Alaska Veterans Benefits

Updated: March 17, 2021

Table of Contents

    Find state and local veterans’ benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. The Last Frontier is home to more than 68,000 veterans. Learn more about veterans benefits in the state of Alaska.


    Veteran Education Benefits

    Alaska Veterans Benefits Tuition Waivers for Veterans, Spouses, and Dependents

    Veterans, their spouses, and dependents may qualify for financial benefits while attending school in the University of Alaska system. Benefits can include resident tuition or tuition waivers.

    In order to qualify for the resident tuition benefit, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Active duty military service member, spouse, or dependent
    • National Guard service member, spouse, or dependent
    • Veterans eligible for VA education benefits, spouses, or dependents

    Surviving spouses and dependents may qualify for waivers on undergraduate tuition and fees while attending school in the University of Alaska system.

    In order to be eligible for the tuition waiver benefit, the deceased veteran must have been an Alaska resident, and must also meet one of the following criteria:

    • Died in the line of duty
    • Listed by the DOD as a POW
    • Killed in action

    National Guard members may be eligible for up to 100% tuition assistance while attending school in the University of Alaska system.

    Students who qualify for these benefits must move to and live in Alaska for their course of study.


    Veteran Employment Benefits

    Hiring Preference

    Veterans and eligible spouses may qualify for priority services through the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Priority services include the following:

    • Job search workshops
    • Priority job referral
    • Special programs
    • Career assessment and counseling
    • Employment assessment and testing
    • Resume assistance
    • Education assessment and referral
    • Labor market information
    • Job development

    In order to qualify for this benefit, applicants must have been service members for a minimum of one day, and must have been discharged or released under any discharge other than dishonorable.

    In order for spouses to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Surviving spouse of veteran who died due to military service
    • Surviving spouse of veteran who is totally disabled due to military service, per the VA
    • Surviving spouse of veteran who died of a disability that was due to military service
    • Spouse of service member who has been listed under one of the following categories for more than 90 days:
      • MIA
      • Captured in line of duty
      • Detained or interned in line of duty

    Job centers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Wasilla are staffed by veteran representatives who work directly with applicants.  All Alaska job centers work with qualified veterans and eligible spouses to provide priority services.


    Veteran Housing Benefits

    Veterans Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes

    The Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home is located in downtown Palmer, Alaska. The home has 79 beds, 59 of which are exclusively for veterans, while the remaining 20 are available to non-veterans.

    Life in the home is structured to be comfortable and resident-centered. There are resident neighborhoods, which contain dining rooms, sitting areas, and activity areas.

    The home may provide the following services, depending on health status and need:

    • Private or semi-private rooms
    • Opportunities for recreation
    • Meals & housekeeping services
    • Emergency assistance
    • Physical activities
    • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
    • Nursing assessment and intermittent health services depending upon level of care
    • Payment assistance for those who qualify
    • Pharmacy services

    Qualifying Veterans are eligible for a per diem from the VA to offset costs of their care.

    Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, (AHFC)

    The AHFC administers two programs to assist qualified veterans in the purchase of a home: the Veterans Mortgage Program and the Veterans Interest Rate Preference Program.

    The Veterans Mortgage Program offers financing to qualified veterans who seek to purchase a home. This benefit offers loans at lower interest rates, provides quick processing time, and require little to no down payment from the purchaser.

    Active duty service members may also qualify for this program. This includes members of all branches of military service, US Air Force, Military, Naval Academy, and Coast Guard cadets, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees (NOAA).

    The Veterans Interest Rate Preference program offers a lower interest rate to qualified “State Vets” who purchase new homes. A 1% lower interest rate is applied to the first $50,000 of a bank loan, and qualified veterans may combine this program with many other single family home loan programs. A blended interest rate is applied to loans in excess of $50,000, (rounded up to the next 0.125%). Also, “State Vet” income guidelines apply.

    In order to qualify for State Vet status, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Honorably discharged service member
    • Service of at least 90 days active duty after April 6, 1917 in one of the following:
      • Armed Forces
      • Armed Forces Reserve
      • Alaska Army

    OR

    • Honorably discharged service member
    • Service in one of the following:
      • Alaska Army
      • Alaska Air National Guard
      • Reservist who has served at least five years
      • Members who served in both the Guard and Reserves

    OR

    • Surviving spouse of a qualified veteran

    OR

    • Public Health Service employees

    The AHFC also owns low-cost housing, and offers a preference for the rent or sale of these units.

    There are certain exceptions for this benefit. Active duty service members are not eligible, and unmarried applicants applying jointly must both be qualified veterans.

