Ohio Veteran Benefits

If you're a veteran or servicemember living or stationed in Ohio, you'll want to know about the unique military benefits offered in your state. You and your family may have access to benefits like tax breaks, Ohio veteran loans, bonuses, and employment assistance, among others.

Veteran Home Loans

Some of Ohio's military personnel are stationed at the military bases shown in the graphic below:

If you're assigned to one of these bases, you may have considered buying a home in the area to allow your family more independence or avoid wasting money on rent. Whatever the reason for your home search, you won't want to overlook types of loans that are specifically created to benefit those who have served our country in the military.

Whether you're an active servicemember stationed in the Buckeye State or a veteran that calls it home, you could be eligible to buy a home by using the many benefits of Ohio veteran loans.

Ohio Heroes Program

Ohio offers reduced-interest mortgages to veterans, active servicemembers, and Guard and Reserve members. You may also qualify for down payment assistance. Mortgage eligibility requirements include:

  • Income and property price must be below certain limits
  • Your credit score must be within a set range based on the loan type
  • You must take a free homebuyer education program

Find a participating lender to get started.

VA Loans

As a current servicemember or veteran, you may be eligible for VA loans in Ohio, which are issued by private, VA-approved lenders using the VA's guidelines. VA loans have some major advantages over conventional mortgages, such as:

  • Eligibility requirements that don't include a minimum credit score
  • A no-money-down option
  • Lower interest rates than many other mortgage types
  • No requirement for private mortgage insurance (PMI)

Each VA-approved lender will have their own ways of determining what they can offer you, making loan specifics like interest rates and terms different from lender to lender. That's why it's a good idea to check with multiple lenders before deciding which offer is best for you.

As you're looking for offers from trustworthy lenders, we invite you to work with us as well. At Low VA rates, we have years of experience working with VA loans, so we know what we're doing and understand and respect the experience of veterans.

You can get a mortgage quote from us at Low VA Rates by calling 866-569-8272. You can also try our simple online quote system.

Veteran Housing Benefits

Property Tax Benefits for Veterans with Disabilities & Surviving Spouses

A homestead property tax exemption is an exemption of up to $50,000 of the market value of a qualified veteran's home.

You may qualify if you are:

  • A veteran with a VA-rated 100% service-related disability, OR
  • A surviving spouse living in the same home the deceased veteran lived in

Apply for this exemption through your county auditor using the DTE 1051 form.

Ohio Veterans Home

Ohio Veterans Homes can provide you with the care you need alongside other veterans. Whether you want services for independent living, intermediate nursing care, skilled nursing care, or memory care, you'll want to take a look at what the Homes can offer you.

To be eligible to reside at a Home, you must:

  • Have been a resident of Ohio for at least a year
  • Be a veteran with active duty service from wartime or be a recipient of the Vietnam Service Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Have been honorably discharged or separated from military service
  • Have a disability that makes you unemployable

The Home's medical director will determine if the Home can give you the care you need. During the application process, staff will also determine that each applicant is not a danger to others.

Apply for a Veterans Home at one of two locations:

Veteran Employment & Education Benefits

The post-military path to finding employment or pursuing an education—or both simultaneously—often includes hurdles that are unique to veterans. To help veterans surmount these hurdles, Ohio offers education and employment benefits.

Education Benefits

Ohio War Orphans Scholarship

The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship pays a portion of the tuition and general fees for certain students. To be eligible, the student must:

  • Have a full-time course load intended to earn a bachelor's or associate's degree
  • Attend an eligible university or college in Ohio
  • Maintain a satisfactory grade point average
  • Be a resident of Ohio
  • Apply while between 16 and 24 years of age
  • Be the child of an Ohio wartime veteran who is deceased or seriously disabled

Apply with the online instructions or work with a Veterans Service Officer, university Financial Aid Office, high school guidance office, etc. to get started. Apply by the annual deadline to receive the scholarship the following fall.

Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund

The Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund benefits the dependents of certain deceased US peace officers, firefighters, military servicemembers, and others for up to five years of higher education. As far as military service goes, this fund helps students who:

  • Are the spouses or children of servicemembers who died serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, or in a combat area defined by the President
  • Are not qualified for the Ohio War Orphans Scholarship
  • Are residents of Ohio
  • Are enrolled at a participating public or private Ohio institution of higher education for either full-time or part-time studies

To apply, contact the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program (ONGSP)

The Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program (ONGSP) offers tuition scholarships to eligible members of the Ohio National Guard enrolled in an associate's or bachelor's degree program at a participating Ohio institution.

Eligibility rules and award amounts vary based on your enlistment length. Qualified members fall into four categories:

Apply with the online instructions or contact the ONGSP to start the process.

State-Approved Education Programs

Ohio's State Approving Agency evaluates and approves institutions of education where you can use your education benefits, along with their programs. They approve colleges, universities, non-college degrees or certificates, apprenticeships and on-the-job trainings, flight training, and examinations for professional licensure and certification.

