If you’ve never kept a New Year’s resolution, Army Echoes wants to change that with one that’s simple, yet could turn out to be to your advantage. Resolve right now to go to the MyArmyBenefits website (http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/) and check out your state benefits. These days nothing seems constant, so why should your benefits be any different? Lucky for you, the MyArmyBenefits team keeps track of changes, and state benefits fact sheets are updated annually. These are changes that can affect your pocketbook, or how much tax you pay, or your family’s eligibility for a benefit.
For example, did you know a law has just taken effect that requires any state supported college that accepts Post 9/11 GI Bill money from the federal government to do so at the in-state resident tuition rate? That could have a huge impact on your education costs. It still remains within the state’s purview whether or not that rate applies to dependents – so you need to check. The current Louisiana fact sheet captures the state’s increased focus on jobs, giving you information on the many new business-oriented initiatives that have become available to veterans; it also reflects the recent complete makeover of state benefits web addresses.
In fact, all states have unique benefits they offer to military and, especially, to veterans. A Purple Heart license tag gets you free parking in Missouri; Florida and Virginia offer lifetime hunting and freshwater fishing licenses to veterans and retirees who are totally and permanently disabled; Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wyoming all exempt military retired pay from state taxes, and numerous other states offer partial exemptions of various amounts. These benefits change all the time.
If you need encouragement in making your resolution, here’s a sneak peek for this New Year: on 1 January 2016, Missouri increased the amount of military pensions that are tax free to 100%, and Kentucky changed the property tax exemption to $36,900 for those over age 65 or who have a 100% disability. So make a resolution you won’t break -- you don’t have to log in or use your CAC – anyone can go there; it’s just a click away at http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil! Happy New Year!!