Missouri Veteran’s BenefitsUpdated: November 7, 2022
Missouri offers several veterans benefits including education, employment, health care, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more. The Show-Me State is home to nearly 400,000 veterans who can access these great benefits.
Veteran Education Benefits
Missouri Returning Heroes Act Tuition Reduction
Combat veterans and certain decorated service members who are Missouri residents may be eligible for reduced tuition at Missouri state-funded colleges. The Missouri Returning Heroes Act limits the tuition rate charged to qualifying veterans to $50 per credit hour.
According to the state of Missouri, this reduction in tuition is applied “before federal and state student aid has been applied to the tuition amount.” Requirements for this program include the following:
- Veteran entered the military as a Missouri resident. This must be documented as the veteran’s home of record on DD Form 214. The requirement does not include being a Missouri resident at the time the applicant gets the benefit.
- Veteran must be discharged under any condition except punitive discharges such as bad conduct, less than honorable, dishonorable, etc.
- Veteran must be degree-seeking at a Missouri public institution.
Missouri Wartime Survivors Grant
This educational grant is open to a limited number (25 total per year) of qualifying children and spouses of veterans who died as a result of combat or who became “80 percent disabled as a result of injuries or accidents sustained in combat action” since Sept. 11, 2001. To be eligible, the veteran must have been a Missouri resident when first entering the military service or at the time of death or injury.
Per semester, this grant covers the lesser of the actual tuition charged or the amount of tuition charged a Missouri resident enrolled in the same number of hours at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There is also $2,000 per semester allowance for housing and a book stipend.
Applicants must be younger than 25, and according to the state, “You may continue to be eligible through the end of the semester in which you turn 25 or the receipt of your first bachelor’s degree, whichever occurs first.”
Missouri State Exemptions from Proof of Residency
In situations where the family of a student living in Missouri “moves to live with other family members or live in a military family support community because one or both of the child’s parents are stationed or deployed out of state or deployed within Missouri under Title 32 or Title 10 active-duty orders,” the state of Missouri considers such students to have furnished adequate proof of residency and “may attend the school district in which the family member’s residence or family support community is located.”
In cases where the parents’ active-duty orders expire during the academic year, the student is permitted to finish the remainder of the academic year in that district.
Exemptions From The Missouri A+ Schools Program for Qualifying Students
Missouri permits active-duty military dependent students to be listed as exempt from a three-year attendance requirement for the Missouri A+ Scholarship Program. Also exempt are dependent children of retired veterans who relocate to Missouri within one year of the date of the parent’s retirement from active duty.
Operation Recognition Honorary High School Diplomas for Qualifying Missouri State Veterans
The Missouri State Operation Recognition program offers honorary high school diplomas for veterans (and qualifying civilians) who experienced an interruption in high school education due to military service. All honorably discharged veterans “who are residents or former residents of the state of Missouri who served in the United States military” and who did not complete their high school education are eligible to apply for the honorary diploma, which is also available posthumously.
In-State Tuition Eligibility for Service Members Retiring/Separating
Veterans who leave the service with either an honorable or general discharge and establish residency in the state of Missouri are considered residents of Missouri when applying to attend approved public four-year and two-year institutions. In cases where the veteran is attending a community college, “presence within the taxing district of the community college must also be declared” according to the state of Missouri.
In-State Tuition Eligibility for Military Dependents
Dependents of military members living in Missouri (and whose parents are assigned to permanent duty in the state) may be eligible for in-state tuition. This applies if the student is enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an approved Missouri higher education institution. Transfers may also be affected by this benefit.
Additional Missouri State Veterans Education Benefits
Depending on the institution and the veteran’s status, other state education benefits may be available including academic credit for military training and professional military education courses.
Protections are offered as well for certain scholarship awardees when called to active duty before a program can be completed. The Missouri Veterans Commission official website urges veterans and currently serving military members seeking education benefits to utilize a veterans service organization (VSO) to help navigate the state military benefits system.
Veteran Employment Benefits
Show-Me Heroes Employment Program
Show-Me Heroes is a veterans employment incentive program featuring “a 50% wage reimbursement to employers in qualifying training for up to six months” for more than 1,000 hours of training.
Some veterans may qualify for both the Missouri Show-Me Heroes program and VA on-the-job training and apprenticeship help. Requirements include an honorable discharge, and veterans must apply within a year of their discharge date. Certain military spouses may also be eligible.
State Contract and Business Preference for Disabled Veterans
Veterans with VA-rated disabilities may be eligible for preference when bidding or applying for jobs/services with the state. According to the Missouri Veterans Commission, the preference applies to “disabled Veteran businesses doing business as Missouri firms, corporations, or individuals, or which maintain Missouri offices or places of business, when the quality of performance promised is equal or better and the price quoted is the same or less.”
Military Service Waivers for Dissolved Corporations
The Missouri Secretary of State offers to waive reinstatement fees and procedures under qualifying circumstances including when a corporation must be dissolved “for failure to file an annual registration report when the failure was due to the business owner’s active military service.” Fees and other costs may be waived in such cases under qualifying circumstances.
Business Fees Waiver for Active Duty/Guard Members
Missouri veterans who are organizers, members, officers, partners or majority shareholders who are part of a “company, corporation, health services corporation, nonprofit corporation, cooperative company or partnership” may be eligible for waivers of “certain specified business fees.”
