Benefits in my Backyard: New Mexico

Dancing while wearing a sombrero in this state may land you in jail.

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:22 pm



New Mexico is home to more than 172,000 veterans.  The Land of Enchantment is a smart one, there are more PhD holder per capita than any other state in the Union.  The oldest capital city in North America, dating back to 1610, is Santa Fe.  Living here comes with a few unique laws. It’s a petty misdemeanor to spit on any public property or sidewalk.  It’s also a misdemeanor to trip a horse, but if the horse gets hurt, it’s bumped up to a 4th degree felony.  In Las Cruces, it’s illegal to carry a lunchbox down Main Street.


New Mexico has a tax exemption for both low and middle income residents.  The maximum exemption is $2,500.  To qualify, the amount on line 7 of the state income tax form must be equal or less than $36,667 (single), $27,500 (married filing separately) or $55,000 (married filing jointly).


  • Vietnam Veterans Scholarship.  Veterans who are state residents for at least 10 years, served in Vietnam and were issued the Vietnam Campaign or Service Medal are eligible.  This scholarship pays full tuition and books at any state funded post-secondary school.
  • Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund may be used by any veterans who has served in combat since 1990 and who has exhausted all available federal GI benefits.
  • Children of Deceased Veterans.  Children, between 16 and 26 years old, whose veteran parent was killed in action or died from wounds incurred in battle qualify for a full tuition waiver at any state funded post- secondary school. A $150 stipend, per semester, will be issued to help with books or fees.


  • On request, when applying for a New Mexico state job, veterans’ preference points may be applied to veterans with an honorable discharge.  You must provide your DD 214 and/or your VA Disability Determination letter at the time of application.
    • 10 points given to veterans with a service-connected disability
    • 5 points given to eligible veterans



  • Fishing/Hunting licenses.  Veterans with any service-connected disability may apply for a $10 small-game & fishing license.  Veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability are eligible for a free lifetime license.
  • Admission to State Parks.   Veterans with a 50 percent or higher service-connected disability may qualify for a free State Monument and Museum pass. 


  • Veterans’ Homes.   Eligibility requirements include an honorable discharge with at least 90 days on active duty.  Gold Star Parents and veterans spouses are eligible for admission. 

Cemetery and Burial

  • Veterans residing in the state are eligible to receive certain end of live benefits. Four new state cemeteries are under construction. Email 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

  • New Mexico Department of Veterans Services
  • Veteran Transportation Service (Northern and Central New Mexico) Disabled veterans may arrange free transportation from their home to the VA Medical Center or CBOC in Albuquerque by calling the Disabled American Veterans at (505) 256-2821.  In Southeastern NM, call the Vietnam Veterans of America at (575)622-0729.