Ohio Veterans Benefits

Updated: November 3, 2022

Find Ohio state and local veteran benefits including education, employment, health care, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. There are more than 800,000 veterans living in Ohio according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ohio Veteran Education Benefits

Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program

This program allows Ohio National Guard members with qualifying time-in-service to apply for scholarships to Ohio schools on the ONGSP approved list. Those who choose to attend a public institution on that list receive 100% paid tuition. Those who choose other institutions on the list will receive 100% of the “average tuition charges of all Ohio public universities.” This program is for undergraduate work only; those who already have a bachelor’s degree are not eligible.

The Ohio GI Promise

For qualifying veterans, the state of Ohio waives its normal 12-month residency requirement to qualify for in-state tuition rates. The GI Promise also includes a provision that qualified vets are not required to enroll themselves in a state college program in order to gain residency for their dependents. According to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, qualifying criteria includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  1. Honorable discharge or medical separation from the military with at least one year of time in service. Veteran dependents also are eligible if the veteran was killed in action, declared missing in action, or declared a prisoner of war.
  2. Eligibility is documented via DD Form 214.
  3. The veteran and dependents (where applicable) must reside in Ohio “as of the first day of enrollment.” In cases where the veteran was KIA, MIA or POW, only the dependents are required to live in Ohio.
  4. Documentation of dependent eligibility is required. The necessary documents may include the following:
  5. Proof of marriage/marriage certificate
  6. Proof of dependent status as provided by the veteran parent’s federal tax paperwork submitted for the previous year
  7. Documentation of the military member’s status as a POW, MIA or KIA

Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund

The dependents of Ohio residents killed in the line of duty who were safety officers, peace officers, firefighters and military members may qualify for the Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund, which pays up to 100% tuition at public universities, and up to an approximate $7,000 in tuition at private institutions. Dependent children are only eligible for this program if they are not eligible for the Ohio War Orphans Scholarship (see below).

Ohio War Orphans Scholarship

This Ohio military benefits program “awards tuition assistance to the children of deceased or severely disabled (60% or greater) Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a period of declared war or conflict.” Students may apply for this scholarship if they are full-time Ohio-based undergraduate students under the age of 25.

The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship is designed to cover “a portion of instructional and general fee charges at two- and four-year public institutions, and a portion of these charges at eligible private colleges and universities.” Funding for this program is subject to change from year to year. Check with a college admissions counselor or the Ohio Department of Veterans Services for current scholarship dollar amounts.

Ohio Values Veterans College Credit for Military Experience Program

An executive order signed in 2013 requires Ohio colleges to consider military training and experience and award “appropriate credit and credentialing.” Ohio values veterans, streamlines occupational licensing for qualified veterans, and helps veterans get “relevant military education, skills training and experience” considered as an equivalency for certain licenses and certificates.

Under the program, there is an ongoing review of educational policies and practices with the goal of simplifying the process of awarding college credit for military experience. The changes and improvements under this program may not always be known at the time a veteran applies to attend classes. It’s always best to consult your campus veteran services representative to see what may be applicable before you commit to attending.

Ohio High School Diploma Program for War Veterans

Ohio state law authorizes school districts to grant a high school diploma “to any veteran of WWII, the Korean War, or Vietnam War, or to women who left school to support the war effort.” Eligibility for this program includes the following conditions:

  • Veteran left school prior to graduation to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, or left school prior to graduation because of family circumstances and subsequently entered the armed forces.
  • Veteran has not been granted a diploma.
  • Veteran received an honorable discharge.
  • A woman left school prior to graduation in order to “join or subsequently join the workforce to support her family or to join the work effort.”

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Veteran Employment Benefits

Educator License Fee Waivers

The Ohio Department of Education waives the licensing fees for “any initial Ohio educator license, permit or certificate – or for a renewal – will be waived for candidates who are veterans with honorable discharges or current service members.”

Spouses of active duty service members can also apply for an educator license free of charge, and there are extension programs that allow military members with existing licenses to extend them for a time “commensurate with the length of active duty service.”

Fast Track to Professional Licenses for Veterans

Veterans with discharges characterized as honorable and their spouses “can use a prioritized process that applies military training and experience to expedite obtaining a professional state license or certification.” This program also permits the use of GI Bill benefits to pay for certain licensure and renewal fees. Applicants must use a military career field matching tool that matches a veteran’s skills with civilian equivalents that require state licenses.

Apprenticeship/OJT Living Expenses Compensation for Veterans

Veterans participating in GI Bill-approved on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs or other career development may be eligible to receive tax-free stipends for living expenses. “Ohio has more than 1,100 registered apprenticeship programs” in careers ranging from construction to health care. Applicants must search a list of state apprenticeships and choose from the list provided by the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council.

Veteran Housing Benefits

Ohio Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes for Veterans

The state of Ohio operates veterans homes in Sandusky and in Georgetown. Skilled nursing care for intermediate-level needs, as well as Alzheimer’s care, are available to qualified applicants. Admission requirements include:

  • Ohio residency for at least one year.
  • Honorably discharged or separated under honorable conditions.
  • Must have served on active duty (other than for training) during a period of war or declared armed conflict or have been a recipient of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Vietnam Service Medal.
  • Must have a disability because of disease, wounds or otherwise and are, by reason of such disability, incapable of earning a living.

