Montana Veteran Benefits

Whether you're a veteran or current servicemember in Montana, you may qualify for many benefits offered by the state. You can receive help for housing, education, employment, and more.


Veteran Home Loans

Do you happen to be stationed in Big Sky Country with the Air Force? If you are, and you're tired of paying to rent a place, you might be able to purchase your own home. It will especially be convenient if you purchase a home near your assigned duty station.



Even if you think buying a house seems out of reach, it could be more feasible than you might think. VA loans in Montana, which both veterans and current servicemembers can use, make buying a house easier because of their surprisingly good features, including:

  • No required down payments
  • Low interest rates & lower monthly payments
  • No minimum credit score requirement
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments

Montana VA Loan County Limits

How much you can qualify for on a Montana veterans loan depends partly on which county you live in. The VA sets county loan limits for how big of a loan they're willing to guarantee. All of the VA loan limits for Montana counties are listed below.



The details of each loan, including your rate, term, and closing costs, vary from lender to lender. In order to make sure you get the best loan for you, it's smart to get a few quotes from several private lenders. Just make sure have VA loan experience, like Low VA Rates, so they will have the necessary understanding to make your loan experience successful.

Veteran Housing Benefits


Montana Veterans' Homes

Montana's veterans' homes offer:

  • Alzheimer's care
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Walking paths
  • Group activities
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Dietician services
  • Physician services

Both veterans and their spouses can enjoy these and many other services, if they qualify to be admitted. To be eligible, a veteran must:

  • Have an honorable discharge
  • Have a need for either domiciliary living or nursing home care

A veteran's spouse can be admitted if there is room in a home and if the veteran and the spouse both qualify for either domiciliary or nursing home care. If you're admitted, your cost will be based on your ability to pay, and you may receive help from the VA.


To apply, you can contact the veterans' homes using the contact information on Montana.gov. You can also visit the websites for the Columbia Falls and Glendive locations and use the admissions information there. Columbia Falls also supplies an online application form.


The Montana Disabled Veterans (MDV) Assistance Program


If you're a veteran with a disability, you may qualify for a reduction of your home property tax rate. This benefit can also apply to a one-acre site if you're on forest or agricultural land. To be eligible, you must:


  • Be a veteran

  • Have a service-related 100% disability rating

  • Own the home or be under contract to buy it

  • Live there for seven months or more per year as your primary residence

  • Turn in a letter from the VA verifying your disability status

  • Have a qualifying Federal Adjusted Gross Income (FAGI)


If you're the unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran, you might also qualify for this property tax reduction. You'll need a VA letter stating either:


  • Your spouse died while serving active duty OR

  • Your spouse died because of a service-related disability and had a 100% disability rating when he or she died


You can apply for this tax benefit by completing the Montana Disabled Veteran Property Tax Relief Application and turning it in to your nearest Department of Revenue office before April 15 of the year you wish to receive the benefit. You will also need to include your federal tax return from the previous year if you're a new Montana resident. Finally, if you receive only nontaxable income, such as social security, you must also include proof of that income.


One your application is approved, you'll get a status letter every year from Montana about this tax benefit. You shouldn't have to apply for it again.


Veteran Employment & Education Benefits


Education Benefits


Montana makes furthering your education more affordable for veterans, servicemembers, and their families. Some of the state's benefits include tuition assistance and waivers, honorary diplomas, and more.

 

State Approving Agency


Montana's State Approving Agency (SAA) reviews and approves the education programs in Montana for which you could use your education benefits.


These programs are available at a variety of institutions, including universities, colleges, technical and vocational schools, on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs, and even flight schools. More than 150 facilities currently have approval from the SAA.


To see a list of all possible programs, visit the VA's Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) portal and follow the instructions below:


  • Click on "MT" either on the US map or the link below it

  • Select an institution's name to learn about each program and get their contact information

  • Get in touch with your chosen institution(s) to ask about their programs and how to enroll


Tuition Waivers in the Montana University System


The Montana University System has two major military-related tuition waivers that can lower or eliminate an eligible student's tuition.


The first waiver is the Honorably Discharged Veteran Waiver. To be eligible, you must:


  • Have served in the US Armed Forces during wartime

  • Have an honorable discharge

  • Be a Montana resident


The second waiver is the War Orphans Waiver. To be eligible, the student must:


  • Be 25 or younger

  • Have a parent who:

    • Served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan

    • Was a resident of Montana when he or she entered the service

    • Was killed in action or because of a combat-connected disease, injury, or disability


To learn more about these benefits, you can contact the financial aid office or veterans office for any Montana University System campus.


Veterans' Upward Bound (VUB) Program


Veterans' Upward Bound (VUB) is a program in Montana that helps veterans living there get access to free classes and services to help them take the next step in their educational careers. It encourages veterans to pursue higher education and training through:


  • College prep courses

  • Live online classes

  • Focused, customized classes for busy schedules

  • Online classes that can be completed from anywhere

  • Help applying for colleges and dealing with issues of financial aid and military benefits

  • Counseling services for both academic and career issues

  • Answers to veterans' questions

  • Referrals to other agencies and providers, when beneficial


You can apply for VUB through the PDF application or the online form.


