Benefits in my Backyard: New York

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:21 pm



New York State is home to just under a million veterans. It’s the third most populous state. In fact, about 1 in every 38 people in the U.S. live in New York City.  New York is home to the first state park in the US when Niagara Falls State Park was created in 1885.  New York was the first state to require license plates on all cars and has produced more governors than any other state. It got its nickname of “Empire State” due to its growth and prosperity in the early U.S. history.  Even George Washington is to have said New York is the “seat of the empire.”


New York does not tax military retirement pay.  There are three different property tax exemptions available to veterans. The exemption applies to county, city, town and village taxes.  Exemptions may apply to school district taxes.  Eligible vets can submit the initial application form to their local tax assessor’s office.  There are deadlines for filing.  Proof of honorable discharge and times and places served in active duty must be attached to exemption application.  Here’s the list of acceptable military records for this exemption.

  • Alternative Veteran’s Exemption. Use form RP-458-a to apply. Instructions are here. Application deadline: March 1
  • 15 percent reduction in assessed value for vets who served during a time of war
  • Additional 10 percent reduction in assessed value to veterans serving in combat zones
  • Additional reduction in assessed value to veterans who incur service-connected disabilities, equal to one-half of their service-connected disability rating
  • Percentage-level benefits are subject to maximum dollar limits set by each taxing jurisdiction
  • Cold War veteran’s Exemption. Use form RP-458-b to apply. Instructions are here. Application deadline: March 1
  • 10 or 15 percent reduction in assessed value
  • Additional reduction for veterans who incur service-connected disabilities, equal to one-half of the service-connected disability rating Cold War period.
  • Eligible Funds Exemption. Use form RP-458. Instructions are here. Application deadline: March 1
  • Reduces the assessed value of a property that a veteran purchased with “eligible funds” that the veteran received upon discharge. Maximum of $5,000.


  • Military Service Recognition Scholarships provide aid to children, spouses and dependents of members of the military or state organized militia who died on or after Aug. 2, 1990 while a state resident.
  • Regents Awards for Children of Deceased & Disabled veterans provides up to $450 per year to students whose parents served in the armed forces during times of war or national emergency or the veteran died or has at least a 40 percent VA rated service connected disability or was missing in action or a POW.  The veteran must be a resident of New York State or was one at the time of their death.
  • Veterans Tuition Awards are for veterans in an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution or in an approved vocational training program. 




  • Lifetime Liberty Pass gives qualified veterans with disabilities discounted use of state parks, historic sites and recreational facilities. The pass includes free vehicle entry to state parks and DEC-operated day-use areas. You must be a state resident and have a VA rated service-connected disability of 40 percent or more.  Allow 2 – 4 weeks for processing the application.
  • Freshwater Fishing License. There are more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 70,000 miles of rivers and streams and hundreds of miles of coastline. Anyone over the age of 15 needs a fishing license.


  • State veterans’ homes are for vets who require skilled nursing care and entered active duty from New York and are New York residents for at least one year prior to application. They must have had an honorable discharge and served at least 30 days of active duty.  Spouse of qualified veterans may be eligible for admission.
  • Homes for veterans program of fixed-rate mortgages with low interest rates.   

Cemetery and Burial

  • 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