Alabama Laws Affecting Veterans

Other Benefits

ARMED FORCES VOTER REGISTRATION AND ABSENTEE VOTING

Members of the Armed Forces of the United States and their dependents may register and receive an absentee ballot for voting in the county of their Alabama permanent address by completing the Federal Post Card Application form (FPCA, Standard Form 76). This form may be obtained from the military unit's voting officer. The completed form should be mailed to the Board of Registrars in the county of his/her Alabama permanent address. See also Ala. Code §§ 17-11-3(a)(5) (b); 17-11-4).

[Act No. 2011-619 provides for the opportunity for overseas absentee voting in certain circumstances. Contact the Office of the Alabama Secretary of State for more information at 334.242.7200 or visit their website at www.sos.alabama.gov


BUSINESS OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE EXEMPTIONS FOR DISABLED VETERANS

Any bona fide permanent resident of Alabama who is a veteran of WWII or at any time past, present or future, when the Uni ed States was, is or shall be engaged in hostilities with any foreign state and who has physical disabilities of 25% or more whether service-connected or not, may be exempt from business or occupational license taxes.  A veteran who conducts his/her business as a means of livelihood through his/her personal efforts and has no more than one employee shall be entitled to licenses from the state/county/municipality to carry on such business upon the payment of license taxes that shall not exceed $25.00. However, a veteran whose property (both real and personal) is valued at $5,000.00 or more or whose net income is $2,500.00 or more is not entitled to these business and occupational license exemptions. Ala. Code §§ 40-12-340-352)


COMMITMENT OF INCOMPETENT VETERANS

Whenever it appears that an incompetent veteran of any war, military occupation or expedition is eligible for treatment in a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and commitment to such facility is necessary for the proper care and treatment of such veteran, the courts of this state are hereby authorized to communicate with the administration with reference to available facilities and eligibility and, upon receipt of a certificate from the administration stating that there are facilities available in a VAMC, is entitled to hospitalization therein, the court may then direct such veteran's commitment to such hospital. Notice of such pending proceedings shall be furnished the person so committed, and his/her right to appear and defend shall not be denied. Ala. Code § 26-9-13)


EXECUTIVE ATTESTATION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT CERTIFICATION

Acknowledgments, proofs of conveyance and affidavits may be taken by certain government, state or municipal officials or by any commissioned officer of any of the Armed Forces of the United States, within or outside the limits of the United States.  When such acknowledgment is taken by the latter, the official seal of the officer before whom it is acknowledged shall have the same effect as an acknowledgment in the manner and form preserved by the laws of this state for instruments executed in this state. Ala. Code §§ 35-4-26(a)(b))


EXEMPTION OF DEBTS INCURTED PURSUANT TO NATIONAL HOUSING ACT OR VETERANS' BENEFITS

All debts or extensions of credit incurred pursuant to any provision of the act of Congress known as the National Housing Act, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended or supplemented, and all debts or extensions of credit incurred pursuant to any act of Congress relating to veterans' benefits, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended or supplemented, are exempt from any law of this state relating to usury or prescribing or limiting interest rates. (Ala. Code § 8-8-6(a))


FIDUCIARIES IN WAR SERVICE

Any fiduciary engaged in wartime service may be removed from his/her office as such upon petition filed in the proper court having jurisdiction and again serve as such fiduciary at any time after the termination of his/her wartime service upon petition of the court. (Ala. Code §§ 19-2-2-3)


DISABLED MILITARY VETERAN'S APPRECIATION FRESHWATER FISHING LICENSE

Alabama law allows a discounted fishing license for an Alabama resident to fish the freshwaters of Alabama.  The veteran must be certified by the USDVA to be 20% or more disabled.  The veteran is required to present certification of the disability from the USDVA.  The discounted license can be issued at an Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries District Office, Probate Office, or License Commissioner’s Office. (Ala. Code § 9-11-54) NOTE: Alabama law does not provide for a discounted hunting license.


GUARDIANSHIP FOR VETERANS AND MINOR DEPENDENTS 

The Uniform Veterans' Guardianship Act provides for the appointment of a guardian for veterans and their minor dependents who are mentally or physically incapacitated. This Act outlines the appointment process, duties, responsibilities, limits, taxing of costs and fees of guardianship. The control and accountability of the beneficiary's estate and income include only moneys received by the guardian from the USDVA and all earnings, interest and profits derived. (Ala. Code §§ 26-9-1 et seq.


