VA Loans Florida

Benefits of Florida VA Loans for Veterans

If you are a veteran or active duty service member and a resident of the state of Florida, the first step is to determine if you are eligible for VA home loan benefits. If you have served in the military and received an honorable discharge, you will likely be eligible to buy a home using your VA loan benefits.

Financial Benefits

Does the State of Florida offer Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans?

Yes. An honorably discharged Veteran who has been certified as service-connected totally and permanently disabled is exempt from taxation on real estate owned and used as a homestead. The Veteran must be a Florida resident and have legal title to the property as of January 1st of the tax year exemption is requested. Veterans who are paraplegic, hemiplegic or legally blind may also be exempt from real estate taxation.

Is the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran eligible for a Property Tax Exemption?

Surviving spouses of Armed Forces members who died from service-connected causes while on active duty are also exempt from property tax on their homestead if the service member was a permanent resident of Florida on January 1st of the year they died. As long as the spouse holds the legal or beneficial title to the homestead and resides there permanently, the exemption carries over to the homestead until such time as the spouse remarries or disposes of the property. If the spouse moves but does not remarry, an exemption not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the new homestead.

I don’t have a 100% service-connected disability. Do I still qualify for a Tax Exemption?

Yes. Veterans who are residents of Florida with a VA service-connected disability of 10 percent or more are entitled to a $5,000 property tax exemption. To receive the exemption, Veteran must provide documentation of their service related disability to their local county tax official. Unremarried surviving spouses of Veterans with a minimum 10 percent service-connected disability are eligible for this exemption if they were married to the Veteran for at least 5 years prior to the Veteran's death.
Honorably discharged Veterans over the age of 65 may be eligible for a discount on their ad valorem tax commensurate with the percentage of their there permanent service-connected disability. To apply, visit your local county property appraiser's office.

Does the State of Florida offer Fee Exemptions to Veterans?

Yes. Florida Veterans who are 100% totally and permanently disabled are exempt from county and municipality building license or permit fees when making improvements to their residence to ensure their dwelling is habitable or safe.

Employment Benefits

Does the State of Florida offer an Employment Preference to Veterans?

Yes. Eligible Veterans who are residents of Florida are given preference in employment, retention and promotions after deployment. To be eligible, Veterans must be honorable discharged and have served at least one day on active duty during a period of war, have a compensable VA service-connected disability, or served in a qualifying campaign or expedition where a campaign badge was authorized.

Can a Veteran’s spouse utilize the Veteran’s Employment Preference?

Yes. An unremarried widow or widower of a Veteran who died as a result of a service-connected disability or a spouse of a Veteran who is 100% service-connected permanently and totally disabled may receive the Employment Preference in place of the Veteran.

Does the State of Florida assist Veterans in finding Employment?

Yes. The Employ Florida network consists of Workforce Florida, the Department of Economic Opportunity and Florida’s nearly 100 One-Stop Career Centers. Services provided include job and training referrals, resume assistance, job search and placement assistance, interview skills, career planning and vocational guidance, and access to internet, printers and fax machines. For more information, call (800) 342-3450 or visit your local One-Stop Career Center.
In addition to the physical centers above, Employ Florida VETS is Florida’s online job portal that provides employment services exclusively to Florida Veterans.

Does the State of Florida offer special programs for Veterans with Disabilities?

Yes. Disabled Veterans Outreach Program specialists are available at One-Stop career Centers to assist disabled Veterans in finding employment. For more information, visit your local One-Stop Career Center or see Florida’s Veterans Employment Program website.

What is the Florida Veteran Business Enterprise?

The Florida Division of Management Service’s programs provides access to service-disabled and wartime Veteran business to state contracts. It also encourages Veterans to start businesses. In 2012, the Florida Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Opportunity Act was enlarged to include wartime veterans. To apply, complete and submit the Florida Veteran Business Enterprise Application.

Does the State of Florida waive License Fees for Returning Veterans?

Yes. Veterans who apply for licensure within 24 months of being honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces may have initial licensure and application fees waived for more than 20 professions under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR’s) jurisdiction. For more information, see the DBPR Veterans Services website.

Does the State of Florida offer any other Employment Opportunities for Veterans?

Yes. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided an easier path for Florida Veterans interested in commercial fishing to to enter the industry. Florida veterans interested in entering the commercial fishing industry should contact call (850) 487-3122 or visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commercial Fishing website.

Education Benefits

Does the State of Florida offer any Education Benefits to Veterans?

Yes. Recipients of the Purple Heart or combat-related decorations superior to a Purple Heart are eligible for an undergraduate-level tuition waiver at Florida State Colleges and Universities. To find out more about this benefit, call (850) 245-0407.

Does the State of Florida allow a Veteran to earn academic credit for Training and Education acquired in the Military?

Yes. The State of Florida is currently adopting rules and regulations at its public post-secondary colleges and universities which allow eligible Veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces to receive academic credit for college-level education and training acquired through military service. Contact your local campus for more information.

