Welcome back to our series about VA benefits for veterans in each of America’s 50 states! This week, we look at how our veterans can benefit from residency in Colorado. Read on to learn more about VA benefits in The Centennial State!
Colorado is home to five state veterans homes located in the following cities:
- Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimmons
- Bruce McCandless Veterans Community Living Center at Florence
- Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake
- Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle
- Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center at Walsenburg
These homes provide 24-hour nursing care, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, memory care, short-term respite care, hospice care, restorative therapy, transportation, and assisted living. Admission to all locations is open to veterans who have an honorable discharge, as well as to spouses, widows, and Gold Star parents.
State Veterans Cemeteries
There is one state veterans’ cemetery in Colorado:
There are also three national veterans’ cemeteries throughout the state:
Burial space is open at all four cemeteries. For specific eligibility criteria at each location, please visit the websites above.
Veterans in Colorado can take advantage of a number of financial benefits:
- Income Tax Exemption
Some of the pay received by retired military service members is exempt from Colorado state income taxes. The amount varies by age, however:
- 55 and under: Up to $10,000
- 55 to 64: Up to $20,000
- 65 and older: Up to $24,000
- Property Tax Exemption
Veterans who have a disability rating of 100% can claim an exemption for up to 50% of the first $200,000 of a home’s value. Note that any veteran who does not have a 100% disability rating does not qualify for this benefit.
- Military Family Relief Fund
This fund provides grants to families of reservists and National Guard members who have been called to active duty and are serving in a combat zone. The grants help lower the cost of housing, food, utilities, and other expenses the families may have.
Colorado provides the following employment benefits for veterans:
- Veterans Hiring Preference
On exams for state employment, veterans will receive the following:
- A five-point preference is given to veterans who served in time of war or who received a campaign medal, any spouses of a veteran who is unable to work because of a service-connected disability, and the widow/widower of a deceased veteran who would have qualified for veterans’ preference.
- A ten-point preference is given to veterans who have an honorable discharge and who are receiving VA disability or pension payments.
- Colorado Career Assistance for Veterans
The state provides assistance to veterans and their spouses who are searching for employment. These services are free of charge, but there are eligibility requirements. Please visit the link above for more information.
Veterans can take advantage of two education benefits in Colorado as well:
- Colorado National Guard State Tuition Assistance
Any member of the Colorado National Guard is eligible to receive tuition assistance up to 100% at any Colorado state-funded school. This state funding can be used in conjunction with federal assistance. For more information and to apply, please visit the link above.
- Colorado Operation Recognition High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans
Under this benefit, high school diplomas are provided to Colorado veterans who left high school to serve in World War II, Vietnam, or Korea. An application must be submitted, and diplomas may be rewarded posthumously as well.
A number of recreation benefits are available for Colorado veterans:
- State Park Admission
Veterans receive free admission to all Colorado state parks for the entirety of August and on Veterans Day. Veterans who have a Disabled Veteran license plate are admitted free of charge into state parks and recreation areas at any time. Finally, veterans who have a disability rating of at least 60% are eligible for discounted admission.
- Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Any Colorado veteran may obtain a combined hunting and fishing license free of charge. This license is a lifetime license, and a veteran must prove service-connected disability.