Benefits Available to Veterans
We can help you navigate through all of your options for:
Veterans recently separated from active military service
Check out the Department of Veteran Affairs Veteran Benefits Timetable for more information of veteran benefits and services and time limit. Schedule an appointment with our office to review these veteran benefits.
Have not met with a veteran services officer (VSO) yet
Make an appointment to meet with your county veteran services officer. Bring your DD-214 (discharge papers).
Change of address
If you are moving to Olmsted County, our veteran services officers (VSOs) would like to meet with you to notify the regional office. Change of address forms are needed to be signed and submitted. You will need to make an appointment.
If you are moving from Olmsted County to another county, it is recommended for you to contact the county Veteran Services Office that you are moving to, so the regional office receives the change of address and also to make the relationship with the new county VSO. Find your county Veterans Service Office by visiting the Minnesota Association County Veterans Service Officers website.
Obtain DD-214 or discharge papers
Contact our office. We will check with the county, state, or the archives in St. Louis. A photo ID will be needed. If you are a family member seeking to obtain a DD-214/discharge papers of a family veteran, provide your photo ID and proof of your relationship to the veteran, such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, or Power of Attorney documentation. To obtain records from the archives in St. Louis, VA Form SF180 will need to be completed.
The DD-214 Release of Information form below can be completed and submitted with proof of identification by a funeral home to also obtain a deceased veteran's DD-214 for funeral home burial purposes. This signed release by the family member/next of kin and copies of verifications can be faxed to our office at 507-328-7950.
Burial flags are typically coordinated through the funeral home. If you do not utilize a funeral home, you can contact our office. We will need the veteran’s DD214/discharge papers and proof of death.
Schedule an appointment with our office to request a grave marker.
Burial is open to all veterans discharged from active military service under conditions other than dishonorable. Their spouses, minor children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children are also eligible for burial. Eligible spouses may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.
Also eligible for burial are members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces, the Army and National Guard, and the Reserve Officer Training Corps who die while on active duty for training or performing service, or who have 20 years of service in reserve components for the Armed Forces creditable for retired pay. The National Veterans Cemetery that is located in Minnesota is Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Minnesota state veterans cemeteries
- The three Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries are in Duluth, Little Falls, and Preston.
- Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries Brochure
- Minnesota State Cemetery Pre-Registration Application
For more information about Minnesota state cemeteries, including pre-registration applications, go to the MDVA website.
If you are a widowed spouse of a veteran, make an appointment with us to go over possible burial or spousal benefits. Bring your photo ID and proof of your relationship to the veteran, such as marriage certificate, the death certificate, DD-214 (discharge papers), and funeral home statement.
My father died. He was getting Air Force Retirement benefits. Who do I contact to report his death? To report a death of a retiree of any military branch, a family member can call DFAS at 800-321-1080.
Other burial related resources
Free Urns for Veterans
Made for Veterans by Veterans and Our Families
14241 Blackfoot Street NW
Andover, MN 55301
Compensation and pension
Monetary benefit paid to a veteran who is disabled by injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training.
Non-service connected pension claims
Monetary benefit paid a veteran with low incomes who are permanently and totally disabled or over the age of 65. Must have served at least 90 days or more of active duty and at least one day has to have been during a war period as recognized by Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Widows pension claims
Veteran must meet same service criteria as non-service connected pension claims. Widow must also meet income criteria.
Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
Monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.
Veterans' diseases associated with Agent Orange
The VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. The list of presumptive diseases is available on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. If you have been diagnosed with a presumptive disease listed, contact your County Veteran Services Office to file a claim for the service-connected disability.
Camp Lejeune veteran & family health & disability benefits
If you are experiencing health conditions that you think may be related to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our office.
What is a veterans preference letter?
With veteran's preference, you may receive preference points over non-veteran applicants in the hiring process for a state or federal job. There is a difference between state and federal points. A Veterans Preference letter does not guarantee veterans a job. Reach out to a Veteran Services Officer with any questions.
What are the qualifications for me to have a veterans preference letter?
Veterans' preference eligibility can be based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, receipt of a Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. Not all military service may qualify for veteran's preference.
