The state of Tennessee offers many veteran benefits for service members and Veterans that have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. These benefits include income and property tax exemptions, financial exemptions, education and training programs, hunting and fishing licenses, vehicle registrations, and assistance with employment. Your residency, military career, and disability status may result in certain differences in what benefits you may be eligible for. The following are benefits for the state of Tennessee.
Tennessee Veteran Financial Benefits
- Income Taxes: The State of Tennessee does not levy a general state income tax.
- Tennessee Hall Tax: Tennessee has no state income tax. Tennessee does, however, have the “Hall Tax,” which is imposed only on individuals and other entities receiving interest from bonds and notes and dividends from stock at a flat rate. This tax does not apply to the first $1,250 of income reported on each individual return or the first $2,500 of joint income reported on a jointly filed return. The Hall tax is in the process of being phased out under the following schedule:
- 4% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2017
- 3% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2018
- 2% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2019
- 1% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2020
- Repeal beginning January 1, 2021
- Tennessee Disabled Veteran and Surviving Spouse State Property Tax Benefits: Disabled Veterans and their Surviving Spouse may qualify for a rebate or exemption of taxes on a specified portion of the value of property used as their residence. The Veteran or Surviving Spouse must own and use the property as a primary residence. The maximum market value on which tax relief is calculated is $175,000. Apply through the county trustee; or, if the property is within the city limits, the application can also be made by contacting your city collecting official. The Veteran must own and use property on which you apply as your primary residence (proof of residency may be requested). The value of your property does not determine whether you can apply; however, the maximum market value on which tax relief is calculated will be on the first $175,000. If your residence is a mobile home, a copy of your title or bill of sale is required.
- Your disability must meet one of the following categories:
- A service-connected disability that resulted in:
- Permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain
- Loss, or loss of use of, two (2) or more limbs
- Legal blindness
- A total and permanent disability rating from a service-connected disability
- A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war
- Must not have been dishonorably discharged from any armed service
- A service-connected disability that resulted in:
- Statewide: 7.0%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax no more than 2.75%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 9.494%
Disabled Veteran Hunting & Fishing License: Veterans with a 100% disability rating are eligible for a free hunting and fishing license, or those with a 30 percent disability rating due to wartime service. There is a one time fee of $10.
Camping in State Parks: During the off-season, (Nov. 1 – Mar. 31), resident Veterans can camp at the same discounted rate as Tennessee senior campers.
Free Day: On Veterans Day, camping and golf greens fees are free at state campgrounds and golf courses.
Tennessee Veterans Can Register Early for State Classes: A military Veteran who is a current resident of this state or whose home of record for military purposes is Tennessee and who is a student at a public institution of higher education shall be allowed to register for classes prior to the general student population at any public institution of higher education. Early registration shall occur using the same procedure used by student-athletes, disabled students and honor students if such groups are permitted to early register.
Tennessee Helping Heroes Education Grant for Veterans: The Helping Heroes Grant offers $1,000 per semester to a student who successfully completes 12 or more semester hours with no failing grade as the final grade for the course. The student shall receive $500 per semester for successfully completing six 6 to eleven 11 semester hours with no failing grade as a final grade for the course. The student shall not receive an award if enrolled in fewer than six (6) semester hours.
Tennessee Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:
- Facilitating the timely 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 children of military families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment
- 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 promulgation and 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 educational success for the student
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Eligibility for admission:
- Must be a Tennessee residents or natives
- Must have an honorable discharge
- Spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star Parents may also be eligible for admission
- There is a cost
Employment and Job Training: Veteran’s Preference
All honorably discharged Veterans can have 5 points added to any state employment examination scores. Those with a VA service-connected disability will get 10 points added to their score.
Military Leave for Tennessee State Employees: Employees who are members of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States, including members of the Tennessee National Guard, receive leave with pay for up to 20 workdays in one calendar year. Leave without pay is granted for periods of active duty or training activity with the U.S. Armed Services (both regular and Reserve components) or the Tennessee National Guard for authorized periods exceeding the 20 days of paid leave. Employees may use up to 5 days of sick leave following the use of 20 paid days.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Benefits: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protect civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA also makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive the Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
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. Eligibility for interment in the State Veterans Cemetery follows National Cemetery Administration eligibility requirements. Generally, Veterans with an “other than dishonorable” discharge are eligible. There is no fee for Veteran interment and a small fee for spouse and dependent children.
National Cemeteries include:
Chattanooga: Chattanooga National Cemetery
Knoxville: Knoxville National Cemetery
Madison: Nashville National Cemetery
Memphis: Memphis National Cemetery
Mountain Home: Mountain Home National Cemetery
Tennessee VA Benefit Resources
Tennessee provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Tennessee VA Regional Benefits Office
- Nashville: Nashville Regional Office
Tennessee VA Medical Centers
- Memphis: Memphis VA Medical Center
- Mountain Home: James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Murfreesboro: Tennessee Valley Healthcare System – Alvin C. York (Murfreesboro) Campus
- Nashville: Tennessee Valley Healthcare System – Nashville Campus
Important information for Tennessee 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, along with your 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, along with your medical records, in a safe place where you and your family can have access to 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 other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, 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 2019
Tennessee Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Tennessee 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 if you are eligible for an increase in VA compensation and whether you qualify for additional benefits.