Oklahoma offers unique benefits for service members, veterans, and their families, including tax exemptions, employment assistance, veterans’ employment preference, tuition assistance, special vehicle license plates, and free or reduced prices for hunting and fishing privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Veteran Financial Benefits
- Oklahoma Income Tax Exemption for Military Pay: Oklahoma resident Service members serving in an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces do not have to pay state income tax on their military pay.
- Oklahoma Income Tax Exemption for Nonresident Military Spouse: A nonresident spouse of a nonresident Service member is exempt from Oklahoma income tax on income earned in Oklahoma if they meet the following requirements:
- The service member is stationed in Oklahoma due to military orders
- Spouse is in Oklahoma to be with the Service member
- The spouse must have the same state of residency as the Service member
- Oklahoma Income Tax 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 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
- Oklahoma 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 military 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) Oklahoma State Tax Benefits: Surviving Spouses can exclude up to $10,000 of their survivor benefit annuities from their Oklahoma income taxes (must be included in their federal adjusted gross income).
- Oklahoma Income Tax Exemption for Service Members Killed in Action: Any payments made by the Department of Defense as a result of the death of a Service member who was killed in action in a designated combat zone are exempt from Oklahoma income tax during the taxable year that they were killed.
This benefit is extended to the income earned by a Surviving spouse for the taxable year that their Service member’s spouse was killed.
- Oklahoma Disabled Veteran and Surviving Spouse Sales Tax Exemption: Oklahoma offers an annual sales tax exemption (including city and county sales tax) to eligible disabled Veterans for up to $25,000 and up to $1000 for Surviving spouses.
- Oklahoma 100% Disabled Veteran Motor Vehicle Tax Exemption: Oklahoma offers a Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Exemption for eligible disabled Veterans. The exemption may be claimed on only one vehicle in a consecutive three-year period. Surviving spouses do not qualify for this exemption.
- Oklahoma 100% Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption: Oklahoma offers a 100% property tax exemption for eligible disabled Veterans and their Surviving spouse. This exemption is for the full fair cash value of the homestead.
- Statewide: 4.5%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 7.00%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 8.98%
- Free Admission to Oklahoma State-Owned or State-Operated Parks or Museums for Resident Veterans: All honorably discharged Oklahoma resident Veterans are authorized free admission to all state-owned or state-operated parks and museums.
- Veterans must provide a valid Oklahoma driver’s license or state photo ID card and show their military discharge papers (DD214 or similar evidence of an honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces) to be granted free entry.
- Free Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Privileges for Certain Disabled Veterans: Oklahoma offers free hunting and fishing permits for resident Veterans who have a 60% or more service-connected disability rating from the VA. In addition, veterans with a disability of 60% or more are exempt from Wildlife Land Stamp requirements.
- Reduced fee Disabled Veteran Lifetime Combination Hunting/Fishing License: Oklahoma resident disabled Veterans may purchase a lifetime combination hunting/fishing license. The cost of the lifetime combination licenses depends on their disability percentage from the VA.
- $200 for Veterans with a disability rating of less than 60%
- $25 for Veterans who have a disability rating of 60% or more (this license provides some additional tags not included in the free permit for Veterans with a 60% or more certified disability)
- Oklahoma Disabled Veteran Hunting Fee Exemptions: Veterans who receive disability compensation from the VA at the 100% rate are exempt from fees for the following licenses:
- Deer Gun Hunting License
- Deer Archery Hunting License
- Primitive Firearms License
- Bonus, Special, or Second Deer Gun Hunting License
- Oklahoma Resident Hunting and Fishing Privileges for Nonresidents Service Members and their Dependents: Nonresident active duty Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses, and dependents assigned to a military installation in Oklahoma can purchase hunting and fishing licenses for resident prices.