How would I obtain a veterans preference letter?
Determine whether you need a MN veterans preference letter or a federal preference letter. If you need a federal preference letter, you can request assistance from our office to get a letter through the VA or you can elect to go through eBenefits. For a state preference, include a copy of your DD-214 and your most recent benefit award letter with your application for state and local jobs.
Other veteran employment resources
Helmets to Hardhats: A national nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. Career seekers and employers can find more information on the Helmets to Hardhats website.
MN DEED (MN Employment and Economic Development) website includes employment services and resources for veterans, including Veteran Employment Representatives to assist Veterans with barriers to employment, disabled Veterans, and transitioning service member.
Contact Mark Larsen, MDVA SE Regional Coordinator of Education and Employment, for veteran educational benefits for yourself and/or your dependents.
E-mail Mark Larsen
Our office can assist you in contacting this office, as well. Visit our department page for our contact information.
How can I find out many months do I have left on my GI bill?
Go to your ebenefits account or call the Federal Education Hotline at 888-GIBILL-1 or 888-442-4551.
Other veteran educational resources
Free college course for veterans and military students
Course topics include college policies and expectations, time management, financial literacy, study skills, and many others. Contact Craig Asch at 612-659-6580 or Renee Cannon at 612-659-6769 with questions.
NOTE: For housing related financial assistance, see the Housing section below.
Cash and Food (SNAP) Assistance
Housing Assistance Programs – Olmsted Co. Housing & Redevelopment Authority (OCHRA)
State Soldiers and Assistance Programs (SSAP)
These are benefits, which provide temporary financial assistance to qualified veterans, their dependents, and survivors. These benefits, which are provided by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, include:
- Dental Assistance
- Optical Assistance
- Special Needs Education Benefits
- Subsistence Assistance
- War Orphans Benefit
You can make an appointment and come to our office to determine eligibility for SSAP.
Information to bring to the appointment:
- most recent two months bank statements of ALL of your bank accounts
- most recent two months of pay stubs of ALL employment, if you are employed
- Social Security awards letter, if applicable
- Proof of residency (MN driver's license / ID card, voter registration card, rent receipt, utility bill)
Apply for health care enrollment for VA Medical Centers
General enrollment in the VA system, include primary medical care, medications, inpatient and outpatient care, chemical dependency, optometry, orthopedics, podiatry, audiology, and more.
- Must have had a VA physical in the past 24 months to be actively enrolled.
- All prescriptions need to be approved by a VA physician.
- A copay may be waived based on service-connected disability and household income.
Call to schedule an appointment to see if you are eligible for VA health care benefits. To manage your health care, check out MyHealthVet.
Locate the nearest VA Approved Urgent Care
Veterans, who are active enrollees in a VA Health Care System are now eligible for three urgent care visits per year at no cost. Each visit after, a copy is applied. The Veteran must have been seen in the VA system or by a VA community care provider within the last 24 months in order to use the Urgent Care Benefit.
The urgent care benefit covers treatment of non-emergent symptoms which are typically addressed by urgent care facilities and walk-in retail health clinics, such as:
- Bumps and bruises
- Ear pain
- Flu-like symptoms (coughs and colds)
- Mild skin irritations
- Painful urination
- Sore throats
Excluded from the benefits are preventive and dental services. However, Urgent Care must be received at an approved Urgent Care Provider. The VA Urgent Care network is not managed by the VA, but by the non-VA contractor, a third party administrator, for the VA Mission Act.
ChampVA is health care coverage for a veterans' spouse/family. A veteran's spouse/family may be eligible if the veteran is determined 100% disabled, permanent and total by Veterans Administration or if the veteran died of a service-connected disease. There is no provider network.
- ChampVA offers prescriptions via mail or can be picked up at an in-network ChampVA Prescription Provider.
- ChampVA recipients must elect Medicare Part B, if they are eligible.
- ChampVA is always the last payer.
Other health topic resources
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Emergency Care - VA website includes a video that describes when you seek emergency care and provides general information about when and how VA pay for a Veteran's service-connected and non-services connected emergency care. Also, information on Emergency Transportation (Ambulance).