Military Experience Counted for Missouri Professional Licenses
Missouri directs professional licensing boards and commissions in the state to accept military education, training or service “toward the qualifications to receive the license or certification upon presentation of satisfactory evidence by an applicant for certification.”
Additionally, military members who have jobs that require licensing or certification by the state are not mandated to continue education classes when called to active duty as members of the Guard or Reserve.
Once the military member has come home from active service, the employee will not be required to do makeup tests or retake training missed due to military service.
Healthcare professionals called to active duty also have some license protection; according to the state, a veteran’s healthcare licenses/certificates will remain valid for the duration of active-duty military service. When it comes time for these military members to renew the licenses/certificates, it will be “without the payment of dues.”
The service member’s existing license/certificate may remain valid as long as military service continues on active duty and “for a period of at least six months after being released from active duty.”
Missouri State Unemployment Compensation For Qualifying Veterans And Spouses
Missouri provides unemployment compensation for certain veterans and spouses. Veterans of “the war on terror” may be eligible for weekly unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. Compensation is based on the veteran’s highest pay grade, with a maximum benefit of approximately $1,150.
Unemployment compensation opportunities are also available for military spouses who lose a job when they relocate with a military spouse for a permanent change of station (PCS) move. According to the Missouri Veterans Commission, a qualifying spouse who relocates to a new residence “from which it is impractical to commute to the workplace and remains employed as long as reasonable prior to the move” may be eligible for unemployment benefits if the other state’s unemployment criteria are met.
Veteran Housing Benefits
First Place Home Loan Program
Veterans can take part in the program even if they’ve already owned a home. The program offers affordable interest rates as well as cash assistance for a down payment and closing costs.
Next Step Home Loan Program
This program is meant for “non-first time home buyers” including qualifying veterans who lack “sufficient equity or funds” for the down payment on a new primary residence.
Missouri Veterans Homes and Housing Assistance
Missouri operates seven veteran homes in the following locations:
- Cape Girardeau
- Mt. Vernon
- St. James
- St. Louis
Veteran eligibility rules include Missouri residency and a need for skilled nursing care. Patients may be eligible for housing assistance in these homes and can apply with the following required paperwork:
- Application for Admission (MO 812-0100)
- Admission Medical Information form (MO 812-1099)
- Financial Information Income and Assets Worksheet (MO 812-0704)
- Health Care Information sheet
- Notice of Privacy Practices
Veteran Financial Benefits
Tax Breaks for Veterans
Tax breaks for Missouri veterans include a full property tax exemption for the primary residences of VA-rated 100% disabled veterans who are listed as former prisoners of war. Other tax breaks for vets in Missouri include:
- Income-tax exemptions for active-duty military members
- Income-tax exemptions for military retirement pay
- Property-tax receipt waivers for out-of-state military
- Personal-property tax credits for qualifying military
Tax laws and requirements change frequently; to determine your eligibility for tax credits mentioned above or to see the latest tax break/waivers offered by the state of Missouri, contact a tax professional or the Missouri Veterans Commission.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Driver’s License, ID Cards and License Plates for Veterans
Missouri offers veteran-designated ID cards, driver’s licenses, license plates and more. These services require the payment of fees (include plate fees and service fees where applicable) and proof of service at the Missouri DMV.
Legal Benefits for Veterans
Missouri offers special consideration for deploying service members who have child custody issues. According to the Missouri Veterans Commission, in cases where a deploying military parent is to be separated from their dependents, “a court shall not enter a final order modifying the terms of custody or visitation until 90 days after the deployment ends unless there is a written agreement by both parties.”
Deployments, including any future deployment, “shall not be the sole factor to support a permanent modification of the custody or visitation terms established in an existing order” according to the state of Missouri.
Child custody and visitation orders are permitted to be modified to give reasonable accommodation to the deploying service member and “shall automatically end no later than 30 days after the return of the deploying parent and the original order at the time of deployment is automatically reinstated.”
There is also an important consideration for deploying veterans where child support arrangements are concerned. A military member who has been called to active duty for a period of more than 30 days may request a review and modification of a child support agreement “due to an income change.”
A review of the child support court order, regardless of the age of the order, will take place and a modification will happen “where warranted.” Those who wish to have a child support agreement reviewed must furnish a copy of the most recent Leave & Earnings statement plus a copy of the relevant military orders assigning the veteran to active duty status.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
The Missouri Veterans Commission operates five veteran cemeteries across the state:
- Fort Leonard Wood
A sixth veteran cemetery is located at the St. James Veterans Home but is not available for new interments. These facilities are operated free of charge for qualifying families, with available services including “opening and closing of the grave, provision of a concrete grave liner, upright granite headstones, full military honors for the veteran and perpetual care.”
Missouri residency is not required for these services. Veterans are eligible for interment with any military discharge other than dishonorable. Spouses and dependent children may also qualify for interment; the official website advises families to “make these VA and state burial benefits arrangements through their funeral provider as neither the VA nor the state of Missouri make funeral arrangements or perform cremations.”
Missouri State Recreational Benefits for Veterans
According to the state of Missouri, any honorably discharged military veteran having a service-related disability of 60% or greater or who was a prisoner of war during military service may be eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses. This privilege basically excuses the veteran from having to apply for a license at all (hunting or fishing “without a permit”) as long as the veteran carries a “certified statement of eligibility” from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Those who meet the criteria above but are not residents of Missouri may be eligible for state resident permit privileges. Missouri resident permit privileges are also available to those who have lived in Missouri due to a military permanent change of station.