Other Veterans State/Federal Benefits & Resources
Programs & Services
If you served in the military, thank you for your service and sacrifice for this country. Thank you also to the spouses and dependents who served along with you. Regardless of your era, your branch, your post or your assignment, you are likely entitled to state and federal veterans’ benefits. Qualifying dependents may be eligible for benefits as well.
Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of federal, state and local programs and services. For personalized assistance in learning about your veteran benefits, or for help filing a claim for benefits, please contact the Nevada County Veterans Services Office or schedule an appointment with us here.
If you live out of the area and would like to find the nearest County Veterans Services Officer near you, go to California Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Inc. website. Choose Contact Us, then select your county of residence.
The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) maintains a comprehensive, searchable database of services available to California veterans, their survivors and dependents at the federal, state and local levels.
Continue to scroll down to obtain information and how to apply for:
- Disabled Veteran Property Tax Waiver
- Federal Park Pass Information
- State Parks & Recreation Pass
- Fishing & Hunting Licenses
Disabled Veteran Property Tax Waiver Application
California has two separate property tax exemptions: one for veterans and one for disabled veterans.
The California Constitution 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. Most persons, however, are disqualified from this exemption due to restrictions on the value of property a claimant my own. 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. Thus, a veteran who owns a home would most likely not qualify for the veterans exemption.
Disabled Veterans Exemption
The California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code Section 205.5 provides 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, because of an injury incurred in military service:
- is blind in both eyes; or
- has lost the use of two or more limbs; or
- is totally disabled as determined by the VA or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.
An unmarried surviving spouse may also be eligible if the service person died as the result of a service-connected injury or a disease incurred while on active duty or as the result of active duty. In other words, a veteran may not have been eligible during his or her lifetime, but the surviving spouse may become eligible for the exemption upon the veteran's death.
Unlike the veterans exemption, the disabled veterans 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. Thus, if a homeowner's exemption has been granted on a property and the owner subsequently qualifies for the disabled veterans' exemption, the homeowner's exemption should be cancelled to allow for the disabled veterans exemption as it provides the greater benefit.
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.
*Note: Both exemption amounts are annually adjusted for cost of living index; as of January 1, 2013, the exemption amounts are $122,128 and $183,193, respectively.
How do I apply?
Form BOE-261-G, Claim for Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Exemption, must be used when claiming this exemption on a property for the very first time for both the basic and the low-income Disabled Veterans' Exemption. The claim form is available here.
In order to receive 100 percent of the basic exemption in the first year claimed, the claim form must be filed between the date the property or veteran qualifies and on or before the following January 1, or 90 days after the date of qualification, whichever is later. A one-time filing is only required for the $100,000 basic exemption; however, annual filing is required for the $150,000 low-income exemption to ensure the veteran continues to meet the household income limit restriction (claim form must be filed between January 1 and February 15).
The veteran must file the form with the Nevada County Assessor's Office. All information requested on the form must be provided, including the following information:
- Name of the person claiming the exemption
- Address of the property
- Statement that the veteran owned and occupied the property as his or her principal place of residence on the lien date, or that he or she intends to own and occupy the property as a principal place of residence on the next succeeding lien date
- Proof of disability
Federal Park Pass Information
Since Veterans Day 2020, Gold Star Families and US military veterans are eligible to receive free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. The free access program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star Families for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands and waters.
What is the Military Veterans & Gold Star Family Free Access Program?
The Interagency Annual Military Pass has been expanded to include both veterans and Gold Star Families. On November 11, 2020, agencies began issuing Interagency Military Passes to veterans and Gold Star Families upon request and with proof of eligibility as described below.
The entrance fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, transportation, special recreation permits, reservation fees or special tours.
Who is eligible to gain free entrance as a veteran?
- For purposes of this program, a veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the US Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification or the Interagency Military Pass when entering a national park: Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card)
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
- Veteran ID Card
- Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card
Who is eligible to gain free access as a member of a Gold Star Family?
Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the US Armed Forces. Eligibility requirements are in section 3.2 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.
Does the waiver include others traveling with the veteran or Gold Star Family member?
Free access is for the veteran or the holder of the Gold Star Family voucher as well as travelling companions who are occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR the veteran or voucher-holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. The voucher is non-transferrable and void if altered.
How does a Gold Star Family gain free access to a national park?