- License Project: The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Stars and Stripes License Project is a donor-funded project that offers free hunting and fishing licenses to Veterans and survivors of Veterans who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Applicants can choose from these licenses:
- Annual Combination Hunting/Fishing License
- 60% or more Disabled Veterans Lifetime Combination Hunting/Fishing License
- Oklahoma College Credit for Military Service: Oklahoma colleges, universities, and technology centers will award academic credit to Veterans who received an honorable discharge within three years before enrollment for any applicable education, training, and experience acquired through the military that pertains to their area of study.
- Oklahoma National Guard Educational Assistance Program: The Oklahoma National Guard Tuition Program provides a tuition waiver for active Oklahoma National Guard Service members at all Oklahoma public colleges and universities. This waiver also covers all mandatory fees and academic service fees.
Service members can enroll in up to 18 credit hours per semester, with a maximum of 120 credit hours for an undergraduate degree and up to 40 credit hours for a graduate program.
- Oklahoma Heroes Promise, College Scholarship for Children of Deceased Service Members: Oklahoma’s Heroes Promise college scholarship will help pay tuition at an Oklahoma public college or university for the children of resident Service members who were killed in the line of duty while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It will also cover a portion of tuition at an accredited Oklahoma private college or university or for courses at public technology centers.
The scholarship may be used for up to five years or until the student completes a bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first.
- High School Diplomas for Oklahoma Wartime Veterans: Oklahoma offers high school diplomas to resident Veterans who left high school before graduation to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, Korea, or Vietnam.
Who is eligible for High School Diplomas for Oklahoma Wartime Veterans? To be eligible, the Veteran must have left an Oklahoma high school before graduation to serve on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during one of the following periods:
- September 16, 1940, through December 31, 1946
- June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
- May 13, 1961, through April 29, 1975
- Oklahoma 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 in order to achieve academic success for the student
- Oklahoma Purple Star School Program for Military-Friendly Schools: The Oklahoma Purple Star School Program recognizes schools that show a significant commitment to students and families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces.
For a school to qualify for the Oklahoma Purple Star School Program, 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.
- Oklahoma Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP): VEP offers training in entrepreneurship and small business management to Service members who were disabled while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or demonstrated exemplary military service. The VEP intends to open the door to entrepreneurial opportunities and small business ownership by developing skills to start and sustain a small business.
The VEP is designed around two central elements: focused, practical training and a support structure for program graduates. The VEP covers all travel, accommodation, meals, materials, and instructional costs.
The typical program consists of three phases:
- Self-study curriculum
- Eight-day residency at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater
- Five months of advising and venture development from OSU experts
- Oklahoma Technology School Tuition Waiver for Veterans and Children of Certain Service Members: Oklahoma resident Veterans or the child of a Service member who is declared missing in action or a prisoner of war can receive a tuition waiver at any state-supported technology center school (not available at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology-Okmulgee).
- Oklahoma CareerTech for Veterans: Oklahoma CareerTech and career and technology schools provide a website with information that may be useful to service members who are separating from the U.S. Armed Forces.
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Oklahoma State Veterans Centers: Oklahoma has seven Veterans Centers throughout the state that provide intermediate nursing care, skilled nursing care, memory care, and domiciliary care for Veterans and their spouses.
Who is eligible for care at an Oklahoma State Veterans Center? Veterans must meet the following requirements to be eligible for admission:
- Served in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 90 days with one or more days on active duty or was discharged before 90 days due to a service-connected disability
- Received a discharge other than dishonorable
- Requires nursing care
- Eligible for the VA state home per diem
- Spouse or Surviving spouse of an Eligible Veteran
Veterans Centers admission priorities:
- World War II Veterans
- Former prisoners of war
- Wartime Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70% to 100% from the VA
- Wartime Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 0% to 60% from the VA
- All other eligible wartime Veterans
- Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70% to 100% from the VA
- Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 0% to 60% from the VA
- All other eligible Veterans
- Spouse and Surviving spouse of an eligible Veteran may be admitted after admission of all eligible Veterans
Employment and Job Training: Veteran Preference
- Oklahoma State Employee Military Leave for National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Service Members: State employees who are Service members serving in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for 30 days of paid military leave per federal fiscal year when they are ordered to active or inactive duty. If the period of military duty extends beyond 30 days, the Service member may choose to use accrued holidays, annual leave, or leave without pay. Employees are authorized military leave without loss of status or seniority.
