Missouri is home to over 400,000 veterans who served our country bravely. Many face service-related injuries and illnesses that impact their ability to work and earn an income.
As a Missouri veteran coping with disability, you may be entitled to financial and health support. This guide covers the main state and federal disability programs for veterans and how to access additional benefits you deserve.
VA Disability Compensation
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides tax-free monthly compensation to veterans with a condition incurred in or aggravated by active duty service. The amount depends on your disability rating from 0-100%. You must have a discharge other than dishonorable to qualify.
In Missouri, apply for VA disability online, by mail, or at the St. Louis Regional Office. If approved, you’ll get retroactive pay to your application date or one year earlier.
Rates for 2022 range from $144 to $3,332 monthly. VA disability also brings other benefits like healthcare, employment services, and federal hiring preference.
Missouri Veterans Homes Program
The Missouri Veterans Commission operates seven state veterans homes that provide skilled nursing care to eligible veterans. These homes aim to serve veterans in need of assistance with daily living activities and health care.
To qualify for admission to a Missouri veterans home, applicants must:
- Have an honorable military discharge
- Have lived in Missouri for at least 180 days
- Require skilled nursing services
If space allows, admission may also be granted to qualified spouses of service members and surviving spouses of veterans.
The seven veterans homes are located in:
- Cape Girardeau
- Mt. Vernon
- St. James
- St. Louis
These facilities offer around-the-clock skilled nursing care, physical rehabilitation, personal care assistance, and recreational activities. The homes aim to provide veterans with compassionate, person-centered care in a comfortable environment.
The Veterans Commission oversees operation of the homes and has nurses, social workers, and other staff on-site. Limited financial assistance is available for veterans who cannot afford the full cost of care.
Veterans interested in applying to a Missouri veterans home can contact the Missouri Veterans Commission or a VA medical center social worker for information on eligibility and the application process. These state homes provide important long-term care options for veterans in need.
SSI and SSDI Benefits for Eligible Veterans
The Social Security Administration runs two disability programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Unlike VA benefits, SSI and SSDI do not require your disability to be service-connected. But you must meet Social Security’s strict disability definition.
SSI pays monthly income to low-income seniors 65+ and individuals of any age who are blind or disabled. In Missouri in 2023, the maximum federal SSI rate is $914 for one person.
SSDI supports disabled individuals with a work history who paid Social Security taxes. Your benefit amount will be based on your lifetime average earnings. In 2023, the average SSDI payment is $1,371 per month. SSDI is not reduced by unearned income.
You can apply for SSI or SSDI concurrently with VA disability. If low-income with limited work history, SSI provides critical income support and automatic Medicaid enrollment. With an earnings record, SSDI offers higher payments and Medicare after a two-year wait.
Missouri Veteran Expedited Disability Claim Processing
Make sure to inform the Social Security Administration if:
- You have a 100% permanent and total disability rating from the VA. This qualifies you for fast-tracked SSI/SSDI processing.
- Your disability resulted from a post-9/11 combat injury while on active duty. Social Security offers prompt processing for wounded warriors.
State Benefits for Missouri Veterans
Beyond federal benefits, the State of Missouri provides additional assistance to service-connected disabled veterans:
Missouri Veteran Financial Benefits
Missouri Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay: Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be subject to Missouri income tax. Some of the payments which are considered disability benefits include:
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to Veterans or their Families
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
- Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of limbs, or
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
Property Tax Credit – Veterans rated 100% permanent and totally disabled by the VA can qualify for a credit covering a portion of their Missouri resident property taxes or rent paid. Credits for property tax credits up to $750 for renters or $1,100 for homeowners are available based on income and expenses.
Missouri Veteran Recreation Benefits
Hunting and Fishing Licenses – Permanently disabled veterans can fish and hunt small game without a permit in Missouri. Carry your VA disability award letter when hunting/fishing.
State Parks - Veterans with a permanent 100% disability can get a 50% discount on camping and activity fees at most Missouri state parks.
Missouri State Veterans Cemeteries - Honorably discharged veterans meeting the military service eligibility requirements and their spouse and children may be buried in a state cemetery
Employment Services – Workforce offices across Missouri offer job placement help for vets. Those with service-connected disabilities get priority access to programs like apprenticeships, training, and vocational rehabilitation.
