they are 100% disabled or individually unemployable when applying. Veterans must carry a copy of the letter and their DNR license whenever hunting or fishing.

    The licenses are available at all DNR Customer Service Centers or online.

  • Free Michigan State Park and Recreation Area Entry for Certain Resident Veterans: Medal of Honor Recipients, 100% disabled Veterans, and former prisoners of war are eligible for a free Michigan Recreation Passport. A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, and most boating access sites and state trailheads.Who is eligible for the Free Michigan State Park and Recreation Area Entry for Certain Resident Veterans? To be eligible, resident Veterans must have a valid Michigan Ex-Prisoner of War, Medal of Honor, or Disabled Veteran license plate.

    Michigan Military & Veteran Miscellaneous Benefits

  • Michigan National Guard State Retirement Pay: Michigan provides a state retirement benefit for former members of the Michigan National Guard who served at least 19 years, six months, and one day of active service.Retired Service members are paid $600 annually ($50 per month) beginning at age 55 or the effective date of application, whichever is later. Active members of the Michigan National Guard may only receive the benefit once they retire.

    The retirement benefit is not automatic. Individuals must submit a written application using the Michigan Office of Retirement Service, Retirement Application for Michigan National Guard State Military Retirement. 

    The application may be submitted up to three months before separation or up to three months before age 55.

    The state retirement benefit is not retroactive. Retirement pay for Service members discharged after age 55 is adequate on the first month following discharge. If the retired Service member files after age 55, it will go into effect the first month after their completed application is received.

    State retirement pay is in addition to any retirement pay received from the federal government and is not subject to state income tax, but it is subject to federal income tax.

    Surviving spouses of Michigan National Guard Service members who qualified for state retirement pay are eligible for a monthly payment of $41.67 until their death. Surviving spouses should apply with the Michigan Office of Retirement Services, Retirement Application for Spousal Benefits. Survivors must provide a copy of their death, birth, and marriage licenses.

Education Programs

  • Michigan Children of Veteran’s Tuition Grant (CVTG): CVTG provides undergraduate tuition assistance to the children of certain Service members and Veterans. CVTG may be used at any Michigan community college, public university, or independent, degree-granting college or university.The student’s enrollment status determines the amount of the award.
    • Full-time students can receive up to $2,800
    • Three-quarter-time students can receive up to $2,100
    • Half-time students can receive up to $1,400
    • Undergraduate students may receive scholarship assistance for up to four academic years and a total of $11,200
  • Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP): MINGSTAP provides tuition assistance to members of the Michigan National Guard who are attending any public or private college, university, vocational school, technical school, or trade school located in Michigan.Funding available is based on the type of program the Service member enrolls in:
    • Training programs – up to $6000
    • Certificate programs – up to $6000
    • Associate degree – up to $14,400
    • Baccalaureate degree – up to $14,400
    • Master’s degree – up to $6000
  • Michigan National Guard, University and College Tuition Grants: The Michigan National Guard partnered with several Michigan universities and colleges to offer tuition grants. These grants and other available tuition assistance programs and the GI Bill can enable Guard members to attend selected colleges and universities at no cost. Additionally, several other organizations offer scholarships to Michigan National Guard members. 
  • Michigan 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 timely enrollment of children of military families and ensuring that they are not disadvantaged due to difficulty in transferring educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements.
    • Facilitating the student placement process through which variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content, or assessment do not disadvantage children of military families.
    • 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.
    • This compact provides for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools, and military families.
    • 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 academic success for the student
  • Michigan High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans: Michigan will award a high school diploma to Veterans who left high school before receiving their diploma to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.Who is eligible for Michigan High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans? Veterans must have left a Michigan high school before they received their diploma to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge for service during the following periods:
    • WWII – December 16, 1940, through December 31, 1946
    • Korean conflict – June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
    • Vietnam – February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975
    • Veterans or their next of kin can apply by submitting a copy of the Veteran’s discharge paperwork and an Application for a High School Diploma for Michigan WWII, Korean, and Vietnam-era veterans to the Veteran’s school district

Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes

  • Michigan Veteran Homes: The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has three Veteran homes that provide a variety of skilled nursing care for Veterans and their eligible Family members.
  • Each of the Michigan Veteran Homes provides the following services:
    • Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care – For residents requiring regular medical attention
    • Short-Term Skilled Nursing Care – For residents who require short-term skilled nursing care temporarily after an illness, injury or hospitalization
    • Rehabilitation and Therapy – Physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy
    • Dementia and Memory Care 24-hour support/ supervision and specialized activities
    • Palliative Care Comfort and quality of life care

