Welcome back to our series about VA benefits for veterans in each of America’s 50 states! This week, we take a look at the benefits available to veterans living in Florida. Keeping reading to learn more about VA benefits in The Sunshine State!
The state of Florida is home to one veterans’ assisted living facility:
- Robert H. Jenkins Jr. Veterans’ Domiciliary Home in Lake City
In this facility, veterans can take advantage of housing, as well as personalized support services and primary medical care. Veterans interested in admission must be able to feed and dress themselves and prove need of care in an assisted living home. To see other eligibility criteria, please visit the link above.
There are also eight veterans’ nursing homes located throughout the state:
- Emory L. Bennett State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Daytona Beach
- Baldomero Lopez State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Land O’ Lakes
- Alexander “Sandy” Nininger Veterans’ Nursing Home in Pembroke Pines
- Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City
- Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte
- Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home in St. Augustine
- Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port St. Lucie
- Alwyn C. Cashe State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Orlando
Each of these homes has a different number of beds, but all generally offer skilled nursing care and are equipped to care for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. For details on each location, please visit the links above.
State Veterans Cemeteries
Florida offers nine different veterans’ cemeteries in various locations:
- Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell
- South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth
- Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Mims
- Tallahassee National Cemetery in Tallahassee
- Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg
- Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota
- Jacksonville National Cemetery in Jacksonville
- St. Augustine National Cemetery in St. Augustine
- Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola
Veterans are eligible for interment at any of these locations if they’ve met the minimum active-duty service requirements and hold an honorable discharge. Spouses and dependents may also be eligible even if they pass before the veteran. For more information on each location, please visit the links above.
Veterans in Florida can take advantage of several financial benefits, including:
- Homestead Exemption
Veterans with a disability rating of 100% who have been honorably discharged are eligible for exemption from having to pay taxes on their property of residence. Surviving spouses who are not remarried may also be eligible for this benefit. Veterans who are hemiplegic or paraplegic may also be exempt, depending on their income.
- Basic Property Tax Exemptions
Any veteran who has a disability rating of at least 10% may be eligible to receive a $5,000 deduction on the assessed value of their home. Surviving spouses who have not remarried may also be eligible for this benefit.
- Driver’s License Fee Exemption
Veterans who have a disability rating of 100% are eligible to receive their state driver’s license at no charge.
Florida offers several different employment benefits to its veterans as well:
- Teacher Certification Fee Waiver
Any veteran and/or spouse may be eligible to receive a teaching certificate and have the fee waived. More information can be found at the link above.
- Teaching Certification Pathway
Any veteran who holds an honorable discharge and has 60 college credits with a GPA of at least 2.5 may be eligible to receive a five-year temporary teaching certification. A subject area examination must be passed to take advantage of this benefit.
- Veterans Hiring Preference
When applying for state, county, and municipal government positions within the state of Florida, disabled veterans, wartime veterans, and surviving spouses of veterans who are totally disabled will receive preference in hiring. Proof of an honorable discharge must be given.
There are a few different education benefits available to Florida veterans, including:
- Veterans Florida Agriculture Program
Veterans can take advantage of this six-month training fellowship that offers comprehensive, hands-on experience working in the agriculture industry. Experiences are found at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Research and Education facilities throughout the state.
- College Tuition Waiver
Veterans in Florida are eligible to have tuition at state universities, community colleges, and technical colleges waived if they are recipients of the Purple Heart or other combat decorations. This benefit only applies to undergraduate-level tuition.
- Education for Children of Deceased or Disabled Florida Veterans
Under this benefit, the dependent children and spouses of veterans who passed due to a service-connected disability or who are 100% disabled are eligible for four-year college education opportunities. To learn more, please visit the link above.
Veterans in Florida are eligible for a few different recreation benefits:
- Admission to Florida State Parks
Florida offers its veterans a 25% discount on annual passes to all Florida state parks. A free lifetime pass is available to any veteran who can prove service-connected disabilities.
- County & Municipal Parks
Any county or municipal park offers veterans reduced entrance fees. For more information on parks near you, please call your local municipality office.
- Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Veterans are eligible to receive a Military Gold Sportsman’s License for only $20. It covers fishing and hunting, and is also a replacement for a number of other permits. Any permanently disabled veteran is eligible for a free five-year hunting and fishing license.