Most benefits for military personnel and veterans are offered by the federal government. However, states can offer additional benefits and resources to veterans and military families. The Kansas Commission on Veterans’ Affairs Office (KCVAO) provides Kansas veterans and their families with information and assistance by coordinating programs and services to help them improve their quality of life. The KCVAO’s services range from helping veterans file claims for medical, educational, or other benefits to helping veterans obtain earned medals and military awards. KCVAO veterans’ services representatives are available, free of charge, to assist veterans and family members.
Tuition. Veterans, their spouses, and their children are considered residents by community colleges and Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) institutions. When such a person is using federal educational benefits to attend college, resides in or is assigned to a permanent duty station in Kansas, or previously established residence in Kansas prior to service and lives in Kansas at the time of enrollment, the person will be charged in-state tuition and fees regardless of length of residency.
Kansas offers free tuition and waives fees for dependents and unmarried widows and widowers of servicemembers killed in action while serving on or after September 11, 2001; dependents of those who are prisoners of war or missing in action; and dependents of those who died as a result of service-connected disabilities suffered during the Vietnam conflict.
Scholarships. Kansas offers scholarships for veterans, active duty military personnel, and Kansas National Guard members. In some cases, spouses and dependents of veterans also are eligible for scholarship consideration.
The Kansas Military Service Scholarship covers tuition and fees for certain active duty servicemembers and honorably discharged (or generally discharged under honorable conditions) veterans who deployed or received hostile fire pay for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001. The 90-day requirement may be waived if the servicemember was injured during such military service.
The Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance Program provides tuition and fee assistance for enlisted personnel in the Kansas Air or Army National Guard who are not under a suspension of favorable action flag, not currently on the unit unfavorable information file, have a high school diploma or GED, and have not already obtained a bachelor’s or higher academic degree.
Kansas offers Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships at KBOR institutions, Washburn University, and community colleges for students interested in becoming commissioned officers in the armed forces.
More information about educational resources available to veterans and military families can be found at:
- http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/Home/Benefit_Library/State__Territory_Benefits/Kansas.html; and
Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. Kansas has been a member of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission since 2008. The Compact addresses educational transition issues military families face when relocating to new duty stations. The Compact assists military families with enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility, and graduation. More information and points of contact are available at https://mic3.net/state-profiles/.
Veterans’ preference. Veterans who have been honorably discharged are to be preferred in initial employment and first promotion within city, county, and state government if “competent,” which is defined to mean “likely to successfully meet the performance standards of the position based on what a reasonable person knowledgeable in the operation of the position would conclude from all information available at the time the decision is made.” The veterans’ preference will also extend to spouses of veterans who have a 100-percent service-connected disability, surviving spouses (who have not remarried) of veterans killed in action or who died as result of injuries while serving, and the spouses of prisoners of war. Veterans’ preference does not apply to certain types of jobs, such as elected positions, city or county at-will positions, positions that require licensure as a physician, and positions that require the employee to be admitted to practice law in Kansas.
For more information regarding veterans’ preference, visit https://admin.ks.gov/services/state-employment-center/veterans.
Private veterans’ preference. Private employers may establish a veterans’ hiring preference in Kansas. The veterans’ preference must be in writing and must be consistently applied. Veterans are required to provide the employer with proof of military service and discharge under honorable conditions.
Pensions. State pension participants absent from state employment for military service may be granted up to five years of state service credit for their military service. An employee may buy up to six years of service credit that is not granted, and purchased service credit need not be preceded or followed by state employment.
Position reinstatement. An officer or employee of the State or any political subdivision does not forfeit that position when entering military service; instead, the job has a “temporary vacancy,” and the original jobholder is to be reinstated upon return. Anyone called or ordered to active duty by this state, or any other state’s reserve component, and who gives notice to his or her public or private employer and reports back to that employer within 72 hours of discharge, is to be reinstated to the former position (unless it was a temporary position). A state employee who returns to classified service within 90 days after an honorable discharge is to be returned to the same job or another job comparable in status and pay in the same geographic location. A state employee’s appointing authority may grant one or more pay step increases upon return.
Professional licenses—credit for military education and training. Statutes direct state agencies issuing professional licenses to accept from an applicant the education, training, or service completed in the military. The education, training, or service must be equal to the existing educational requirements established by the agency. The license may be granted even if the servicemember was discharged under less than honorable conditions. While this rule generally does not apply to the Board of Nursing, the Board of Emergency Medical Services, or the practice of law, there are special provisions for nurses and emergency medical technicians.
Additionally, Kansas has enacted the Interstate Compact for Recognition of Emergency Medical Personnel Licensure allowing Kansas to consider active and former servicemembers, in addition to their spouses, who hold a current valid and unrestricted National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification, as having the minimum training and examination requirements for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) licensure.
Kansas also allows a person to receive a license to practice barbering if they have been certified in a related industry by any branch of the U.S. military and completed a course of study in a licensed Kansas barber college or school.
Professional licenses—maintaining license while serving. A state license issued to engage in or practice an occupation or profession is valid while the licensee is in military service and for up to six months following release without the licensee paying a renewal fee, submitting a renewal application, or meeting continuing education or other license conditions. (This provision does not apply to licensees who engage in the licensed activity outside of the line of duty while in military service.) No such license may be revoked, suspended, or canceled for failure to maintain professional liability insurance or failure to pay the surcharge to the Health Care Stabilization Fund.