Michigan State Veterans Home at Chesterfield Township

Michigan State Veterans Home at Grand Rapids

Michigan State Veterans Home at D.J. Jacobetti

Who is eligible for Care at the Michigan Veteran Homes? Michigan residency is not a requirement. Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for admission:

  • Honorably discharged Veteran
  • Eligible for VA health care or financial assistance for long-term nursing care
  • Dependent of a Veteran who is eligible for admission or was eligible at the time of the Veteran’s death:
    • Spouse
    • Surviving spouse
    • Former spouse
    • Gold Star Parent


Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference

Michigan State Employment Veterans’ Hiring Preference: Michigan offers eligible Veterans and their spouses veterans’ preference when hiring for Michigan civil service positions. Applicants must meet the minimum qualifications for the job and any position-specific selection criteria. They can only be used for an initial (first) appointment to a Michigan Civil Service position.

Civil Service Preference Points: If the selection process is based on a numerical score or a written civil service examination, these points are added to an applicant’s final passing score:

  • 5 points – added to the score of a Veteran or Surviving spouse
  • 10 points – added to the score of the following applicants:
    • Disabled Veteran
    • Spouse of a disabled Veteran with a 50% or greater service-connected disability rating
    • Surviving spouse who has a child under 18 years of age
    • Surviving spouse with continuing parental care of a disabled child

Agency Preference Points: If an examination score is not used, the following points are added to the applicant’s screening score:

  • 5% of the highest possible score is added to a Veteran or their Surviving spouse’s score
  • 10% of the highest possible score is added to the score of the following applicants:
    • Disabled Veteran
    • Spouse of a disabled Veteran with a 50% or greater service-connected disability rating
    • Surviving spouse who has a child under 18 years of age
    • Surviving spouse with continuing parental care of a disabled child

Preferential Consideration: If a mechanical or random screening process reduces the number of applicants, the applicants eligible for preference must be retained and placed in the final candidate pool. All applicants will then be considered using the same merit appraisal system.

Who is eligible for the Michigan State Employment Veterans’ Hiring Preference? To be eligible, Veterans must have served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for 90 or more days, received an honorable discharge, and are not eligible for military retired pay. To qualify as a disabled veteran, veterans must have a service-connected disability rating from the VA or their branch of service and be eligible for compensation.

Applicants must register on the Michigan Civil Service Commission Veterans Registration webpage to receive Veterans’ preference. 

Michigan State Employment Rights for Service Members: In addition to the federal rights provided by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, active and reserve component Service members have several protections under Michigan Compiled Laws, Act 133 of 1955.  

This act prohibits discrimination against Service members for their membership and obligations in the U.S. Armed Forces. Provides for leaves of absence during required military duty and the return to employment after service. There are also provisions for differential pay to offset all or part of the difference between the Service member’s military pay and the state government pay.

Michigan Veterans’ Employment Services (VES): VES provides individualized career and training-related services to veterans and their spouses through Veterans’ Career Advisors (VCA). VES also helps employers fill their workforce with job-seeking Veterans.

The VCA works directly with Veterans and their spouses who have “significant barriers to employment.” 

Some of the services provided are:

  • Assessment interviews
  • Career guidance services
  • Individual employment plans
  • Staff-assisted job searches
  • Labor market information
  • Basic staff-assisted career services

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Service Members, Veterans, and Spouses Benefits: LARA offers the following benefits for active duty Service members, Veterans, and their spouses:

  • Use military experience toward licensing
  • Exemption for renewal fees and continuing education requirements while serving on active duty
  • Temporary licenses for active duty Service member’s spouse
  • Waiver for the initial license or initial registration fee for Veterans
  • Waiver for the initial application processing fee for Veterans
  • Reimbursement from VA for examination fees

Those interested should contact the regulating agency for their profession to determine which benefits they are eligible for.

  • 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:

Augusta: Fort Custer National Cemetery

Holly: Great Lakes National Cemetery

Mackinac Island: Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery

Port Huron: Lakeside Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot

Michigan VA Benefit Resources

Michigan provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and a VA Medical Center.

Michigan VA Regional Benefits Office

Michigan VA Medical Centers

Important information for Michigan 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, full name, social security number, branch of service, and dates you served. Honorable and general discharges qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.

You should always keep your paperwork and medical records in a safe place where you and your family can access 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 conditions other than dishonorable. 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

Michigan Veteran Benefits

If you are a disabled Veteran in Michigan 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.