The State of Louisiana offers some helpful state benefits to resident veterans and their families, in addition to the veterans benefits available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Veterans Employment Preference for State Jobs
The Louisiana Constitution establishes employment preference for veterans in civil service jobs. A five-point hiring preference is awarded to honorably discharged veterans who served during a period of war or during peacetime service for which a campaign badge or expeditionary medal was issued.
The following time periods are recognized as “wartime”:
- April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
- September 27, 1940 to July 25, 1947
- June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955
- July 1, 1958 to May 7 1975
- August 2, 1990 to present if awarded the Southwest Asia Medal, and
anytime after September 11, 2001 if served 90 days or more of active duty service (other than for training).
A 10-point preference is awarded to veterans who served at any time if they were honorably discharged and have at least one service-connected disability. If a veteran is unable to hold a civil service position due to circumstances described below, one of the following persons becomes eligible to use the 10-point veteran’s preference in his or her place:
- the spouse of the veteran if the veteran is unable to accept appointment to a Civil Service job in his or her customary work due to a disability
- the unmarried surviving spouse of a deceased veteran who served in a war period (see above) or in a peacetime campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge/medal was awarded, or
- a widowed parent who hasn’t remarried, or a divorced or separated parent, whose child died on active duty or became totally and permanently disabled due to service-connected disabilities.
Veterans preference applies to original employment as well as to layoffs against other employees with the same efficiency ratings and length of service.
Civil Service Testing Exemption
As of November 10, 2010, a state agency may appoint an honorably discharged veteran who left the service within the last year without the required Civil Service test scores being obtained as long as the minimum qualifications for the job are met by the veteran. This only applies for veterans who were on active duty for 90 days or more (not for training).
An agency cannot appoint a veteran to a position prior to the veteran’s discharge date.
Information about the testing exemption can be obtained by phoning the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service at (225) 219-9390.
LAVETBIZ helps veterans, included veterans with service-connected disabilities, to obtain state contracts for their small business. Business must first register for the program in order to take advantage of an extra 10 evaluation points when bidding on state business.
Dependent Educational Benefits
Louisiana provides financial assistance for education to surviving spouses and children of veterans. This benefit is available to children of veterans rated at least 90% due to service-connected disability or rated at 100% due to individual unemployability. This benefit is also available to surviving spouses and children of veterans who died on active duty or due to a service-connected disability that was caused during wartime service.
Eligibility requires that a veteran that died was a resident of the state for a year or more right before going into the service. A veteran who isn’t deceased is required to have lived in the state for at least two years before a child can be eligible for benefits.
A surviving spouse is eligible for this program for ten years from the date of eligibility, while a child is eligible starting at age 16 until the age of 25.
Information about how to apply for Dependent Educational Assistance is available through your local Parish Veterans Service Office. If you are found to be eligible, the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs will send you a Fee Exemption Certificate. You will have to submit the Fee Exemption Certificate to the college where you are enrolled in order to receive the benefit.
Military Family Assistance (MFA) Fund
The Military Family Assistance (MFA) Fund is administered by the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs and funded by private and corporate donations. The purpose of the fund is to help families with financial needs they may have when a family member is on active duty with the Louisiana National Guard or Louisiana Military Reserves.
MFA can award up to $10,000 for one request for each year of an active duty order, and funds can be requested to pay for medical care, housing, food, car repair, and other financial needs.
Eligibility requires active duty status for 30 days in a row or longer. Family members of eligible service members may submit applications, and any application to MFA must be made within six months after a service member is released from active duty. MFA Fund applications can be completed online or the application can be downloaded and submitted.
Veterans who reside in Louisiana and have a service-connected disability rated 50% or higher can receive free hunting and fishing licenses. Also, free entrance to state parks is available for disabled veterans who:
- have lost a limb or been granted VA benefits for the purchase of a vehicle
- are at least 50% disabled from service-connected causes, or
- are permanently and totally disabled from any cause, service-connected or not.
For information about other benefits available to Louisiana veterans and their families, visit the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs website.