You can see the programs and institutions that are approved by using the Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) search engine:

  • Click the Program Type dropdown menu and select the institution, apprenticeship, etc. you're interested in learning about
  • On the US map, click on "OH"
  • A list of approved institutions will appear
  • Click on the name of an institution to get more information

College Credit for Military Experience and Training

Ohio's public universities and colleges give credit for education and experience gained during time served in the military. You can check online to see if your military background is eligible for credit.

If you want to learn more, many of Ohio's institutions of higher education have veteran services offices you can contact to discuss credit transfers, financial aid, and more.

Pre-College Preparation Courses

To help you transition smoothly from the military into higher education, you can participate in a Veterans Upward Bound program. There, you'll refresh your academic skills with tutoring, instruction, and counseling, helping you prepare to enroll in higher education programs.

Upward Bound program locations include:

Contact either program to learn more.

Employment Benefits

Veterans' Employment Resources

One great employment resource for Ohio veterans is the OhioMeansJobs web page. There, several tools are available to help you do things like:

  • Look for a job
  • Translate military skills into civilian jobs
  • Connect with licensing and certification boards
  • Contact Ohio's military-friendly employers
  • Get college credit for your military experience

If you need help navigating the site or have any questions, the page also offers the option to chat with a representative online.

Veteran's Preference in Small Business Loan Applications

If you apply for a small business loan that is supported by Ohio's Economic Development Department, your application may receive a preference if you're a veteran or the spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran. For veterans who qualify, certain requirements for the loan may be relaxed.

To receive this preference, you or your veteran spouse must:

  • Have served on active duty in the US military (other than for training)
  • Have a release or discharge that is not dishonorable

When you apply for a loan, you'll need to indicate your veteran status in your application and turn in proof of your military service.

Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (VBE) Procurement Program

If you get your business certified as a Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (VBE), you may receive advantages—such as bonus points or other preferences—over other businesses when you bid on state work contracts.

To be certified, your business should meet at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Is at least 51% owned by military servicemembers or veterans OR has at least 51% veterans or servicemembers on the board of directors
  • Has at least 10% of employees as veterans or active servicemembers
  • Is certified by the VA as a Veteran-Owned Small Business or a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, with the owner(s) meeting Ohio's definition of veteran

Apply for the certification by filling out an application and submitting it along with the required documentation.

Other Veteran Benefits

Ohio Veterans Bonus Program

Ohio pays bonuses to veterans and active servicemembers who served on active duty after October 7, 2001 (or their surviving family members). The bonus amount you can receive depends on which country your service was in, with a maximum total of $1,500 in most cases. On the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program website, you can:

  • Use the Eligibility Tool to check if you qualify
  • Submit an online application
  • Track the status of your application

Required qualifications for the bonus vary for veterans and active servicemembers depending on their service. Family members of veterans may also qualify if their veteran family member:

  • Died from an injury or illness from their service during the Afghanistan time period (surviving family members may be eligible to receive compensation of $5,000)
  • Died from a non-service-related cause, but would have been eligible for a bonus if they were alive
  • Was declared Missing in Action or a Prisoner of War (surviving family members may be eligible to receive compensation of $5,000)

Apply online through the website or print the application and send it in along with the supporting documents required for your specific service. For help with this process, contact your nearest County Veterans Service Office.

Behavioral Health Providers

On the Star Behavioral Health Providers registry, you can find Ohio behavioral health service providers that work with military servicemembers, veterans, and their families and friends. These providers have training in the challenges that are unique to those who have served our country, such as deployments or mobilizations.

You can use the Basic and Advanced search options on the web page to find different options for providers. You can also narrow your search by location, treatment type, and population served.

Ohio Military Family Support Resources

Military families have unique needs and so can often benefit from some added support. That's why the state offers multiple resources to uplift Ohio's families who have served the country.

Some of these include:

  • Support to help families make sure their military children are receiving the proper educational opportunities
  • Health care licensing
  • Information about using military training for credit in higher education institutions
  • Support for children facing difficulties from a parent's deployment or the family's relocation

For a fuller list of resources, see the Supporting Ohio's Military Families web page. Some of these can help you save money and time and connect with services created specifically for people in your situation.

Financial Assistance

As an Ohio veteran, you have multiple options for getting help with your finances. Some of these include:

  • Ohio-specific home loan programs for veterans
  • Financial planning assistance
  • Tax information for military servicemembers
  • Small business loan information

You can also contact your County Veterans Service Office to find out how to get short-term financial help for you and your family. Each county has its own rules about how much it can provide.

Veteran Tax Benefits & Deductions

Veterans in Ohio and their spouses have many different tax benefits available to them.

If you're a servicemember from Ohio and are currently stationed out-of-state, you can get a tax deduction for your active duty military pay. The pay must be included in federal adjusted gross income for this benefit to apply, and you'll need to file your Ohio tax return to qualify.

Additionally, retirement pay for military service may be exempt from your Ohio income taxes, as long as it's awarded from active duty, the Reserves or Guard, survivor benefits, or uniformed services in NOAA or PHS. Military disability retired pay can also allow for a broad federal income tax exemption.

