State Benefits Series: California

california state veterans benefits

by Levi Newman on September 6, 2011

State Benefits Series: Each state has their own department of veterans affairs, but many veterans are not aware of what benefits these state departments offer that are different from the federal Dept. Va.  This series hopes to clear that up.  In alphabetical order, we will tell you what each state offers.  Some articles will have just one state, and some will have several states.


Each state is divided into several categories, so you can easily see an overview of the benefits available in that section.  The categories are: Education, Employment/Retirement, Taxes, Vehicles Licensing, Death/Burial, and Other Benefits.


Today: California

Previous States: ALAKAZ, AR



Free Tuition and Fees:  Exactly what it says, free tuition and fees at any California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus.


Spouse, registered domestic partner, child under age 27, or unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who is 100% service connected disabled.


The child of a veteran who has a permanent service connected disability (if it is less than 100%) and whose income is below the legally declared poverty level.

Non-Resident Fee Waiver: (aka. The extra tuition that non-residents pay out of state public schools.) This would enable a non-resident of California to pay tuition at the same rate that a resident of California pays for public school tuition.


Child of a veteran who was stationed in California for one year prior to separation from the military



Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise Opportunities: Certified veteran owned businesses can participate in the state program to award a minimum of 3% of all state contracts to veteran owned businesses.


The business must be at least 51% owned by a veteran who is at least 10% or more disabled.

Preference for employment based on civil service exam:  Upon taking an examination in applying for a civil service position, veterans will receive between 10 and 15 extra points added to their total end score.


Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated at 10% or greater.


“Wartime” veterans who served have served with honor.


A veteran who served under honorable conditions for a period of at least 181 days


Spouses of totally disabled service-connected veterans.


Unmarried, surviving spouses of a veteran who has died of service-connected causes.

Employment and Unemployment Insurance Assistance:  California has services to help veterans receive training needed to aquire jobs, as well as provide assistance in applying for unemployment insurance.  Contact:



Waiver of Business Fees and Taxes:   Just what it says…does not apply to businesses that primarily sell liquor and/or alcoholic beverages.


Honorably discharged veterans engaged in sales businesses.  (as opposed to service businesses)

Waiver of property taxes: waiver of property taxes on the first $115,060 of a home’s value if the combined household income is over $51,699 per year, or on the first $172,592 of a home’s value if the combined household income is under $51,699.


Veterans who are 100% service connected disabled


Unremarried surviving spouses, or registered domestic partners who are receiving service-connected death benefits due to the death of a veteran



Free Burial in the Northern California Veterans Cemetery: Free, professional burial for veterans in the state veterans cemetery.  There is a $500 fee for spouses or dependents.


Vehicle Licensing:

California has a very large system of free, specialized, and/or reduced price license plates.  Way too many variations to list here!  Most of the free plates involve a specific survival situation such as having been a prisoner of war, or pearl harbor survivor, or other combat situation.  Please see the full list of different plates offered and their qualifications here:


Other Benefits:

Veterans Homes: Professional, low cost assisted living, and medical care facilities are available specifically to veterans.


  •  Veterans Home of California, Yountville (Napa County): 1-800-404-8387
  • Veterans Home of California, Barstow (San Bernardino County): 1-800-746-0606
  • Veterans Home of California, Chula Vista (San Diego County): 1-888-857-2146
  • William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans Home of California, Lancaster: 1-661-974-7035 ext. 6
  • Veterans Home of California, Ventura: 1-805-659-7502
  • Veterans Home of California, West Los Angeles: 1-877-605-1332

California Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Home Division
1227 ‘O’ street
Sacramento, CA 95814


Veterans Claims to the Dept. VA. Assistance:  wait..what?  Yep.  California has offices just to help veterans who are making claims to the VA.  Contact them at:

Any County Veterans Service Office (located in the county government listings in your telephone book) OR
California Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Services Division
1227 ‘O’ Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


Discounted hunting and fishing licenses:  Available to veterans who are 50% or more disabled.

Home Loans: California provides extra mortgage services to veterans.  Contact:

California Department of Veterans Affairs
Farm and Home Loan Division
1227 ‘O’ Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Or visit

Photo thanks to jczart under creative commons license on Flickr.



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Shickluna September 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Can you tell me what New York offers?


Chauncey September 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

Can you tell me what a veteran is entitled to in new york state.


Ralph Robles September 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I’m Viet Nam Vet…..sing up in Cal….but now live in Nevada…..were do i go to see if i have any benafits……


Audrey Beebe September 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Ralph, check out it is the Nevada Dept. of Veterans Affairs.


Audrey Beebe September 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Bill, I definitely will…when we get to the New York article. There’s just so much material to cover I can’t do it all at once.


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