Honorary High School Diplomas


You may qualify to get an honorary high school diploma if you never received one because of your wartime service. To be eligible, you must:


  • Have served on active duty in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam

  • Be a resident or former resident of Montana

  • Have an honorable discharge OR a release because of a service-connected disability


To apply, you can complete an application form and mail it, along with a copy of your discharge document, to:


Montana Office of Public Instruction

Attn: TJ Eyer - Veteran's Honorary Diploma

PO Box 202501

Helena, MT 59620-2501


If you're an immediate family member of a veteran who has died or is unable to apply, you can apply on his or her behalf.


Employment Benefits


Finding employment after your military service can sometimes seem overwhelming. To help make it simpler, Montana offers a variety of employment services to help you find a job that fits your interests and skill set.


Job Service Offices


If you're a veteran looking for a job, you can go to your nearest Montana Job Service office. Once there, you can talk to veteran-focused staff members or Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialists. You can find a list of DVOP staff members online.


If you're a servicemember, veteran, or the eligible spouse of a veteran, staff members can help you:


  • Search for jobs

  • Write a cover letter and resume

  • Apply for job opportunities

  • Practice for an interview

  • Take a skills test

  • Find needed training


DVOPs can help veterans who have significant barriers to employment. They can also help veterans' spouses when the veteran has died, is incapacitated because a service-related disability, is MIA, or is a POW.


Licensing and Certification Assistance


To help Montana veterans transition into a civilian career, Veteran Employment and Training Service Providers can help you get the necessary professional licensing and certification.


Staff members may help you use some of your military skills to satisfy certain licensing or certification requirements. They may even be able to help you get reimbursed for licensing or certification testing.


You can contact an Employment Specialist at a Montana Job Service office for more information.


CDL Skills Test Waiver


Do you already have commercial driving experience and a military commercial driver's license from your military service? You may be able to get a commercial driver's license (CDL) as a civilian without taking a skills test. The written test, however, would still be required.


To be eligible, you must have had a military job within the last year where you drove an equivalent vehicle. You'll also need a qualification letter from your commanding officer; this letter is usually obtained before your discharge.


To get started, fill out and turn in the Application for Military CDL Skills Test Waiver.


Veteran Employment Preference for State Positions


If you've ever considered applying for a Montana state government job, as a veteran, you have an advantage over other applicants. Veterans' employment preference works by adding points to your score on any scored portion of the hiring process.


Instructions about the documents needed to apply for this preference are available online. Once you have your documentation ready, you will need to fill out the application for the government job you're interested in. This includes the section on Employee Preference.


While this benefit is primarily for veterans, eligible family members may also qualify.


Reemployment Rights


If you're a member of the Montana Air National Guard, Montana Army, or the Reserves, you can enjoy certain reemployment rights if you work for the state or the government of a city, town, or county.


These rights can qualify you for paid military leave after you've worked for your employer for six continuous months. To learn more, you can view the state's guide for paid military leave.


Apprenticeships


The Montana Registered Apprenticeship program can help you find paid on-the-job learning. If you land an apprenticeship, you'll learn a valuable skill while working with a mentor. You'll also take classes at a school or online.


The whole program can take up to three or four years. However, when you finish, you'll get a credential or certification you can often use anywhere in the country.


To get started, you can look through the list of available occupations to see if there are any that interest you—or that you have previous experience in. Next, if it's a field you're not familiar with, research to make sure you'd be comfortable and enjoy working in that type of environment.


To qualify for the program, you'll need a high school diploma or an equivalent certification, which you can get before the apprenticeship begins or within six months of its start date. Finally, you'll need to find an employer. One place to start is by contacting a Job Service Office.


Other Veteran Benefits


Montana provides additional veterans benefits associated with taxes, driver's licenses and vehicle registrations, hunting licenses, and more.


Tax Exempt Military Income


You may be able to lower your adjusted gross income by deducting your military pay from it. To be eligible for this tax benefit, you must have one of these types of income:


  • Military income from active duty in the regular branches of the US Armed Forces

  • Salary from the Guard or Reserves from a homeland defense activity or contingency operation

  • Combat zone exclusion pay, in certain cases


When you claim this tax adjustment, you'll need to send in evidence of your military status, which could include a copy of your military orders.


Travel Expense Deductions


If you're in the Guard or Reserves, you may be able to deduct your travel expenses from your taxes. To qualify, you must have traveled 100 miles or farther from your home for the Guard or Reserve.


You can itemize your deductions for up to 2% of your Montana adjusted gross income. In order to be able to make these deductions, you will need to fill out and include the federal form 2106 or 2106-EZ (Employee Business Expenses) with your tax return.