Other tax benefits may apply to you, depending on your service or the service of your spouse, your residency status, and other details. For more information, visit or contact the Ohio Department of Taxation or visit their website.

Military Injury Relief Fund

If you were injured during your military service after October 7, 2001 or you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress because of your service after the same date, you may be eligible for a tax-exempt payment from the state.

To apply, complete the required application and follow the online instructions. You can also visit your County Veterans Service Office for assistance.

Ohio Veterans' Courts

If you're facing criminal charges in Ohio and are a veteran, you may be able to get treatment through a Veterans' Court as an alternative to legal punishment.

Veterans' Courts are a partnership between the Ohio VA and certain courts throughout the state. Since many veterans face unique challenges from their military service, these courts exist as a resource.

Military Legal Help

Ohio veterans have the opportunity to receive legal assistance free of charge through two programs:

  • Operation Legal Help Ohio – This program utilizes volunteer legal resources to help eligible veterans and military personnel with debt and consumer problems, landlord and tenant issues, wills, benefits appeals, criminal record expungement, and more.
  • Patriot Program – The Ohio Attorney General's Office helps active duty military personnel, veterans, and members of the National Guard and Reserve who need help with scams, violations of Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA), wills and powers of attorney, identity thefts, debt issues, and more.

Military-Themed License Plates

Ohio offers dozens of specialized military license plates that show your military involvement, such as:

  • Active Duty
  • Reservist
  • National Guard
  • Combat
  • Gold Star
  • Disabled Veteran
  • And many more

You can apply for a specialty plate at your nearest BMV location. You'll need to fill out an application and present a copy of your discharge document. Depending on the type of plate, you may also have to provide additional materials.

Driver's License Benefits

Ohio has two available driver's license benefits for veterans:

  • If you have a 100% service-related disability, you may qualify for a free driver's license
  • If you present a copy of your discharge document at your local BMV, you can get an Armed Forces stamp when you renew your driver's license, which can qualify you for certain store discounts.

Apply for either benefit at your local BMV.

Discounts at Ohio State Parks

If you're one of the many Ohio veterans who enjoys getting outside, the state has benefits you'll want to take advantage of.

The two parks discounts for Ohio veterans include:

  • Free Camping – You may be eligible to camp for free in Ohio state parks if you are an Ohio resident, have an honorable discharge, and either have a complete and permanent disability or were a POW. You'll need either a qualifying license plate or a letter from the VA to apply for this benefit. You may be required to pay a reservation fee.
  • 10% Discount – You can get this discount on a campsite, cottage, lodge room, or getaway rental if you have veteran or military identification.  

For more details or to make a reservation, visit the Ohio State Parks and Watercraft website.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Disabled Veterans

Veterans may be eligible for a free Ohio hunting and fishing license, as well as other permits and licenses, if one of the following is true:

  • You have a veteran's license plate that includes the International Symbol of Access (the wheelchair)
  • You receive benefits for a complete and permanent service-connected disability
  • You're a former POW

Apply by mailing in your application, which requires the signature of a VA officer.

Active Duty Servicemember Hunting Permit Exemptions

If you are an active member of the Armed Forces and are on leave, you are exempt from having to purchase the following permits:

  • Hunting license
  • Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp
  • Fur taker permit

For more information, visit the Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations web page and navigate to "License Exemptions."

Free Boating Registration

You may qualify to register your boat for free if you are one of the following:

  • A former POW
  • A participant in the Veterans Car Assistance Program
  • A recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor
  • A veteran with a 100% service-connected disability

Application instructions are on the Ohio State Parks and Watercraft website, under "Free Boat Registrations for Veterans."

Military and Overseas Voters

While you're serving in the uniformed services outside of Ohio, you can vote in a federal, state, or local election if you're eligible to vote at your Ohio residence. You can use a uniformed services absentee ballot. Your dependents and spouse can vote the same way if they are with you.

Veteran Benefits Assistance

If you need help with any of the military benefits discussed on this page or other veteran benefits or topics, you can get professional, free assistance by going to a County Veterans Service Office. Veteran Service Officers are there to support veterans, current servicemembers, and military family members and help them find helpful resources.

Military Records Request

To receive military benefits, you'll often need a copy of your military documentation. You can request it by sending an application to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

Contact the Ohio National Guard for assistance requesting records from them (navigate to "Military Records" on the linked page for contact information).

Support for Women Veterans

The state has a Women Veterans page with resources and information specifically for Ohio's women veterans. There, you'll find information on events, the Women Veterans Advisory Committee, and other resources.

Low VA Rates

Low VA Rates has helped many military servicemembers and veterans to get VA loan benefits, and we can help you with VA loans in Ohio. Our company was founded on serving those who've served us, so we understand unique veteran needs and are prepared to do what we can to find you a wonderful loan.

Please call us toll-free at 866-569-8272 to check your VA loan eligibility and get a quote on Ohio veteran loans. You can also complete an online application any time.