New Mexico offers unique benefits for service members, veterans, and their families, including property tax exemptions, the New Mexico National Guard Tuition Scholarship Program, education and tuition assistance, vehicle tags, and hunting and fishing license privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of New Mexico.
New Mexico Veteran Financial Benefits
- New Mexico Military Retired Pay Income Taxes: New Mexico House Bill 163 authorizes an income tax exemption on military retired pay in the following amounts:
- 2022 Tax Year –$10,000
- 2023 Tax Year –$20,000
- 2024 through 2026 Tax Year –$30,000
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.
- New Mexico Income Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay received by a resident service member serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces is exempt from New Mexico’s personal income tax.
- New Mexico 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
- New Mexico 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) New Mexico State Tax Benefits: New Mexico taxes military survivor benefits. The only exemptions offered are for medical expenses, age, or low and mid-income, offered to all residents.
- New Mexico Veterans Property Tax Exemption: Veterans may qualify for a $4,000 reduction in the taxable value of their real property for county taxation purposes.
- New Mexico Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption: Resident disabled Veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA qualify for a complete property tax waiver on their primary residence.
- New Mexico Disabled Veterans Exemption from Vehicle Registration Fees: Certain disabled Veterans are eligible for an exemption from registration fees for one vehicle.
- New Mexico Veterans’ Service Organization Property Tax Exemption: The property owned by a Veterans’ Service Organization chartered by the U.S. Congress primarily used to benefit Veterans and their families is exempt from property taxes.
- New Mexico Business Tax Credit for Hiring Recently Discharged Veterans: Any business in New Mexico can qualify for up to a $1,000 business tax credit for each hiring of a recently discharged Veteran.
- Statewide: 4.88%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 2.726%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 7.72%
- New Mexico Recreational Benefits for Disabled Veterans: New Mexico offers the following recreational benefits for eligible disabled Veterans:
- Free Annual New Mexico State Park Day-Use Pass – offering unlimited entry into State Parks or recreation areas
- New Mexico Museum and Monument Pass – offering unlimited access to New Mexico museums and monuments
- Free three-night camping pass for New Mexico State Parks
- New Mexico Veterans Day Recreation Benefits for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families: Every Veterans Day, New Mexico resident active duty Service members, honorably discharged Veterans, and their families have authorized the following benefits:
- Free use of any New Mexico State Park
- Admission fee waiver for New Mexico State Park campsites
- Free entry to:
- New Mexico History Museum
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
- New Mexico Museum of Space History
- Free New Mexico Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Card for 100% Disabled Veterans: New Mexico offers a free lifetime small game, deer, and fishing card to eligible disabled Veterans.
- Deer hunting licenses will only be issued if the Veteran has received a public-land deer draw or received written permission from a landowner for a private-land deer hunt. The deer hunting license must be applied for each license year, and no preference is given for public-land deer draws. Stamps are required for any privilege not covered by the Disabled Veteran card
- New Mexico Resident Disabled Veteran Small Game Hunting and Fishing License: New Mexico resident disabled Veterans who have a service-connected disability rating from the VA of less than 100% are eligible for a $10 small game hunting and fishing license
- New Mexico Reduced Fee Licenses for Service Members and Veterans: The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) offers a 50% discount on all licenses, permits, and stamps for New Mexico residents who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or who are honorably discharged Veterans.
Who is eligible for New Mexico Reduced Fee Licenses for Service Members and Veterans? Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- Active duty Service members must have served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for a minimum of 90 days and are still serving.
- Reserve component Service members must have served a minimum of six continuous years and continue to serve
- Veterans must have served for at least 90 days on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or a minimum of six years in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge
- New Mexico Resident Veterans Oryx Hunts: The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) has established a once-in-a-lifetime oryx hunt available only to New Mexico resident Veterans
- New Mexico Resident License Pricing Available for Certain Fort Bliss Hunting Opportunities: Active duty Service members stationed at Fort Bliss are eligible for resident pricing on draw hunt licenses for hunts that occur on portions of Fort Bliss that are in New Mexico. Each year, applicants must submit proof of assignment to Fort Bliss prior to the application
- New Mexico Hunting Licenses at Resident Prices for Nonresident Disabled Service Members and Veterans in Rehabilitation Programs: Nonresident active duty Service members or Veterans who are undergoing a rehabilitation program that involves hunting are eligible for resident prices on deer, elk, antelope, javelina, oryx and turkey licenses.
- The rehabilitation program must be sponsored by the federal government or a recognized non-profit organization and under the direction of a military or VA rehabilitation center. This benefit is not available through the public draw. Proof of eligibility must be provided.
- Free New Mexico Fishing Licenses for Disabled Service Members and Veterans in Rehabilitation Programs: Active duty Service members or Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces undergoing a rehabilitation program involving learning and practicing fishing skills are eligible for free New Mexico fishing licenses. The rehabilitation program must be sponsored by the federal government or a recognized non-profit organization and under the direction of a military or VA rehabilitation center. The Habitat Management and Access Validation and the Habitat Stamp are not required. All other laws and rules must be followed.
- New Mexico Vietnam Veterans’ Scholarship: The Vietnam Veterans’ Scholarship is a state scholarship for resident undergraduate and graduate students that provides tuition, fees, and book allowances to Vietnam Veterans. Each scholarship is for one academic year and may be renewed if the student maintains satisfactory progress.
