North Carolina offers unique benefits for service members, veterans, and their families, including property tax exemptions, state employment preferences, 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 North Carolina.
North Carolina Veteran Financial Benefits
- North Carolina Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay received by resident Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is taxed in North Carolina.
- However, pay received for service in a combat zone or hazardous duty location excluded from the Service member’s federal income is also excluded from North Carolina state income tax. Service members will be given a 180-day extension to file their state taxes from the date they leave the combat zone, or when they are released from a hospital for wounds or injuries they received in a combat zone.
- North Carolina Taxes on Military Retired Pay: Military retired pay received for 20 years of service in the U.S. Armed Forces or by service members who are medically retired can be deducted from North Carolina’s adjusted gross income.
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.
- North Carolina 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
- North Carolina Taxes on Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP): Survivor pension benefits paid to the beneficiaries of a retired Service member can be deducted from a taxpayer’s North Carolina adjusted gross income.
- North Carolina 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.
- North Carolina Tax Relief for Service Members and Certain Veterans: North Carolina offers the following tax benefits to Service members and eligible Veterans:
Cancellation of Certain Assessments and Abatement of Income Tax: Any unpaid North Carolina Income tax owed before a person enters the U.S. Armed Forces will be canceled and decreased if the Service member is killed while serving or is receiving service-connected disability compensation. No interest is payable for any refund owed for overpayment of taxes.
Allowances for Service Members: Subsistence and quarters allowances, uniform and equipment allowances, and mustering-out payments are not taxable. Mileage and per diem for official travel and transportation are only taxed if they exceed travel and transportation expenses.
Deductions for Service Members: Service members can deduct from their North Carolina taxes the cost of any insignia, swords, aiguillettes, epaulets, campaign bars, cap devices, chinstraps, and the cost of altering uniforms required due to a change in rank.
Education and Training Allowances: VA educational payments paid to a Veteran enrolled in an educational institution are tax-exempt.
Grants for Motor Vehicles: VA grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs are exempt from income taxes.
Grants for Specially Adapted Housing: VA grants to seriously disabled Veterans for homes modified for wheelchairs are exempt from income taxes.
Gratuity Pay, Six-Months: The six-month gratuity paid to a beneficiary of a deceased Service member is exempt from income taxes.
Real Property Tax: The first $45,000 of the appraised value of the permanent residence of an eligible disabled Veteran is exempt from North Carolina property taxes.
- Specially Adapted Vehicles: A motor vehicle owned by a disabled Veteran that is modified with special equipment to accommodate their service-connected disability is exempt from property taxes.
- North Carolina Income Tax Exemption for Nonresident Military Spouses: A nonresident military spouse’s income earned in North Carolina is exempt from North Carolina income taxes if they meet the following three requirements:
- Service member is in North Carolina due to military orders
- Spouse is in North Carolina only to be with the Service member
- Spouse’s state of residence is the same as the Service member
Military spouses may use the same state of residence as the Service member for state tax purposes if the first two requirements are met.
- Statewide: 4.75%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 2.75%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 6.99%
- North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Inland Fishing License: The North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Inland Fishing License offers statewide inland fishing for resident Veterans with a 50% or more disability rating from the VA.
This license costs $11 and authorizes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, trout waters on game lands, and joint waters. It does not include fishing in coastal waters.
- North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Coastal Recreational Fishing License: The North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Coastal Recreational Fishing License offers statewide coastal fishing for resident Veterans who have a 50% or more disability rating from the VA.
This license costs $11 and authorizes fishing in coastal and joint waters; it does not authorize fishing in inland waters.
- North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Combination Hunting and Inland Fishing License: The North Carolina Disabled Veteran Combination Hunting and Inland Fishing License offers statewide hunting and fishing for resident Veterans with a 50% or more disability rating from the VA.
This license costs $11 and authorizes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands, fishing in joint waters, and hunting on game lands. It does not include big game hunting, the state waterfowl privilege, the federal duck stamp, or fishing in coastal waters.
