New York Veteran’s BenefitsUpdated: November 2, 2022
Find New York veterans benefits including education, employment, health care, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. There are about 900,000 veterans in New York according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and that population enjoys access to state assistance to many benefits.
New York Veteran Education Benefits
Veterans Tuition Awards
Available for full- and part-time study for eligible veterans in approved undergraduate, graduate and vocational training programs in New York State. Eligibility depends on dates and location of service during wartime:
- Vietnam veterans who served in Indochina between Feb. 28, 196-May 7, 1975.
- Persian Gulf veterans who served in the Persian Gulf on or after Aug. 2, 1990.
- Afghanistan veterans who served in Afghanistan during hostilities on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
- Veterans who served after Feb. 28, 1961, and received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal or a Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.
Military Service Recognition Scholarships
Provides financial aid to children, spouses and dependents of veterans who “on or after Aug. 2, 1990, while a New York State resident, died or became severely and permanently disabled while engaged in hostilities or training for hostilities,” according to the New York VA website.
Regents Awards for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans
Awards up to $450 per year to dependents of veterans who served in wartime or during a national emergency and either died as a result of service or have a 40% or higher VA disability rating. The veteran must be a current New York State resident or was a resident at the time of death.
Helps qualifying veterans earn high school diplomas in New York. This benefit is available for veterans of conflicts from World War II to Vietnam, and diplomas may be awarded posthumously.
The “Experience Counts” Program includes waived Commercial Driver’s License testing and credit toward certain health care certification programs for vets with qualifying experience or training. The program covers (but is not limited) to the following certifications/career paths:
- Advanced Emergency Medical
- Armed Security Guard
- Bus Driver
- Certified First Responder
- Crane Operator
- Emergency Medical
- Home Health Aide
- Home Nurse Aide
- Licensed Radiological Technologist
- Personal Care
- Security Guard
- Tractor Trailer Operator
- Truck Driver
New York Veteran Employment Benefits
New York/Civil Service Hiring Preference Points
Available for New York veterans who may qualify for Civil Service hiring points for exams and appointments. Additional consideration for disabled vets and disabled vets who served during wartime.
Veterans with Disabilities Employment Program (55-c)
For those who have been awarded a Purple Heart or who have VA disability ratings of at least 20% or greater. Those who meet the criteria may apply for state jobs where they meet “minimum qualifications for the position” but they are not required to take an exam. This program does not guarantee state employment and does not act as a hiring list.
New York Department of Labor Veterans Priority Service
Offered for all training and job programs administered by the state.
Military Service Claim for Unemployment Benefits
Recently discharged veterans may qualify for unemployment compensation from New York. Not all veterans will qualify for these benefits, but the basic requirements include completing the first full term of enlistment, except where discharge or early release was for the following conditions:
- Government convenience/early release
- Medical disqualification, pregnancy, parenthood or any service-incurred injury/disability
- Personality disorder or “inaptitude” (but only with a year of continuous service)
Members of the Guard/Reserve may qualify if there was a minimum of 180 days of continuous active duty and an honorable discharge.
New York State Peddler’s License
A program offering no-fee lifetime Veterans Peddler’s Licenses to those who served overseas in peace or wartime and has any discharge other than Dishonorable. The license confers the right to “peddle, vend, and sell goods, wares or merchandise, or solicit trade on the highways within a specific jurisdiction” but does not override applicable local ordinances, according to the New York VA website.
Veterans Temporary Hiring Program
Honorably discharged veterans will be used for temporary appointments in state agencies rather than utilizing temporary employment service companies.
New York Veteran Housing Benefits
Homes for Veterans Program
Through the New York State Department of Veterans Affairs and SONYMA, veterans and active-duty U.S. military personnel receive assistance with down payments, lower interest rates, no points or origination fees and minimum borrower cash contributions.
Property Tax Exemptions For Veterans
There are three basic property tax breaks for veterans in New York. Veterans who qualify may apply for one of the three programs.
Alternative Veterans’ Exemption
A property tax break for residential property owned by those who served during a “designated time of war” or received an expeditionary medal. The exemption is not available in 100% of the state. Some municipalities may or may not offer this exemption.
Cold War Veterans’ Exemption
A New York State property tax break applicable for the residences of veterans who served during the Cold War. Like the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption, certain municipalities within the state may or may not offer the tax break.
Eligible Funds Exemption
Considered a “partial exemption” for property a veteran or a “certain other designated person” purchases. “Such owners must purchase the property with pension, bonus or insurance monies,” according to the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs.
In all three cases, veterans with qualifying service-connected disabilities may be able to apply for additional consideration and/or tax breaks. These exemptions are not automatic and must be applied for.
Real Property Tax Deadline Extension
Localities are permitted, at their discretion, to extend the payment period for any tax owed on real property for a person who has been ordered to active military duty, other than for training, for a period beginning with a declaration of war by Congress or during any periods of combat designated by presidential executive order or during hazardous (“imminent danger”) duty.
