Utah Veteran’s Benefits

Updated: March 23, 2021

Table of Contents

    Find Utah State and local veteran’s benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. The Beehive State has more than 150,000 veteran residents according to the VA website.


    Utah State Veteran Education Benefits

    Utah Veterans BenefitsIn-State Tuition for Qualifying Service Members

    Active duty military and veterans who have finished active duty service within 12 months of being admitted to a state school may qualify for college tuition at in-state rates. Applications for this benefit are handled by the school and is not automatic.

    Utah State Veterans Tuition Gap Program

    The Veterans Tuition Gap Program allows qualifying veterans to receive tuition assistance “for the last school year at State institutions of higher education” according to the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs. The payments do not cover housing, books, or other non-tuition expenses.

    Scott Lundell Military Survivors Tuition Waiver

    Surviving dependents of service members killed in action on or after Sept. 11, 2001 may qualify for a tuition waiver at state schools. The veteran must have been a Utah resident and residency requirements for dependents claiming this benefit may also apply. This tuition waiver is for undergraduate studies only.

    Utah State Tuition Waiver for Purple Heart Recipients

    Purple Heart recipients are eligible for free tuition at “all public institution of higher learning in Utah” for undergraduate studies or master’s degree programs. Supporting documentation is required to apply for this benefit. It is not automatic.

    Utah High School Diploma Program for Qualifying Wartime Veterans

    Like many other states, Utah state law permits local school districts to offer high school diplomas to qualifying veterans who could not graduate because they left school to serve in uniform. Qualifying eras for this Utah high school diploma program include World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam. Contact the applicable Utah school district for application procedures in that district.

    Utah State Veterans Upward Bound Program

    Veterans Upward Bound is a program funded by the Department of Education and sponsored by Weber State University. It is designed to offer help to veterans seeking post-secondary education in certain fields including math, English, and “basic computer applications.” This program may not be available statewide. At the time of this writing, it is provided in the following counties:

      • Salt Lake County
      • Davis County
      • Weber County

    Utah State Veteran Employment Benefits

    The State of Utah offers qualifying veterans multiple ways to claim hiring preference points for state jobs. One of those options is via the “traditional” veterans preference point system (five additional points awarded for qualifying veterans on state job tests, 10 points awarded for those with qualifying disabilities).

    For state jobs open to the public, the State of Utah’s veterans’ preference is open to those who meet the following requirements:

    • On active duty in the armed forces for more than 180 consecutive days, except active duty for training, basic or advanced individual training (AIT), or active duty to attend a military course
    • Retired or separated under honorable conditions
    • Reservists who served in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized and who was separated from active service under honorable conditions
    • Disabled veterans regardless of the percentage of disability
    • Spouses and unmarried surviving spouses of qualifying veterans
    • Purple Heart recipients
    • Retirees

    Another option for veteran hiring preference in the state of Utah is the Veteran Employment Opportunity Program (VEOP) which permits qualifying veterans to be hired “into designated career-service positions with a six-month on-the-job examination period in lieu of a competitive hiring process.”

    This program is not automatic and must be claimed when applying for state jobs via the Utah’s official Job Seeker website. According to the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs website, those conducting state hiring procedures may decide to interview and/or hire a qualified veteran under this program, “separately from other candidates.”


    Utah State Veteran Housing Benefits

    Utah State Veterans Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes

    The State of Utah operates four veterans’ homes open to Utah veterans:

    • Salt Lake City
    • Ogden
    • Payson
    • Ivins

    While wartime service is not a requirement for admission to these homes, “wartime veterans with one day or more of wartime service, as recognized by state and federal laws, have top priority.” This is according to the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs official site.

    Spouses and surviving spouses may also be eligible for care in these homes as long as the marriage to the veteran is dated at least one year prior to applying for care. Services provided may depend on the location, staffing, demand, and other variables. Facilities may offer some or all of the following:

    • Short-term rehabilitation
    • Physical therapy
    • Speech therapy
    • Wound care
    • Orthopedic care
    • Memory Care
    • Long-term care
    • Respite care
    • Post-stroke rehabilitation
    • Medication management
    • Diabetes management
    • Complex medical care
    • IV services
    • COPD care

    Qualifying for care in these homes may depend on the veteran’s eligibility for the VA healthcare system in general. Those admitted must require long-term care and have medical documentation or establish documentation showing this need.