Before visiting a national park site, Gold Star Family members must download and print a voucher to present to park staff, exchange for an annual Interagency Military Pass, or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites (representations of the voucher are prohibited; the physical voucher or pass must be present). By downloading and signing the voucher, Gold Star Family members are self-certifying that they meet the required criteria as identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.
Following is the self-certification language on the voucher:
"I hereby affirm that I am an eligible next of kin (NOK) of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a qualifying situation, such as war, an international terrorist attack or a military operation outside of the United States while serving in the United States Armed Forces, as identified in sections 3.2 (Qualifying Situation) and 3.3 (Eligible NOK) of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36."
State Parks & Recreation Pass
Honorably discharged war veterans who are residents of California with an overall / combined rating at 50% or greater service-connected disability, or were held as prisoners of war by forces hostile to the United States, or recipients of the Medal of Honor are eligible to receive the Distinguished Veteran Pass (formerly Disabled War Veteran/Prisoner of War Pass).
The pass entitles the holder to the use of all basic facilities (including day use, camping and boating) in California State Parks at no charge. The pass is not valid for group use or sites, special events, commercial use, additional/extra vehicle fees, or for supplemental fees and cannot be used in conjunction with any other pass and/or discount. Admittance and use subject to available space.
Who is eligible?
Any honorably discharged war veteran who is a resident of California with a 50% or more service-connected disability, or was held as a prisoner of war by forces hostile to the United States, or recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
How do I apply?
Download and complete a Distinguished Veteran Pass Application. Submit proof of service-connected disability rated at 50% or greater or provide documentation showing status as a former Prisoner of War or Medal of Honor recipient status along with a copy of the veteran's California Driver's License and a completed DPR Form DPR 619.
Veterans may apply in person at:
Park Pass Sales Office
1416 9th Street, Room 114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Veterans may also apply by mail. Send completed applications and required documentation to:
California State Parks Attn:
Distinguished Veteran Pass Program
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
* Please allow 8-10 weeks for processing. Once pass is received, you may use passcard for reservations and applicable benefits. The pass holder is required to present the Distinguished Veteran Pass and a valid California Driver License or other suitable photo identification, along with any campsite reservation or tour ticket, and to pay any supplemental fees at the park.
For questions or more information, please contact the Park Pass Sales Office at (800) 777-0369 ext. 2 or (916) 653-8280.
Fishing & Hunting Licenses
Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing and Hunting Licenses – Fee $8.38
Reduced-fee licenses are available for any honorably discharged veteran of the US Armed Forces with a service–connected disability rating of 50% or greater.
To prequalify to purchase a disabled veteran license, submit a letter from the Veteran’s Administration documenting that you were honorably discharged from the US military and have a service–connected disability rating of 50% or greater. After your eligibility has been verified, your customer record will be updated. Once you receive notification from the Department that your customer record has been updated, you will be able to purchase a low cost disabled veteran sport fishing license and/or hunting license anywhere licenses are sold.
Recovering Service Member Sport Fishing and Hunting Licenses - Fee $8.38
Reduced-fee hunting licenses are available for recovering service members. The Fish and Game Code defines a recovering service member as a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy and is in an outpatient status while recovering from a serious injury or illness related to the member’s military service.
Submit a letter from your commanding officer or from a military medical doctor verifying your eligibility as a recovering service member. Please have your commanding officer or military medical doctor include the expected recovery date in your verification letter. The Department will enter this date into your customer profile and allow you to renew your license until this date without submitting another letter from your commanding officer or doctor.
How to Prequalify for a Disabled Veteran or Recovering Service Member License
Send a photocopy of your identification and documentation of eligibility by:
- Mail or apply in person at any CDFW license sales office
- Fax at (916) 419-7585
- Secure document upload - To upload your documentation, you must request a secure document upload. Send your request for a secure document upload to LRB@wildlife.ca.gov. You will receive a response with a link to upload your documentation securely. DO NOT send your documents via email.
- Identification -
- Your driver’s license; and
- Your GO ID number (from your previously issued ALDS fishing or hunting license). If you do not have a GO ID number, create a customer record online to obtain a GO ID number.
- A letter documenting you eligibility
- Disabled Veterans must submit a letter from the Veteran’s Administration.
- Recovering Service Members must submit a letter from their Commanding Officer or a military doctor.
- Telephone number
- Email address (optional, but may expedite issuance)
- For hunting licenses only - proof of hunter education (Proof is not needed if you purchased a California hunting license after 2011. CDFW will have your hunter education on file.