New York State Veterans Nursing Homes
The State of New York Department of Health and State University of New York operate skilled nursing facilities across the state:
- New York State Veterans’ Home at St. Albans
- New York State Veterans’ Home at Batavia
- New York State Veterans’ Home at Oxford
- New York State Veterans’ Home at Montrose
- Long Island State Veterans’ Home State University of New York at Stony Brook
These facilities are for those requiring skilled nursing care who entered active duty from the State of New York, as well as eligible honorably discharged veterans who were a New York State resident for one year prior to application for admission. Vets with VA-rated service-connected disabilities at 70% or higher are eligible to have their nursing home care in these facilities paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
New York Veteran Financial Benefits
New York State Income Tax Exemption for Military Pay
Tax exemption rules for New York depend on whether the income is earned in a combat zone or a non-combat zone.
Military pay received “for active service as a member of the United States Armed Services in an area designated as a combat zone” is considered exempt from New York State, New York City and Yonkers income taxes, according to the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs.
“Service members are entitled to a New York subtraction modification in computing New York adjusted gross income for the amount of combat pay included in federal adjusted gross income,” according to the site.
For non-combat zone pay, those who are New York State residents and lived in New York when military service began, residency is assumed, and thereby “military pay is subject to New York State income tax to the same extent it is subject to federal income tax.” Exceptions apply for those who meet state criteria for “nonresident status.”
There may be other New York State income tax breaks depending on residency status at the time of enlistment and whether the veteran served time in-state or out of state. Tax laws are subject to frequent change and revision.
New York State Income Tax Exemptions For Military Retirement Pay
Military pensions, including pension payments to surviving spouses or other beneficiaries, are “totally exempt” from New York State income taxes.
New York State Income Tax Exemptions For Military Spouses
Military spouses who meet the criteria listed in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) may be entitled to an income-tax exemption from New York. This benefit is claimed by filing Form IT-2104-E, Certificate of Exemption from Withholding, with the military spouse’s employer. Tax relief for a military spouse may be approved when the spouse resides in New York “solely to be with a servicemember who is in that state so he or she can comply with military orders,” according to the NY Division of Veterans Affairs.
Retirement Credits For Military Service
The New York State and Local Retirement System offers veterans the opportunity to get additional credit toward retirement for “qualifying military service.” There are several ways to get credit for qualifying service, and any such credit will be awarded on a case-by-case basis depending on which credit is “the most advantageous to the veteran.” Some types of credit may increase the applicant’s pension, but others may not, according to the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs.
Gold Star Parent Annuity Program
This program pays qualified applicants an “an annuity payment of up to $500 per Gold Star parent of a deceased Veteran.” Applicants approved for the Gold Star Annuity Payment must re-verify every year to continue receiving the annuity.
Qualifying veterans may be eligible for an annuity payment from New York. The annuity is available for New York residents who are considered legally blind (described as “20/200 vision in the better eye with best correction” or a “20-degree limitation of field of vision”), and who served on active duty during specific wartime periods or received an expeditionary medal for certain conflicts.
Time-in-service requirements are 90 days or more active duty other than training. Those with fewer than 90 days may still be eligible if discharged for a service-related medical issue.
Supplemental Burial Allowance
A burial allowance (up to $6,000) is offered to qualified surviving family members of veterans who were New York residents at the time of death or who served in the New York Army National Guard/New York Air National Guard upon entering active-duty status, and died during that time. This benefit is available under the following circumstances if the veteran:
- Passed away in a combat zone.
- Passed away while receiving hazardous duty pay, pursuant to Title 37, Section 310 (a)(4) of the United States Code.
- Passed away from wounds sustained in a combat zone or while receiving hazardous duty pay.
Additional New York Veteran Benefits
New York State Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Exemption
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles allows veterans to apply for an exemption to registration and license plate fees. This is permitted if the veteran has qualifying disabilities, or qualifies for custom plates for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Those who qualify for Former Prisoner of War custom plates are also eligible.
New York State Recreation Benefits For Veterans
There are a variety of discounts and perks for veterans including free or discounted hunting and fishing licenses. Disabled veterans with qualifying VA-rated medical issues may be eligible for free or reduced licenses.
The Lifetime Liberty Pass
Allows disabled war veterans a variety of perks including free use of state parks, boat launch sites and preserves and free golf at 28 state park golf courses. Veterans must be New York residents and provide VA documentation showing a 40% or greater service-connected disability as certified by the VA.
E-Z Pass for Disabled Veterans
Free, unlimited travel anywhere on the Thruway is available to certain qualifying disabled Veterans who also have fee-exempt vehicle registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
New York Links to Veterans Services
- Department of Motor Vehicles Military & Veterans
- Homes For Veterans Program
- New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs
- Thruway Authority E-ZPass for Disabled Veterans