Community Care: You MUST go through the Minneapolis VAMC to request Community Care.
VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility
Venders are required to get proof of a veterans' service during the VA loan process. The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) serves as that proof and tells a lender that an applicant has officially met the minimum service requirement.
How to Obtain a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility
- Online: Go to your eBenefits account.
- Apply through your lender; most lenders have access. Bring your DD-214 (discharge papers) directly to your loan lender. However, we encourage you to contact your lender about this method of obtaining this certificate.
- Contact us: A Veteran Services Officer can help assist you with providing the certificate of eligibility for a VA home loan.
Property Tax Exclusion for Veterans (Disabled Veteran Market Value Exclusion)
An application is necessary for this program. The deadline is December 15th to receive the benefit to the following year's assessment period.
- If you are a Veteran that is 70% disabled or higher, you qualify for the first $150,000 of market value exclusion.
- If you are a Veteran that is 100% and permanently disabled, you qualify for $300,000 market value exclusion.
- If you are a surviving spouse of a veteran that was considered 100% permanently disabled or you are currently receiving Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC), you may qualify for a property tax exclusion.
- If you are a disabled veteran's primary family caregiver, you may qualify for a property tax exclusion.
Contact our Property Records office at 507-328-7670 to determine if you are eligible for the property tax exclusion.
Minnesota State Veteran Homes
These facilities provide a combination of skilled nursing care with special care units focused on:
- Domiciliary care
- Rehabilitation services
- Recreational therapy
- Work therapy
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) has 5 veteran homes:
- Fergus Falls
- Silver Bay (Independent Living Facility)
For more information on Minnesota State Veteran Homes care, services, and admissions visit the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs website.
There are several resources in the Rochester area for those who are homeless or are in a threat of being homeless. Contact one of these organizations to assist you:
MAC-V (MN Assistance Council for Veterans)
Email Hosea Hall
Community Resource and Referral Center
1201 Harmon Place
Minneapolis MN 55403
Three Rivers Community Action Program
300 11th Avenue NW, #110
Rochester MN 55901
Toll Free: 800-277-8418
Dorothy Day Hospitality House
703 1st Street SW
Rochester MN 55902
Email Dorothy Day Hospitality House
Salvation Army Rochester
115 1st Avenue NE
Rochester MN 55906
Olmsted County HRA
2117 Campus Drive SE, Ste 300
Rochester MN 55904
Email Olmsted County HRA
Olmsted County Family Support & Assistance
Emergency Housing & Utility Aid
2117 Campus Drive SE
Rochester MN 55904
All Veterans are encouraged to contact VetLaw if you have a legal question or need legal assistance. VetLaw holds clinics throughout the year to provide free legal services for Veterans. Find an upcoming Legal Clinic event near you on the MACV website.
2700 E Lake Street
Minneapolis MN 55406
Email MACV VetLaw
The Protocol Team is a 7th Judicial District treatment-focused program for military veterans who are charged in court with a mental health or substance-related offense. The intention of the protocol is to offer an alternative court process for veterans whose military experiences may have contributed to their legal issues.
Legal Assistance of Olmsted County
1136 7th Street NW
Rochester MN 55901
Recreational/Discounts for Veterans
Chester Woods Park
Chester Woods Park offers FREE park passes to veterans rated 0% to 100% service connected. Passes can be mailed or picked up at our office once walk-in hours are resumed. Proof of service-connection, especially if you are new to our office, is required.
Department of Natural Resources Fishing/Hunting Licenses
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) extends certain outdoor recreation benefits for military personnel and veterans. For additional information, go to the Minnesota DNR website to find out which license, permit, or pass you are eligible for.
Support Our Troops Special Minnesota License Plates
Driver and Vehicle Services offers a variety of specialized plates, including veteran-related plates. Our office can assist you in getting a certified copy of your DD-214 if your document is on file with Olmsted County Property Records and Licensing.
Veterans Online Shopping Benefit
Honorably discharged Veterans of all United States Armed Forces, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as, the Air Force Reserve, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, and National Guard can shop the online exchanges. Shopping with the Exchange online gives you access to exclusive military pricing and offers, tax-free shopping, and more. Go to the Exchange website to check your eligibility and start saving today!