Income Tax Returns for Non-Resident Active Service Personnel


If you're stationed in Montana and not a resident, you generally don't have to file a Montana income tax return. You will file one, though, if you receive other types of income in Montana besides military pay. These sources of income might include:


  • Royalties

  • Rent

  • Civilian federal government employment

  • Capital gains or ordinary gains

  • A small business


Veteran Designation on Montana Driver's License or ID Card


You can get the word "VETERAN" on the front of your Montana driver's license or ID card. With this designation, you can show businesses your veteran status without having to carry around your discharge papers.


To apply, you'll need to complete and turn in the application form. It's also very important that you get a letter from the Montana Veterans Affairs Division that establishes your Montana veteran status, and you'll turn in that letter with your application.


You can mail these documents to the address on the application or take them to a Motor Vehicle Division office in person.


License Expiration Exemption


You may be able to get an exemption for the expiration date of your Montana driver's license. This exemption means that your driver's license stays valid for up to three months after you're honorably discharged, even if the license would normally have expired.


This exemption can especially help if you're stationed outside of Montana. Your family members can't use the exemption, but they can renew or replace their licenses through the mail up to two consecutive times.


To qualify for the exemption, you must be on active duty. And you must apply for it by completing form 34-1303 and mailing it to the address on the first page of the form. You'll also need to include:


  • A copy of your driver's license, US passport, or birth certificate

  • A copy of your military orders or your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)


Specialty License Plates


When you register a motor vehicle with Montana's Motor Vehicle Division, you can get a Montana specialty license plate that shows an aspect of your current or past military experience. Certain license plates can be used by an unmarried surviving spouse.


Examples of these specialty plates include:


  • Purple Heart Combat Wounded

  • Pearl Harbor Survivor

  • National Guard

  • Ex-Prisoner of War

  • Legion of Valor

  • Army Veteran


And many others!


Certain plates have no renewal fee. If the plate you are interested in does have a fee, you may be able to have it waived you're 100% disabled.


Disabled Veteran Plates


If you qualify for a Disabled Veteran license plate, you'll be able to park your vehicle with those plates in disabled parking areas without needing a separate hanging placard.


To apply for these plates, you'll need to submit a letter from the VA to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division that says you have a 100% disability rating or receive benefits at the 100% disabled level because of a service-connected disability.


You may also be able to get a Purple Heart Disabled Veteran license plate. To do so, you'll need to submit:


  • A letter from the VA that says you're rated as at least 50% disabled

  • Your DD-214 that shows you received a Purple Heart


Vehicle Registration Reduced Fees


The Montana Motor Vehicle Division can give you discounted vehicle registration fees in three different situations.


The first situation is if you're an active or reserve member of US Armed Forces, entered active service from Montana, and are stationed in a different state. To apply for reduced registration fees, you can submit form MV53 to your County Treasurer's Office.


Second, if you're a veteran with a 100% service-connected disability rating or you receive benefits at the 100% disabled rate, you can submit a VA letter that details your qualifying status.


Third, if you're a disabled veteran with a Purple Heart, you can submit both a VA letter that says you're at least 50% disabled and your form DD-214 that says you have received a Purple Heart.


Donated Hunting Licenses for Disabled Veterans and Servicemembers


Certain veterans or active duty servicemembers can receive donated hunting licenses if they are:


  • At least 70% disabled

  • A Purple Heart recipient

  • Receiving rehabilitation through an organization that uses hunting as part of their process


To apply for a donated hunting license, you must:


  1. Download the list of organizations that provide these rehabilitation services

  2. Contact organizations to get more details about their hunts

  3. Download the application form

  4. Fill out the application and either mail it to the address on the application or deliver it to a Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks office


Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Licenses for Active Duty Military Personnel


If you're an active duty servicemember stationed in Montana, you and your dependents can apply for hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses without becoming a taxable resident of Montana. However, you will be treated as a resident when applying for these licenses, which means you can usually purchase them for a lower amount.


Montana State Veterans Cemeteries


Veterans and their spouses can be interred at any of Montana's three state veterans cemeteries: the Helena Cemetery, Miles City Cemetery, and Missoula Cemetery.


The opening and closing of a grave for a veteran is free, and there is a small charge for the veteran's headstone. There are larger fees for a veteran's spouse.


When a veteran or spouse is to be interred, the cemetery will need:


  • A copy of the death certificate

  • The veteran's discharge document

  • A headstone application (completed by the funeral home or cemetery sexton)

  • A burial transit permit (provided by a mortuary)


Veteran Benefits Assistance


The Montana Veterans Affairs Division (MVAD) can help you and your family members apply for benefits and connect with agencies and organizations that can help in various ways. They also assist surviving military spouses with benefits.


About Low VA Rates


Are you interested in Montana veteran loans? You can contact Low VA Rates for a quote. We've been in the business of helping veterans and servicemembers with VA loans ever since we opened our doors. We'd love to use our extensive knowledge to help you with VA loans in Montana.


If you want to talk to an experienced loan officer, call Low VA Rates toll-free at 866-569-8272, or go through our easy online application. We'll get back to you quickly and work to understand your individual needs.