New Mexico Veteran’s Benefits

Updated: March 17, 2021

Table of Contents

    Find New Mexico state and local veterans’ benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation, and more below. The Land of Enchantment has over 160,000 veterans, according to the VA.


    Veteran Education Benefits

    New Mexico Veterans Benefits State of New Mexico Vietnam Veteran Scholarship

    A scholarship for Vietnam-era military service is available to qualifying veterans. They should be residents of New Mexico for at least ten years, served in the Vietnam conflict, and were awarded a Vietnam Service Medal or Vietnam Campaign Medal. This scholarship pays for books and tuition at any state-supported college in New Mexico.

    State of New Mexico Combat Veterans’ Scholarship Award

    The State of New Mexico offers this scholarship (good for tuition and book fees) to qualifying wartime veterans who have received service medals or other qualifying awards including, but not limited to:

    • Southwest Asia Service Medal
    • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
    • Iraq Campaign Medal
    • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
    • Any other medal issued for service in support of any US Military campaign or armed conflict as defined by congress or presidential executive order for service after Aug. 1, 1990

    These scholarships are open to those who meet the above requirement, have been New Mexico residents for at least 10 years, and who have used up all GI Bill benefits. The scholarship may be used at any state funded school for undergraduate or master’s degree work.

    In-State Tuition Policies at New Mexico State Supported Colleges

    Qualifying vets, spouses, and dependents are no longer required by New Mexico state law to wait to establish in-state residency for college tuition purposes. According to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services, “Those who wish to use their G.I. Education Benefit Bill can now immediately take advantage of less-expensive ‘resident’ in-state tuition rates.”

    Children of Deceased Veterans Scholarship

    The State of New Mexico offers free tuition to dependent children of qualifying veterans who were killed in action or died as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Qualifying ages for this scholarship include dependents between the ages of 16-26. Residency is a requirement and supporting documentation. A VA death certificate or other official paperwork must be submitted along with the application for this scholarship.

    New Mexico High School Diploma Program for Qualifying Wartime Veterans

     A high school diploma is offered to any New Mexico resident who was honorably discharged from military service and left high school to serve in World War Two or Korea. The diploma may be awarded posthumously to those with military service within the following qualifying dates:

    • World War Two: Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946
    • Korean War: June 27, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955

    The veteran must have been scheduled to graduate after 1940 and before 1955 in order to qualify for the high school diploma.


    Veteran Employment Benefits

    New Mexico State Job Hiring Preference Points

    New Mexico state job hiring procedures include offering hiring preference points to qualifying veterans. To qualify, one or more of the following will apply:

    • The veteran has an honorable or general discharge OR
    • An honorable discharge with a service-connected disability from the United States Armed Forces OR
    • Is currently serving in the National Guard

    According to the New Mexico State Personnel office, veterans and National Guard members get five preference points added to the final passing numerical scores of state hiring exams. Disabled veterans are awarded an additional five points.

    Documentation such as a DD Form 214 or the National Guard equivalent will be required at application time.

    State of New Mexico Business Tax Credit for Hiring Recently Returned Veterans

    A one thousand dollar business tax credit is available from the State of New Mexico “for each hire of a recently-returned veteran.” The requirements and application process details are available from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department at (505) 827-0700.

    Tax laws are subject to change year-to-year. It’s best to contact a local tax professional or consult the NM Taxation and Revenue Department for information about the current tax year’s options in this area.


    Veteran Housing Benefits

    New Mexico State Veterans Home

    The State of New Mexico operates one veterans’ home, located in Truth or Consequences, NM. Admission requirements include having an Honorable discharge with at least 90 days of military service.

    Preference is given to state residents, but there is a waiting list for all eligible veterans even if they are not New Mexico residents. Spouses, Gold Star parents and “certain members of a reserve component of the US Armed Forces who meet the legal residence requirements” may also qualify for care. Fees are required and there may be an ability to pay assessment administered at application time.

