Maine provides exclusive advantages for service members, veterans, and their families. These benefits encompass property tax exemptions, tax relief, employment aid, preferential employment opportunities, tuition support, reduced fees for state parks and campgrounds, specialized vehicle license plates, as well as privileges for hunting and fishing. Eligibility for certain benefits may hinge on factors such as residency, military component, and disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Maine.
Maine Veteran Financial Benefits
- Maine Military Retired Pay Income Taxes: Maine does not tax military retired pay.
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) does not withhold taxes for state or local income tax, but it is reported annually on IRS Form 1099-R. All TSP distributions are subject to state taxes, and early distributions may incur higher taxes.
- Maine Income Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay received by a Maine resident Service member serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed outside of Maine is exempt from state income tax.
- Maine Nonresident Military Spouse Income Tax Exemption: Eligible nonresident military spouses do not have to pay Maine income tax for wages earned in Maine.
- Maine Income Tax on Military Disability Retirement Pay: Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity, or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income. Some of the payments that are considered disability benefits include:
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to Veterans or their families
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
- Subsidies for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of limbs
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
- Maine State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.
- Maine State Tax Exemption for Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP): SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP annuities are not taxed in Maine.
- Maine State Tax Benefits for Service Members Serving in a Combat Zone: Maine follows many federal tax rules for pay received by a Service member serving in a combat zone (receiving hostile fire and imminent danger pay).
- Pay excluded from federal adjusted gross income earned while serving in a combat zone is also excluded from Maine income tax.
- Service members who die in a terrorist act, in combat, or as a result of injuries received in combat are exempt from Maine taxes for the year that they died; any previously paid taxes are refunded
- The deadline for filing Maine income tax returns and paying taxes due is extended for 180 days after:
- On the last day, they served in a combat zone
- Last day of any continuous hospitalization for injury from service in a combat zone (or were injured performing qualifying service outside the combat zone)
In addition to the 180-day extension, the deadline is extended by the days left to file or pay taxes when a Service member enters a combat zone.
- Maine Veterans Property Tax Exemptions: Maine offers a $6,000 property tax exemption to eligible Veterans, disabled Veterans, surviving spouses, surviving minor children, and surviving parents. Paraplegic Veterans and their family members may be eligible for a $50,000 property tax exemption if they meet eligibility requirements.Applicants must notify their tax assessors in writing and provide official documentation as proof of eligibility; this notification is only required with the first application.
- Veteran Property Tax Exemption: Maine resident Veterans who received a discharge other than dishonorable and meet one of the following requirements are eligible for a $6000 property tax exemption:
- 62 years old or older and served during a recognized wartime period, or received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, or
- Has a 100% disability rating from the VA or is paid at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability
Paraplegic Veterans who received a discharge other than dishonorable and received a grant from the VA for specially adapted housing to accommodate their disabilities are eligible for a $50,000 tax exemption.
- Surviving Spouse Property Tax Exemption: An un-remarried surviving spouse of a Veteran who was eligible for an exemption and meets the following requirements are eligible for a property tax exemption:
- Maine resident
- Was married to a deceased Veteran who was eligible for a property tax exemption at the time of their death
- Receiving a pension or compensation from the U.S. Government as a surviving spouse
Minor Child Eligibility: The surviving Child of an eligible Veteran must be a Maine resident under the age of 18 and receiving a pension or compensation from the U.S. Government to be eligible.
Widowed Parent Property Tax Exemption: The widowed parent of a deceased Veteran who meets the following requirements is eligible for a property tax exemption:
- Maine resident who is at least 62 years old
- Has not remarried and was not divorced at the time of death of the Veteran’s other parent
- Receiving a pension or compensation from the U.S. Government for the service-connected death of their Child
- Statewide: 5.5%
- Counties: cannot levy an additional sales tax
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 5.5%
- Maine State Parks and Museum Free Lifetime Pass for Veterans: Veterans are eligible for a free day-use lifetime pass to be used at Maine state parks, museums, and historic sites operated by the Maine Department of Conservation.This pass is not valid for:
- Acadia National Park
- Baxter State Park
- Allagash Wilderness Waterway
- Penobscot Corridor
- Penobscot Narrows Observatory
- Maine Wildlife Park
- Who is eligible for Maine State Parks and Museum Free Lifetime Pass for Veterans? The Veteran must be a resident of Maine and received an Honorable Discharge or General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions to be eligible.
- Maine Resident Day Use Park Pass for Active Duty Service Members: Service members serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces can receive a free day-use pass to Maine state parks and historic sites.
