Benefits in my backyard

Arizona, Tennessee and Missouri

Jonathan Kaupanger
January 17, 2018 - 3:36 pm

(Photo by National Park Service/MCT/Sipa USA)


Dementia in Missouri, State Park passes for Arizona and almost no property tax for disabled vets in Tennessee! Today we check out some of the veteran state benefits for Arizona, Tennessee and Missouri.


The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services runs two veteran’s homes in the state.  The two homes have different levels of nursing care and are state-of-the-art facilities.  To be eligible to live in one of these homes, vets must have an honorable discharge and a doctor must certify that they need nursing care.  Spouses can be admitted also.

For property tax, check with your County Assessor office first: Widows, widowers and disabled persons can get a waiver in some cases (this is for everyone, not just veterans).  The first $2,500 of your Federal payments are exempt from state taxes.  This includes both civil service and military retirement pay.

Veterans with any 100 percent service-connected disability won’t have to pay license or registration fees for their personally owned vehicles. All vets in the state are exempt from license tax on a vehicle that is bought by using financial aid from the VA.  After the veteran dies, this will apply to the surviving spouse, until they remarry.

When using educational benefits from the G.I. Bill (at Arizona state colleges and universities) veterans can defer their tuition payments, fees and charges for books for up to 120 days with no interest charges. You can get an extension of this time limit if needed.  Former Arizona National Guard members who have received Purple Heart citations since September 11, 2001 are eligible for a full tuition waiver at state colleges and universities.

Vets with a permanent, 100 percent disability are issued a “Disabled Veterans Annual Day Use Pass.” These veterans can use the pass at any of the 27 State Parks.  You can find out more about state veteran benefits at the Arizona Department of Veterans Affairs website.


With less than half a million veterans calling it home, Tennessee has four state run veteran homes. There are a few qualifications to live in one of these places, you need to be a resident of the state at the time of admission.  You’ll need to have been born in Tennessee, entered the armed forces while in the state and have a Tennessee address as your official home of record and lastly, have an immediate family member or legal guardian who can serve as primary caregiver and who is also a resident of Tennessee.  Spouses, widows, widowers or Gold Star Parents can also be eligible to live in one of these state vet homes if space is available.  Costs are based on income.

100 percent disabled veterans or their surviving spouses can get property tax relief for up to $175,000 of the property’s assessed value. If you’re looking to snag a state job, veterans have preference in state employment.  They also get credit for military service and have reemployment rights.  If you have a valid military commercial driver license, the state will waive the required test for this license.

This state has great educational benefits! Dependent children, under 23-years-old, or spouse in the state is entitled to get free tuition: meaning no maintenance fees, student activity fees or registration fees and can be admitted at no cost to any of the state colleges or universities, if their parent was killed on active duty or reported as a prisoner of war or even missing in action, during a time of conflict.

Head over to the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information.


The Show-Me State currently has seven veteran homes. Each one has a secured dementia unit that includes a dining room, activity area and an enclosed courtyard.  The monthly charge is determined by using a sliding scale based on the vet’s ability to pay.  To be eligible, you’ll need to have lived in Missouri for 180 in your lifetime, meet the criteria for veteran status by the VA and also require skilled nursing services.

If both you and your spouse spend less than 30 days in the state, your military income is not taxed. All military retirement pension is exempt from state taxes.  Some senior citizens and some disabled people can apply for a tax credit that will take care of some real estate taxes or rent paid for the year.  The credit is a max of $750 for renters and $1,100 for home owners who live in their home.  The credit is based on the amount of real estate taxes or rent paid.

The Vietnam Veterans Survivor Grant Program makes it so some surviving widows and children of Vietnam Vets can get scholarships to attend colleges in the state. The veteran’s death does need to be attributed to an illness that was the result of exposure to toxic chemicals.

Veterans looking for employment at the state level can get a five-point preference when testing for any position in the state. Service-connected disabled veterans get a 10 point preference.  Spouses of eligible vets can also qualify for veterans preferences. State agencies that deal with federally funded employment and training programs give priority to qualified vets also.