    Utah State First-Time Home Buyer Grants for Qualifying Veterans

    Currently serving military and veterans who apply within five years of leaving military service may qualify for a $2,500 first-time home buyer grant for qualifying home purchases within the state of Utah. Applicants must be purchasing a first home and be able to provide a valid VA Certificate of Eligibility for a VA mortgage loan. House hunters are NOT required to use a VA loan to purchase the house. The borrower’s purchase of a property as a primary residence must occur no later than five years from retirement or separation. The $2,500 grant is delivered to the buyer at closing time.

    The type of homes eligible under this program are single family homes, condos, mobile/manufactured homes, homes with up to four units, etc. This is essentially the same kind of property a government-secured mortgage loan such as an FHA loan or VA home loan would be eligible under.

    **Important Note: This program is currently funded until June 2019, but may be extended by state legislation past then. Contact the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs official site for updates and more information.

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    Utah State Veteran Financial Benefits

    Tax Exemption for Military Retirees and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Recipients

    Effective Jan. 1, 2021, military retiree and SBP recipients pay is no longer be subject to state income taxes.

    Note: The change also exempts social security payments and those who get Social Security and a military pension have to choose one break or the other.

    Armed Forces Property Tax Breaks for Qualifying Service Members

    Utah offers a state property tax exemption for members of active or reserve components of the United States Armed Forces “who perform qualifying active duty military service” of at least 200 active days per year (consecutively or not).

    According to the State of Utah, “200 consecutive days of active service…may cross into a second calendar year” as long as that service has not been used “toward the count for the previous year’s taxes.”

    The amount of the tax exemption is equal to the total taxable value of the property and may be claimed “up to a year following the year the service was completed.” This exemption is not for spouses or for property “owned exclusively by the military person’s spouse.”

    Utah State Property Tax Abatement for Qualifying Disabled Veterans

    Those with a minimum 10% VA-rated disability may qualify for a tax abatement benefit for permanent place-of-residence property tax abatement. This tax break may also apply for unmarried surviving spouses and surviving dependent children. The higher the disability rating for the qualifying service member, the higher the tax abatement all the way up to a 100% disability rating.

    The maximum property tax abatement, rated at 100% military service-connected disability, is $244,064 at the time of this writing.

    Regardless of the actual amount of the maximum permitted abatement, multiply the percentage of VA-rated disability by the maximum dollar amount of the abatement (in this case, the amount stated above at $244,064).

    The amount of that calculation is subtracted from the taxable property value and property taxes are assessed on that dollar amount given from the calculation. The home owner pays taxes based on the smaller amount.


    Additional Utah State Veteran Benefits

    Reduced Utah Transit Authority Fees for Qualifying Veterans

    Certain veterans may qualify up to 65% reduced fares on Utah Transit Authority (UTA) busses and TRAX light rail. Qualifying criteria includes:

    • A VA-rated 40% disability status or higher (service-connected)
    • Those receiving a VA non-service connected pension
    • Veterans and others with “transportation disabilities that cause either difficulty boarding or getting off a bus / light rail system” and related issues
    • Those receiving Social Security Disability benefits, SSI, or Medicare (veteran status or not)
    • Those 65 and older

    Visit a UTA location or the UTA official site for more information on how to apply. Proof of service and/or disability may be required at application time.

    Free Utah Vehicle License and Registration for Purple Heart Recipients

    Those awarded the Purple Heart are exempt from paying Utah state fees for licensing and registering a privately-owned vehicle in the state. The exemption of these fees does not extend to any related property taxes or “age-based fees” that may apply.

    State of Utah Discounted Fishing Licenses for Qualifying Disabled Veterans

    Veterans with a VA-rated 40% service connected disability may be eligible for discounted fishing licenses via the Utah Division of Wildlife. A VA award letter and/or other proof of disability documentation may be required.

    Utah Burial Benefits for Veterans

    The Utah Veterans Memorial Cemetery and Memorial Park is a state-run veterans’ cemetery open since 1990. No fees are required for the burial of qualifying veterans, but dependent children and spouses of veterans may require a fee for interment. Requirements for burial include any military discharge except Dishonorable.

    Family members are urged to look into pre-need eligibility; this requires the family to submit the veteran’s DD Form 214 discharge paperwork or the equivalent. Reservists and National

    Guard Members who at the time of death were entitled to retired pay, or would have been entitled had they reached the age of 60, may also be eligible for burial at this facility.


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    Written by MilitaryBenefits