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
South Dakota Codified Laws (SDCL) 33A-2-1 defines a veteran as any person who has served on continuous federalized active military duty for a period of at least 90 days, for reasons other than training, and who was separated or discharged honorably or under honorable conditions.
SDCL 33A-2-2 defines a wartime veteran as any person who has performed qualifying military service as follows:

- Active duty for one day, or more, between the dates of:

  • April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 OR;
  • July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918 for any US citizen serving on active duty with an allied nation.

- Active duty for one day, or more, between the dates of:

  • December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946 OR;
  • September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946 for any US citizen serving on active duty with an allied nation.

- Active duty for one day, or more, between the dates of:

  • June 25, 1950 to May 7, 1975

- Active duty for one day, or more, between the dates of:

  • August 2, 1990 to Date to be determined.

- Any military service during which the individual received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or other United States campaign, expeditionary, or service medal awarded for participation in combat operations against hostile forces outside the boundaries of the United States.
- Veterans who rated as service connected by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are eligible for state veterans benefits regardless of when they served on active duty.
NOTE: Active duty for training by National Guardsmen and Reservists is not considered as active duty time for state veteran benefit purposes.

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