- New Mexico Wartime Veteran Scholarship: The New Mexico Wartime Veteran Scholarship is a state scholarship for resident undergraduate and graduate students that provides tuition, fees, and book allowances to wartime Veterans. Each scholarship is for one academic year and may be renewed if the student maintains satisfactory progress.
- New Mexico In-State Tuition for Veterans, Spouses, and Dependents: Veterans, their spouses, and children who use VA education benefits are authorized “in-state” tuition rates at any state-funded college, university, vocational school, or vocational training program.
- New Mexico In-State Tuition for Nonresident Active Duty Service Members and Dependents When Stationed in New Mexico: Nonresident active duty Service members and their dependents permanently stationed in New Mexico are eligible for in-state tuition rates.
Suppose the Service member is reassigned outside of New Mexico. In that case, their dependents remain eligible for in-state tuition rates as long as they remain continuously enrolled and in good standing with their educational institution.
- New Mexico In-State Tuition Rates for Active Duty Dependents Whose Sponsor Resides/ Stationed Outside of New Mexico: The dependents of active duty or National Guard Service members serving on federal active duty are authorized in-state tuition rates even though their sponsor is not stationed in New Mexico.
Dependents do not have to use a federal educational benefit but must demonstrate intent to establish New Mexico residency. The following actions demonstrate a plan to establish residency:
- Transfer driver’s license to New Mexico
- Register any vehicle titled in the dependent name in New Mexico
- Register to vote in New Mexico
- New Mexico In-State Tuition Rates for National Guard Service Members and Dependents: New Mexico National Guard Service members, spouses, and children are authorized in-state tuition rates at state-funded colleges, universities, vocational schools, or vocational training programs.
- New Mexico Children of Deceased Veterans Scholarship: New Mexico offers a full tuition waiver for the children of Service members who were killed during a period of armed conflict. The waiver covers all matriculation fees, room, board, books, and supplies. Students will also receive a stipend of $300 per year.
- New Mexico Lottery Scholarship Eligibility Extension for Service Members: New Mexico resident Service members who enter the U.S. Armed Forces within four months of graduating from a New Mexico, high school may establish eligibility for the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship for up to 16 months after discharge. Students must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible.
- Vietnam Veterans: Veterans who left a New Mexico high school before graduating to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, Korea, or Vietnam may be awarded a high school diploma issued from the high school they were attending.
- New Mexico High School Diplomas for World War II, Korea, and New Mexico 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 academic success for the student
- New Mexico Purple Star Public School Program for Military-Friendly Schools: Legislation passed into law in 2021 authorized the New Mexico Purple Star Public School program for military-friendly schools. The Purple Star Public School program recognizes schools with a significant commitment to students and families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces.
- For a school to become a Purple Star Designate, 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 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
New Mexico State Veterans’ Home: The New Mexico State Veterans’ Home provides integrated nursing services in an atmosphere that promotes every resident’s physical, social, and emotional well-being. Every effort is made to continuously improve care while safely assisting residents to live as they choose and as independently as possible.
Who is eligible for care at the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home? Applicants must meet the following requirements to qualify for admission to the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home:
- Veterans who served for 90 days or more in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge
- Spouse of an eligible Veteran
- Gold Star Parents whose Child died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Certain members of reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces who meet the legal residence requirements
- New Mexico residency is not a requirement, but preference in admission is given to New Mexico residents when there is a waiting list
Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference
- Paid Leave for New Mexico State Employees for Military Training: All state, county, municipal, school district, and other public employees who are Service members in the National Guard or the U.S Armed Forces Reserves are authorized 15 days of paid military leave per federal fiscal year. Service members can use military leave when ordered to duty for training. Military leave is in addition to any other leave or vacation time.
The governor is authorized to grant up to an additional 15 days of military leave when that training will benefit the state by enabling that employee to perform better the duties required in their state occupation.
- New Mexico State Employment Veterans Hiring Preference: New Mexico offers a hiring preference to National Guard Service members, Veterans, and Disabled Veterans when they apply for public employment.
All honorably discharged Veterans or anyone currently serving in the National Guard will have 5 points added to their final passing numerical scores on screening examinations. Honorably discharged Veterans with a service-connected disability will have 10 points added to their final passing numerical score.
Applicants must provide the following documentation:
- Veterans and Disabled Veteran Documentation: DD214 and a Disability Determination letter
- National Guard Documentation: An official statement showing they are a current member of the National Guard or an NGB Form 22
- New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Veterans’ Employment Representatives: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions offers job and training services to Veterans on a priority basis. Veterans prioritize job placement, counseling, testing, referral to supportive services, job development, and job training over non-veterans. Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER) and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialists provide these services to Veterans in New Mexico.
LVERs’ primary duties are conducting outreach to employers, facilitating job search workshops, and providing employment and training services to Veterans.
- DVOPs focus on providing intensive services with priority to disabled Veterans and other Veterans with significant barriers to employment
- New Mexico Operation Sound Stage: Operation Soundstage is a partnership between the New Mexico Film Office, Department of Veterans’ Services, and Department of Workforce Solutions to increase the hiring and training of Veterans for jobs with movie studios and television production companies in New Mexico.
- 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:
Fort Bayard: Fort Bayard National Cemetery
Santa Fe: Santa Fe National Cemetery
New Mexico VA Benefit Resources
New Mexico provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and a VA Medical Center.
New Mexico VA Regional Benefits Office
- Albuquerque: Albuquerque Regional Office
New Mexico VA Medical Centers
- Albuquerque: New Mexico VA Health Care System
Important information for New Mexico 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
New Mexico Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in New Mexico 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.