    Alaska State Veterans Interest Rate Preference

    Provides reduced mortgage loan interest rates (across a variety of programs) for qualifying veterans. This program is not open to active duty military members–only veterans and certain surviving spouses.

    Land Discount/Purchase Preference

    The Alaska Department of Natural Resources administers the Veterans Land Discount program to assist veterans with purchasing a home. This program grants qualified veterans a one-time 25% discount off purchase of unoccupied, state-owned residential or recreational land. Land offered under this benefit must be settlement land classified, zoned for residential use, and five acres or less, (agricultural, commercial, or industrial land purchases are excluded from this benefit). Veterans may purchase land for fair market value at a restricted sale.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • 18 years of age or older at sale date
    • Resident of the State of Alaska for at least one year immediately preceding sale date
    • Service member of one of the following:
      • Alaska Territorial Guard for a minimum of 90 days, (unless discharged due to disability resulting from military service)
      • Honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable terms

    OR

    • Active duty military a minimum of 90 days ( unless discharged due to either disability resulting from military service, or early separation after a overseas tour of duty)
    • Honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable terms

    Survey costs and other expenses reimbursable to the state are excluded from this benefit. Also, this benefit may not be combined with Veterans Land Sale Preference benefit.

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    Veteran Financial Benefits

    State Retirement Credit

    Veterans may qualify for up to five years credit in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) for active military service.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must be eligible for retirement benefits and must have been honorably discharged from service. Applicants may also be eligible for this credit if they fall into one of the following categories:

    • PERS retirees
    • Vested service members who have deferred benefits
    • Retired National Guard service members
    • Retired Reservists
    • Retired from service in U.S. Merchant Marines from December 1941, through Sept. 30, 1945
    • Surviving spouses
    • Service with the U.S. Department of State in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos from Aug. 4, 1964, through Nov. 7, 1975 in one of the following capacities:
      • Foreign service officer
      • Foreign service reserve officer
      • Limited foreign service reserve officer

    This benefit does not apply to service members first hired under PERS after June 30, 1986 who retired from regular service and are eligible for service-related federal benefits. Also, while this benefit is used to calculate monthly benefits, it does not count towards retirement eligibility.

    Property Tax Exemptions

    Disabled veterans may be eligible for exemption from property tax on the first $150,000 assessed valuation of a primary residence. In order to qualify for this benefit, applicants must be rated as 50% disabled or more as a result of military service, as verified by either the military service or VA. This benefit may transfer to a surviving spouse who is 60 years of age or more.


    Additional Veteran Benefits

    Veteran License Plates

    Veterans may be eligible for license plates with specialized designations of service. Special designations include the following:

    • Veteran of branch of service, (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
    • Purple Heart Medal Recipient
    • POW
    • Pearl Harbor Survivor
    • Gold Star Family

    Upon receipt and validation of proof of service, the Alaska DMV issues these plates free of charge and exempt from annual registration renewal fees.

    Disabled Veteran Plates

    Disabled veterans may be eligible for license plates with a “Disabled Veteran” designation. In order to qualify for this benefit, applicants must submit proof of at least 50% disability due to military service. These plates do not grant special parking privileges.

    Upon receipt and validation of disability, the Alaska DMV will issue only one set of these plates free of charge and exempt from annual registration renewal fees. Payment of all fees will be required for subsequent sets of plates. Also, only applicants who live in remote areas of the state and do not have access to a DMV office are allowed to request these plates by mail.

    Disabled Veterans Plates with Parking Privileges

    Disabled veterans may be eligible for license plates with a “Disabled Veteran with Parking Privileges” designation. In order to qualify for this benefit, applicants must submit the following as proof of disability due to military service that affects mobility:

    • Fully-completed Application for Disabled Parking Identification, (applicant and Alaska-licensed physician)
    • Certification of disability from the VA or agency of the federal government

    Upon receipt and validation of disability, the Alaska DMV will issue these plates free of charge and exempt from annual registration renewal fees.

    Disabled Veterans Annual Camping Pass

    Disabled veterans may be eligible to receive one Alaska State Park Camping Pass free of charge. This pass is valid in all developed Alaska State Park campgrounds, and is good for two years. Day use passes and boat launch passes are excluded from this program.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must be Alaska residents with disability or disabilities due to military service. Proof of disability must include the following:

    • The Veterans Universal Access Identification card with the words “SERVICE CONNECTED” printed below the photo ID
    • Current certification letter from the VA that certifies disability due to military service, (percentage of disability does not affect qualification)

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