- The pass authorizes the Service member, Spouse, and Children (The Service member must accompany their spouse and Children) free admission to state parks and historic sites.
- Free Maine Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing License for Disabled Veterans: Maine resident and nonresident Veterans (if reciprocal privileges exist in their home state) who have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard and have a service-connected disability rating of 50% or more will be issued a free license to fish, trap, or hunt. This license includes all necessary permits, other permissions, and a guide’s license (must meet guide qualifications). Eligible Veterans also qualify for an expanded archery, either sex deer permit or one expanded archery antlerless deer permit. Veterans must still apply for any required deer and moose permits each year.
- Maine Resident Service Members and Dependents Discounted Licenses when Stationed Outside of Maine: Maine resident Service members who are serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and permanently stationed outside Maine, then return to Maine, are eligible to purchase a combination of hunting and fishing license for $3. The Spouse and dependent Children who live with the Service member are authorized a combination license for $20 or a hunting license for $10.
- Nonresident Service Members and Dependents may Purchase Maine Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Resident Price: Nonresident Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and permanently stationed in Maine (including Spouse and dependent Children who live with the Service member) may purchase a license to hunt, trap, or fish at resident prices.
- Maine Hunter Safety Course Exemption of Active Duty Service Members: Maine residents, active duty Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who are permanently stationed outside of the U.S. and home on leave are exempt from hunter, archery, and crossbow safety course requirements.
- Maine Disabled Veterans Controlled Moose Hunt: The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has allocated 25 moose hunting permits to disabled Veterans for a Controlled Moose Hunt in Aroostook County.
- This is a one-time hunting opportunity. If a Veteran ever tags a moose in this hunt, they are ineligible to participate again. The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services and its partners will provide logistical support to the selected disabled Veterans during their moose hunt.
Maine Military & Veteran Miscellaneous Benefits
- Maine National Guard Foundation Fund: The Maine National Guard can award loans and grants for emergencies and other special needs to resident Service members serving in the Maine National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves and their Families.
- Confidentiality of Maine Veterans Military Service Records: Official military documents or records that pertain to a Service member’s active duty service that are filed with any state, county, or local government agency are confidential for 62 years following the date they are issued.
- Free Copies of Public Records for Maine Veterans Claims to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Certified copies of public records required when applying for VA benefits are accessible to Veterans (or those acting on a veteran’s behalf).
- Maine Honoring Veterans Recognition Program: Maine has established the “Honoring a Veteran” recognition program to honor Maine Veterans for their honorable military service. The program specifically honors Service members who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, prisoners of war, recipients of the Purple Heart, and Veterans who honorably served.
- Maine Veterans Upward Bound Program (VUB): VUB is a federally funded program that provides free assistance to eligible Veterans interested in post-secondary education. VUB is designed to develop the academic and personal skills necessary for admission and success in a post-secondary education program.VUB services include:
- Admissions and financial aid application assistance
- Career interest counseling
- Academic refresher courses in English and math
- Computer literacy
- Individual support
- Maine Veterans’ Dependents Educational Benefits Program: Maine provides a 100% waiver of tuition and all related fees for the eligible Spouses and dependents of a Veteran or Service member at a University of Maine System Institution, Maine Community Colleges, and the Maine Maritime Academy.A Spouse may be admitted to certificate programs, associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree programs. Children may use the benefit for a certificate program, associate, or bachelor’s program and must enroll and receive benefits before their 22nd birthday. Spouses are eligible for ten consecutive years from their date of enrollment. Children are eligible for six straight years from their date of enrollment
- Students must maintain a 2.0 or “C” grade point average to continue receiving educational benefits.
- Maine National Guard Education Assistance Program: The Maine National Guard Education Assistance Program offers full tuition at a state college or university for eligible Maine National Guard Service members. The benefit includes part-time and full-time enrollment up to 130 credits and may be used to earn a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, certificate, or license. This does not include books, housing, lab fees, or other mandatory fees.Who is eligible for the Maine National Guard Education Assistance Program? Service members must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- Completed basic training or received a commission
- Serve in the Maine National Guard for at least one year after receiving financial assistance
- Apply for all other tuition benefits, such as:
- Federally funded military tuition assistance
- Employer tuition reimbursements or assistance
- Federal grants, such as the Federal Pell Grant
The Maine National Guard Education Assistance Program will only cover the cost of tuition after all other educational and financial assistance is used.
