Call us at: (833) 577-8387
Decoration Texture

Veteran Benefits for New York

Veteran Benefits for New York

New York offers unique benefits for Service members, Veterans, and their families, including property tax exemptions, New York National Guard Tuition Program, Veteran and dependent education assistance, compensation for state active duty, employment assistance, civil service preference, special vehicle license plates, as well as hunting, fishing licenses, and New York State Parks privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of New York.

New York Veteran Financial Benefits

  • New York Taxes on Military Retired Pay: Military retired pay received by retired Service members is exempt from New York State, New York City, and Yonkers’ income taxes.
    • 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 York Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay received by resident Service members is subject to New York income tax, with the following exceptions:Resident Service member stationed and living outside New York:
    • Did not maintain a permanent residence in New York State during the tax year, and
    • Maintained a permanent residence outside New York State during the entire tax year and
    • Spent 30 days or less in New York State during the tax year

    Resident Service member stationed overseas:

    • Served in a foreign country for at least 450 days during any period of 548 consecutive days and
    • Spent 90 days or less in New York State during this 548-day period
  • New York Military Spouse Residency Relief Act: A nonresident spouse with the same state of residence as a nonresident Service member stationed in New York under military orders is exempt from New York income taxes on wages earned in New York. The nonresident spouse must pay taxes (if required) to their state of residence.
  • New York State Taxes on Combat Zone Pay: Military pay received by an active duty Service member serving in an area designated as a combat zone is exempt from New York taxes.
  • New York Tax Subtraction for National Guard Service Members Called to Active Duty: New York National Guard Service members called to state or federal active duty can subtract their military pay from their adjusted gross income. Service members can take this subtraction for the duration of their active duty service. Active duty for training does not qualify.
  • New York State 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
  • New York 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) New York State Tax Benefits: SBP, RCSBP, and RSFPP payments are not taxed in New York.
  • New York State Veteran Property Tax Exemption: New York offers three different property tax exemptions for qualifying Veterans and their eligible Family members. New York Property taxes are assessed by local cities, towns, school districts, or villages that may offer one or more exemptions. New York Alternative Veterans Property Tax Exemption – If adopted by the local jurisdiction, the following exemptions are offered to eligible Veterans and their Family members:
    • 15% reduction in assessed value for Veterans who served during a time of war
    • Additional 10% reduction in assessed value for Veterans who served in a combat zone, including recipients of an expeditionary medal
    • Additional reduction in assessed value to Veterans who have a service-connected disability, equal to one-half of their disability rating
    • Property must be the Veteran’s or eligible Family member’s primary residence.
  • New York Cold War Veterans Property Tax Exemption If adopted by the local jurisdiction, the New York Cold War Veterans Property Tax Exemption is offered to Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between September 2, 1945, through December 26, 1991. The amount of the reduction is subject to maximum limits set by the local community. This exemption provides:
    • 10 or 15% reduction in assessed value (as adopted by the taxing jurisdiction)
    • Additional reduction in assessed value for Veterans who have a service-connected disability they incurred while serving during the Cold War, equal to one-half of their disability rating
    • The exemption is limited to 10 years unless the taxing jurisdiction has made it indefinite; the disability portion of this exemption has no time limit.
    • Property must be the Veteran’s or their spouse’s primary residence
  • New York Eligible Funds Veterans Property Tax Exemption If adopted by the local jurisdiction, the Eligible Funds Veterans Exemption reduces the assessed value of a property that a Veteran purchased with eligible funds after discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces. This reduction is typically up to a maximum of $7,500. Eligible funds include:
    • Military retired pay
    • Bonus or insurance payments
    • Monthly payments for a service-connected and non-service-connected disability or death
    • Compensation paid to prisoners of war
    • Mustering out pay
    • Grants to purchase or modify specially adapted houses for Veterans with serious disabilities (100% exemption)

Sales Tax:

  • Statewide: 4.0%
  • Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 4.532%
  • Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 4.00%


  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation Military and Veterans Benefits: The New York Department of Environmental Conservation offers several benefits to Veterans and Service members.Patriot Plan, Free Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Licenses for Service Members:  New York resident Service members serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed outside New York who are home on leave for 30 days or less are eligible for free hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses.
    • New York Resident Service members serving in the New York National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves (stationed in or living in New York) are also eligible
  • Resident License Prices for Nonresident Military Service Members:  Nonresident Service members stationed in New York for 30 days or more are eligible for resident prices for fishing, hunting, or trapping licenses.Reduced Fee Hunting Fishing and Trapping License for Disabled Veterans: New York resident Veterans who have a 40% or more service-connected disability rating from the VA are eligible for:
    • Fishing, hunting, and trapping license for $5
    • Free bow hunting and muzzle loading privileges (base hunting license is required)
    • Preference on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Deer Management Permit selection
  • New York State Park Empire Pass: The New York Empire Pass provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by New York State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation. This wallet-sized card can be shared within a household and is not assigned to a specific vehicle; there is only one free Empire Pass per household.
    • Who is eligible for the New York State Park Empire Pass? Service members serving in the New York National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves currently serving on active duty supporting the war on terrorism are eligible for a free Empire Pass.
  • New York State Park Lifetime Liberty Pass for Disabled Veterans: The Lifetime Liberty Pass is free to eligible New York Veterans with disabilities. The Lifetime Liberty Pass authorizes free vehicle entry to state parks and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) operated day-use areas, as well as:
    • Numerous state boat launch sites
    • Historic sites
    • Arboretums and park preserves
    • Free golf at 28 state park golf courses
    • Fee swimming pool entrance at 36 state park pools
    • Discounted camping and cabin rentals at all state parks and DEC campgrounds
    • Who is eligible for the New York State Park Lifetime Liberty Pass for Disabled Veterans? The Lifetime Liberty Pass is available to New York resident Veterans who served during a time of war and have a 40% or greater service-connected disability rating from the VA or received funds from the federal government to purchase or modify a specially adapted vehicle to accommodate their disability.

