Nebraska offers unique benefits for service members, veterans, and their families, including the Nebraska Veterans Aid Fund, homestead property tax exemptions, tuition assistance for service members, veterans, and dependents, special vehicle license plates, and hunting and fishing licenses. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Nebraska.
Nebraska Veteran Financial Benefits
- Nebraska Income Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay earned by Nebraska resident Service members is subject to state income taxes.
- Nebraska State Income Taxes on Military Retired Pay: Military retired pay is exempt from Nebraska 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. TSP distributions after retirement are not subject to state taxes; early distributions may incur higher taxes.
- Nebraska 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
- Nebraska 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 U.S. Armed Forces 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) Nebraska State Tax Benefits: SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP annuities are not taxed in Nebraska.
- Combat Zones Exclusion and Filing Extensions for Nebraska Income Taxes for Deployed Service Members: Nebraska follows federal guidelines for tax filing extensions and does not tax income received by a Service member while serving in a designated combat zone, contingency operation, or in a qualified hazardous duty area.
- Nebraska Wartime Veteran and Surviving Spouse Homestead Property Tax Exemptions: The Nebraska Homestead Exemption Program offers a full or partial property tax exemption for eligible Veterans and Surviving spouses on their homestead and one acre of land. To qualify, the Veteran or Surviving spouse must own and occupy the homestead from January 1 through August 15 of the taxable year.
Veterans must have received an honorable discharge and served during the following wartime periods:
- World War II, December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946
- Korean War, June 25, 1950, through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War, February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975 (in the Republic of Vietnam)
- Vietnam War, August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975
- Lebanon, August 25, 1982, through February 26, 1984
- Grenada, October 23, 1983, through November 23, 1983
- Panama, December 20, 1989, through January 31, 1990
- Persian Gulf War beginning August 2, 1990
- Global War on Terror beginning September 14, 2001, until a date to be determined
- Non-Service-Connected Totally Disabled Veterans – Partial exemption based on income limits: This exemption is available for Veterans with a non-service-connected total disability rating from the VA and is based on Household Income Limits. Household income determines the percentage of exemption the Veteran is eligible for.
- Service-Connected Totally Disabled Veterans and Surviving Spouses – 100% exempt: This exemption is available to Veterans receiving compensation for a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA. The homestead is 100% exempt regardless of homestead value and income level. Veteran or Surviving spouse must meet the following requirements
- Veteran who is receiving compensation for a 100% service-connected disability
- Surviving spouse (who does not remarry until age 57) and was married to a Veteran who:
- Died due to a service-connected disability
- Died while on active duty and was service-connected
- Died while on active duty during wartime
- Veterans and Surviving Spouses Whose Home was Purchased or Modified with Funds from the VA – 100% exempt. This exemption is available to a Veteran who is paraplegic or has multiple amputations whose home was substantially contributed to by the VA. This homestead is 100% exempt regardless of homestead value and income level. This exemption is also available to the survivor’s spouse if they do not remarry until age 57.
- Applications are made through local county assessors. All forms must be filed after February 1 and before June 30 each year.
- Nebraska Disabled Veteran Motor Vehicle Tax Exemption: Nebraska offers the Nebraska Disabled Veteran Motor Vehicle Tax Exemption for one motor vehicle owned and used for personal transportation by a disabled or blind Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Statewide: 5.5%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 2.0%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 6.02%
- Nonresident Active Duty Service Members Stationed in Nebraska May Purchase Nebraska Hunting and Fishing Permit for Resident Prices: Nonresident Service members serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Nebraska for 30 days or more may purchase hunting and fishing permits at the resident rate.
- Free Nebraska Disabled Veteran’s Lifetime Small Game Hunt/Fish/Fur Harvest Permit: Nebraska resident disabled Veterans may be eligible for the Disabled Veteran’s Lifetime Small Game Hunt/Fish/Fur Harvest Permit that includes all state stamps. These permits are free and valid for the Veteran’s life but require annual renewal for $5.
- Nebraska Veteran’s Annual Small Game Hunt/Fish/Fur Harvest Permit for Resident Veterans: Veterans over age 64 are eligible for the Nebraska Veteran’s Annual Small Game Hunt/Fish/Fur Harvest Permit for $5. This permit includes all state stamps. This permit requires annual renewal for $5.
- Nebraska Deployed Military Discounted Hunt/Fish/Fur Permit: Nebraska residents who are, or have been deployed out of state while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces within the last 12 months are eligible for an Annual Small Game Hunt/Fish/Fur Harvest Permit on a one-time basis for $5. This permit includes all state stamps.
- Nebraska Free Disabled Veteran Lifetime Park Entry Permit: Nebraska disabled Veterans may be eligible for a free Disabled Veteran’s Lifetime Park Entry Permit. This permit authorizes free entry to Nebraska State Parks.
- Nebraska Residency for Tuition Purposes for Service Members, Veterans, and their Dependents: Nebraska offers residency for tuition purposes to eligible Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents.
Who is eligible for Nebraska Residency for Tuition Purposes? One of the following requirements must be met for a student to be considered a resident:
- Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who has been assigned to a permanent duty station in Nebraska, their spouse, and dependents
- Honorably discharged Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces who kept their residency in Nebraska or is a graduate of a Nebraska high school and has established a home in Nebraska to make Nebraska a permanent residence.