Service members are not eligible if they:
- Have a bachelor’s degree or its equal
- Have nine or more unexcused absences from unit training
- Fail to complete their entire period of annual training without authorization
- Service members must maintain good academic standing and a grade point average above 2.0.
Maine Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3): The purpose of this compact is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:
- Facilitating the prompt enrollment of Children of military Families and ensuring that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements
- Facilitating the student placement process through which variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content, or assessment do not disadvantage Children of military Families. Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic, and social activities
- Facilitating the on-time graduation of Children of military Families
- Providing for the enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact
- Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools, and military Families under this compact
- Promoting coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military Children
- Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents, and the student to achieve academic success for the student
Maine Purple Star School Program for Military-Friendly Schools: The Maine Purple Star School program recognizes schools that show a significant commitment to students and Families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces. Schools that earn the award will receive a special Purple Star recognition to display on site.
For a school to qualify for the Purple Star Award, they must appoint a school liaison who is specially trained to handle the unique challenges experienced by military Families. This liaison will ensure that other teachers at their school are aware of special considerations that students from military Families can benefit from. Each school will also have a dedicated page on their school website featuring resources for military Families.
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Maine has six Veterans’ Homes throughout the state that offer rehabilitative and therapy services and long and short-term skilled nursing care for honorably discharged Veterans and their eligible family members.
Eligibility for admission:
- To qualify for admission, applicants must be honorably discharged Veterans who were residents of Maine at the time of entry into the U.S. Armed Forces or were residents at the time of application. Veterans must have served one or more days on active duty, other than for training purposes, in an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Veteran is not required to have served in combat or have a service-connected disability. The spouse, Surviving Spouse, and Gold Star parents of an eligible Veteran may be admitted if space is available.
Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference
- Maine Career Center Veterans Employment Assistance: Maine Career Centers offer specialized employment and training services for Service members leaving the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans, and their spouses to help them find a job, obtain new skills, or access other available state or federal resources.
Job Seeker Services:
- Assistance with job search, resume writing, and interview skills
- Help translate military skills to civilian jobs
- Referrals to other state and federal resources
Maine Career Centers offers priority service for certain Department of Labor employment and job-training programs for eligible Veterans and spouses. Priority of service means that Veterans and eligible spouses are entitled to preference over others for a service either earlier or, if the resource is limited, they receive access instead of those not eligible.
Veteran Priority of Service Eligibility: Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. Active duty includes full-time duty in the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, other than for training.
Spouse Priority of Service Eligibility: The spouse or un-remarried spouse of the following are eligible:
- Veteran who died of a service-connected disability
- Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who is listed for 90 or more days as one of the following:
- Missing in action
- Captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
- Forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power
- A veteran who has a total service-connected disability rating from the VA
- Veteran who died while a disability (as above) was in existence
Veterans or Service members who meet any of the following requirements can receive direct assistance from a Maine Career Center Veterans’ Representative:
- Has a service-connected disability
- Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
- Recently separated and unemployed
- Did not receive a high school diploma
- Offender released in last 12 months
- Low income
- Between the ages of 18 and 24
- Vietnam Era Veteran
- Maine Professional and Occupational Licensing Initiative: Maine’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation (OPOR) offers an accelerated professional licensing process for eligible Service members, Veterans, and spouses.
Veterans can receive credit for their military training and experience when applying for an occupational license. This program allows for quicker, easier licensing for Veterans in various career fields.
- In addition, active duty Service members who recently separated Service members or their spouses licensed in good standing in another state can receive a temporary Maine License. At the same time, they apply for their full Maine license. This Temporary License is available for any profession or occupation licensed by OPOR.
- Leave for Military Duty for Maine State Employees: State employees who are Service members in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces receive 17 workdays (per calendar year) of paid military leave. This leave can be used for state or federal active duty or to participate in training. If the military service exceeds 17 workdays, the employee will be placed on unpaid military leave. Employees may use but are not required to use, accrued vacation, compensatory, or personal leave when entering an unpaid status.
- Pay for Maine National Guard Service Members on State Active Duty: Service members serving in the Maine National Guard who are ordered to state active duty are entitled to pay equal to the pay and allowances received by active duty Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. This pay must be at least based on 12 hours a day at the state minimum wage.
- Maine Veterans Preference for Retention in State Employment: Veterans and Gold Star spouses who are state employees must be allowed to keep their jobs during a reduction in force in preference to all other employees in the same classification with equal seniority, status, and performance reviews.
- Maine State Employee Reemployment after Military Service: State employees entering the U.S. Armed Forces have reemployment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Maine law.
