South Dakota State Veteran Benefits

South Dakota Map and Flag

The state of South Dakota provides several veteran benefits. This page explains those benefits.

South Dakota State Veterans Home

The South Dakota Veterans Home is located in Hot Springs. To be eligible for admission, veterans must be an honorably discharged resident of South Dakota, or the spouse or widow of such a veteran, be ambulatory and be able to care for self and living area.

In the case of a married couple, the spouse of the veteran must be admitted with the veteran, unless the veteran is institutionalized. Costs are based on income.

South Dakota Veteran Financial Benefits

Property Tax Exemption

Permanently and totally disabled veterans as well as veterans with the loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities are exempt from property tax on their home. Their un-remarried surviving spouses are also eligible.

South Dakota Veterans Bonus

South Dakota offers a bonus of up to $500 for current or former military members who were legal residents of the state for no less than six months immediately preceding their period of active duty and who meet certain criteria during one or more of the following periods:

  • Aug. 2, 1990, to Mar. 3, 1991 – All active service counts for payment.
  • Mar. 4, 1991, to Dec. 31, 1992 – Only service in a hostile area qualifying for the Southwest Asia Service Medal counts for payment.
  • Jan. 1, 1993, to Sep. 10, 2001 – Only service in a hostile area qualifying for campaign or service medals counts for payment.
  • Sep. 11, 2001, to a date to be determined (OIF/OEF) – All active service counts for payment.

South Dakota Veterans Employment Preference

Veterans get employment preference for all state, county, local and school district jobs. If you have at least the minimum qualifications for the job, you will get an interview.

The unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who died in service, or died from a service-connected cause, is entitled to the same preference as an eligible veteran provided the spouse has the necessary skills and qualifications for the job.

If a disabled eligible veteran is unable to use their veteran's preference due to disability, the spouse may use it.

South Dakota Veteran Education Benefits

Free Tuition for Veterans

Honorably discharged South Dakota residents who had service after Aug. 1, 1990, and received a campaign, expeditionary, or service medal for combat operations are eligible for free tuition at state colleges. They must not be eligible for GI Bill or other federal education benefits.

You get one month of free tuition for each month of qualifying service, with a minimum of one, up to a maximum of four, academic years. 

Free Tuition for Children of Veterans Who Died on Duty

Children under age 25, who are residents of South Dakota, and whose parent was killed in action or died of other causes while on active duty, are eligible for free tuition at a state-supported school. The parent must have been a South Dakota resident for at least six months immediately before entering active duty. 

Reduced Tuition for South Dakota National Guard

Guard members are eligible for a 50% reduction in undergraduate tuition charges at any state-supported school for up to a maximum of 128 undergraduate credits and 32 graduate credits.

Free Tuition for Dependents of National Guard Members

Children under 25, who are residents of South Dakota whose parent died or became totally disabled as a result of their National Guard duty, are eligible for free tuition at state colleges. The spouse/surviving spouse of the Guard member is also eligible.

South Dakota State Recreation Benefits

Disabled Veteran Hunting and Fishing Licenses

South Dakota resident veterans who are entitled to VA Special Monthly Compensation, are former POWs, get Social Security Disability, or get at least 40% VA disability get a four-year hunting and fishing license for a small administrative fee.

Active-Duty Hunting and Fishing License

South Dakota residents on active duty outside the state and home on leave can hunt and fish without a license. Migratory bird stamp must still be purchased.

State Park Admission

South Dakota resident veterans who are entitled to VA Special Monthly Compensation, are former POWs, or are VA rated totally disabled get free admission to state parks and half off any camping or electric hookup fee.

Burial and Memorial Benefits

Burial Allowance

A payment of up to $100 may be paid by the state to help defray the burial and funeral expenses of any honorably discharged veteran or the spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran when the estate, or immediate family of the deceased is lacking in funds to pay the expenses. 

Headstone Setting Fee

The state will pay $100 toward the cost of setting a government headstone or marker at the grave of a veteran who was a resident for one year before entering into military service or one year preceding death.

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

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Veteran Benefits