Education Programs

  • New York State Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program (RIRP): RIRP is a state program for New York National Guard Service members that will pay the cost of tuition up to SUNY (State University of New York) tuition rates. Service members must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree-producing program either full or part-time. RIRP may be used for no more than eight semesters of full-time study (exceptions apply for five-year programs), or no more than 16 semesters of part-time study. Service members’ maximum award is $1,700 per semester and $3,400 per calendar year.
  • New York State Veterans Tuition Awards (VTA): VTA offers awards for full-time and part-time study for eligible Veterans enrolled in an approved undergraduate or graduate degree program or an approved vocational training program in New York. Awards comprise the SUNY (State University of New York) tuition rates.Full-time study is 12 or more credits per semester (or the equivalent) or 24 or more hours per week in a vocational training program.

    Part-time study is defined as at least three but fewer than 12 credits per semester (or the equivalent) or six to 23 hours per week in a vocational training program.

    VTA can be used with the Montgomery GI Bill but not with the Yellow Ribbon program or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Combined tuition benefits available to a student can be, at most, the actual tuition.

    • Veterans can receive awards for up to 10 semesters for undergraduate degrees, six for graduate degrees, and four for vocational training programs.
  • New York State Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship: MERIT Scholarships provide financial aid to the children, spouses, and financial dependents of Service members who were serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or the New York National Guard and died or became severely and permanently disabled in the line of duty. MERIT is also available to resident Veterans who become severely and permanently disabled as a result of injury or illness that occurred in the line of duty.
    • MERIT awards cover tuition for four years of full-time undergraduate study (exceptions apply for five-year programs) up to SUNY (State University of New York) tuition rates. MERIT can also cover non-tuition costs such as books, supplies, transportation, and room and board expenses. Recipients can receive up to a maximum of $13,045 per semester if living on campus and $8,295 per semester if commuting to college. Students choosing to live off campus when housing is available will be paid at the lower commuter rate.
  • New York State Regents Awards for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans (CDDV): CDDV provides financial aid to students whose parent(s) served in the U.S. Armed Forces during specific times of military conflict. This award is $450 per year.
  • New York State Military Residency Waiver: New York State residency requirements to be eligible for educational and financial assistance from the Higher Education Services Corporation are waived for active duty Service members stationed in New York and their dependents.
  • New York Patriot Plan, Educational Leave of Absence for Service Members Called to Active Duty: The New York Patriot Plan provides an educational leave of absence for students who are Service members called to active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Students who cannot complete a semester because they are called to active duty will be given a non-punitive withdrawal and the option of a refund or credit of tuition and campus fees.
    • Service members must provide a copy of their orders to active duty within seven days of receipt, or they can sign an affidavit and provide an address or telephone number to verify the orders. Service members should contact their educational institution’s financial aid office for more information.
  • Leave of Absence for New York State Veterans who are Public Employees to Continue Study: New York public officers and employees who served in the U.S. Armed Forces on or after January 31, 1955, are authorized a leave of absence for up to four years to continue their education, take a refresher or a retraining course. To be reinstated, employees must apply for reinstatement within sixty days after their course of study ends.
  • Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation (RDVF) Scholarship Program: The RDVF Scholarship Program provides undergraduate scholarships to Soldiers assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division and descendants of RDVF members. Scholarship amounts have ranged from $500 to $5,000 based on available funding.
  • New York 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 York Operation Recognition, High School Diplomas for Veterans: New York offers high school diplomas to Veterans who left high school before graduating to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes

New York State Veterans’ Nursing Homes: New York has five State Veterans’ Nursing Homes that provide quality care to eligible Veterans and their dependents who require skilled nursing care and rehabilitative services.