OPERATION RECOGNITION – HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA


 The State Superintendent of Education may award a standard high school diploma to any honorably discharged veteran who served in the United States Armed Forces at anytime between the following dates:

            December 7, 1941 - January 1, 1946

            June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955

            November 15, 1961 – March 28, 1973

Veteran must have been a resident of Alabama prior to entry into the United States Armed Forces and entry into the United States Armed Forces interrupted their high school attendance and prevented them from graduation.

Interested veterans or family members should contact the high school principal’s office of the veteran’s former high school, or the County Superintendent of Education to make application for the diploma. (Ala. Code § 16-1-37)


JOB STATUS AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS

Those state employees who are not in the classified service, upon being called into or entering the military service, shall have the same rights and privileges as to reemployment by the state or any department thereof as are granted to those employees in the classified service.  (Ala. Code § 36-26-33)

State, county, and municipal officials, who enter the military or naval service at a time when a state of national emergency has been declared to exist by the President of the United States, have preservation of job status and reemployment rights. Ala. Code 36-8-1-6)

Any teacher entering military service at a time when there is an existing state of war between the United States and any other country shall be granted a leave of absence for the duration of the war and until the beginning of the school year next succeeding the date on which said teacher is released from military service.

Any teacher entering the military service of the United States, who is not on continuing service status but who has accumulated one or more years of teaching experience immediately prior to entering military service, shall be given credit for such experience if such teacher returns to said position within one year after release from military service. Contact the local school board for information on required notices and forms. (Ala. Code 16-24-13)


MEMBERSHIP IN STATE EMPLOYEES'/TEACHERS' RETIREMENT SYSTEM

Retirement benefits rights of state employees and teachers who enter the Armed Forces and return to state employment after discharge are preserved. A member who enters the armed services and does not withdraw contributions, and who returns to said employment within one year after being honorably discharged, may be granted credit for military service up to four years, provided the employee pays an amount equal to four percent of the average compensation paid to a state employee during each claimed year of full-time military service, plus and together there with eight percent interest compounded from the last date of such claimed military service. The contributions must be made within a period of time equal to the length of service in the armed forces or before attainment of age 60, or in the case of a state policeman, age 56, whichever occurs first. No credit for military service shall be granted if such member is receiving military service retirement benefits. Ala. Code §§ 36-27-4(d)-(f); 16-25-3(d) (e))


COMBAT PAY INCOME TAX EXEMPTION

Money paid by the United States to a person as compensation for active service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat zone designed by executive order of the President of the United States shall not be subject to income taxes levied by the State of Alabama for the calendar year 1965 or any subsequent year. Ala. Code § 40-18-3)


MILITARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE

All officers and employees of the State of Alabama, or of any county, municipality, or other agency or political subdivision thereof, who shall be active members of the Alabama National Guard, naval militia, the Alabama State Guard organized in lieu of the National Guard, the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force known as the Civil Air Patrol, the National Disaster Medical System, or of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, shall be entitled to a military leave of absence from their respective civil duties and occupations on all days that they are engaged in field or coast defense or other training or on other service ordered under the National Defense Act, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, or of the federal laws governing the United States reserves, without loss of pay, time, efficiency rating, annual vacation, or sick leave, but no such person granted such leave of absence with pay shall be paid for more than 21 working days (168 working hours) per calendar year. (Ala. Code § 31-2-13(a))


MILITARY FAMILY RELIEF FUND

This law prohibits a mortgagee from initiating a foreclosure against the surviving spouse or estate of a mortgagor who dies while deployed overseas on active duty military service for 180 days after the death. Civil penalties against a violator are deposited into the Military Family Relief Fund, which the ADVA may use to assist military families.(Ala. Code § 35-10-71)


MILITARY RETIREE INCOME TAX EXEMPTION

Effective January 1, 1989, and for all successive tax years, all compensation received as retirement benefits by any person retired from the military service of the United States of America and survivor benefits derived there from are hereby exempt from any state, county or municipal income tax or similar tax. (Ala. Code § 40-18-20)


NOTICE OF ARMED FORCES DEATH

A written notice or communication from the Department of Defense, the Adjutant General of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy or other officer charged with the duty of sending such notice or communication to the effect that any person in the Armed Forces of our country, or serving as auxiliary thereto, is dead shall be accepted as prima facie evidence of the death of such person. (Ala. Code § 12-21-90)


