Maryland offers unique benefits for Service members, Veterans, and their families, including military retired pay tax exemptions, education and tuition assistance, employment services, special military vehicle tags, and hunting and fishing license privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Maryland.
Maryland Veteran Financial Benefits
- Maryland Income Tax Subtraction for Military Retired Pay: Retired Service members can subtract up to $5,000 of their military retired pay from their gross income before determining their Maryland tax. At age 55, this subtraction increases to $15,000.
- Maryland Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 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 or
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
- Maryland 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 military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.
- Maryland Income Tax Subtraction for Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP): Surviving spouses who receive SBP, RCSBP, or RSFPP annuities can subtract up to $5,000 of their survivor benefit payment from their gross income before determining their Maryland tax. At age 55, this subtraction increases to $15,000.
- Maryland Income Tax Subtraction for SBP/ RCSBP/ RSFPP? This subtraction is available to the Surviving spouse of a retired Service member from an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces receiving an SBP, RCSBP, or RSFPP annuity.
- Maryland Pension Exclusion: Maryland residents who are 65 or older or disabled (or their spouse is disabled) may qualify for a pension exclusion from their gross income of $34,300.
- Maryland Overseas Pay Subtraction: Maryland resident Service members serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces outside U.S. boundaries or possessions may subtract up to $15,000 of their military pay from their taxable income. Service members must have earned less than $30,000 in military pay to be eligible.
- Maryland Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption: Maryland offers a property tax exemption to Veterans with a service-connected 100% permanent and total or unemployable disability rating from the VA. This is a complete exemption from real property taxes on their house and surrounding yard. This exemption is available to un-remarried Surviving spouses of eligible Veterans and to Surviving spouses of Service members killed in the line of duty.
- Maryland Veterans Local Property Tax Credits: Several Maryland Counties have property tax credits for eligible Veterans and their Surviving spouses. These credits apply to the primary home and the surrounding land.
- Maryland Military Spouse Residency Relief Act: Spouses of nonresident Service members remain a nonresident for state tax purposes when they are in Maryland due to military orders and do not have to pay Maryland taxes on wages earned in Maryland.
- Maryland Vessel Excise Tax Credit for Military Personnel: Active duty Service members stationed in Maryland are exempt from the 5% vessel excise tax for one year. This exemption applies only to boats registered elsewhere and brought to Maryland during a permanent change of station.
- Maryland Tax Extension for Service in a Combat Zone or Hazardous Duty Area: Maryland allows the same six-month extension for filing and paying state income taxes for Service members (and their spouses) serving in a designated combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area as the IRS allows.
- Maryland Tax Forgiveness for Deceased Service Members: Maryland will decrease the taxes owed by a Service member who was serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and dies in a combat zone or hazardous duty area (qualifying area) or from wounds, disease, or injury they received while there. The reduction will apply to the tax year in which death occurred and any earlier tax year ending on or after the first day the Service member started serving in a qualifying area.
- Maryland will also decrease the tax liability of a Service member serving in the U.S. Armed Forces if their death occurs as a result of wounds or injury received outside the U.S. in a terrorist or military action.
- Statewide: 6.0%
- Counties: cannot levy an additional sales tax
- Common exceptions at the state level:
- Prescription medicines are exempt
- Unprepared foods are exempt
- Free Maryland Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Former Prisoners of War (POWs) and Disabled Veterans: Maryland resident Veterans who are former POWs or have a 100% service-connected disability are eligible for a free lifetime hunting or fishing license. The hunting license includes lifetime archery stamps, muzzleloader stamps, sika deer stamps, and furbearer permits. It does not have the annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.
- These licenses are only available at Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Licensing and Registration Service Centers. Veterans are required to provide official documentation proving their eligibility when they apply.
- Discounted Maryland Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Resident Purple Heart Recipients: Maryland residents who are Purple Heart recipients are eligible to purchase Maryland hunting and fishing licenses for half price.
- These licenses are only available at Maryland DNR Licensing and Registration Service Centers. Veterans must provide official documentation as proof they received the Purple Heart when they apply.
- Maryland Hunting Licenses for Nonresident Active Duty Service Members for Resident Price: Nonresident active duty Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Maryland are charged resident prices when purchasing hunting licenses.