Does the State of Florida offer Education Benefits to Dependents of Veterans?

Yes. Dependent children and spouses of Veterans who were killed in action, died as a result of their service-connected disabilities, or are 100% totally and permanently disabled as a result of a service-connected disability are eligible to receive a four-year college educational opportunity at Florida State Colleges and Universities.
Dependent children of service members who are Prisoners-of-War or Missing-in-Action may also be eligible for education benefits.

Does the State of Florida offer Honorary High School Diplomas to Veterans?

Yes. Eligible Veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War who were unable to complete their high school diploma as a result of induction to any branch of the United State Armed Forces are eligible to receive a High School Diploma in the State of Florida. For more information, call (850) 245-0446 or see Florida Veteran Diploma Program.

Other Florida State Benefits for Veterans

ID Cards

Florida Veterans are eligible for a Veteran's designation on their driver license or identification card. To apply, visit your local Florida driver license office and bring your discharge papers showing an honorable discharge and pay a one time fee of $1.
Veteran's who are permanent residents of Florida and have a 100% service-connected, permanent and total disability rating by the VA may receive a disabled Veteran ID care through the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. For more information, call (727) 319-7400 x7440.
Honorably discharged Veterans who are qualified to receive a drivers license and are rated 100% service-connected totally and permanently disabled are exempt from drivers license and state ID fees.

Special Use License Plates

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers special use license plates for recipients of the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Action Badge and the following military license plates: Vietnam War Veteran, Korean Conflict Veteran, Medal of Honor, Ex-POW, Gold Star, Florida National Guard, U.S. Armed Forces Reserve, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Purple Heart or U.S. Paratrooper. To apply, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles and bring appropriate proof of status, such as a DD-214.

Hunting and Fishing

Residents of Florida who are active or retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, or U.S. Coast Guard Reserve are eligible to receive a Military Gold Sportsman's License. This license is available for $20 at any tax collector office.
Florida Veterans who are certified as 100% totally and permanently disabled are eligible to receive a five year State hunting and fishing license and permit at no charge. For more information, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife website.
The Division of Forestry has designated certain areas of Florida forests as Operation Outdoor Freedom Special Hunt Areas. Active duty members and Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with combat-related injuries are provided specialized hunting areas specifically designed and adapted to meet their needs.

Florida State Park Discount Passes

All Veterans, active duty service members and reserve members are eligible for a 25% discount on annual passes to Florida's 161 State Parks. Honorably discharged veterans with a service-connected disability, surviving spouses and Gold Star Parents of military Veterans who died in combat are eligible to receive a lifetime family annual entrance pass to all State Parks at no charge. Free annual passes can be obtained at staffed ranger stations with proper identification and status documentation. Call (850) 245-2157 or visit www.FloridaStateParks.org for more information.

Florida State Veterans' Homes

The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs operates one assisted living/ domiciliary facility and six skilled nursing facilities throughout the state. To be eligible for admission, Veterans must be honorably discharged, a resident of Florida for at least one year prior to admission, and certified by a VA physician as “in need of assisted living or skilled nursing care.”

Florida offers the following Veterans' Homes:

The Robert H. Jenkins Jr. Veterans' Domiciliary Home

Located in Lake City (Columbia County), features 149 beds and provides housing, personalized supportive services and incidental medical care. To reside at this domiciliary home, Veterans must be able to feed and dress themselves and require assisted living care. For more information, call (386) 758-0600.

The Emory L. Bennet State Veterans' Nursing Home

Located in Daytona Beach (Volusia County), features 120 beds and provides skilled nursing care to its Veteran residents. For more information, call (386) 274-3460.

The Baldomero Lopez State Veterans' Nursing Home

Located in Land O' Lakes (Pasco County), features 120 beds and provides skilled nursing care to its Veteran residents. This facility can accommodate up to 60 residents with dementia/Alzheimer's disease. For more information, call (813) 558-5000.

The Alexander "Sandy" Nininger State Veterans' Nursing Home

Located in Pembroke Pines (Broward County), features 120 beds and provides skilled nursing care to its Veteran residents. This facility can accommodate up to 60 residents with dementia/Alzheimer's disease. For more information, call (954) 985-4824.

The Clifford C. Sims State Veterans' Nursing Home

Located in Panama City (Bay County), features 120 beds and provides skilled nursing care to its Veteran residents This facility can accommodate up to 60 residents with dementia/Alzheimer's disease. For more information, call (850) 747-5401.

The Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans' Nursing Home

Located in Port Charlotte (Charlotte County), features 120 beds and provides skilled nursing care to its Veteran residents. This facility can accommodate up to 60 residents with dementia/Alzheimer's disease. For more information, call (941) 613-0919.

The Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans' Nursing Home

Located in St. Augustine (St. Johns County), is Florida's newest Veterans' nursing home and features 120 beds and provides skilled nursing care to its Veteran residents. This facility can accommodate up to 60 residents with dementia/Alzheimer's disease. For more information, call (904) 940-2193.

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