- North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Sportsman Hunting and Inland Fishing License: The North Carolina Disabled Veteran Sportsman License offers statewide hunting and inland fishing for resident Veterans who have a 50% or more disability rating from the VA.
This license costs $106 and authorizes hunting for big game, hunting on game lands, hunting for waterfowl, fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands, and fishing in joint waters. It does not include fishing in coastal waters, bear management e-stamp, or federal duck stamp.
- North Carolina Lifetime Disabled Veteran Unified Sportsman/Coastal Recreational Fishing License: The North Carolina Disabled Veteran Unified Sportsman/ Coastal Recreational Fishing License offers statewide hunting, inland and coastal recreational fishing for resident Veterans who have a 50% or more disability rating from the VA.
This license costs $117 and authorizes hunting for big game, hunting on game lands, hunting for waterfowl, fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands, and fishing in joint waters. It does not include the bear management e-stamp or federal duck stamp.
- North Carolina Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Nonresident Service Members and their Dependents at Resident Rates: Nonresident U.S. Armed Forces Service members stationed in North Carolina, their spouse and dependents (under age 18) living with them, are considered residents of North Carolina and can purchase licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission at resident prices.
Nonresident Service members in the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty stationed outside North Carolina are considered residents of North Carolina. They can purchase short-term and annual hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses at resident prices.
- North Carolina Hunting and Fishing Licenses Exemption for Resident Service Members Home on Leave: North Carolina resident Service members stationed outside North Carolina who are home on leave for 30 days or less do not have to purchase hunting, inland, and coastal fishing licenses.
Service members must carry their military ID card and a copy of their leave paperwork when hunting or fishing under this exemption.
- North Carolina Mountain Heritage Trout Fishing License Exemption for Resident and Nonresident Veterans: Resident and nonresident Veterans who received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces are exempt from licensing requirements while fishing in North Carolina Mountain Heritage Trout waters.
Veterans must carry their DD214 (or equivalent) when fishing to prove their service and that they received an honorable discharge.
- North Carolina National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (NCTAP): NCTAP is a tuition reimbursement program for drilling members of the North Carolina National Guard attending an approved North Carolina educational institution.
Tuition may be reimbursed for service members for an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree, graduate certificate, or for attending vocational training.
Service members may use NCTAP before initial active duty training. NCTAP is subject to the availability of funds and varies from semester to semester.
- North Carolina In-State Tuition for Nonresident Service Members and their Dependents: Nonresident Service members and their dependents may be eligible for in-state tuition.
Who is eligible for North Carolina In-State Tuition for Nonresident Service Members and their Dependents? Service members serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and assigned to a military installation in North Carolina under military orders are eligible for in-state tuition. All North Carolina National Guard Service members are charged in-state tuition regardless of active duty status.
Suppose the Service member is reassigned outside North Carolina. In that case, they will continue to qualify for in-state tuition if they remain continuously enrolled in the program they were in before reassignment. An eligible Service member’s dependents are also eligible for in-state tuition.
- North Carolina In-State Tuition for Nonresident Veterans and their Dependents: Nonresident Veterans and their dependents may be eligible for in-state tuition.
- North Carolina Scholarship for Children of Wartime Veterans: The North Carolina Scholarship for children of Wartime Veterans Program offers scholarships at North Carolina schools for the children of specific Veterans.
The scholarship is for eight academic semesters and must be used within eight years.
- North Carolina Vietnam Veterans, Inc. Scholarship Program (NCVVI): NCVVI was formed to grant scholarships for study at accredited institutions of learning by Vietnam Veterans. The scholarships will range from $250 to $1,500 and can be used to pay expenses for any year of undergraduate study at any college, junior college, community college, or trade school.
