Veteran Benefits in Minnesota
Almost 400,000 U.S. armed forces veterans live in the Land of 10,000 lakes, and Minnesota veterans and their families are eligible for a long list of benefits as a result of their honorable service to their country. If you are just learning about the benefits you or a loved one may be eligible to receive, a great place to start is the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs, whose primary mission is to connect veterans, their dependents, and survivors with the care and benefits they have earned. The department also offers support seven days a week through its online chat tool, help number (1-888-LinkVet), or email option.
If you are a veteran living in the Twin Cities, you are not alone; more than 62,000 veterans reside in Hennepin County alone. As one of the largest population centers for veterans in the state, Minneapolis has a number of local resources and support groups ready to serve veterans and their families. Programs include housing assistance, health care, counseling, and tax assistance as well as community-based programs like social groups and organizations, organized fitness, and educational workshops.
Finding quality health care is always a primary concern for veterans and their families. The VA offers two main Health Care System locations, on in Minneapolis and one in St. Cloud. These facilities offer a full range of patient care services with state-of-the-art technology including primary care, tertiary care, and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, geriatrics, and extended care. Additionally, Minnesota has 14 community-based outpatient clinics, spread throughout the state, as well as vet centers in Brooklyn Park, Duluth, and New Brighton.
For veterans with temporary or permanent disability causing facing financial crisis, the state’s Short Term Financial Assistance (Subsistence) program can provide assistance for up to six months. The Subsistence program provides temporary assistance with shelter payments (rent/mortgage), current utility bills, and health insurance premiums to eligible veterans and their dependents. This benefit is income- and asset-based, and is designed to assist veterans f who are unable to work his or her normal occupation due to a temporary disability, or who are permanently disabled and waiting to receive a permanent benefit from VA Compensation, VA Pension, Social Security, or other long-term benefit. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for this benefit without a temporary disability if he or she applies within the first 12 months of the veteran spouse's death.
Minnesota veterans looking to enjoy the state’s natural resources and outdoor recreation spots will benefit from numerous military benefits and discounts, including free or discounted hunting and fishing licenses, special hunting lotteries, discounted fees, and discounted skiing passes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is a recognized Yellow Ribbon Company, and offers a handy online benefits selector for veterans to learn about the discounts that best apply to their situation.
For senior veterans looking for assisted living options in Minnesota, the state works to honor its veterans with comfortable, compassionate, and dignified living option at its five veteran homes, located in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne, Minneapolis, and Silver Bay. These 24/7 facilities provide a combination of skilled nursing care, special care units for dementia and Alzheimer's, domiciliary care, rehabilitation services, recreational therapy, and work therapy programs. Eligible veterans must demonstrate a medical or clinical need, be honorably discharged, have entered service from Minnesota or be a current resident, and have served 181 consecutive days on active duty or have been injured in the line of duty. The spouse of an eligible veteran who is at least 55 years old and meets residency requirements is also eligible.
Additionally, senior veterans still living in their own homes may benefit from visiting the Adult Day Center located in the Minneapolis Veterans' Home. The center allows participants to connect with other veterans in a safe, comfortable environment, while enjoying a range of therapeutic health care services, social interaction, or recreational and social activities provided by trained professional. It also provides much-needed respite – and a full array of support services – for veterans’ caregivers.
The state of Minnesota provides two state cemeteries as a final resting place for eligible veterans and their family members. The first location was opened in 1994 and is located seven miles north of Little Falls, and the second is located in Preston. The Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries offer free burials to veterans and follow the same eligibility requirements as the National Cemetery Administration. To be eligible for burial, a veteran must have received an other-than-dishonorable discharge from active military service. Members of the National Guard and Reservists who have served at least 20 years are also eligible for burial. The spouse and dependent children of an eligible veteran are also eligible for burial for a small fee, even if they predecease the veteran.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs offers bronze stars to mark the gravesite of any veteran buried in the state, where permitted. Bronze Star Markers are available through your local county veterans service officer or by calling 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838). Additionally, federal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs now offers a free, permanent medallion grave marker to signify the veteran status of the deceased. More information is available through the U.S. VA Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
Minnesota Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Minnesota senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps Minnesota veterans.