- Oklahoma Professional Licensure Benefits for Service Members and their Spouses: The Oklahoma Post-Military Service Occupation, Education, and Credentialing Act provides professional licensing benefits to eligible Service members, Veterans, and their spouses.
Automatic extension of professional license or certification: Service members’ professional licenses remain valid until the end of their deployment and do not require fees or dues for renewal.
Military education, training, and experience may be used for professional licensing and certification requirements: Military education, training, and experience a Service member receives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces can meet Oklahoma licensing and certification requirements.
Military Spouse Applicant – Equivalency: The spouses of active duty Service members assigned to a military installation in Oklahoma and who hold a valid professional license or certification from another state can receive expedited processing for an Oklahoma professional license or certification. Spouses may also be granted a temporary license or certification while they continue to work towards Oklahoma licensing requirements.
- Those interested in these benefits should contact the professional licensing board or certification authority in their occupation for specific eligibility requirements.
- Oklahoma State Employee Veteran’s Hiring Preference: Veterans, Disabled Veterans, and their spouses may be eligible for Veterans’ hiring preference for state employment. Preference is given by adding points to applicants’ passing competitive and noncompetitive examination scores.
Five points are added to the following applicant’s final score:
- Veteran who received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces
- Un-remarried Surviving spouse of a Veteran
- Spouse of a Veteran who has a service-connected unemployable rating from the VA (certification letter from the VA must be dated within six months)
Ten points are added to the final grade of a wartime Veteran with a service-connected disability rating from the VA (a certification letter from the VA must be dated within six months).
In addition, a wartime veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 30% or higher is considered to be an Absolute Preference Veteran. Their names are at the top of the list, ranked according to their examination scores. Absolute Preference Veterans cannot be denied employment without showing cause.
Special Disabled Veterans: Veterans with a 30% or more service-connected disability rating from the VA are exempted from entrance exams and other hiring procedures. A one-year probationary period will apply.
- Oklahoma Private Sector Voluntary Veterans Hiring Preference: Private-sector employers in Oklahoma are authorized to have a Veterans employment preference policy for honorably discharged Veterans. The preference policy must meet the following requirements:
- Must be in writing
- Applied uniformly to employment decisions regarding hiring, promotion, or retention during a reduction in force
- Veterans must be registered in the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, Oklahoma Veterans Registry
Employers may require applicants to provide their discharge documents to prove eligibility for the preference.
Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Veterans’ Priority of Service: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides grant funds to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to provide employment and training services to eligible residents and workers. As a condition for receiving those funds, priority of service must be given to qualified Veterans when referring individuals to job openings, DOL-funded training programs, or related services.
One-Stop and Workforce Center staff provides information and assistance regarding available employment programs, training opportunities, services, eligibility requirements, and Veterans’ priority.
- 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.
- Oklahoma National Guard Employment Coordination Program (ECP): ECP builds relationships with Oklahoma employers to develop employment opportunities for Oklahoma National Guard Service members, Veterans, and family members.
- Resume assistance
- Civilian job search assistance
- Interview Coaching
- Career advice
- Education advice
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:
Elgin: Fort Sill National Cemetery
Ft. Gibson: Fort Gibson National Cemetery
Oklahoma VA Benefit Resources
Oklahoma provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Oklahoma VA Regional Benefits Office
- Muskogee: Muskogee Regional Office
Oklahoma VA Medical Centers
- Muskogee: Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (Jack C. Montgomery VAMC)
- Oklahoma City: Oklahoma City VA Health Care System
Important information for Oklahoma 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 December 2023
Oklahoma Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Oklahoma 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.