What kind of Florida veterans’ benefits can you or a loved one receive? Finding all of the benefits you can claim can be difficult if you don’t know where to look or don’t have the time. Not to worry – we’re here to help! Let’s take a look at these state-specific veterans’ benefits together.
Florida Veterans Benefits for Education
Out-of-state tuition fees are waived for honorably discharged veterans who live in Florida and who are enrolled in Florida public post-secondary institutions. Post-secondary institutions include universities, colleges, community colleges, career/technical schools, vocational/trade schools, apprenticeship programs, campus transition programs, and centers for continuing education. The out-of-state tuition and fee waiver also applies to veterans’ spouses and dependent children as long as they also live in Florida and use GI Bill benefits for their enrollment.
Active Duty members who are living or stationed outside of Florida can also benefit from out-of-state tuition fee waivers.
If you or a loved one have a Purple Heart (or a combat-related decoration superior to the Purple Heart), Florida will waive your undergraduate-level tuition for state universities, community colleges, and career/technical training facilities.
Priority course registration for Florida state colleges and universities is a benefit provided for veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children so long as they are receiving GI Bill benefits.
Here is a link that provides more information on the benefits listed above and what you need in order to qualify.
Florida also offers scholarship opportunities if you are the spouse or dependent child of a veteran who died from a service-connected disability or who is 100% permanently and totally disabled due to their service. Dependent children of service members who are Missing in Action or Prisoners of War may also be able to receive tuition benefits. Here is a link to a website that provides more information on state scholarship and grant programs. Once you are on that website, look for the link titled “Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans”.
Current members of the U.S. Armed Forces and honorably discharged veterans can earn academic college credit for college-level training and education they acquire through the military. You should consult your desired or local college for further details on how to receive this benefit. You can find links to the college offices to contact for consultation as well as additional information at this link.
Honorably discharged veterans who joined the U.S. Armed Forces before finishing their high school education can be awarded a high school diploma. You can visit this link or call (850) 245-0446 for more information.
Florida Veterans Benefits for Healthcare
According to floridavets.org, the “VA provides hospital care covering the full range of medical services to veterans. Eligible veterans may receive medical treatment at any VA Medical Center or Outpatient Clinic/Community Based Clinic in Florida.”
The VA has 7 medical centers in Florida, which can be found in:
- Bay Pines
- Lake City
- West Palm Beach
There are also about 50 outpatient clinics and more than 24 vet centers for counseling in Florida that are run by the VA.
You or a loved one can enroll in the VA healthcare system for five years from the date of discharge or release. This applies to combat veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after January 28th, 2003. Activated Reservists and National Guard members are also eligible for this benefit if they were not discharged in dishonorable conditions and they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after November 11th, 1998.
As of November 2021, there are 21 regional Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) nationwide. These are systems of care in different regions that work together in order to meet local healthcare needs and provide better access to healthcare. There are two networks that serve Florida.
VISN 8 serves 60 counties in North, Central and South Florida. You can look for your county and find your local VISN 8 associated vet center at this link. You can also find VISN 8 associated health magazines, publications, and products here at this link.
VISN 16 serves the other 7 counties in Northwest Florida that are not covered by VISN 8. You can look for your county and find your local VISN 16 associated vet center at this link.
You can also visit this link to find a VA healthcare system, medical center, outpatient clinic, community service program, and national cemetery administration near you.
Florida Veterans Benefits for Finding Employment
There are several different ways current military members, veterans, and their family members can benefit from veterans’ preference in state employment. You can find a comprehensive list of who qualifies for employment preferences here.
Veterans can be eligible for unemployment compensation after they have completed their first term of obligated service under honorable conditions or after they are released at the convenience of the government. You can find out more at this link.
CareerSource Florida centers can help veterans, military members and their families find employment. They provide services such as interview preparation, resume writing assistance, job and training referrals, and assistance to homeless veterans. You can find out more here at this link.
VA for Vets helps veterans translate military skills into civilian skills, take career assessments, build their resumes, consult with coaches, conduct job services, and find information on reintegrating into the civilian workforce. More information can be found at their website.
Veterans Florida’s “Veterans Florida Career Services Team” can help with resume preparation, employment goals, and career opportunities. You can visit their website for more information and to register for their services.
The Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) and Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER) groups help veterans, transitioning service members, and eligible spouses by offering priority workforce services. Spouses of active duty members can also benefit from the Military Family Employment Program. You can call (850) 245-7424 or visit this link for more information.
Employ Florida Vets is an online job portal that helps match Florida veterans to jobs and opportunities that match the skills and experience they gained during service. You can call them at (866) 352-2345 or visit their website here at this link.
The Florida Department of Health provides programs that help veterans find jobs in health-related fields. The Veterans Application for Licensure Online Response (VALOR) system offers expedited healthcare practitioner licenses. There are also licensure fee waivers for military veterans and their spouses. If you or a loved one are planning to leave the military within the next 60 months or were honorably discharged within the past 60 months, the Florida Department of Health can assist you in finding employment. You can learn more by calling (850) 488-0595 or visiting this website. You can explore the job opportunities here at this link.
The Department of Defense offers the Troops to Teachers programs, which provides career transitions assistance services to former and current members of the military who want a career in public school teaching. You can request information about the Florida certification process and requirements by emailing [email protected] You can also register online at this link.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is the agency that issues licenses and regulates Florida businesses and professionals, such as veterinarians, real estate agents, and cosmetologists. They offer employment opportunities. You can contact them at [email protected] or visit this link to apply and learn more.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers an intern program and employment opportunities. You can contact them at [email protected] or visit this link for more information and to apply.
You can find and apply for open positions at the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs here at this link.
The Veterans Employment Center helps veterans and their families find employment and career opportunities at their website here.
More Florida Benefits
The floridavets.org website has more information on benefits for Florida veterans and may add new programs, services, and updates on the laws surrounding benefits frequently.
Learning to use the Florida Access system can also help connect you with other benefits, such as SNAP, temporary cash assistance, Medicaid, and refugee services.
You can also find Florida specific EBT discounts by reading this article.