California State Veteran Benefits

California Map

The state of California provides several veteran benefits. This section offers a brief description of each of the following benefits.

California Veterans Homes

California has 8 veterans homes located in:

  • Barstow
  • Chula Vista
  • Fresno
  • Lancaster
  • Redding
  • Ventura
  • West Los Angeles
  • Yountville

Veterans who are age 55 and above and discharged from active military service under honorable conditions, are eligible to apply for admission. The age requirement is waived for disabled or homeless veterans needing long-term care.

California Veteran Financial Benefits

Calvet Farm and Home Loans

The State of California offers farm and home loans to honorably discharged veterans. The loans have highly competitive rates, quick processing, unbeatable earthquake and disaster coverage.

Veterans Property Tax Exemption

California provides a $4,000 real property (e.g., a home) or personal property (e.g., a boat) exemption for honorably discharged veterans or the spouse or pensioned-parent of a deceased, honorably discharged veteran. However, a person who owns property valued at $5,000 or more ($10,000 or more for a married couple or for the unmarried surviving spouse of a qualified veteran) is not eligible for this exemption. 

Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption

California gives a property tax exemption for the home of a disabled veteran or an unmarried spouse of a deceased disabled veteran.

There is a basic $100,000 exemption or a low-income (less than $52,470) $150,000 exemption available to a disabled veteran who, is blind in both eyes, has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled by the VA or military.

An unmarried surviving spouse may also be eligible if the service person died as the result of service-connected injury, a disease incurred while on active duty, or as the result of active duty. 

This exemption has no personal wealth restriction. The exemption is only available on a veteran's principal place of residence. The home may only receive one property exemption. The issues regarding these exemptions are complex, and the eligibility requirements are specific. Consult the local assessor's office for detailed requirements regarding these exemptions. 

California Military Family Relief Fund

The California Military Family Relief Fund (CMFRF) was established to provide short term, financial assistance in the form of grants to California National Guard members and/or families impacted by mobilization and deployment.

Motor Vehicle Registration Fees Waived

Medal of Honor recipients, ex-POWs, and some permanently and totally disabled veterans may be eligible for a waiver of registration fees and free license plates for one passenger motor vehicle, or one motorcycle, or one commercial motor vehicle of less than 8001 pounds unladen weight.

Business License, Tax and Fee Waiver

Honorably discharged veterans who hawk, peddle, or vend any goods from a fixed location may be eligible for a waiver of municipal, county and state business license fees, as well as other taxes and fees. This doesn't apply to the sales of alcoholic beverages.

California Veterans Employment Preference

Veterans, their surviving spouses, or spouses of 100 percent disabled veterans who pass a test for state employment will be automatically ranked in the top rank of all participants.

California College Tuition Fee Waiver for Veteran's Dependents

Waiver of mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any State of California Community College, California State University or University of California campus. There are 4 different classes of eligibility:

Plan A

Who is eligible:

  • A child between 14 - 27 of a veteran who is totally service-connected disabled, or whose death was officially rated as service-connected is eligible. If the child is a veteran, the age limit is extended to age 30;
  • The spouse, Registered Domestic Partner (RDP), or unmarried surviving spouse or RDP of a wartime totally service-connected disabled veteran
  • Any dependent of any veteran who has been declared missing in action, captured in the line of duty by hostile forces, or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power

The veteran must have served at least one day of active duty during a period of war, or awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal. You cannot get Plan A and VA Chapter 35 benefits at the same time. There are no income restrictions. To be eligible, the event which caused basic entitlement to benefits (i.e., the date the veteran died of service-connected causes or the date the VA rated the veteran as totally disabled as a result of service-connected disabilities) must have occurred prior to the child's 21st birthday.

Plan B

The child of a veteran who has a service-connected disability, or had a service-connected disability at the time of death, or died of service-related causes is eligible. There are income limits. Under Plan B, wartime service is not required and there are no specific age requirements. Children are the only dependents eligible under this plan. There is no prohibition against receiving VA Chapter 35 benefits and this plan.

Plan C

Any dependent of any member of the California National Guard, who was killed in the line of duty, died of a disability which was received in the line of duty, or was permanently disabled in the line of duty. Surviving spouses or RDPs who have not remarried are also eligible.

Plan D

Medal of Honor recipients and their children under 27 may qualify. Benefits under Plan D are limited to undergraduate studies only, and applicants are subject to both income and age restrictions. There is no prohibition against receiving concurrent VA Chapter 35 benefits.

California Veteran Recreation Benefits

Fishing and Hunting Licenses

Any veteran with a 50% or greater service connected disability may be eligible for reduced annual fees for fishing and hunting licenses - you DO NOT have to be a California resident for this benefit.

State Parks and Recreation Pass

Any honorably discharged war veteran who is a resident of California with a 50% or more service-connected disability, former POW, or Medal of Honor recipient can get a free pass to all California state parks. This includes camping and day use. The pass is not valid at units operated by local government, private agencies, or concessionaires and it is not valid for special events, group campsites, and commercial use or for supplemental fees.

California State Veteran Cemeteries

There are 3 state veterans cemeteries within California:

  1. California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery - Monterey
  2. Northern California Veterans Cemetery - Igo
  3. Yountville Veterans Cemetery - Yountville

Complete, professional burial services at no cost to veterans ($500 fee for spouses or dependents).Veterans, dependents and survivors who meet VA eligibility requirements for burial in a national cemetery may be eligible.

Visit the California Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information on any of these programs.

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Veteran Benefits