Servicemembers: Are You Using All of Your Military Benefits?

Servicemembers Are You Using All of Your Military Benefits_Military Member with her daughter

Serving in the military not only provides a sense of honor for supporting your country but also many benefits that can help you and your family succeed financially. When you take advantage of everything available to you, many new opportunities will emerge.

9 top financial benefits available to servicemembers

These are benefits servicemembers across the country can gain:

Post-9/11 GI Bill

This bill provides education benefits for servicemembers who have an aggregate of at least 90 days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001. This benefit can pay for your full tuition, as well as associated fees. Plus, you can put $1,000 toward school supplies, such as textbooks.

Benefits approved under the Post-9/11 GI Bill include:

  • Tuition assistance
  • On-the-job training
  • Vocational/technical training
  • Distance learning
  • Flight training
  • Correspondence training
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Licensing and certification reimbursement

You may be able to transfer some of your benefits to a spouse or dependent. Visit the Department of Veteran Affairs to learn more.

VA mortgages

A VA mortgage is an option only available to servicemembers, veterans and their spouses. You can obtain VA loans from most lenders. Unlike many traditional loans, VA mortgages require $0 down and the U.S. government guarantees them.

Other advantages of VA loans include:

  • No private mortgage insurance necessary
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Easy qualification

Learn more about VA home loans.

Servicemembers Are You Using All of Your Military Benefits_Military Member discussing military benefits

Transition Assistance Program

Military service provides you with many skills that you can transfer to civilian life. However, the transition out of the military can be challenging to navigate alone. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) was developed to help servicemembers and their families to become active members of local communities.

For a full overview of TAP benefits, visit the VA.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program

If you experienced a service-related injury that makes it difficult or nearly impossible to find traditional work, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services could help.

VR&E benefits include:

  • Employment counseling
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Financial assistance for education
  • On-the-job training

Find a full overview of the VR&E services here.

Blended Retirement System

The U.S. military adopted a new retirement system in 2018. Servicemembers who joined the military before Jan. 1, 2006 are grandfathered into the legacy system.

Under the legacy system:

  • Retired servicemembers receive a pension after 20 years of service. They gain monthly annuity payments for life, based on the individual’s highest 36 months of pay times 2.5%.

Under the new system:

  • The government contributes to a Thrift Savings Plan in the servicemember’s name, with contributions increasing periodically throughout their service.
  • After 20 years, retired servicemembers receive a monthly annuity of their highest 36 months’ pay times 2%.

The Department of Defense provides a full overview of the blended system.

Oregon benefits

Oregon provides these benefits to servicemembers living in Oregon:

Income and property tax exemptions

The Oregon state government provides various tax benefits to active-duty servicemembers and veterans:

  • Income tax: All active duty pay earned outside of Oregon and up to $6,000 of active duty pay earned within Oregon is considered exempt from taxes.
  • Property tax: Veterans rated 40% disabled by the VA or surviving spouses may be entitled to exempt $22,028 or $26,435 of their homestead’s assessed value from property taxes.

The Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs provides more information here.

State park admissions

U.S. Veterans with any level of service-related disability and active duty personnel on official leave are entitled to the following benefits:

  • Free parking at 25 state parks
  • 10-nights free stay in RV sites, tent campsites and standard horse campsites

Qualified veterans can get a pass from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Active duty members are required to pay upfront, then request a reimbursement. Get the full details here.

Veterans’ homes

Oregon has two veterans’ homes, one in The Dalles and another in Lebanon. The following people qualify for care at one of these facilities:

  • Veterans honorably discharged from service
  • Spouses of qualified veterans
  • Parents of a child who died while serving in the Armed Forces

A physician’s recommendation is also necessary for admission. Learn more about the types of services offered at each of these locations.

Disability compensation programs

Veterans injured in the line of duty may be eligible for many federal and state compensation programs. The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs has resources available to help qualified servicemembers access these benefits. Examples include:

  • Adaptive assistance for automobiles, clothing and housing
  • Monthly, tax-free compensation based on disability rating
  • Compensation for dependents of killed or wounded veterans
  • Expedited processing of disability claims from Social Security

Find a full list of disability compensation benefits here.

Servicemembers Are You Using All of Your Military Benefits_Military Member with family outside her house

Whether you’re currently serving your country or you’re transitioning back into civilian life, these and other benefits can help you succeed in life. When you have the support of your country, your community and your family, you can reach your goals faster.

Once you’re taking full advantage of the benefits available to you, consider using our financial education resource to improve your finances. We at OnPoint are incredibly grateful for your service and look forward to helping you in any way possible.

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