Best and Worst Places for Veteran Military Retirees to Live main image
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Best and Worst Places for Veteran Military Retirees to Live

Best: Virginia

Best: Virginia

Virginia is beautiful, but there are more benefits for those who have served. In this state, veterans on disability are exempt from property tax on their homes. Surviving spouses may also be eligible. On top of that, the state also has great education benefits for dependents and survivors.

Finally, Virginia has the highest incomes for veterans and a preference for state jobs. Virginia ranks three in economic & environment, five on quality of life, and 15 in VA healthcare.

Worst: Utah

Worst: Utah

There are a lot of reasons Utah is a terrible place for veterans. The first we want to mention is that Utah taxes military retirement pay. The state also has a high percentage of unemployment for those who served. It also ranks low in education and training opportunities.

One thing to note is that Utah ranks last on women’s equality pay. Utah is unique in that families tend to have multiple children, yet the state ranks as one of the worst states for childcare access. Utah ranks 36 in economic & environment, 31 in VA healthcare, but plunges to 41 in quality of life.

Best: Florida

Best: Florida

Florida has the third-largest veteran population. Veterans with disabilities are eligible for property tax exemptions. On top of that, Florida does not tax personal income, offers education avenues, and numerous job options.

Then there’s the warm climate which encourages people to get out. Florida truly has a community that values and supports veterans. Florida ranked nine in economic & environment, two in quality of life, and 16 in VA healthcare.

Worst: Indiana

Worst: Indiana

Looking at Indiana? It’s probably best to stay away from this state because it’s one of the worst-rated states in our nation. The state partially taxes military retirement pay. However, military retirees and surviving spouses may deduct $6,250 plus 25% of the retirement benefits in excess of $6,250 in state taxes.

When you combine these issues with the fact that the state doesn’t have a lot of VA health facilities, it’s no surprise the state ranked so poorly in quality of life. Indiana ranks 29 in economic & environment, 33 in VA healthcare, then plunges to 45 in quality of life.

Best: Maine

Best: Maine

Maine is best known for its delicious seafood, but it has more than just lobster. In Maine, veterans are eligible for property tax exemptions. They can also get a waiver of tuition at state universities for themselves and their dependents.

One of the best things about this state is that it boasts that 10.5% of private businesses are veteran-owned. Maine also doesn’t tax military retirement pay, but it does have a state income tax. The economic & environment in Maine ranks seven, while VA healthcare is ranked first.

Worst: Nevada

Worst: Nevada

At first glance, Nevada can look pretty appealing. It does have tax exemptions for veterans and surviving spouses, but there’s a number of reasons this state is on the “worst” list. The most notable offender is that there aren’t any job opportunities for veterans. Those who move there have to jockey for a position.

Due to low opportunities, there is an astounding number of homeless veterans in the state. According to WalletHub, a jaw-dropping 37% of the veteran population is homeless in Nevada. Nevada ranks 16 in economic & environment, drops to 42 in quality of life, then plunges again to 51 VA healthcare facilities, and lack of employment or training opportunities.

Best: New Hampshire

Best: New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a lot to offer veterans that are looking for a new start. First of all, veterans are eligible for property tax credits. They’re also given preference for city and district jobs to increase employment opportunities. Like other states, New Hampshire has a high number of veteran-owned businesses.

For dependents, this state offers free tuition for state universities to children of military members who have passed while in service. New Hampshire ranked six on economic & environment, quality of life ranked 11, but VA healthcare isn’t as good as some of the others on the list.

Worst: New Mexico

Worst: New Mexico

New Mexico has a lot of problems. In general, it has a low median family income and a high violent crime rate. For veterans, it doesn’t get much better. Health care, in particular, is bottom-of-the-barrel. The main VA Medical Center in Albuquerque may be responsible for around 58,000 patients, but it’s among the lowest-ranking VA hospitals in the country (according to Albuquerque Journal).

New Mexico is also not taking steps toward fixing its ranking. It’s been on the list of worst places for several years now. Since there are so many other options, just look elsewhere. New Mexico ranks 19 in quality of life, then drops to 37 in economic & environment, and plunges to 48 in VA healthcare facilities.

Best: Massachusetts

Best: Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a lot to offer veterans. Those who have served receive tax exemptions for their vehicles, and disabled vets don’t have to pay sales tax. The tax benefits keep rolling considering Massachusetts also doesn’t tax retirement pay, although it does have state income tax.

Finally, property taxes are exempted for disabled veterans. For children of vets, there is a tuition waiver in all state universities and colleges. Massachusetts ranks first in economic & environment and ranks second in VA healthcare. However, the state can be quite expensive for some.

Worst: Mississippi

Worst: Mississippi

The state of Mississippi’s two VA hospitals rank as some of the worst in the nation. The state also has a lack of economic, education, and job opportunities for veterans and military families.

The only thing Mississippi has going for it is that it has the fewest number of homeless veterans in the nation. While that’s great and all, veterans still need quality medical care. Mississippi ranks 30 in economic & environment, drops to 37 in quality of life, then drops again to 43 in VA healthcare.

Best: Alaska

Best: Alaska

Alaska has the most military veterans, with 13% of the population being veterans. This is the only state where the veteran population does not expect to shrink but grow significantly. Alaska offers tons of benefits, such as land discounts and land purchase preference, housing and residential mortgage programs, and property tax exemptions.