OFFICIAL REPORT OF MISSING PERSON

An official written report or record, or duly certified copy thereof, that a person is missing, missing in action, interned in a neutral county, or beleaguered, besieged or captured by an enemy or is dead or is alive, made by any officer or employee of the United States authorized by any law of the United States to make same, shall be received in any court, office or other place in this state as prima facie evidence that such a person is missing, missing action, interned in a neutral country, or beleaguered, besieged or captured by the enemy or is dead or is alive, as the case may be. Ala. Code § 12-21-91(a))


PEACE OFFICERS CREDIT FOR MILITARY SERVICE

Any peace officer who becomes a member of the Alabama Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund and who left employment and entered directly into the Armed Forces of the United States and who returned to work as a peace officer within six months after release or discharge shall receive prior employment service credit for service in the military not to exceed five years. (Ala. Code § 36-21-69)


PREFERENCE IN STATE CLASSIFIED EMPLOYMENT

All persons who have been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces at any time shall have 5 points added to any earned ratings in examination for entrance to the state classified service. Honorably discharged veterans with the present existence of a service-connected disability and entitled to pension, compensation or disability allowance under existing laws shall have 10 points added to any earned ratings. Wives and widows of certain disabled or deceased veterans may have the 10-point preference extended to them and added to any earned ratings. Veterans also receive preference on the classified service employment registers over non-veterans with the same ratings. Ala. Code § 36-26-15(b))


PUBLIC RECORDS

One copy of any public record (birth or marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.) is furnished free of charge to an applicant when required by the USDVA to be used in determining the eligibility of any person to participate in benefits made available by his/her federal agency. Ala. Code § 26-9-12)


RECORDING OF DISCHARGES

Honorable discharges and certificates of honorable service are recorded free of charge by probate judges. Any person who holds a release from active duty, or DD Form 214, from the United States Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, or Marine Corps may present the DD Form 214 to the judge of probate of the county wherein he or she resides, and the judge of probate shall cause the same to be recorded at no charge.


When a release from active duty is recorded as provided by this law, the record of certified copies of a DD Form 214 appearing in the book of record shall be confidential. It shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of any such record, to disclose information contained in any such record, or to issue a copy of all or any part of such record except as authorized herein or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon presentation of proper identification, any of the following persons may examine the record or obtain free of charge a copy or certified copy of all or part of the record:

The person who is the subject of the record.

 

b.      The spouse or next of kin of the person who is the subject of the record.

 

c.    A person named in an appropriate power of attorney executed by the person who is the subject of the record.

 

d.      The administrator, executor, guardian, or legal representative of the person who is the subject of the record.

 

e.    An attorney for any person specified in paragraphs a. to d., inclusive.

 

f.     A County VSO or an Assistant County VSO.


 Records kept pursuant to this law shall not be reproduced or used in whole or in part for any commercial or speculative purpose.  Any individual, agency, or court which obtains information shall not disseminate or disclose such information or any part thereof except as authorized herein or otherwise by law.  A violation of this law shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).  (Ala. Code § 31-1-1)


TUITION WAIVER - PURPLE HEART MEDAL RECIPIENTS

Public institutions of higher learning in the State of Alabama, including two-year and four-year postsecondary technical colleges, community colleges, and junior colleges, may waive tuition and fees for recipients of the Purple Heart Medal for undergraduate studies.  Contact the public institution that the recipient plans to attend for more information. Ala. Code § 16-1-43)


UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

A person who served in the Armed Forces of the United States and who is unemployed may be entitled to unemployment compensation based on his/her honorable military or naval service.  Contact the nearest State Unemployment Compensation Claims Office.  Pension or disability payments provided by the United States to the individuals who have completed the period of military service may disqualify such individual from receiving unemployment compensation. Ala. Code §§ 25-4-1, et seq.; 25-4-78)


VALIDATION OF MARRIAGE OF DIVORCED PERSONS

Marriages of all persons subsequent to a divorce decree granted in the state and not prohibiting the person from remarrying, are declared to be valid, notwithstanding that the decree of divorce did not specifically confer on such person the right to remarry. Ala. Code § 30-2-9)


WILLS

The will of a person, executed while in the Armed Forces, is admitted to probate when subscribing witness or witnesses are out of the state at the time the will is offered for probate; or when places of address of witnesses are unknown, upon the oath of at least three credible persons that the signature to said will is in the handwriting of the person whose will it intends to be. Such will is acceptable when so proved. Ala. Code § 43-8-167(b))