Department of Defense Expanding Access to Military Commissaries, Exchanges & Recreation Facilities
As of January 1, 2020, access expanded to include:
- All veterans with service-connected disabilities
- Veterans who are Purple Heart recipients
- Veterans who are former prisoners of war
- Individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
To learn more about the commissary, military exchange and MWR expansion, review the Expanding Access Fact Sheet.
Disabled American Veterans Transportation Program
The Veterans Transportation Network (VTN) is a collaborative effort between the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Voluntary Service Program at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. VTN offers free van transportation to and from VA-authorized appointments for ambulatory Veterans who do not have other means of transportation due to financial or medical hardship. Veterans must be able to independently get in and out of a vehicle. Call 507-703-1139 to schedule a ride.
Beneficiary Travel Program
VA has the Beneficiary Travel Program to help reimburse costs of travel to medical appointments from eligible Veterans. If you have questions about your eligibility, visit the hospital website.
Rochester City Bus
Rochester City Lines provides free rides for all Service-Connected Disabled Veterans with a VA ID card. VA ID card must have "Service Connected" or "SC" on it for this benefit. Rochester City Lines can be reached by calling 507-288-4353 or by visiting their website.
Veteran ID Cards
There are many types of identification cards you can use to show that you are a Veteran. You only need to have one of them for this purpose. Types of Veteran ID cards are:
- Department of Defense (DoD) ID Card
- Veteran Health ID Card
- Veteran ID Card (VIC)
- Veteran's Designation on a State-Issued Driver's License or ID
Department of Defense (DoD) ID Card
Department of Defense (DoD) ID Card is used to show your military status and to get access to services at military bases. If you have a Department of Defense ID card, you should not need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you are a veteran or to get retail or business discounts.
You are eligible for a Department of Defense ID Card if you are:
- Retired from the military
- Are on active duty
- Are in the National Guard, Reserves, Selected Reserves, Inactive Ready Reserve
- Have been determined to be 100% Total and Permanent Disabled by the Veterans Administration (VA)
How to apply for a Department of Defense ID Card? Contact Ft. Snelling at 612-713-2041 to make an appointment.
Veteran Health ID
Veteran Health ID Card is an ID card when you are enrolled in the VA health care system. You would use this card to check in to your appointments at VA medical centers. Many local businesses recognize this ID for veteran status. If you are not signed up for VA health care, contact your county Veteran Services office to schedule an appointment. ID cards may be obtained at the Minneapolis VAMC or at the Rochester VA Clinic the last Wednesday of January, March, May, July, September and November. To obtain an ID at the Rochester VA Clinic, you need to call the VA Call Center at 612-467-1100.
Veteran ID Card (VIC)
The Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a form of photo ID you can use to get discounts offered to veterans at many businesses. When you have this card, you won't need to carry around your military discharge papers or share sensitive personal information to receive discounts. The only way to apply for a VIC card is through the Department of Veteran Affairs website.
You are eligible for a VIC if you served on active duty, other than basic training, in accordance with VA criteria and received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions). If you received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable character of discharge, you're not eligible for a Veteran ID Card. If you have an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status, your eligibility will need to be approved before your application will be approved.
Veteran's Designation on a State-Issued Driver's License or ID
Veteran's Designation on a State-Issued Driver's License or ID is an ID card that the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles offers a veteran identifying mark printed on your Minnesota Driver's License or IDs.
You will need to provide a certified copy of your DD-214/discharge papers.
If you do not have a certified copy of your DD-214/discharge papers, contact your county Veteran Services Office. The Olmsted County Veteran Services office is able to provide a certified copy if you have the original DD-214 available. If you do not have the original available, we will check with the county, state, or the archives in St. Louis.
Other Veteran Benefits
Meet with one of our Veteran Services Officers (VSOs) during our appointment hours to discuss:
- Assistance with military awards
- Assistance with military records
- Military retiree assistance
- Possible discharge upgrades
- Disabled Veterans Exclusion for property tax purposes