Colorado Veterans’ Benefits

The federal government has a uniform method of compensating disabled veterans for their condition(s). If a service member was injured in a service-related accident, they could recover compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits are awarded based on a disability rating meant to reflect the severity of a condition.

In addition to VA, individual states also offer unique veteran benefits to their residents. The process of applying for these programs differs from place to place. Colorado has various benefits available to disabled veterans, current and former service members, and dependents/surviving dependents of veterans.

Our law firm does not help veterans receive state benefits—only federal. However, we have put together some commonly used resources for Colorado veterans that can be pursued after you have an established disability rating from VA.

Colorado Veteran Financial Benefits

Most benefits are cost-related, such as education or housing. Some Colorado disabled veteran benefits are simply additional funds for veterans and their families to use as they see fit. This could come from grants or tax breaks based on disability and age.

Colorado Military Family Relief Fund

When active duty members are serving in a combat zone or pulled up from the Reserves to serve, their families may be eligible for compensation. The Military Relief Fund grants are meant to lessen the burden of food, housing, medical service, and utility costs.

Colorado Military Retirement Tax

Veterans who have retired from service can claim one of two deductions from their military retired pay. The amount taken off will depend on the veteran’s age at the end of the tax year.

Veterans under 55 can get a military retirement tax exemption of up to $15,000.

Veterans 55 or older can get a military retirement deduction up to the following amounts:

  • $20,000 between the ages 55 and 64
  • $24,000 for those 65 and older

These values can only be subtracted from federal taxable income.

Furthermore, Colorado veterans should not include any Military Disability Retirement Pay in their federal taxable income. This includes money granted as a pension, annuity, or allowance as compensation for an injury or sickness that developed during active service. These benefits are non-taxable.

Colorado Veteran Housing Benefits

In Colorado, there are dedicated homes for disabled veterans that provide 24-hour nursing care, meals, therapy, transportation, and more at an all-inclusive rate. Admission is available for honorably discharged veterans, their spouses, and “Gold-Star” parents.

There is also Colorado veteran housing assistance for those who qualify.

Colorado Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption

Disabled veterans in Colorado are granted a property tax exemption for the first 50% of the first $200,000 in value of their primary residence. To be eligible for this exemption, a veteran must meet the following requirements:

  • They were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability rated at 100% by VA.
  • They must have owned and lived on the property in consideration on January 1 of whatever year they are trying to claim the exemption.
  • Their spouse owns the property, and they were married on or before January 1 of the exemption year, and both lived in the home as a primary residence.

The surviving spouse of a veteran can also be eligible for this exemption if the veteran met all requirements but is since deceased.

Applicants for the property tax exemption must apply to the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs before July 1, and after January 1 of the year they aim to qualify. These payments are then made by the State Treasurer’s office directly to the county on behalf of the disabled veteran or their spouse.

Education Benefits for Colorado Veterans

Veterans are often not prepared for retirement when they leave the military. When they come home, they might have difficulties finding work and need to return to school. Colorado offers multiple educational programs for veterans and their families to get the training they need.

Colorado National Guard Education Benefits

Colorado National Guard members are eligible for financial assistance with state tuition. This means that at participating Colorado state-funded schools, veterans may have up to 100% of their expenses covered. Here are some additional things to consider about Colorado National Guard benefits:

  • This funding can be used in combination with Federal Tuition Assistance
  • There are deadlines to apply for these benefits each term
  • For every one year of tuition assistance, a Colorado National Guard member must serve two years

Check with an institution to see if they participate in this program.

Operation Recognition

Veterans who are at least 60 years old and do not already have a high school diploma may be able to obtain one if they left school to serve in World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. They must live in the same school district where they first left to serve in the military.

Colorado Veterans Recreation Benefits

Colorado has some of the best parks in the U.S. Enjoying these parks can be a huge part of recovering from the stress of military service. Whether it’s to take a weekend fishing or enjoy the view of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado offers qualifying veterans recreational benefits.

Colorado State Parks Disabled Veterans

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) grants free admission to veterans who can provide proof of military service in the following situations:

  • The month of August
  • Veteran’s Day (November 11)
  • Colorado residents with a disabled veteran or Purple Heart license plates are always eligible for free park admittance

The veteran must be inside a vehicle to earn free admission. That this does not cover any additional fees for camping, equipment, activities, etc.

Colorado Hunting and Fishing License Benefits

CPW offers multiple benefits surrounding wildlife licenses to veterans and current service members:

  • Colorado Outdoor Licenses at Resident Rates – Nonresident service members and their families can qualify to get hunting and fishing licenses at the same price asColorado residents. This does not apply to members of the National Guard or Reserves.
  • Colorado License Refund and Point Return – If a service member is deployed after applying for a hunting license, they can get their money and/or preference points back.
  • Colorado License Advance Purchase – After the primary and secondary draws of hunting licenses, service members stationed in Colorado or Colorado residents stationed elsewhere can purchase leftover licenses.
  • Fishing Without a License on Leave – Colorado residents stationed elsewhere on active duty can fish in Colorado without a license when on leave. This exemption cannot be used for more than 30 days in a single year.
  • Wounded Warrior Big Game Hunting License – Colorado residents or service members stationed in Colorado that are part of the Wounded Warrior Project might qualify for a big game license. These are hunting licenses set aside by CPW for hunting female and male deer, elk, and pronghorn.

Veterans must have VA documentation that certifies their disability rating to be eligible for the above benefits.

Colorado Veteran Employment Benefits

It can be difficult for veterans to re-acclimate themselves to everyday life after serving in the military for an extended period. Sometimes the skills they learned during service do not transfer to the job market back home.To address this issue, Colorado offers employment benefits along with educational benefits.

Colorado State Employee Veterans’ Hiring Preference

The state of Colorado gives preference to veterans and some qualifying spouses when looking to fill state positions. There are scored and unscored processes used to hire state employees. With an unscored process, veterans eligible for preference must be added to the eligible interview list along with the six best applicants. With a scored process, the veteran will receive points added to their final passing score. If their preference points push their final score into the top six candidates, they will earn an interview.

Individuals who meet the following criteria will earn five preference points:

  • Veterans who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Military and served active duty during any of the following time periods:
    • April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955
    • More than 180 consecutive days between January 31, 1955 and October 15, 1976
    • August 2, 1990 through January 2, 1992 (Gulf War period)
    • More than 180 consecutive days between September 11, 2001 and the date specified by current legislation
    • Any Congress-declared war
    • Any campaign or expedition for which the veteran earned a medal
  • The spouse of a veteran who cannot work due to a service-connected disability or injury.
  • The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran who would have been eligible for Veterans’ preference had they still been alive.

These preference points do not ensure that the veteran will get a job; they merely help the veteran get an interview. Reaching out to local and state veteran employment programs is the best way veterans can find a job that fits their skills.

Tuley Law Office and VA Benefits

Many of the state veteran benefits in Colorado depend on a rating decision from the VA. A VA rating is necessary to be eligible for compensation, especially for benefits dealing with a military disability.

Here at Tuley Law Office, we work with disabled veterans to recover benefits from the VA. If you are a Colorado state veteran eligible for federal benefits, reach out to our law firm for legal assistance. Although we are based out of Evansville, Indiana, we offer services to disabled veterans nationally.

Our experienced VA disability attorneys can help you file an initial disability claim or appeal a denied claim. While we cannot help you retrieve state benefits, we can help you get the ratings you need on a federal level to proceed with other programs.