- Veteran who was discharged from active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouse, and dependents must register to vote in Nebraska and demonstrate the intent to become a resident of Nebraska
- Nebraska National Guard Service member
- Nebraska Waiver of Tuition Program: Nebraska will waive 100% of tuition and tuition-related fees for the eligible dependents of certain Veterans at a University of Nebraska campus, Nebraska State College, or Nebraska Community College. Students may use the program for one degree, diploma, or certificate from a community college and one baccalaureate degree from a state college or university.
- This waiver does not cover non-tuition-related fees, including housing, food costs, parking fees, and any necessary books or course materials.
- Nebraska Reservist Tuition Credit Program: Nebraska residents serving in a Nebraska-based unit of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces may be eligible for a 75% tuition credit (50% for graduate or professional degrees) at the University of Nebraska campuses, Nebraska State Colleges, and Nebraska Community Colleges. This program allows 200 new applicants each calendar year. There is no lifetime limit on tuition credit for any qualifying Service member.
- Nebraska “Operation Recognition” High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans: Nebraska Operation Recognition will award honorary high school diplomas to Veterans who left a Nebraska high school before graduating to serve in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.
Who qualifies for the Nebraska “Operation Recognition” High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans? To be eligible, Veterans must have served on active duty and received an Honorable Discharge for service during one of the following periods:
- World War II – September 16, 1940, through December 31, 1946
- Korean War – June 25, 1950, through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War – November 1, 1955, through May 7, 1975
- Veterans living out of state are eligible if they are former Nebraska residents
- Nebraska 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 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 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
- Purple Star Designation for Nebraska Military-Friendly Schools: The Nebraska Purple Star School program recognizes schools with a significant 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 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 recognized 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
Nebraska Veterans’ Homes: Nebraska has four Veterans’ homes that offer domiciliary care, intermediate care, and skilled nursing care to Veterans and their eligible family members.
Some of the services offered at the Nebraska Veterans’ Homes include:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Restorative Nursing Therapy
- Hospice and Palliative care
- Memory Support Care Units
Who is eligible for care at a Nebraska Veterans’ Home?
- Served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (other than for training) and received an Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) Discharge
- Resident of Nebraska for at least two years
- Unable to earn a livelihood
- Dependent entirely or partially on public charities, the type of care needed is available only at a state institution.
- A spouse who has been married to an eligible Veteran for at least two years before the application
- 50 years old or older
- Unable to earn a livelihood
- Dependent entirely or partially on public charities, the type of care needed is available only at a state institution.
Surviving Spouse and Gold Star Parents Eligibility:
- Surviving spouse or parents of a Service member who died while serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or from a service-connected disability
- Nebraska resident for at least two years before application
- 50 years old or older
- Unable to earn a livelihood
- Dependent completely or partially on public charities, the type of care needed is available only at a state institution
Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference
- Nebraska State Employment Veterans Hiring Preference: Veterans, Service members, and spouses are offered Veterans hiring preference when applying for initial or return employment with Nebraska state or local government.
Veterans who receive passing scores on all parts of an examination or numerical scoring will have 5% added to their passing score. An additional 5% will be added to the passing scores of any disabled Veteran. This preference must also be given to the spouse of an active duty Service member for up to 180 days after the Service member is discharged or separated from the U.S. Armed Forces.
- All notices of employment positions available for Veterans Preference and applications for places must state that the work is subject to a Veterans Preference. Veterans who apply and are not hired are notified and advised of any administrative appeal available.
- Nebraska Private Sector Voluntary Veterans Hiring Preference: The Nebraska Voluntary Veterans Preference Act allows private sector employers to have a Veteran hiring preference policy and job openings listed on the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Voluntary Veterans Preference Registry.
- Nebraska Veteran Employment Services: The Nebraska Department of Labor provides employment services to eligible Veterans and their spouses that offer a full range of public employment and training services. Those eligible will receive priority of service, which means if they meet eligibility requirements for a program or service, they will receive access to that program or service either earlier or instead of those not eligible.
Some of the services offered include:
- Career assessment and counseling
- Assistance with resumes, cover letters, and interviewing skills
- Support services referrals
- Job placement assistance and referrals
- Information on careers, training, education, and financial aid
- Job search workshops
- Labor market information
- Computers with Internet access
- Assistance with navigating computer programs
- Help with the online job application process
- 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.
- Nebraska State Employee Military Leave for U.S. Armed Forces Reserve and National Guard Service Members: Nebraska state employees who are Service members in the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves are entitled to a military leave of absence from their duties, without loss of pay, for up to 15-work days per year when they are ordered to state or federal active duty.
- In addition, during a state of emergency greater than 15 work days, a “state of emergency leave of absence” is granted until the Service member is released from active service. During the emergency, the employee will receive their regular salary minus their active duty base pay.
- Pay Compensation for Nebraska National Guard Service Members Ordered to Active Duty: National Guard Service members ordered to state active duty will receive compensation at the same rate as a Service member of equal rank in the U.S. Armed Forces and reimbursement for travel expenses.
- In addition, the Service member is entitled to reimbursement of 100% of the cost of their privately purchased health insurance or up to 102% of their employer-provided health insurance when they are ordered to state or federal active duty.
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:
Maxwell: Fort McPherson National Cemetery
Omaha: Omaha National Cemetery
Nebraska VA Benefit Resources
Nebraska provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and a VA Medical Center.
Nebraska VA Regional Benefits Office
- Lincoln: Lincoln Regional Office
Nebraska VA Medical Centers
- Grand Island: Grand Island VA Medical Center
Important information for Nebraska 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 for which 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
Nebraska Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Nebraska 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.