Alabama Veterans BenefitsUpdated: November 4, 2022
Find Alabama state and local veterans benefits including education, employment, health care, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. The Bay State provides benefits for nearly 350,000 veterans who reside in Alabama.
Alabama Veteran Education Benefits
Alabama G.I. Dependents’ Scholarship
Alabama offers qualified military dependents (including certain qualifying military spouses) a scholarship equivalent to as much as five academic years or 10 semesters at any Alabama state-supported college or institution of higher learning including state technical colleges.
Alabama residency, the nature of the veteran’s discharge and other requirements will apply.
The qualifications and the actual amount of the scholarships will vary depending on the veteran’s VA-rated disability percentage and as of July 31, 2017, “Tuition will be limited to the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Cap” with reimbursement for textbooks and fees capped at a total of $10,000 per student per semester.
A condition of this program is that it must be applied only after any other scholarships or grants have been put toward the student’s education expenses first. Any remaining charges will be handled by the Alabama G.I. Dependents’ Scholarship.
State Of Alabama College Credit For Military Experience
Alabama law permits colleges to offer credit to veterans and currently serving military members for military training, continuing education and other experiences related to service in the Armed Forces. Students must discuss the colleges’ requirements with the school admissions office where they will be attending to learn what that institution’s documentation requirements are to receive the credit.
Alabama State College Tuition Waivers For Purple Heart Recipients
Those who were awarded the Purple Heart may be eligible for a waiver of tuition and fees for undergraduate study. The State of Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs instructs those interested in this Purple Heart tuition waiver to contact Alabama colleges directly to learn how to apply.
Operation Recognition: High School Diplomas For Qualifying Veterans
Alabama residents who entered the military and had their high school education interrupted and could not graduate may be eligible for a high school diploma. This program is offered to those who meet the qualifying conditions (including an Honorable discharge) and served during the following dates:
- Dec. 7, 1941–Jan. 1, 1946
- June 27, 1950–Jan. 31, 1955
- Nov. 15, 1961 – March 28, 1973
Veterans or their family members may contact the high school principal’s office of the institution the veteran attended to make arrangements for the diploma.
Alabama Veteran Employment Benefits
Alabama Unemployment Compensation For Veterans
Honorably Discharged veterans who are unemployed in Alabama may be able to claim unemployment compensation as long as they do not receive a military pension or VA disability payments.
Military spouses may also be entitled to unemployment compensation if they voluntarily left their jobs to facilitate a military Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move with the veteran, or if the veteran was activated/deployed. Qualifying veterans and spouses should contact the Alabama State Unemployment Compensation Claims office to learn how to apply for this benefit.
Alabama Small Business Veteran Hiring Tax Incentive
Alabama offers businesses that employ 50 or fewer employees to take advantage of a $1,000 tax credit in exchange for employing recently deployed, discharged “and now unemployed” veterans as a new hire.
Alabama Veteran-Owned Small Business Tax Credit
Alabama extends a $2,000 tax credit to recently deployed, discharged and now unemployed veterans who begin their own small businesses.
Alabama Reemployment Protection For Veterans
Alabama residents who are currently serving military members called into service and those who enter the military, designated as employees “who are not in the classified service” are given the same consideration for reemployment in state jobs as those who were hired into the classified service.
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs official site adds that “State, county and municipal officials who enter the military or naval service at a time when a state of national emergency has been declared to exist by the President of the United States have preservation of job status and reemployment rights.”
Retirement Benefits Protection For Veterans Who Are State Employees Or Teachers
Military members who work for the state or as teachers within the state are permitted to claim credit for military service for up to four years if they do not stop retirement plan contributions during that time. The veteran must return to said employment within a year of receiving an Honorable discharge.
The military service credit toward retirement is offered as long as the employee pays 4% of the average compensation that would be paid to a state employee during each claimed year of military service, plus 8% interest compounded from the last date of claimed service. Additional requirements may apply.