In addition to all this, veterans also get military credit for state retirement, state employment preference, waiver of the commercial driving skills test, and free tuition for surviving spouse or dependent. No wonder it’s so beloved by veterans! Alaska ranked 12 on economic & environment, 10 in quality of life, and 13 in VA healthcare.

Worst: Vermont

Worst: Vermont

Vermont has a few problems it needs to address. The biggest is that Vermont has the highest suicide rate in the nation for veterans and military personnel. That could be because the quality of healthcare (including mental help facilities) is pretty poor.

According to VTDigger, Vermont’s veteran suicide rate is 88.7% higher than the national average and 138% higher than other states in the area, including New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The state of Vermont ranks 36 in quality of life, drops to 40 in VA healthcare, then plunges to 50 in economic & environment.

Best: Minnesota

Best: Minnesota

The state of Minnesota offers property tax exemptions for veterans and those in the military. It’s also one of the states that don’t tax retirement pay. What makes this state is unique is because it has a subsistence program for veterans, which offers short-term financial assistance on housing, utility, insurance, and other expenses.

Minnesota also has the Veterans’ Preference Act, which gives vets preference in hiring and promotions for state jobs. Finally, veterans, their spouses, and their dependents are given tuition assistance. This state ranked eighth in economic & environment, ranks seventh in VA healthcare.

Worst: District of Columbia

Worst: District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has the largest population of homeless veterans in the nation. As if that weren’t bad enough, the state is tied with Colorado for the least number of job and educational opportunities for military veterans. Located just down the road from the United States Capitol in Washington DC is the Washington VA Medical Center. Once again, it is rated the worst in the nation.

This facility has a one-star rating, which puts this VA facility at the bottom. A decorated military veteran representing a veteran service organization commented: “Washington VA Medical Center should be a paragon, a place to take foreign heads of state to tour; instead, it’s one of the worst in the nation.”  The District of Columbia ranks 49 in economic & environment, slips to 50 in quality of life, and remains at 50 in VA healthcare.

Best: South Dakota

Best: South Dakota

South Dakota is one of the most beautiful states in America, and it has nice benefits for those who served. Disabled veterans in South Dakota can enjoy property tax exemptions. It also gives a $500 bonus for current or former military members who remain as residents for six months.

South Dakota offers employment preference for all state, county, and local jobs, as well as free tuition for veterans and their family. South Dakota ranks 14 in economic & environment, ranks third in VA healthcare, but drops to 34 in quality of life.

Worst: Oregon

Worst: Oregon

In the state of Oregon, military veteran retirement pay may qualify for a federal exemption on state taxes. Veterans considered “special case” Oregon residents will have their military retirement pay taxed as regular income.

A high percentage of veterans in Oregon are homeless due to having one of the least affordable housing rates in the nation and a lack of economic opportunity. Oregon ranks 18 in VA healthcare, then slips to 43 in economic & environment, then slips further down to 51 in quality of life.

Best: Idaho

Best: Idaho

Idaho has the lowest unemployment rates among veterans, vets pay the lowest property taxes, and military retirement pay is tax-free for retirees 65 or disabled retirees over 62. Military retirees (age 65+ or 62+ and disabled) may claim the Grocery Tax Credit.

Idaho offers up to a $1,000 grant in cases of extreme emergency to wartime veterans in need. They offer state employment preference and recreation benefits. Idaho ranked 10 in economic & environment and ninth in VA healthcare.

Worst: New Jersey

Worst: New Jersey

New Jersey has the highest unemployment rate for veterans and high property taxes. To add to this, New Jersey has some of the highest percentages of veterans living below the poverty line, probably because it’s so difficult to get employment.

The state is also ranked incredibly low in VA healthcare, landing at 46 out of 50. While there are some benefits for veterans living int his state, it’s certainly not one of the best. New Jersey ranks 36 in economic & environment, and 20 in quality of life.

Best: South Carolina

Best: South Carolina

Veterans looking to start their own business might want to check out South Carolina, it came in first place for the highest percentage of veteran-owned businesses. Another plus is the low cost of living. Active duty pay is taxable, but reserve and National Guard pay are tax-free. Up to $11,700 of retired pay is tax-free, and if you are 65 or older, that amount increases to $24,000. Permanently and totally disabled veterans are eligible for a homestead tax deduction, and a total exemption of property tax on their homes. This exemption can transfer to a surviving spouse and may also transfer to a new home.

South Carolina offers veterans a preference for state and public jobs. The state provides free tuition for children of fallen heroes, as well as permanently and totally disabled veterans. South Carolina ranks first in quality of life, 21 in economic & environment, and 35 in VA healthcare.

Worst: New York

Worst: New York

Something is going on in New York. The state of New York has the least military veterans in the nation. However, the state boasts the most VA healthcare facilities for veterans. Unsurprisingly, the state ranks fifth in VA healthcare, but what about the rest of it?

Economically, New York property taxes are highest in the nation. The state has the lowest percentage of veteran-owned businesses. Overall, it’s extremely expensive to live in the state, so veterans often have a hard time affording it. New York ranks 47 in quality of life and plunges to 51 in business & environment.