After retiring, many veterans are left with the question of where to live next without the need to adhere to station change. When choosing, veterans should consider benefits available in state, healthcare options, tax exemptions and many other factors when looking for their next home.
Here is a list of the 5 best states for veterans to retire, according to WalletHub.
WalletHub ranked Virginia the number one ranked state for military retirees. The Virginia Department of Veterans Services offers many advantages for retired veterans through 26 benefit service offices. The services are provided free of charge and help connect veterans with information on current federal, state and local programs throughout Virginia.
When it comes to looking for a post-service career, veterans can join the Virginia Transition Assistance Program. VTAP helps transitioning service members and their spouses seeking employment, education and entrepreneurship opportunities. In addition, veterans eyeing state employment can receive a five percent addition to their test scores, and disabled veterans can receive a 10 percent addition.
Virginia also offers a free lifetime hunting and fishing license and a discounted saltwater license for residents who are permanently and service-connected disabled. Veterans with at least 70 percent disability can get the licenses for a discounted rate. Veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating get free admission and parking at Virginia state parks as well.
2. South Carolina
In South Carolina, veterans can utilize SC Works centers to help find employment. These provide career coaching, referrals, resumé workshops and other services. Another program, Operation Palmetto Employment help veterans find careers, education and training. Veterans who have received an honorable discharge will receive hiring preference for state positions, if they meet the knowledge and skills requirements. Veterans who retire from state employment can use up to six years towards an increase in retirement benefits.
South Carolina offers three veteran nursing homes available for veterans meeting residency requirements, were discharged under general or honorable conditions and require skilled nursing care. Veterans who have lost the use of their lower extremities or have paralysis of one half of their body resulting from injury are exempt from state, county and municipal taxes on their residences.
Additionally, disabled veterans are eligible to receive a free hunting and fishing license. Any South Carolina resident who is 100% disabled may enter any state park at a reduced rate.
The Florida Veterans Foundation works with 67 county veteran service offices to assist them in finding employment, housing, transportation, benefits assistance among other things.
The Department of Financial Services offers two financial education programs for veterans: Financial Frontlines and Serve Save Succeed. Financial Frontlines is an online program that provides information to help families fight financial frauds and debt. The program covers topics including identity theft, credit scoring, budgeting and more. Serve Save Succeed is a financial literacy resource that covers saving, budgeting, frauds and scams.
Florida is home to 1.5 million veterans, 162,000 being women, many of whom don’t know they are eligible for the full range of federal and state benefits, according to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Each year the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosts an annual women veterans conference to help connect them to various benefits and services.
Florida veterans can also access the Military and Veterans Assistance Program, which helps educate service members and veterans about scams that may target their communities.
4. South Dakota
South Dakota has numerous options, particularly when it comes to education benefits. Honorably discharged residents who served after August 1, 1990, and received a campaign, expeditionary or service medal have access to free tuition at state colleges, according to Military.com.
Dependents of those killed in action or died of other causes while on active duty may be eligible for free tuition at a state supported school as well. National Guard members are eligible for a 50 percent reduction in undergraduate tuition at state schools for up to 128 undergraduate credits or 32 graduate credits.
Just like the previous states, South Dakota veterans have access to several recreational benefits. Resident veterans that receive VA Special Monthly Compensation, are former POWs, get Social Security Disability or get at least 40 percent VA disability can receive hunting and fishing licenses for a small fee, free admissions to state parks and half off camping fees.
According to WalletHub, Alaska has the most veterans per captia and is ranked number one for its economic environment. Alaska offers many benefits for tuition waivers for veterans, as well as their spouses or dependents. In order to qualify for financial benefits while attending school in the University of Alaska system, applicants must be an active duty, National guard, or veteran eligible for VA education benefits. Students who qualify must move to and live in Alaska throughout their school years.
Veterans and their spouses may also qualify for priority services through the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. These services include job workshops, priority job referral, special programs, resumé assistance and job development.
The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation offers two programs to assist qualified veterans purchasing a home. One of the programs, the Veterans Mortgage Program, offers special financing to veterans, including lower interest rates, quick processing times and little to no down payments. Another program, the Veterans Interest Rate Preference program, offers a provides reduced mortgage loan interest rates.
Abi Pepin is a summer intern for the Military Times covering evergreen stories and working on social media platforms.