ST. PAUL (AP) - State officials say a property tax break has been extended to five years for the surviving spouses of disabled Minnesota veterans.

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito says he hopes the extension will help ease the financial burden on the families of veterans with permanent and total disabilities.

In Minnesota, military veterans with permanent, total disabilities connected to their service may receive a value exclusion of up to $300,000 on their homestead for property tax purposes.

Previously, the spouse of a qualifying veteran who died could receive the exclusion for two years after the veteran's death. This year's tax bill extends that period to five years.

To receive the exclusion, surviving spouses must apply for the program through their county assessors and reapply each year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)