- North Carolina 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 Award Program for North Carolina Military-Friendly Schools: The Purple Star Award 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 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:
North Carolina State Veterans Homes: North Carolina has four full-service, skilled nursing facilities for Veterans that offer high-quality nursing care to improve their resident’s quality of life. Each has a highly trained professional staff that provides exceptional care and activities to enrich Veterans’ lives. Registered nurses provide all maintenance, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants under the direction of licensed physicians.
Each facility provides:
- Comfort and security
- Spacious rooms in an attractive environment
- Registered dietician
- Social workers
- Veterans Service Officer to assist Veterans and families in applying for VA Benefits
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapies
- Recreational programs
- In-house activities, community outings, and programs involving local volunteer groups
- Special programs throughout the year to honor Veterans
- Hospital care is provided by either a VA Medical Center or local hospitals
Who is eligible for care at the North Carolina State Veterans Homes? To qualify for admission, Veterans must meet the following requirements:
- Served in the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty (other than for training)
- Received a discharge under honorable conditions
- Resident of North Carolina 24 months before the date of admission
- Referred by a licensed physician and determined to require skilled nursing care
- Disabled due to age, disease, or other reasons specified through a physical exam
- Veterans home must be able to meet the needs of the Veteran
All expenses are based on the actual cost of care and the Veteran’s ability to pay using available resources.
Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference
- North Carolina State Employee Leave for Military Duty: North Carolina State employees who are Service members serving in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for up to 120 hours of military leave for training per Federal fiscal year.
- Service members who are called to involuntary active duty will receive up to 30 days of pay, after which they may be eligible for differential pay (see below) during the period of active duty.
- North Carolina Differential Pay for Military Duty: North Carolina will pay differential pay to state employees who are Service members serving in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces when they are called to active duty for more than 30 days. Differential pay is the difference between military basic pay (excluding housing, subsistence allowances, etc.) and their state salary (excluding any special pay such as shift premium, etc.) when military pay is less.
- The Service member must provide their Leave and Earnings Statement (or similar document) to their payroll office to calculate any amount due.
- State Pension for North Carolina National Guard Service Members: North Carolina National Guard Service members may be eligible to receive an additional pension from the state of $105 (paid monthly) for 20 years of creditable military service. Service members can receive an additional $10.50 for each additional year they serve, up to a maximum of $210 per month.
- North Carolina State Employment Veterans’ Preference: North Carolina offers veterans’ preference for eligible veterans for state employment in initial employment, subsequent careers, promotions, reassignments, horizontal transfers, and reduction-in-force situations.
To claim Veterans’ preference, applicants must meet the minimum training and experience requirements for the position and be capable of performing the duties required.
- Who is eligible for North Carolina State Employment Veterans Hiring Preference?
- Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (other than for training) during a period of war and received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Veteran who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during any campaign, expedition, or engagement that a campaign badge or medal was authorized by the U.S. Department of Defense
- Veteran who has a service-connected disability they received during peacetime
- Spouse of a Disabled Veteran
- Surviving spouse or dependent of a Veteran who died on active duty during a period of war either directly or indirectly as a result of that service
- Spouse of a Veteran who has a service-connected disability they received during peacetime
- Surviving spouse or dependent of a Veteran who died in the line of duty during peacetime
For positions that do not have a numerical scoring system, preference is given by authorizing credit on a year-for-year and month-for-month basis for all military service training and experience similar to the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position.
For positions with a numerical scoring system, ten preference points are awarded to the score of eligible applicants.
- 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:
New Bern: New Bern National Cemetery
Raleigh: Raleigh National Cemetery
Salisbury: Salisbury National Cemetery
Wilmington: Wilmington National Cemetery
North Carolina VA Benefit Resources
North Carolina provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and multiple VA Medical Centers.
North Carolina VA Regional Benefit Offices
- Winston-Salem: Winston-Salem Regional Office
North Carolina VA Medical Centers
- Asheville: Asheville VA Medical Center
- Durham: Durham VA Medical Center
- Fayetteville: Fayetteville VA Medical Center
- Salisbury: W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center
Important information for North Carolina 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
North Carolina Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in North Carolina 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.