Benefits in my Backyard: South Dakota

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:11 pm



The Mount Rushmore State is home to more than 60,000 veterans.  The tradition of spreading sawdust on the floors of bars began in Deadwood as an effort to hide gold dust that would gather there. Be careful because it’s against the law to fall asleep in a cheese factory here.  Also, horses aren’t allowed into fountains unless they are wearing pants. 


There is no state income tax in South Dakota.


  • Free Tuition for Veterans.  Certain veterans are eligible for undergraduate courses at state-supported universities if they are not eligible for payments under the GI Bill.   You need to have an honorable discharge, be a current state resident, have served on active duty at any time since August 2, 1990 or have a service-connected disability rated at 10 percent or more.  You receive one month of free tuition for each month of qualifying service, up to a maximum of four academic years.  Send application, a copy of the veteran’s DD-214 to Shane Olivier at the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, 425 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
  • Free Tuition for Children of Veterans who Die During Service.  Children, under 25 years old, who are state residents and whose mother or father was killed in action or died of other causes while on active duty may receive free tuition at state-supported schools.  Apply at the school’s financial aid office.
  • Free Tuition for Dependents of POW’s and MIA’s.  For children and spouses of POW’s or persons listed as missing in action, provided they are not eligible for equal or greater federal benefits.  Apply at the school’s financial aid office.


  • Veterans Preference is given to veterans with an honorable discharge when applying for state employment.  The unmarried spouse of a deceased veteran is given preference if the veteran qualified.  If a disabled eligible veteran can’t work due to their disability, their spouse is entitled to the same preference if they have the qualifications.
  • SDWORKS South Dakota’s largest job database
  • SD Department of Labor Services for Veterans




  • The South Dakota state veterans home is located in Hot Springs.  Applicants must have an honorable discharge. The home is open to spouses and widows.  You must have been a state resident for five years before applying. 

Cemetery and Burial

  • Veterans in South Dakota are eligible for Burial BenefitsForms must be submitted by a veterans service organization after services have been performed. 
  • 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