Applications for admission must be directed to Ohio Veterans Homes, not the Ohio Division of Veterans Affairs.

Ohio Heroes Home Loan Program

Active duty, veterans, Guard/Reserve members and surviving spouses who are Ohio residents may be eligible for the Ohio Housing Finance Agency Ohio Heroes home loan program that offers mortgage loan interest rate discounts.

These loans are for single-family primary residences and have income and price limits that may vary by county. This program operates via a list of participating lenders, and you may have to shop around to find a lender offering Ohio Heroes incentives. FICO score and credit history requirements will apply.

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Veteran Financial Benefits

Ohio Military Injury Relief Fund

The Military Injury Relief Fund provides a one-time $500 payment to qualifying service members “injured in active service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States serving after Oct. 7, 2001, and to individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress while serving after Oct. 7, 2001.”

This payment is tax-free, requires Ohio citizenship, proof of service and proof of injury.

Ohio Veterans Bonus Program

Qualifying military members who are Ohio residents may be eligible compensation for up to $1,000 per month based on the number of months served for qualifying military duty. According to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, individual eligibility for the program and the amounts to be paid depend on when and where active duty service occurred:

  • $100 per month, not to exceed $1,000, for service in Afghanistan during the compensable periods.
  • $50 per month, not to exceed $500, for service anywhere else in the world during the compensable periods.
  • Service for a fraction of a month shall be paid at the rate of 1/30 of the monthly amount for each day of service. Compensation may not exceed $1,500 for combined service.

Those who served or are currently serving 90 days or more on active duty “during at least one of the compensable time periods and meets requirements” may be eligible for the Ohio Veterans Bonus:

  1. Served or currently serving in Afghanistan from Oct. 7, 2001, through a date to be determined.
  2. Veteran separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions, is still serving in active duty or after serving on active duty remains in any reserve component of the United States armed forces or in the Ohio National Guard.
  3. The person was an Ohio resident at the start of active duty service.
  4. The person is currently an Ohio resident.
  5. The person has not received a bonus or compensation of a similar nature from another state.

There have been similar compensation options for those serving during other conflicts, but the application deadlines for them have passed and those options have since expired.

Ohio Military Retirement Income Tax Breaks for Veterans

The state of Ohio does not tax military retirement income. Surviving spouse benefit plans are also exempt from Ohio income tax.

Ohio Mobilized Military Member Tax Exemption

The deduction of military pay from federal adjusted gross income “received for active duty while stationed outside of the state of Ohio for greater than 30 days is allowed” since 2007, according to Ohio Revised Code 5747.01 A(24).

Ohio Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans

Honorably discharged veterans with a 100% disability rating certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs may be eligible for expanded homestead tax relief up to $50,000 “of the assessed value of their primary residential home” from property taxes. Qualifying veterans are also exempt from a $30,000 limit on annual income applied to nonveteran homestead exemption applicants.

Veteran Disability Pensions

Qualifying discharged low-income veterans who have permanent and total disabilities, or who are age 65 or older, may be eligible for financial support designed to bring the applicant’s income up to a minimum level as determined by law. Eligibility includes a requirement of 90 days or more of active service with at least one of those days served “during a wartime period.” Help applying or qualifying for this benefit is available from the nearest Ohio County Veterans Service Office.

Additional Veteran Benefits

Driver License, ID Cards and License Plates for Veterans

The state of Ohio has around 40 different types of license plate options for veterans, currently serving, Guard/Reserve and other categories. Driver’s license applicants who are VA-rated as 100% disabled veterans are eligible for a free driver’s license from the state, and Ohio veterans can also submit a copy of their DD Form 214 to get a free “Armed Forces” stamp on a renewed license.

Free Ohio Driver’s License Plates

The state of Ohio makes free license plates available to veterans who are rated by the VA as 100% disabled, plus Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients, and former prisoners of war.

Ohio Recreational Benefits for Qualifying Service Members

A wide range of discounts are available for qualifying service members with VA-rated disabilities, Purple Heart recipients, Medal of Honor awardees, former prisoners of war and others. Free or discounted use of state parks, free boating, hunting and fishing licenses, “fur taker permits” and more are available via the Ohio Division of State Parks and Watercraft.

Ohio Military Burial Benefits

Limited burial stipends may be available to the families of qualifying veterans via local County Veteran Service Offices. The amount of the burial benefit may vary depending on county, and family members will need to provide a copy of the veteran’s discharge paperwork (DD Form 214 or the Guard/Reserve equivalent) to apply.

The Patriot Program: Legal Assistance From the Ohio State Attorney General

The Ohio attorney general offers certain pro bono services for eligible Ohio military members. These services include volunteer lawyers drawing up or modifying wills, powers of attorney, living wills and “durable powers of attorney” intended for health care. Civil rights help and consumer protection assistance are also available. The range of services available may depend on whether or not the client is currently serving or retired/separated.

Ohio Links to Veterans Services

Written by Veteran.com Team