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Veteran Benefits for Michigan

The state of Michigan offers many veteran benefits for service members and Veterans that have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. These benefits include income and property tax exemptions, financial exemptions, education and training programs, hunting and fishing licenses, vehicle registrations, and assistance with employment. Your residency, military career, and disability status may result in certain differences in what benefits you may be eligible for. The following are benefits for the state of Michigan.

Michigan Veteran Financial Benefits

  • Income Tax: Active duty income is tax-free. Military retirement pay is also tax-free. Michigan Retired Military Pay Income Taxes are not taxed.
  • Property Tax Waiver: Veterans with a 100% disability rating (and those rated 100 percent due to individual unemployability) may be exempt from paying taxes on their home. The Veteran must have an other-than-dishonorable discharge and be a Michigan resident. Un-remarried surviving spouses are also eligible for this exemption.
  • Vehicle Registration: Veterans who are 100% permanently and totally disabled may be eligible to register one vehicle with a disabled Veteran plate for free. There is a $5 administrative fee when the plate is first issued.
  • Emergency Assistance: Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency offers emergency assistance to those having temporary financial issues who require assistance with utility bills, vehicle or home repairs, medical bills or other debts. There are many resources available including county Soldier & Sailor Relief Funds, the Michigan Veteran Trust Fund, and the National Guard Family Program.
  • Michigan State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and  Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
  • Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Michigan State Tax Benefits: Michigan will not tax military survivor benefits that are exempt from federal income tax and are not included in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Survivor benefits that are classified as military compensation or military retirement pay may be deducted to the extent they are included in
    AGI for the surviving Spouse only.

Sales Tax:

  • Statewide: 6.0%
  • Counties: cannot levy an additional sales tax
  • Common exceptions at the state level:
    • Prescription medicines are exempt
    • Unprepared foods are exempt
    • Residential heating fuel and electricity: 4% taxed

Recreation

Active Duty Hunting and Fishing: Active duty Michigan service members can get hunting and fishing licenses for free. Non-residents stationed in Michigan can get licenses at the residential rate.

Disabled Veteran Hunting & Fishing Licenses: Veterans who are 100% permanently & totally disabled can get any residential hunting or fishing license for which a lottery is not required, free of charge.

State Parks: Veterans who are 100% permanently & totally disabled are eligible for free entry into Michigan state parks.

Education Programs

Michigan Children of Veteran’s Tuition Grant: Children of certain deceased or disabled members of the Armed Forces of the United States may receive scholarship assistance for up to four academic years and a total of up to $11,200. Awards are for an academic year with the amount determined by the student’s enrollment status. Full-time students can receive up to a maximum of $2,800 per academic year. Future awards are subject to available and approved funding. Certain children older than 16 and less than 26 years of age who have been Michigan residents for the 12 months prior to application. To be eligible a student must be the natural or adopted child of a Michigan Veteran, stepchildren or grandchildren of the Veteran are not eligible. The Veteran must have been a legal resident of Michigan immediately before entering military service and did not later reside outside of Michigan for more than two years, or the Veteran must have established legal residency in Michigan after entering military service.

Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program: Public Act 259 of 2014 established the Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP) to provide 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.

Michigan National Guard, University & College Tuition Grants: The Michigan National Guard has worked with several Michigan universities and colleges to offer tuition grants. These grants, used in conjunction with other available tuition assistance programs and the Montgomery GI Bill, can enable Guard members to attend selected colleges and universities at no cost. Several other organizations offer scholarships to Michigan National Guard members. Michigan National Guard members are eligible.

Michigan Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:

  • Facilitating the timely enrollment of children of military families and ensuring that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements
  • Facilitating the student placement process through which children of military families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment
  • Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic and social activities
  • Facilitating the on-time graduation of children of military families
  • Providing for the promulgation and enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact
  • Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools and military families under this compact
  • Promoting coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military children
  • Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents and the student in order to achieve educational success for the student

Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes

Michigan State Veterans Home at Marquette

Michigan State Veterans Home at Grand Rapids

Eligibility for admission:

  • The Veteran must have an honorable discharge
  • Must have served 24 continuous months active duty
  • Not required to be a Michigan resident
  • Spouse is eligible depending on availability
  • Fees are income-based

Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference

Veterans’ preference will be given to Veterans and certain Veteran spouses for initial employment with the state.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protect civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA also makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive the Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.

Michigan Military State Reemployment Rights: In addition to the federal rights accorded by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, Michigan National Guard members have several protections under Michigan state law.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Service Members, Veterans and their Spouses Benefits: LARA offers the following benefits for Active Duty Military Service Members, Veterans, and their Spouses:

  • Exemption from renewal fees, continuing education requirements, and any other related requirements under the Occupational Code for mobilized military personnel
  • Temporary licenses for active-duty military personnel’s Spouses who wish to be licensed or registered under the Occupational Code
  • Waiver of an initial license or initial registration fee and initial application processing fee for certain Veterans seeking licensure or registration under the Occupational Code

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. Under state law, eligible veterans and some spouses/surviving spouses, who meet residency and asset limits, may qualify for $300 for burial expenses paid by the County Board of Commissioners or the Board of County Auditors.

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, along with your full name, social security number, branch of service, and dates for which you served. Honorable and general discharges qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.

You should always keep your paperwork, along with your medical records, in a safe place where you and your family can have access to them. It is imperative to have it in a location where it cannot be destroyed or tampered with, which includes a safe.

Your eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Any Veteran discharged from the military under the conditions of “Dishonorable” due to bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits. VA regional offices can clarify the eligibility of prisoners, parolees, and individuals with multiple discharges issued under differing conditions.

*This information is accurate as of December 2019

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.

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