The State of New York offers benefits’ programs for veterans residing in the state. This is in addition to benefits available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
New York Educational Benefits
New York offers Veterans Tuition Awards, Military Service Recognition Scholarships, and Regents Awards to assist with educational expenses.
Veterans Tuition Awards (VTA)
New York provides tuition awards for resident veterans enrolled in a degree program or vocational training institute within the state of New York. Full-time students can be awarded the full cost of tuition, while part-time students receive awards based on how many credit hours they are enrolled in. This program is administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).
To be eligible for tuition awards, veterans must:
- be residents of New York State
- be enrolled in an educational institution in New York State
- have been discharged under honorable conditions
- be citizens of the U.S. or eligible noncitizens, and
- have already applied for the Tuition Assistance Program.
In addition, veterans must meet one of the following military service requirements:
- served in Vietnam war between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975
- served in Afghanistan on September 11, 2001 or later, or
- served in hostilities after February 28, 1961 and earned a Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, or a Navy Expeditionary Medal.
To apply, you must first establish your eligibility for the program by completing the New York State Veterans Tuition Award Supplement. You can complete the form online, but if you do so, make sure you print the confirmation page and send it in with all other required information.
Second, you must apply for payment of your award after your eligibility has been established. You need to establish your eligibility only onetime, but you must reapply for payment each year.
Call the HESC Scholarship Unit at 888-697-4372 or visit its website with any questions you may have about the application process.
Military Service Recognition Scholarships
New York's Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) also administers the Military Service Recognition Scholarships. These scholarships give financial assistance to disabled veterans or the spouses, children, and dependents of disabled or deceased veterans. This scholarship covers the costs of full-time undergraduate programs.
Eligibility for a Military Service Recognition Scholarship requires that the veteran was a New York resident at the time that they died or became disabled, and that the death or disability occurred after August 2, 1990. The veteran must have served in the U.S. armed forces or a state-run militia. The death or disability must have been a consequence of an illness or injury suffered during service, or during training for service in combat or a combat zone. Dependents of veterans who are missing in action are also eligible for this scholarship.
Proving a severe and permanent disability will require a letter from a licensed doctor or osteopath (licensed practitioner of alternative medicine) stating that the veteran cannot engage in any substantial work for pay due to a physical or mental disability.
Students attending the State University of New York (SUNY) or the City University of the New York (CUNY) receive:
- tuition and fees
- payment for on campus housing or financial assistance with the cost of off campus housing, and
- funds for books, school supplies, and transportation costs.
Students attending private colleges receive:
- coverage for tuition and fees up to the amount of SUNY costs, and
- financial assistance for housing, books, school supplies and transportation costs.
To apply for the scholarship, you must first submit an application to the Higher Education Services Corp (HESC) to establish your eligibility. You can apply online or call HESC at 888-697-4372. Before applying for this scholarship, you are first required to apply for the Tuition Assistance Program and for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Regents Awards help certain children of veterans pay for their education. Payments of up to $450 per year are available to children of deceased or disabled veterans who served in the U.S. armed forces during a time of national emergency. For more information, including how to apply, visit the HESC website.
New York Property Tax Exemption
New York offers a partial tax exemption for certain New York veterans. Eligible veterans are those who bought their home with eligible funds (meaning money from insurance, a pension, or bonus), veterans who received expeditionary medals, and veterans who served during the Cold War. Higher exemptions are available for veterans who served in combat and/or are disabled. This exemption is available for a home owned by the veteran and is also available for a surviving spouse who has not remarried.
To apply for the exemption, complete the Application for Veterans Exemption from Real Property Taxation and submit it to your local assessor’s office. Call your local assessor’s office in advance to find out the due date.
For more information call, 888-838-7697 or visit the Veterans Exemption website.
New York State Hiring Preference for Veterans
New York has a program permitting disabled individuals to be placed in entry-level state jobs. No civil service testing is required, but interested veterans are required to submit an application and possibly a medical report to become certified for this program, referred to as “55-c.”
Wartime veterans who are disabled are eligible for this program. New York civil service law defines wartime to include the Korean war, Vietnam war, and Gulf war as well as hostilities in Lebanon, Grenada, and Panama. If you served during hostilities only, you must provide evidence that you received an expeditionary medal. Your DD-214 will usually include the medals you received during service.
Eligibility also requires that you have served full-time in military service and does not include being on active duty for training.
Eligibility further requires that you be found to be “medically eligible” by the civil service department’s Employee Health Service (EHS). Medical eligibility is based upon how much your ability to function is impacted rather than by the kind of disability you have or whether or not your disability was caused by your service. In some cases, you may be asked to have a medical exam at EHS, but you will not have to pay for it.
After you are found to be a wartime veteran who is medically eligible for the program, you become certified as being eligible. This gives you the right to apply to be “appointed” to a state job (meaning, a job that does not require a civil service exam). You are not, however, guaranteed a job. You must have the skills and educational background that the job requires in order to be considered for appointment. Not all state agencies participate in the program.
How to Apply
Application packets are available online. In addition to the application, you will have to submit your resume and a letter from your doctor that explains what limitations you have as a result of your disability. For more information, call the civil service department at 866-297-4356.
Other State Benefits for Veterans
New York offers a Home for Veterans Program that provides low interest loans and assistance with closing costs to veterans. Any veteran of active military service who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable is eligible for this program. For more information, visit the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) website or call 800-382-HOME (4663).
Also, small cash benefits are available to legally blind wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who have not remarried. For 2013, the program provides monthly payments of $108. Eligibility requires at least 90 days of wartime service. For additional information, including how to apply, visit the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs website or call 888-838-7697.
If you are in crisis, take advantage of the resources New York offers. The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services offers a 24 hour HOPEline. You can call 877-8-HOPENY 365 days a year to find help for alcohol, drug, and gambling problems. Crisis counseling, referrals, and other help is available.