The state of New York offers a range of benefits to assist veterans who served honorably in the US military and their families with everything from housing to healthcare, education, and employment. Continue reading to learn more about the veteran benefits available in New York State.
New York State Veteran Housing Benefits
New York State Veterans Homes
New York State Veterans Homes, managed by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and State University of New York (SUNY), consist of five nursing homes located in the cities of St. Albans, Batavia, Oxford, Stony Brook, and Montrose. These facilities offer both short-term and long-term care for veterans and their spouses.
To be eligible, the veteran must have resided in the state for at least one year or entered military service as a New York resident, in addition to having an honorable discharge and at least 30 days of active service.
Access to Home for Heroes
The Access to Home for Heroes Program provides financial assistance for modifications and emergency repairs that will make homes of veterans living with a disability accessible and safe. The program is available for veterans with less than 120% of the area median income.
Homes for Veterans Program
The New York Homes for Veterans Program is managed by the State of New York Mortgage Agency. It offers fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates 0.375 % below the ones charged on SONYMA mortgages. In addition to lower interest rates, benefits include assistance with down payments, no points or origination fees, and minimum borrower cash contribution. The program is available for active duty reservists, guard members, and honorably discharged veterans.
New York State Veteran Financial Benefits
Income Tax Exemption
Income Tax Exemption for Military Pay is exemption from New York State, New York City, and Yonkers taxes available for:
- Veterans who received military pay for active service in an area designated as a combat zone
- Retired veterans receiving pension and retirement payments and their beneficiaries
- Spouses of service members who are nonresidents and are living in New York state due to military orders.
Property Tax Exemptions
New York veteran benefits include the following options for Property Tax Exemptions:
- Alternative Veterans’ Exemption
- Cold War Veterans’ Exemption
- Eligible Funds Exemption
Alternative Veterans’ Exemption
This exemption on residential property is available for veterans who have served during a designated time of war or received an expeditionary medal. The assessed value of veterans’ homes is reduced by 15% and by 25% for those who served in a combat zone. Note that this is not a state-wide benefit and is offered only by some municipalities.
Cold War Veterans’ Exemption
This exemption applies to residential properties of veterans who served during the Cold War period between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991.
Eligible Funds Exemption
The Eligible Funds Exemption gives a tax reduction on property purchased with the veteran’s military pension, bonus, or insurance funds that were received upon discharge from active duty.
Spouses who leave their jobs to move to accompany a military member on a transfer are eligible for unemployment benefits.
Supplemental Burial Allowance
A Supplemental Burial Allowance of up to $6,000 is offered to surviving families of military personnel who were killed in combat or from wounds sustained in a combat zone. This allowance can be used to pay funeral and interment costs which are not covered by the federal government.
New York State Blind Annuity Program
The Blind Annuity Program is a New York state benefit for legally blind wartime veterans who served on active duty during specific wartime periods or received an expeditionary medal. Note that blindness does not have to be service-connected. Surviving unremarried veteran spouses may also qualify for this benefit.
New York State Gold Star Parent Annuity Program
Gold Star Parent Annuity Program offers assistance to parents of service members who died during a war or armed conflict. The payment of up to $500 per Golden Star parent is provided in semi-annual installments.
E-Z Pass for Disabled Veterans
The New York State Thruway Authority’s E-Z Pass for Disabled Veterans offers free, unlimited travel anywhere on the Thruway. To qualify, veterans must also be eligible for the fee-exempt vehicle registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
New York State Veteran Family Benefits
New York Paid Family Leave for Military Families
Under the New York Paid Family Leave Act, employers must offer paid family leave to assist with family situations due to a service member’s short-notice military deployment, mobilization for active duty to a foreign country, or post-deployment activities. Beneficiaries’ spouses, domestic partners, parents, and children are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of family leave at 67% of their pay.
New York State Veteran Employment Benefits
Civil Service Credit Preference
Veterans who have used non-disabled veteran credits for a Civil Service appointment or promotion and were subsequently certified as being disabled can receive the following additional credit preference:
- Ten-point preference toward original appointment for disabled wartime veterans
- Five-point preference for wartime service
- Two and a half point preference for other veterans.
Military Service Credit for State & Local Retirement System Members
The New York State and Local Retirement System enables qualifying veterans to receive additional credit towards retirement from military service.
New York State Peddler’s License
New York veterans who served overseas and have been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces are eligible to apply for a free lifetime New York State Peddler’s License. The license gives the right to sell goods on streets and highways within the veteran’s county of residence without having to pay the vending license fees.
Veterans Tuition Awards
Veterans Tuition Awards cover full and part-time study at undergraduate or graduate schools or vocational training programs of up to $7,070 per year for honorably discharged wartime veterans.
To qualify, the veteran must be a legal resident of New York or have lived in the state for the past 12 consecutive months.
Regents Awards for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans
The Regents Awards for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans distributes awards of up to $450 per year to the children of deceased or disabled veterans who served in the US Armed Forces during specified times of war or national emergency. These awards are offered through the New York State Higher Education Services (HESC).
Military Service Recognition Scholarship
The Military Service Recognition Scholarship provides financial aid to spouses, children, and dependents of veterans who were killed, permanently disabled, or missing in combat or a combat zone of operation since August 2, 1990.
Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship
The MERIT Scholarship is available for dependents of military members who died or were disabled as a result of their military service. The scholarship covers up to four years of undergraduate study and pays the full tuition amount at any approved college, as well as books, transportation, and housing stipend.
New York State Veteran Recreation Benefits
Reduced Fee Hunting Licenses and Permits for Disabled Veterans
New York resident veterans with more than 40% service-related disability can obtain low cost hunting and fishing licenses.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Active Duty
New York State offers Free Sporting Licenses, including hunting/big game, fishing, and trapping licenses, to all full-time and part-time active military members.
State Park Admission for Disabled Veterans
Disabled wartime veterans can receive a Lifetime Liberty Pass which guarantees free vehicle entry to all New York State Parks, including:
- Day use areas
- Historic sites
- Arboretums and park preserves
- State Park golf courses
- State Park pools.
What’s more, disabled veterans can get discounted camping and cabin rentals at all 119 State Park and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) campgrounds.
To be eligible for this benefit, veterans must be New York State residents and have a VA disability rating of 40% or more.