Introduction to State Benefits

The South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (SDDVA) is a state agency which was created to assist military veterans, and their dependents, in preparing claims for benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits include, but are not limited to: compensation for service connected disabilities, hospital care at a VA Medical Center, pension benefits for certain wartime veterans, VA Home Loan programs, Burial Benefits, etc.

SDDVA representatives can be contacted at the office in Sioux Falls – phone # (605) 333-6869 or in Pierre – phone # (605) 773-3269.

In addition, each county in South Dakota has a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) and some of the reservations have a Tribal Veterans Service Officer (TVSO). These individuals serve as the local contact person for our states veterans and their dependants and they provide assistance with making application for the various benefits programs that are available. The majority of these offices are located in the respective county courthouse or Tribal office.

Brief descriptions of some of the benefits and the respective link can be found on the slideout menus under state benefits.

By Statute a Veteran is Defined as:


SDCL 33A-2-1 & 33A-2-2

33A-2-1. For the purposes of all statutes relating to rights, privileges, ceremonial recognition, exemptions, and benefits (except a state bonus) of veterans and their dependents, the term, veteran, means any person who:
            (1)    Has served the full obligation for active duty, reserve, or National Guard service in the military, or received an early discharge for a medical condition, hardship, reduction in force, or at the convenience of the military; and
            (2)    Has been separated or discharged from such service honorably or under honorable conditions.  For purposes of this section, the term, benefits, includes veterans designation on a driver license or identification card, veterans license plates, veterans job preference, and burial benefits pursuant to §§ 33A-5-2 and 33A-5-3.


33A-2-2.   Wartime veteran and qualifying military service defined. For purposes of all statutes relating to rights, privileges, exemptions, and benefits of wartime veterans and their dependents, the term, wartime veteran, means any veteran who has performed qualifying military service or any person who has performed qualifying military service and then been released to any National Guard or Reserve component of the armed forces of the United States. Qualifying military service is:

             (1)      Active duty in the armed forces of the United States for one day or more during the period from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918, inclusive;

             (2)      Active duty for one day or more during the period from July 28, 1914, to November 11, 1918, inclusive, performed by a citizen of the United States in the armed forces of any nation that was allied with the United States during any part of the period from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918, inclusive;

             (3)      Active duty in the armed forces of the United States for one day or more during the period from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946, inclusive;

             (4)      Active duty for one day or more during the period from September 1, 1939, to December 31, 1946, inclusive, performed by a citizen of the United States in the armed forces of any nation that was allied with the United States during any part of the period from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946, inclusive;

             (5)      Active duty in the armed forces of the United States for one day or more during the period from June 25, 1950, to May 7, 1975, inclusive;

             (6)      Active duty in the armed forces of the United States for one day or more during the period from August 2, 1990, until the end of hostilities as determined by the Legislature;

             (7)      Active duty in the armed forces of the United States for one day or more in a military action for which the veteran earned an armed forces expeditionary medal or other United States campaign, expeditionary, or service medal awarded for participation outside the boundaries of the United States in combat operations against hostile forces; or

             (8)      Active duty in the armed forces of the United States for one day or more if the veteran has established the existence of a service-connected disability.

     Service on active duty by any Reserve or National Guard personnel for training may not be construed as service on active duty, unless the Veterans Commission determines, by rules promulgated pursuant to chapter 1-26, that such training involved the person in direct participation in or direct support of combat operations against a hostile force.

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