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The more than 760,000 Veterans residing in New York have many reasons to call the state home — two Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, Niagara Falls and the Catskills, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and The Big Apple. You also have many great benefits you can use right now. Take advantage of these New York-specific programs and live life to the fullest after your military service:

1. Connect with a Veterans benefits advisor or file a discharge upgrade application. If you haven’t done so already, meet with your benefits advisor at the applicable county Veterans service office. These advisors are qualified to provide you with free counseling in applying for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Work together to seek VA compensation and pensions, the GI Bill, health care, home loans and more, or get help filing appeals. They can also assist you in accessing state benefits (see below) or in submitting military discharge upgrade applications. New York is also the first state in the nation to provide you with free access to a Discharge Upgrade Advisory Board. If you have a worthy argument for an upgrade, the board can issue an opinion that may strengthen your case when going before review panels.

Learn more: Find your nearest benefits advisor at https://rly.pt/3dxclXS (click on “Find an Office Near Me.”) Learn how to appeal your discharge status at https://rly.pt/31g5xZJ.

2. Get a state home loan. You may know about the VA home loan guarantee (https://rly.pt/2GTP467). But the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) also has the Homes for Veterans program. If you’re a veteran or a spouse of one discharged under conditions other than dishonorable you may qualify for a low-interest, fixed-rate loan 0.375% below the already low-interest-rate loans offered through SONYMA. The program also provides down payment assistance of up to $3,000 or 3% of the purchase price of the home (not to exceed $15,000).

Learn more: https://rly.pt/3o0CvqC.

3. Look into education benefits. New York also has a few opportunities for you or your children to get a higher education at reduced or no cost:

• Veterans Tuition Awards: If you meet service criteria — generally extending to New York State Veterans who served in hostilities after 1961 and who were discharged under honorable conditions — you can receive tuition awards for study at a New York degree-granting institution or vocational training program. Details: https://rly.pt/2TdHk21.

• Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship: Tuition assistance is available to children, spouses or financial dependents of New York residents who died or became severely and permanently disabled in military service. Details: https://rly.pt/3j5LD9K.

• Regents Awards for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans: New York also provides $450 annually to students whose parents served in times of war or national emergency and, as a result, died or received a VA service-connected disability rating of 40% or greater. Details: https://rly.pt/3jbJnhC.

4. Explore housing modification funds and property tax exemptions. If you are a low- or moderate-income veteran living with a disability in New York, you could receive funding to adapt your home under the Access to Homes for Heroes/Veterans program.

And if you own your New York home, you may be able to reduce your property tax burden. The state notes three programs of interest to Veterans:

• Alternative Veterans’ Exemption: For service during a designated time of war or receipt of an expeditionary medal, with additional reductions available for combat and VA service-connected disability ratings.

• Cold War Veterans’ Exemption: For service during the Cold War, with additional reductions available for VA service-connected disability ratings.

• Eligible Funds Exemption: Partial exemptions for certain property purchases.

Learn more: For details about Access to Homes for Heroes/Veterans, visit https://rly.pt/37j9i4F. For property tax information, call [login to see] or visit https://rly.pt/2IsC0p.

5. Start a business. After the military, you may choose a career in health care, high tech, the service sector or another industry (https://rly.pt/34494fx). Or you can become an entrepreneur. Here are a few resources to get your veteran-owned business off the ground in The Empire State:

• Consult with a New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC). This nationwide business assistance network is partly funded by Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The network (https://rly.pt/33Ldx5F) gives you access to free and at-cost training to start, grow and expand your small business. New York’s SBDC Network State Office (https://rly.pt/37c7PwJ) oversees an in-state network of 22 campus-based centers and outreach offices, which provide no- and low-cost business advice and training to new and existing small businesses. New York’s SBDC has a specific program providing targeted training, counseling and mentoring to Veterans. Services include personal advice sessions, business plan workshops and business concept assessment. Details: https://rly.pt/2IsCj3d.

• Locate other trainings. Also check out SBA’s Boots to Business training offerings for transitioning service members, Veterans and military spouses at https://rly.pt/2ZBUTvp. In addition, find local, no-cost business advisers at https://rly.pt/2E3xICV, https://rly.pt/33A6Xi0 and https://rly.pt/3hy2eTc.

• Get verified as Veteran-owned. Once your veteran business is set up, get help getting verified from VA’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (https://rly.pt/3kheSZ6) and start doing business directly with VA, the second largest federal agency.

More resources for New York Veterans

• New York Division of Veterans’ Services: https://rly.pt/3dxclXS.

• NYS Veterans app: Android (https://rly.pt/3dyy7KN) or iOS (https://rly.pt/3dAkwT6).
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Responses: 10
PVT Mark Zehner
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Thank you for the information!
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PO2 Cyrus Barberia
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The VA came through when I needed a job I worked at a national cemetery on Long island doing maintenance work for a while it is for a year and they were good to me I recommend working for the VA and maybe low pay to start but they have good benefits
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Pvt Patrick Bryan
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I can't wait to get moved out of this corrupt state!!! Even the VA here is corrupt!!!
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PO3 Antonios “Greek” Karpathakis
PO3 Antonios “Greek” Karpathakis
1 mo
Preach brother. Preach! NY is the most corrupt state in the broken union!
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