Expedited professional licenses—military servicemembers’ nonresident military spouses. Kansas professional licensing bodies are required to grant professional licenses to nonresident military spouses and servicemembers who hold professional licenses in other states, if the licensees meet certain requirements. These licenses must be issued within 60 days after a complete application is submitted.
Probationary licenses—servicemembers and military spouses. A servicemember or military spouse may have a license on a probationary basis for up to six months when the licensing body does not have licensure, registration, or certification by endorsement, reinstatement, or reciprocity, and the servicemember or military spouse meets certain criteria.
Temporary Bar admission for military spouses. Kansas Supreme Court Rule 712A grants applicants temporary admission to the Kansas Bar without a written examination if they are currently married to a military servicemember stationed in Kansas and have been admitted to the practice of law upon a written examination by the highest court of another state or in the District of Columbia.
Military leave for state employees. Benefits-eligible state employees who are members of a reserve component of the military are eligible for 30 working days of military leave with pay for active duty within a 12-month period beginning October 1 and ending on September 30 the following year.
State employee direct payment benefits. Benefits-eligible state employees who are on military leave as activated reserve component uniformed military personnel may be eligible for one-time activation payments of $1,500.
Additionally, benefits-eligible state employees who are called to full-time military duty and are mobilized and deployed may receive the difference between their military pay, plus most allowances, and their regular State of Kansas wages, up to $1,000 per pay period.
Housing and Care
Certain veterans, primarily those with disabilities, are eligible for housing and care at the Kansas Soldiers’ Home near Fort Dodge and the Kansas Veterans’ Home in Winfield. The KCVAO states priority for admission of veterans will be given on the basis of severity of medical care required. For more information, see:
- https://kcva.ks.gov/veteran-homes/fort-dodge-home; and
Life insurance. Basic life insurance, worth 150 percent of annual salary, continues while the employee is on active duty. An employee may continue to have optional life insurance by paying the premiums for 16 months; after such time, the policy may be converted to an individual policy.
Personal insurance. No personal insurance shall be subject to cancellation, non-renewal, premium increase, or adverse tier placement for the term of a deployment, based solely on that deployment.
Private health insurance. A Kansas resident with individual health coverage, who is activated for military service and therefore becomes eligible for government-sponsored health insurance, cannot be denied reinstatement to the same individual coverage following honorable discharge.
Property tax—deferral. An active duty servicemember who has orders to deploy, or is currently deployed, outside of the United States for at least six months may defer payment of taxes on real property for up to two years. A claim for the deferral must be filed with the county clerk.
Property tax—homestead. Certain disabled veterans and surviving spouses who do not remarry are eligible for the Homestead Property Tax Refund Program. Disabled veterans are those Kansas residents who have been honorably discharged from active duty in the armed forces or Kansas National Guard and who have been certified to have a 50 percent or more permanent service-connected disability. For more information, see article L-1 Homestead Program, available at http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Briefing-Book-2021.html.
Motor vehicle tax. Active duty servicemembers who are Kansas residents are not required to pay motor vehicle taxes for their first two vehicles if they maintain vehicles outside of the state and are absent from the state on military orders on the date the registration payment is due.
Driver’s license requirements—waiver. The Director of Vehicles and Kansas Department of Revenue may waive the skills test for an applicant for a commercial driver’s license, if that applicant provides evidence of certain military commercial vehicle driving experience. The applicant must not have been convicted of any offense (such as driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance) that would disqualify a civilian commercial driver. In addition, some state requirements for written and driving testing may be waived for an applicant for a Class M (motorcycle) driver’s license who has completed motorcycle safety training in accordance with U.S. Department of Defense requirements.
License plates. Kansas has several distinctive license plates available for veterans and family members. In some cases, those license plates may be provided at no cost. More information on military-related license plates is available at https://www.ksrevenue.org/dovplates.html.
Decals. Several decals depicting medals or combat ribbons are available to display on certain veterans’ license plates, and a wheelchair emblem decal may be affixed to a distinctive license plate to indicate the vehicle transports a person with a permanent disability, providing an alternative to the Disabled Veteran distinctive tag.
Parking privileges for disabled veterans. Veterans with disabled veterans license plates or wheelchair emblem decals may exercise free parking privileges in spaces reserved for disabled persons in public parking facilities and parking lots that employ parking attendants.
The U.S. Army’s official benefits website provides a general overview of military and veterans’ benefits in Kansas, along with contact information for some state agencies at:
The KBOR website lists scholarships available for military personnel, veterans, and spouses, along with the requirements for each scholarship:
The KCVAO’s website includes several resources for veterans and military personnel. The following links cover federal and state benefits, employment resources, and educational resources:
The Adjutant General’s Department’s Kansas Military Bill of Rights website lists benefits and services that Kansas provides to veterans and military personnel:
Additional information, including statutory citations when appropriate, is available at:
Natalie Nelson, Principal Research Analyst
Martin de Boer, Fiscal Analyst