Ohio ranks low in U.S. for military retirees, report shows

Participants and company officials talk during RecruitMilitary’s All-Veteran Career Fair in 2016 in southwest Ohio. CONTRIBUTED
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Participants and company officials talk during RecruitMilitary’s All-Veteran Career Fair in 2016 in southwest Ohio. CONTRIBUTED

Ohio ranks 35th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the best places for military retirees to live, the website WalletHub has determined.

In a report released Monday, WalletHub cited three main areas it ranked to reach the conclusion: economic environment, quality of life and health care.

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The ranking was a slight nudge upward for Ohio, which was ranked 36 in a 2014 WalletHub report.

In 2017, Florida was judged the best state for military retirees and the District of Columbia was ranked at the bottom of the list, just below New Jersey, WalletHub said.

Ohio, which exempts military retirement pay from the state’s income tax, scored first for a lack of state taxes on military pensions, and got another first place for the presence of veteran treatment courts, according to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

The Buckeye State’s lowest score was for the number of military bases and installations per 100,000 veterans, ranking 43rd nationally, according to Gonzalez.

Ohio has about 47,000 military retirees, and more than 20,700 of those served in the Air Force, the most of any service branch, according to the most recently released Department of Defense figures.

A military retiree generally has served 20 years or more in uniform to receive a full pension and retirement benefits. Ohio has nearly 800,000 veterans who served in the armed forces.

Among states bordering Ohio, Pennsylvania ranked the 16th best place for military retirees, followed by Michigan holding the 23rd spot, Indiana at 37th and West Virginia near the bottom in 45th place, the report said.

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The analysis examined 22 indicators among three equally judged categories to come up with a score to determine “retirement friendliness toward veterans.”

WalletHub researchers also looked at Defense Department contracts per capita; job opportunities and hiring preference for veterans; housing affordability and cost of living, among several factors to determine economic environment.

Among highlights of qualify of life issues, the report investigated the share of homeless veterans; VA benefit administration facilities; recreation and leisure activities; quality of universities; and “idealness of weather.”

In health care, issues evaluated included the number and quality of VA health facilities; federal, state, local, private hospitals and doctors per capita; and the presence of veterans treatment courts.

In one past Nerd Wallet survey, a Dayton region suburb has scored highly for veterans. The website named Beavercreek the best place for veterans in 2015, highlighting economic opportunity, support from veterans service organizations and the proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton VA Medical Center.

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