State employees who enter the U.S. Armed Forces on a short-term basis are generally returned to the position they left. Those who enter the U.S. Armed Forces on a long-term basis would be returned to the position they left or a position (they are qualified for) of similar status and pay. Employees should contact their agencies’ human resource representatives for more information or if reemployment is denied.
- The time required to return to their state employment varies based on their time in military service
- Maine Veterans Preference in Hiring: Maine provides a hiring preference for qualified Veterans and Gold Star Spouses who apply for state employment by ensuring they are offered an interview.
- In addition, if a Veteran applies for a state job and is not hired, it is the Bureau of Human Resources policy to help the Veteran find other state job openings they may be qualified for.
- Federal Employment Veteran’s Hiring Preferences: Federal law mandates that Veterans, especially those with disabilities or those who served during specific time periods or in military campaigns, are granted preference over non-veterans when it comes to Federal civil service hiring and retention during workforce reductions. In various scoring processes for examinations and interviews, Veterans may be eligible for an additional 5 or 10 points.
- 5-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:
- During a war, or
- During the period April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955, or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976, or
- During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992, or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or
- In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference
10-point Compensable Disability (CP) Preference: Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30%.
10-Point 30% Compensable Disability Preference (CPS): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30% or more.
10-Point Disability Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:
- A veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the VA but does not qualify as a CP or CPS, or
- Veteran who received a Purple Heart
10-Point Derived Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of spouses, Surviving spouses, or mothers of Veterans. Both a mother and a spouse (including a Surviving spouse) may be entitled to preference based on the same Veteran’s service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the Veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.
Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the spouse of a disabled Veteran who is disqualified for a federal position along the general lines of their usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the Veteran is unemployed and:
- Is rated by appropriate military or VA authorities to be 100% disabled and/or unemployable, or
- Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position because of a disability that is service-connected in origin, or
- Has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of their usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability
Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.
A campaign medal holder or Gulf War Veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligible Veterans separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to Veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under Title 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA): USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of reserve components. USERRA also protects Service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
Absence from Work for Military Duty: USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights for five years. Exceptions to the five-year limit, include initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual’s service if the basic eligibility criteria are met.
Disability Accommodation: USERRA provides protection for disabled Veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Service members recovering from injuries received during service or training may have up to two years from the date of completion of service to return to their jobs or apply for reemployment.
Return to Work without Loss of Seniority: USERRA provides that returning Service members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status, and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. USERRA also requires that reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) be made to enable returning Service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for reemployment. USERRA also provides that while an individual is performing military service, they are deemed to be on a furlough or leave of absence and are entitled to the non-seniority rights accorded to other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.
Extension of Health and Pension Plans: Health and pension plan coverage for Service members is provided for by USERRA. Individuals performing military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue employer-sponsored health care for up to 24 months; however, they may be required to pay up to 102% of the full premium. For military service of less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the Service member had remained employed. USERRA clarifies pension plan coverage by making explicit that all pension plans are protected.
Who is eligible for USERRA Benefits? Veterans, U.S. Armed Forces Reserve or National Guard Service members who leave a position for training or active military service are eligible.
The Department of Labor, through the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), helps all who have claims under USERRA, including Federal and Postal Service employees.
Burials and Memorials
Please note that your preference regarding burial in a national cemetery and use of a headstone provided by VA should be documented and kept with your paperwork and medical records. Burial is free of charge to Veterans with an other-than-dishonorable discharge, as well as their dependents.
National Cemeteries include:
Togus: Togus National Cemetery
Maine VA Benefit Resources
Maine provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and a VA Medical Center.
Maine VA Regional Benefits Office
- Augusta: Togus Regional Office
Maine VA Medical Centers
- Augusta: VA Maine Healthcare System – Togus
Important information for Maine Veteran Benefits:
For Veterans applying for VA benefits for the first time, you must submit a copy of your DD 214 (discharge paperwork). This will provide your discharge status, full name, social security number, branch of service, and dates you served. Honorable and general discharges qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.
You should always keep your paperwork and medical records in a safe place where you and your family can access them. It is imperative to have it in a location where it cannot be destroyed or tampered with, which includes a safe.
Your eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Any Veteran discharged from the military under the conditions of “Dishonorable” due to bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits. VA regional offices can clarify the eligibility of prisoners, parolees, and individuals with multiple discharges issued under differing conditions.
*This information is accurate as of November 2023
Maine Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Maine and are VA rated 90% or less, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Contact Veterans Guardian for a free consultation with no obligation. Let us review your claim to determine whether you qualify for additional benefits.