The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government organization that helps care for and compensate veterans after they complete their military service. VA offers a variety of benefits for individuals who receive an injury or face an illness resulting from military involvement, but sometimes a veteran may need more.
To address the specific and localized needs of Ohio residents, the state has a variety of other programs that protect and serve those who served us.
The state of Ohio offers a scholarship to children of deceased or disabled Ohio wartime veterans, assuming the student meets the following requirements:
The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship pays for a part of the tuition and fees at two-four year public schools and qualifying private universities and colleges. The amount awarded from this scholarship is adjusted each year.
Enlisted members of the Ohio National Guard can get tuition assistance for up to 96 credits (8 full-time semesters or 12 full-time quarters) of an undergraduate degree at an eligible Ohio school. Those with a bachelor’s degree are not eligible for this scholarship, while those with an associate’s degree or other college credits can still qualify.
Low-income senior citizens, surviving spouses, and permanently and totally disabled residents are all eligible for a special homestead property tax exemption in Ohio. This benefit allows certain homeowners to write off up to $25,000 of the market value of their homes from local property taxes.
This exemption only applies to the residence and one additional acre of land and cannot be more than the value of the property. The income threshold that must be met to qualify raises each year; as of 2021, it was $34,200.
The Ohio Housing Finance Authority (OHFA) offers a Heroes Home Loan to Ohio residents that serve the public. Under this program, veterans can apply for home loans with a discounted mortgage interest rate. These applicants can also opt for down payment assistance, which is forgiven after seven years unless the home buyers refinance or sell their home in that time. In which case they must repay all provided assistance.
Properties that qualify for this loan include existing single-family, newly built one-unit single-family, manufactured, and one-unit modular homes. For a veteran or service member to be eligible for this benefit, they must meet the OHFA’s home/income price limits and have a credit score above a certain value.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus is offered to any military service member or veteran who began service as an Ohio resident, is still a resident, was not dishonorably discharged, and served or is serving in the military from October 7, 2001 through a date that hasn’t been determined yet. This compensable period will continue until otherwise specified.
The bonus you will receive depends on the following criteria:
The maximum bonus you can earn from this program is $1,500 if you serve in Afghanistan and another area for at least 10 months each. Once you have received the maximum in either location you are not eligible for more funds in that category. If you serve for a fraction of the month, your bonus will be paid as 1/30 of the monthly amount for each service day.
You must serve at least 90 days in active duty during the compensable period to be eligible (not including training). Once you are eligible, your family members may also be eligible if they meet certain requirements.
Veterans who meet the above criteria and are medically discharged or retired can get an in-country bonus of $1,000 regardless of time served. Service elsewhere equates to $50 a month up to $500.
If a veteran dies as a result of service in Afghanistan, the surviving family of an eligible veteran may apply for a $5,000 bonus from the Ohio program. Family members do not need to live in Ohio and the benefit will be accessible to family in this order:
If the veteran died, but not as a result of injuries in Afghanistan, the family will be eligible for whatever benefits the deceased would have received if they were alive.
A veteran’s family will also be eligible for a $5,000 bonus if the veteran was declared a prisoner of war or missing in action. The veteran must meet eligibility requirements in every situation for the family to recover compensation.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus will not be taxable and it does not need to be reported on federal or state tax returns.
Each county in Ohio has a Veterans Service Office that provides veterans and their families with short-term financial assistance. The type of assistance and amount of money depends on the abilities of individual counties.
This payment can be used for mortgage, food, utilities, rent, car payments, insurance, and more. Locate your County Veterans Service Office to see what benefits you may be eligible for.
There are a few other key tax benefits provided to veterans and service members by the state of Ohio. For example, retired military pay can be deducted from Ohio income taxes.
If that pay is for a military disability, it may not even count as taxable income. Military disability retirement pay in Ohio that is received as an annuity, pension, or other allowance for an injury related to service should not be taxed. Disability benefits that qualify for this exemption could include any of the following:
The IRS released Publication 525 in 2021 to detail which benefits should not be included in your taxable income.
Ohio offers a 10% discount on camping in state parks to active military service members and veterans. This discount can be used on a single cottage, campsite, getaway rental, or lodge room per camp visit.
Residents of Ohio who are permanent and totally disabled veterans or former prisoners of war (POWs) can camp for free at Ohio state parks.
A military ID or veteran identification is necessary for you to receive this discount.
Former POWs and permanently and totally disabled veterans who are Ohio residents are eligible to receive free hunting and fishing licenses.
While on leave from active duty, Ohio service members do not need to purchase a fishing license, hunting license, fur taker permit, or Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp.
Non-resident service members who are on active duty in Ohio will be able to purchase the appropriate outdoor license for the same rate as normal state residents.
Ohio veterans who are permanently and totally disabled will be eligible for free personal watercraft registration.
Positions of civil service often require employees to maintain a high level of integrity. In Ohio, there is a civil service exam that can help determine how fit an individual is for a civil position.
Veterans can automatically receive a 20% addition to their passing score and current service members in reserve who have completed entry-level training can receive a 15% addition. This puts current and former military service members in a good position to get a job in Ohio civil services.
Active duty members, veterans, and their spouses are eligible to receive an Ohio educator permit, license, or certificate for free. The Ohio Department of Education waives the initial costs and the renewal fee for these licenses to encourage the transition to education.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has a subdivision that focuses on finding jobs for veterans and their families. The Veteran Career Information Center has a multitude of resources available to veterans and their loved ones who need employment.
Certain job centers in Ohio also offer priority service to service members, veterans, and eligible family members. To receive more information on Ohio employment benefits, complete the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Veteran Questionnaire and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are two homes in Ohio reserved for disabled Ohio resident wartime veterans who were honorably discharged. These homes, in Sandusky and Georgetown, are available to those who meet the former criteria and are unable to earn a living due to disabling conditions.
The cost of staying in one of the Ohio homes will be adjusted based on assets and monthly income. However, the price should not exceed approximately ⅓ the price of private care.
Also located in Sandusky is the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Cemetery. While there are multiple national cemeteries in Ohio, this is the only one that’s funded by VA. Eligible veterans and those residing in the Ohio Veterans Home can request to be buried there.
In addition to the above state benefits for Ohio veterans, you may also qualify for VA disability benefits if you have an injury or illness from your time in active service. If your condition developed or worsened as a result of events that occurred in the military, you can file a VA disability claim to receive weekly payments.
VA disability can compensate for a range of issues, from permanent and total disability to mild hearing loss. The amount of money you will be awarded depends on the severity of your condition and how much it prohibits you from performing your regular activities.
If you are an Ohio resident simply looking for state benefits, check out some of the programs and resources mentioned on this page. If you are looking to file a VA disability claim, reach out to Tuley Law Office today.
We are a nationwide veteran disability law firm based out of Evansville, Indiana. Over the years, we have helped a staggering number of veterans in similar situations to yours recover monetary benefits.