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The estimated 126,000 Veterans residing in Idaho live in a state rich in white pines, wildflowers and woodpeckers. The state also offers a wealth of Veterans’ benefits, which may help you live life to the fullest after your military service:

1. Connect with an Idaho Veterans service officer (VSO). Start taking advantage of these assets by meeting with a VSO throughout the state. They are trained and accredited to assist you in applying for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Work with a VSO to apply for compensation and pensions, the GI Bill, health care, home loans and more. Among other free services, they also help you file appeals for denied claims, seek discharge upgrades and access state-offered benefits (see below).

Learn more: Locate a VSO at https://rly.pt/3fAblmM.

2. Seek emergency relief. As an Idaho Veteran or family member of one, you may be eligible for emergency relief under the Idaho Veteran’s Emergency Relief Grant program. Use it to pay for food, fuel, shelter or other necessities. Grants within a six-month period or over a lifetime are up to $1,500.

You are generally eligible if you can prove residency at the time of application and service, and served at least 90 days of active duty in wartime conditions and were discharged under honorable conditions, or were discharged earlier and honorably because of a service-connected disability. You must also meet relief classifications of need or disability status or be a spouse or child of a Veteran who meets those classifications of need.

Learn more: Apply at https://rly.pt/2Jc8G6Z.

3. Reduce your property or income taxes. Idaho offers you a few ways to reduce your tax burden in exchange for military service:

• Property tax exemption: If you have a 10% or greater service-connected disability, or are receiving a nondisability VA pension, and make under $31,900, you can get a property and land tax break ranging from $150 to $1,320. Details: https://rly.pt/3753yd2.

• Veterans’ property tax exemption: If you are rated by VA as having a 100% service-connected disability or receive 100% compensation due to individual unemployability, you may also receive an exemption of up to $1,320. Details: https://rly.pt/2JciX30.

• Military retirement pay deductions: In Idaho, if you’re over age 65 or age 62 and disabled, your military retirement pay may be deductible. Details: https://rly.pt/2JgstSn and https://rly.pt/3q39hbZ.

• Grocery credit: This credit offsets grocery sales taxes paid during the year. If you’re a state resident on active military duty, you may qualify for a refund of this credit. And if you’re over age 65 or age 62 and disabled, you may claim this credit if VA disability benefits are your only income. Details: https://rly.pt/3q39hbZ and https://rly.pt/362PhOG.

Learn more: https://rly.pt/3nXBoHG and click the “tax benefits” dropdown arrow.

4. Explore the outdoors. Experience Idaho parks and hunting opportunities through these programs:

• Free entrance: If you’re an Idaho Veteran with a VA rating of 100% service-connected disability, obtain a free campsite and a free day pass at an Idaho State Park. Details: Information about the discount is at https://rly.pt/2UYcE5E but the application link is broken; call [login to see] to learn more.

• Discounted hunting and fishing licenses: The state Department of Fish and Game also offers hunting opportunities and license discounts for service members and Veterans. Details: Review them at https://rly.pt/375ODiA.

5. Get licensed. The state recently made it easier for you to get your occupational license as a Veteran or service member transitioning to a civilian career. In a VA blog published last July, Marv Hagedorn, chief administrator of the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, said a new state law reduced hurdles in occupational licensing and allowed some military training to count toward the relevant license being applied for. In addition, application fees may be waived.

Learn more: Visit https://rly.pt/39gFlDi or contact the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses, via email at [login to see] .gov or by phone at [login to see] .

6. Start a business. After the military, you may choose a career in health care, high tech, public service, the service sector or another industry (https://rly.pt/3l1WvGZ). Or you can become an entrepreneur. Here are a few resources to get your Veteran-owned business off the ground in the Gem state:

• Consult with an Idaho 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. The Idaho SBDC Network Lead Center (https://idahosbdc.org) oversees six regional centers that provide statewide webinars, trainings and consulting in business plan development, finances, growth strategies, human resources and marketing.

• 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 Idaho Veterans

• Download the 2020 Veterans Resource Directory: https://rly.pt/366rpJU.

• Visit the Idaho Division of Veterans Services: https://rly.pt/3o0nX9F.
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SGT David A. 'Cowboy' Groth
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Thank you for the informative share U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
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Thanks for sharing.
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