Alabama Veteran Housing Benefits
Alabama Veterans Homes
Alabama runs four veterans homes:
- Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, Alexander City
- Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home, Huntsville
- William F. Green State Veterans Home, Bay Minette
- Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home, Pell City
Depending on the location, a variety of services are available to eligible veterans including 24-hour nursing care, on-site occupational therapy and physical therapy, and pharmacy services. Acute care and one-on-one care is not available.
Applicants must be Alabama residents for the 12 months leading up to the application, have an honorable discharge and a minimum service requirement of 90 days active duty with at least one of those days served during a “wartime period.”
There is a stipulation in the application package for these veterans homes which states that veterans who do not meet the wartime service requirement may be admitted on a space-available basis depending on circumstances, but wartime vets have top priority.
A medical exam within 90 days of application time is required and applicants must not have mental health conditions which, according to the application package, “outweighs their medical condition.”
An application for admission is available from the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs.
Alabama Veteran Financial Benefits
Tax Breaks for Veterans
The State of Alabama offers tax breaks and related incentives for veterans including the following:
- Ad Valorem Tax Exemption – up to 160 acres of land and the home situated upon it may be exempt from Ad Valorem tax if the owner is permanently 100% disabled, 65 or older and meets income requirements.
- Tax Exemption For Veteran/Surviving Spouse Homes Purchased Under The Specially Adapted Housing Grant – a home purchase under the Specially Adapted Housing Grant law (Public Law 702) “shall be exempt, as long as the same is owned and occupied as a home by the veteran or his/her unremarried widow/er.”
- Disabled Combat Veterans’ Vehicle Tax Exemptions – this exemption applies to disabled veterans of World War II or “any hostilities in which the United States was, is or shall be engaged against any foreign state” who owns a vehicle paid in part or in full by funds provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Such vehicles are eligible for tax exemptions for all fees, ad valorem taxes or other state charges as long as the vehicle is for the veteran’s own personal use. Business vehicles are not exempt from state taxation under this rule.
- Combat Pay Tax Exemption – this tax exemption applies specifically to “money paid by the United States to a person as compensation for active service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat zone.”
- Military Retirement Pay – all military retirement pay is tax exempt under Alabama state law as of January 1, 1989.
Additional State Of Alabama Veteran Benefits
Alabama Guard/Reserve Vehicle Tax Exemptions
Guard/Reserve members (active or retired) “shall be exempt from the payment of the privilege or license tax and registration fee now and hereinafter to be levied on one automobile or motor vehicle by the State of Alabama.”
Alabama Military-Themed License Plates
A variety of free military-designated license plates are available to qualifying veterans. Some of these plates are free, but others may require the payment of Ad Valorem taxes. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Medal of Honor
- Purple Heart Medal
- Prisoner of War
- Legion of Valor
Other military-themed license plates are available but may require full payment of taxes and applicable fees. Applicants must furnish proof of service and the awards/decorations signified by the plates.
Veterans with qualifying VA-rated disabilities may be eligible for tax-free plates with the Disabled Veteran designation. Depending on the disability rating, some plates are limited to first-use tax exemptions, while others may be available indefinitely.
Burial Benefits For Veterans
There are three veteran cemeteries in the state of Alabama, but only one is operated by the state itself. The Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery, located at Spanish Fort, is open to veterans and spouses to reserve or pre-register no-cost burial services in advance.
Pre-registration requires the veteran’s discharge paperwork (DD Form 214 or the Guard/Reserve equivalent) and a copy of the marriage certificate where applicable. Two national veterans cemeteries, Fort Mitchell and Alabama National Cemetery, are also non-state-run burial options.
Hunting/Fishing/Recreation Licenses For Qualifying Veterans
There are a variety of deeply discounted hunting, fishing and firearms discounts available to veterans, especially those with VA-rated service-connected disabilities. Many are open to veterans with VA ratings starting at 20%; discounts vary depending on the license, the disability rating and the department issuing the license.
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs official site encourages veterans seeking these discounts to contact the agency Outdoor Alabama at 1-888-848-6887 to learn how to apply for veteran discounts for hunting, fishing and firearms licenses.