New York State Veterans Home at Batavia

New York State Veterans Home at Long Island (Stony Brook University)

New York State Veterans Home at Montrose

New York State Veterans Home at Oxford

New York State Veterans Home at St. Albans

Who is eligible for care at the New York State Veterans’ Nursing Homes? All applicants must require skilled nursing care and meet the following requirements:

Veteran Eligibility:

  • Entered the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty from New York or a New York resident for one year prior to application
  • Served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 30 days and received an honorable discharge

Spouse and Un-remarried Surviving Spouse of a Veteran Eligibility:

  • Spouse of an eligible Veteran, if married for one year prior to application; if the Veteran dies, the spouse may continue to stay at the Veterans Home.
  • Un-remarried Surviving spouse of a deceased eligible Veteran, if married for one year prior to application
  • Un-remarried Surviving spouse of a Service member who died on active duty (30-day active duty requirement does not apply)

Parent of a Veteran Eligibility: Mothers and fathers of a Service member who died while serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Gold Star Parents) are also eligible (the 30-day active duty requirement does not apply).

Admission priorities are in the following order:

  • Veteran accompanied by their spouse
  • Wartime Veterans
  • Non-wartime Veterans
  • Spouses and un-remarried Surviving spouses
  • Gold Star Mothers and Fathers


Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference

  • New York State Department of Labor, Employment Assistance for Veterans: New York State Career Centers offer free job search services to all job seekers. Career Centers help assess an individual’s needs, skills, and interests and guide them through their job search.Career Centers have Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialists (DVOPS) and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVERS) who are dedicated staff members to help Veterans and their spouses.

    DVOPS provides intensive case management services to Veterans with significant barriers to employment. They also offer a full range of employment Services, including comprehensive assessments, individual employment plans, job referrals, referrals to training and support Services, and resume and interview preparation assistance.

    LVERS are Veterans who specialize in advocating on behalf of Veterans with business, industry, and community organizations to promote employment and training opportunities for Veterans. They also provide services, including job matching and job placement for Veterans, conduct employer outreach, inform federal contractors of the process to hire qualified Veterans and promote credentialing and licensing opportunities for Veterans.

    All Career Centers offer priority Service to Veterans and their eligible spouses. Priority of service means:

    • Served first by the next available staff member
    • Receive early access to a service or resource
    • When services or resources are limited, those eligible receive access before or instead of others

    To be eligible for DVOPS and LVERS assistance and priority of service, Veterans must have served at least one day on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and received a discharge other than dishonorable. Active duty for training does not count for this requirement.

    The spouse or un-remarried spouse of the following are also eligible:

    • Veteran who died of a service-connected disability
    • Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who is listed for 90 or more days as one of the following:
      • Missing in action
      • Captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
      • Forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.
    • A veteran who has a total service-connected disability rating from the VA
    • Veteran who died while a disability (as above) was in existence
  • New York Public Employee Military Leave and Compensation for Reserve Component Service Members: New York public employees who are Service members in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are authorized 22 workdays (30 calendar days) of military leave with full pay per calendar year. Military leave is authorized when a Service member is ordered to state or federal active duty; this includes attendance at a service school, schools conducted by the U.S. Armed Forces, or advanced training.In addition, the state will continue to provide Family coverage under the state’s health insurance plan, free for the period of federally ordered military duty (up to 12 months minus the period the employee is in full pay status).
    • After full-pay leave has been used, Service members will receive the difference between their regular state salary and their regular military pay while on active duty.
  • New York Civil Service, Veterans Hiring Preference: New York offers Veterans’ preference when hiring for state employment and promotions. Preference is given to Veterans by adding additional credits on passing competitive examinations.
    • Disabled Veterans receive 10 points additional credit on open-competitive examinations and five points in promotion examinations. Non-disabled Veterans are granted five points in open-competitive examinations and two and one-half points in promotion examinations.
  • New York Paid Family Leave for Military Families: New York employers must offer paid family leave to assist with Family situations arising when a Service member is on active duty in a foreign country or has been notified of an impending mobilization for active duty to a foreign country. Family members may be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave at 67% of their pay.The following Family members of a Service member are eligible to take Family leave:
    • Spouse
    • Domestic partner
    • Child
    • Parent

    Situations when family leave may be authorized:

    • Short-notice military deployment
    • Military events (official ceremonies or informational briefings related to the active duty)
    • Service member’s rest, recuperation, or counseling
    • Post-deployment activities (arrival ceremonies and reintegration events)
    • Making financial or legal arrangements
    • Making childcare arrangements for the Service member’s child
    • An employer’s insurance carrier will receive and process requests for Paid Family Leave and make all benefit payments


  • New York State Veterans with Disabilities Employment Program (55-c): Section 55-c of the New York State Civil Service Law authorizes 500 entry-level positions for qualified wartime Veterans with disabilities. Eligible Veterans who meet the minimum qualifications for the position will not be required to take an initial written examination.
  • New York Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB): The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act allows eligible Veteran business owners to become certified as a New York SDVOB to encourage and support them to play a more significant role in state contracting opportunities. New York has a 6% goal to include SDVOBs in state contracting.
  • 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:

Albany: Albany Rural Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot

Bath: Bath National Cemetery

Brooklyn: Cypress Hills National Cemetery

Calverton: Calverton National Cemetery

Elmira: Woodlawn National Cemetery

Farmingdale: Long Island National Cemetery

Schuylerville: Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery

New York VA Benefit Resources

New York provides Veterans with two Regional Benefit Offices and multiple VA Medical Centers.

New York VA Regional Benefit Offices

New York VA Medical Centers

Important information for New York 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