Benefits in my Backyard: Minnesota

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:30 pm


You’ll find more than 350,000 veterans living in the Land of 10,000 lakes. Although, technically it’s really the land of 11,842 lakes, but that just doesn’t trip off the tongue as easy. 

Minnesota has given the U.S. many important things and people over the years. Target started in the state. Red Wing Shoes, the first enclosed shopping mall, Scotch Tape, Post-It Notes and water skiing all come from this state. Even the honeycrisp apple was invented at the University of Minnesota. Famous Minnesotans include Betty Crocker, Bob Dylan, Prince and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Living in this state means you should brush up on a few unique laws, like it’s actually illegal to tease skunks (I say go ahead, tease away, just stay downwind of me, please.) Here’s a law that must have a good history behind it, men are banned from having sex with live fish. (So then what about dead ones?)  In Alexandria, they take this a step further... If a man eats sardines, then wants to get frisky with his wife, there’s an actual law that forces him to brush his teeth. Same for anyone eating garlic and onions too. The town of Cottage Grove has a law forbidding airplanes from landing in city parks. And if you want to make a little extra cash on the side, you can earn 10 cents for every rat head you bring to the nearest town hall.


  • Active Duty Military Pay. If you’re a member of the military and a state resident, you may subtract federally taxable active-duty military pay when determining your Minnesota tax.
  • Claiming the Military Service Credit for a Deceased Taxpayer. The surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, children of siblings or personal representative may claim this refund on the deceased’s behalf.  Here’s detailed information.
  • Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone. You may qualify if you were a state resident, served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area and received combat pay. Combat zones approved for Tax Benefits.
  • Credit for Past Military Service. This is a $750 credit if you served at least 20 years active duty or have a service-connected disability of 100 percent or were honorably discharged. 
  • Disabled Veterans’ Homestead Property Tax Exclusion.Apply for these exemptions at your county assessor’s office.
    • Up to $300k of market value is excluded for vets with service-connected disability rating of 100 percent, surviving spouses and qualifying Primary Family Caregivers of disabled veterans.
    • Up to $150k of market value is excluded for vets with 70 percent disability or more.
  • Military Pensions. You may subtract some retirement pay from your state tax.  This applies for tax years 2016 or later.
  • MN Department of Revenue forms


  • Minnesota GI Bill. Eligible state vets, National Guard and Reserves serving since 9/11/2001, eligible spouse and children may receive up to $10k to use on higher education, on the job training, and apprenticeships. 
  • Veteran Education Assistance is available for veterans who have been a resident of the state at the time of entry into the service and at least for six months after that. The veteran needs to have completely exhausted their federal educational benefits.
  • Surviving Spouse & Dependent Education Benefit.  For spouses and dependents of veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected condition. The veteran must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before passing away.  Apply with your County Veterans Service Officer.
  • On-Campus Resource Centers for veterans.



  • Short Term Financial Assistance provides help with rent/mortgage, current utility bills and health insurance premiums to eligible veterans and their dependents. The benefit is income and asset based and will help for up to six months. Apply with your County Veterans Service Officer.
  • Dental Assistance is provided to vets and their dependents for routine dental, extraction and denture procedures. Benefit is income and asset based and you may receive up to $1,000 for annual routine care, paid to the provider. Apply with your County Veterans Service Officer.
  • Optical Assistance of up to $400 is available. Apply with your County Veterans Service Officer.
  • Special Needs Grant is reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. Apply with your County Veterans Service Officer.



  • There are five state run veterans’ homes in Minnesota.Admission requirements include an honorable discharge after serving at least 181 consecutive days on active duty and who are state residents. You can take a virtual tour of the homes in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne, Minneapolis and Silver Bay.

Cemetery and Burial

  • Veterans residing in the state are eligible to receive certain end of live benefits. Click here for more information.
  • Eligibility Determination Form. Pre-needs determination is intended to simplify and assist the veteran’s next-of-kin at the time of death. This does not reserve a plot or niche at the cemetery. There is no cost for this.

Links or Resources