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    Veteran Financial Benefits

    New Mexico Property Tax Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans

    Any veteran who is a legal resident of New Mexico with a VA disability rating at 100 percent “Permanent & Total” may qualify for “a complete property tax waiver” on an owner-occupied primary residence.

    This benefit is available to those who meet the above requirements and have 90 or more days of continuous active service with an Honorable discharge. There are exceptions to the 90-day requirement for those who were discharged for service-connected disabilities.

    Those serving in the Guard or Reserves may apply for this benefit if they have six years of continuous service.

    New Mexico Excise Tax Exemptions for Qualifying Disabled Veterans

    New Mexico state Excise taxes for the purchase of a new vehicle are waived for qualifying veterans who have suffered loss or loss of use of one or more limbs in connection with military service.

    New Mexico Property Tax Break for Qualifying Veterans and Surviving Spouses

    Veterans who are legal New Mexico residents and who have served a minimum of 90 continuous days of active duty other than for training purposes may qualify for a property tax break. It is a $4,000 reduction in the taxable value of “real property” or property that is legally classifiable as real estate for county tax purposes.

    This tax break may alternately be used to get a 1/3 discount when registering a vehicle in New Mexico. It is also open to qualifying unremarried surviving spouses of veterans who would have met the requirements listed above for this tax break.


    Additional New Mexico State Veteran Benefits

    New Mexico Military License Plates

    The State of New Mexico offers veterans the option of a fee-based Armed Forces Plate and a fee-based Woman Veteran license place. There are “special recognition” New Mexico license plates that are offered to veterans for free who show proof of having received a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor, are a 50% or greater VA-rated disabled veteran, a survivor of Pearl Harbor, or an ex-prisoner of war.

    VA paperwork or the appropriate substitute is required to apply. Only passenger vehicles and light trucks under 26,000 pounds are authorized to display these military service plates. The vehicle must have current New Mexico title and registration.

    The vehicle must be currently titled and registered in New Mexico in the applicant’s name, or be registered, OR have that title and registration transferred at the application time for the military license plate.

    Burial Benefits for Veterans

    There are two national veterans’ cemeteries in New Mexico. Until plans were approved in 2015 to build as many as four state-run veterans’ cemeteries, there were no state-operated facilities. At the time of this writing, a state-run veterans’ cemetery at Fort Stanton is open to honorably discharged veterans and qualifying spouses.

    Pre-need determination of eligibility is possible but reservation of a burial site is not.

    New Mexico Recreational Benefits for Qualifying Veterans

    There are a variety of recreational perks and discounts for qualifying veterans including the following:

    • Veterans’ Day Recreation and Museum Privileges – Each Veterans’ Day holiday, honorably discharged state residents and their families are offered free use of any New Mexico State Park, campsites, the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, and the New Mexico Museum of Space History.
    • Day-Pass and Three Free Camping Nights for Disabled Veterans – Veterans what are VA-rated at 50% disabled due to military service are offered an annual free day-use pass and three free nights of camping. A VA award letter is required to sign up for this benefit.
    • Free State Monuments and Museums Passes for Qualifying Disabled Veterans – Vets who are VA-rated at 50% or greater service-connected disabilities are eligible for free State Monument and Museum passes.
    • Free And Reduced Lifetime Hunting And Fishing Licenses for Qualifying Disabled Veterans – Veterans rated by the VA as 100% service-connected disabled are eligible for a free lifetime New Mexico small-game hunting and fishing license, and those with VA-rated disabilities below the 100% level may qualify for discounted renewable hunting/fishing licenses.

    New Mexico Liberal Veteran Recognition Standards

    The definition of “veterans” by the State of New Mexico, for the purpose of assigning benefits and other perks for military service, includes Guard and Reserve members who have been honorably discharged after six years of consecutive service.

    The definition goes farther as it also includes “commissioned officers from the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who served on active duty in defense of the United States” according to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services.


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    Written by MilitaryBenefits