By Debbie Gregory.
Currently, almost 2 million Veterans live in California. And the Golden State is also home to more than 30 military installations. California’s past and present hold strong ties to the U.S. military and those who serve, have served, and their families. California state government provides many benefits that ensure a strong bond going into the future as well.
State agencies have many programs and discounts available to eligible Veterans that many may not be aware of. Here is a brief list of some of the many ways that the State of California provides for its Veterans:
College Tuition Fee Waiver- Non-residency fees are waived for all Military Students at any University of California, California State University or Community College. Tuition fees for disabled Vets and their dependents are also waived. (Does not cover books, housing or parking.) See your school’s Veterans Affairs office for eligibility.
Veteran Housing and Home Loans- The California Department of Veterans Affairs can provide low cost residential housing, assisted living or medical care facility housing for aged or disabled Veterans. There are also direct loans from the state for Veterans who wish to purchase a home or farm. Interested Veterans should inquire at their local CalVet office or visit the website at http://www.calvet.ca.gov/HomeLoans/Default.aspx.
Vehicle Registration Fee Waiver- Free vehicle registration on one passenger vehicle for Medal of Honor recipients, former Prisoners of War, and Disabled Veterans. Fees for Handicap placards and plates for 100% disabled Vets will also be waived.
Veteran License Plates: “Honoring Veterans” CA license plates that feature your branch’s emblem as the first of your 7 digit plate number can be purchased. For sequential plates, the initial cost is $50, with a $40 a year renewal. To personalize the remaining 6 digits on your plates the initial cost is $78, with a $40 a year renewal. For more information visit your local CA DMV office or visit the CA DMV website.
Employment and Unemployment Insurance Assistance- All Veterans can utilize state offered assistance for obtaining training and finding employment, as well as state unemployment insurance. Contact your local CA Employment Development Department (EDD) office for more information.
Preference in Civil Service Examinations- Veterans receive additional points added to their scores when taking Civil Service Entrance Exams. Contact your local VA office for more details.
Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Opportunities- Veterans with a minimum 10% disability rating, who own 51% or more of their business, can participate in a statewide goal of awarding 3% of all state contracts to disabled Veterans.
Fishing and Hunting Licenses- Veterans with a 50% or more disability rating may qualify for reduced annual fees for fishing and hunting licenses. First time users will have to show proof of VA disability rating.
State of California Veterans Cemetery- Veterans and dependents who are eligible to be buried in a national cemetery can be buried in a California Veterans cemetery. Eligible Veterans will receive full burial service at no cost, services for dependents are only $500.
Registry at the California Veterans Memorial- Every Veteran from the state of California is entitled to add their name, rank and branch of service to the CA Veterans registry that is displayed in a kiosk at the California Veterans Memorial, at no cost. For a minimal fee, CA Veterans can include a photo ($35) and a 100-word statement ($15).