Educational Opportunities Through The Missouri Returning Heroes Act
The Missouri Returning Heroes Act provides discounted college tuition rates for post-9/11 combat veterans who are Missouri residents. Eligible veterans can receive undergraduate tuition of $50 per credit hour at any public university or college in the state. For graduate programs, tuition is capped at 30% of the total cost.
To qualify, veterans must have served in a combat zone after September 11, 2001 and have an honorable discharge. The reduced tuition can be used for up to 8 semesters of undergraduate study and must be completed within 20 years of discharge from active military service. Veterans must meet GPA requirements set by the school to keep receiving the discount each year.
The Missouri Returning Heroes Act makes higher education more affordable for veterans by significantly reducing the tuition rate at public universities and colleges. This allows veterans who served in combat after 9/11 to pursue college degrees in their state of residence.
Other Key Missouri State Veteran Benefits
Missouri also offers veteran benefits including:
- In-state college tuition rates for veterans, spouses, and dependents
- Tax-free military retirement pay and SBP benefits
- Vehicle property tax credit for 100% disabled veterans
- Expedited commercial driver exam (CDL) testing
- 5-10 point preference on state employment exams
- Free licenses and state park discounts for disabled veterans
Make sure to also utilize federal programs including VA Pension, Aid and Attendance, Health Care, and VOC Rehab when eligible.
Applying for Missouri Disability Benefits
The process of obtaining the disability benefits you deserve can be lengthy and confusing. Avoid denial or delay by getting experienced help:
- Work with an accredited VA claims agent or disability lawyer to assist with your VA claim or appeal.
- Contact a Social Security disability representative to navigate your SSI/SSDI application using the SOAR model.
- Connect with Missouri veterans organizations like VFW, American Legion, or DAV for help accessing state and federal benefits.
- Call the St. Louis VA Regional Office at 800-827-1000 for guidance on VA disability benefits.
- Reach out to the Missouri Veterans Commission to learn about state programs for disabled vets.
- Use the Veterans Crisis Line (988) if you need support dealing with the claims process.
Additional Benefits for Disabled Missouri Veterans
Along with VA disability compensation, permanently disabled veterans in Missouri may qualify for supplemental assistance including:
- Medicaid covers healthcare costs like doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospital care. Even veterans with VA benefits can use Medicaid to fill coverage gaps.
- VA Vocational Rehabilitation provides job training and employment services to help disabled vets find suitable work.
- SNAP provides food aid for low-income disabled veterans and their households
Applying for these programs involves submitting applications, medical evidence, and financial documentation. Get help from benefits advisors to avoid denial.
Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program
Disabled veterans in Missouri may qualify for FREE cell phone service from providers like EASY Wireless through the Lifeline and ACP programs.
Disabled veterans who receive VA benefits or have limited income may qualify for Lifeline and ACP, making mobile service and home internet more affordable.
Who is EASY Wireless?
EASY Wireless is a veteran-owned Lifeline and ACP authorized wireless provider serving the community for over 20 years. Our network runs on the same towers as the big national carriers ensuring quality high-speed and reliable service.
Who is Eligible?
Those getting VA disability compensation or pension benefits may be eligible. You can also qualify through programs like SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, or qualifying income levels.
Once approved for these programs through EASY Wireless, veterans can receive:
- FREE Unlimited Talk, Text, Data
- Option to keep your current number or get a new one
- No activation fees and a FREE SIM card kit
- Automatic enrollment in our EASY Rewards Program
Applying takes just a few minutes online or at a retail location. Visit the EASY Wireless website to apply for your FREE service.
Or visit one of Our Retail Stores in Missouri
Find a retail store near you with our Retail Store Locator.
These federal programs make mobile service accessible for veterans in need.
Get the Benefits You Deserve
With persistence and the right assistance, Missouri veterans can access the full spectrum of disability benefits available – from VA compensation to Social Security to valuable state programs. This financial and health support provides a critical lifeline to vets facing long-term limitations from service-related conditions. Don’t leave earned veterans benefits out on the table.