In addition to the federal benefits available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs offers benefits to resident veterans and their families.
Alabama offers free tuition for the spouse and children of some veterans and for Purple Heart recipients.
The State of Alabama requires public colleges and universities to waive tuition and fees for Purple Heart Medal recipients. This waiver applies to undergraduate studies at both two- and four-year technical colleges, junior colleges, community colleges, and other state colleges and universities.
Within ten years after completing an undergraduate program, a Purple Heart recipient can apply for a graduate studies tuition waiver. No more than $10,000 of graduate tuition may be waived, and the waiver cannot be granted for more than five years.
Contact the college or university you plan to attend to request additional information.
For a dependent of a veteran to be eligible for the Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship, the veteran must have an honorable discharge after at least 90 continuous days in federal military service during a period of war, or, have served less than 90 days during wartime due to being discharged for a service-connected disability.
If a veteran has service-connected disabilities rated 20% or higher, died from service-connected disabilities, was a prisoner of war (POW), was declared missing in action (MIA), or died while in the line of duty, then his or her dependents are also eligible for the scholarship.
In addition, the veteran had to have been a permanent resident of Alabama for one year or more prior to first entry into military service or a later entry into service after living in Alabama for a year or more. Totally and permanently disabled veterans who are rated at 100% are exempt from this pre-service residency requirement, but must have five years or more of post-service residency before passing away or before submitting a scholarship application.
Dependent children (including step-children) of a veteran receive a scholarship for five years at any higher learning institution in Alabama that receives state support. The scholarship covers tuition, textbooks, and instructional fees. A child must start receiving the scholarship before turning 26, and in some cases cannot receive scholarship funds after the age of 30.
A spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran who is rated 20% or more for service-connected disabilities can receive three years of scholarship funds covering tuition, textbooks, and instructional fees. This scholarship can also be applied to technical training for up to twenty-seven months. A spouse will lose the scholarship upon divorcing the veteran, and a surviving spouse will lose scholarship eligibility upon remarriage.
For additional information, visit a Veterans Service Officer in your county courthouse, or write to:
Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs
P.O. Box 1509
Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1509.
Certain veterans are eligible to receive a high school diploma from the State Superintendent of Education of Alabama.
Eligibility requires service during one of the below periods:
Further, a veteran must have lived in Alabama before entry into the U.S. military, and it must have interrupted the completion of their high school studies.
For more information about how to receive a diploma, contact the principal of the high school the veteran attended or the County Superintendent of Education.
Veterans who served on active duty at any time and received an honorable discharge are eligible for five extra points on examinations taken for state classified positions. A veteran with a service-connected disability is entitled to 10 preference points. Research state jobs in Alabama and contact your local Veterans Service Officer to learn how to apply for preference points.
Veterans who support themselves through a small business are entitled to business and occupational license exemptions of $25 for each state, county, and municipality where they are required to obtain licenses.
Exemptions are also available for certain veterans of war and hostilities with foreign nations. For more information, contact the Alabama Department of Revenue Business Licensing Division at 334-353-7923 or ask your local Veterans Service Officer for information.
Both income tax and property tax exemptions are available for veterans living in Alabama.
Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled or who are at least age 65 and have a net income of no more than $12,000 are exempt from paying taxes on a home, including up to 160 acres of land.
If a veteran purchased a home using a specially adapted housing grant from the VA, that home is exempt from tax, including for a surviving spouse who continues to live in the home and does not remarry.
All retirement benefits received by military retirees are exempt from state, county, and municipal tax.
These are the main veterans benefits offered by the State of Alabama, but for a complete list of benefits available in Alabama, visit the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs website.