- Maryland Hunting and Fishing without a License for Service Members on Leave: Maryland resident Service members and nonresident Service members who are stationed in Maryland and on leave are not required to purchase a Maryland fishing or hunting license (includes hunting license, deer stamps, and Managed Hunt Permit) to hunt or fish in Maryland.
- Maryland State Parks Service Member and Veteran Benefits: Service members serving in the Maryland National Guard and all active duty Service members receive a waiver of day-use charges at Maryland State Parks. Service members must show their military ID when entering the park to be eligible. This waiver is only offered to the Service member.
Day-Use Fee Waiver for Veterans – Resident and nonresident Veterans receive a waiver of day-use charges at Maryland State Parks. This waiver only applies to the Veteran and not to others in the same vehicle unless there is a per-vehicle charge, in which case, the per-vehicle fee is waived.
Maryland Military & Veterans Miscellaneous Benefits
- The Maryland VSS Program was established to improve the coordination of services for the military-connected community in Maryland who are state government employees. Maryland State Government Departments and Agencies have a VSS or liaison who can provide general information to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces or have Family members who served.
- Maryland Veterans Trust Fund: The Maryland Veterans Trust Fund offers grants to Veterans and Surviving Spouses of Veterans when experiencing a non-emergency financial issue.
The Maryland Veterans Trust fund provides temporary financial assistance to those who will be self-reliant after receiving the grant. Financial aid cannot be used to address chronic issues. Trust fund grants are primarily used for assistance with rent, mortgage, and utilities.
- Death Benefit for Survivors or Estate of Maryland Resident Service Members Killed in Action: Maryland offers a death benefit of up to $125,000 to the beneficiaries of any resident Service Member who is killed in action or as a direct result of a wound suffered in action in Iraq or Afghanistan.
- Free Copies of Vital Records for Maryland Service Members, Veterans, and their Survivors: No fee will be charged for copies of documents needed by Service members, Veterans, or their Survivors when applying for federal benefits. Contact the local office of the clerk of the Circuit Court for marriage and divorce certificates or the Maryland Division of Vital Records at 800-832-3277 or 410-764-3038 for birth and death certificates.
- Maryland National Guard Service Members Exempt from Tolls: Maryland National Guard Service members are allowed free passage through toll gates on roads, bridges, and ferries while traveling to or returning from their place of duty.
- Jury Duty Exemption for Maryland National Guard Service Members: Service Members serving in the Maryland National Guard are exempt from state jury service that would unreasonably interfere with their military duties.
- Maryland National Guard State Tuition Waiver (STW): Maryland state-supported colleges and universities (except the University of Maryland Global Campus) offer a tuition waiver for undergraduate or graduate courses to Service members in the Maryland National Guard. Each institution has its rules that govern the number of seats available and the number of credit hours offered for tuition waivers.
Classes held at Maryland National Guard locations are available to Service members with a 25% or 50% tuition waiver, regardless of space available. Professional courses are not eligible for STW. STW can be used for trade schools in partnership with the Maryland National Guard.
- Maryland National Guard State Tuition Assistance Reimbursement (STAR): STAR reimburses Maryland National Guard Service members up to 50% tuition and related fees at all Maryland State supported Colleges, Universities, some private institutions and trade schools.
STAR is available for undergraduate courses and may be used in conjunction with the State Tuition Waiver, Montgomery GI Bill, and Federal Tuition Assistance. Tuition is reimbursed for grades “C” and above.
Who is eligible for STAR? Must be a Maryland National Guard Service member in good standing, in pay grades E-1 through O-4 and have a two-year service obligation remaining from the course start date.
- Edward T. and Mary A. Conroy Memorial Scholarship and the Jean B. Cryor (Conroy- Cryor) Memorial Scholarship Program: The Conroy-Cryor Memorial Scholarship Program will award tuition and other educational expenses to eligible Veterans and their family members who are attending a public institution of higher education within the University System of Maryland (cannot be used at the University of Maryland Global Campus and the University of Maryland, Baltimore). The award amount may be, at most, the annual tuition and mandatory fees of a resident undergraduate at a two or four-year institution.
Students may enroll full-time or part-time at a two- or four-year institution as undergraduates or graduates. Undergraduate awards may be used for five years of full-time study (12+ credits per semester), eight years of part-time study (6-11 credits per semester), or a combination. Graduate awards may be used for full-time study (9+ credits per semester) or part-time study (6-8 credits per semester). This award is not based on financial need.
- Maryland Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship Program (VAIC): VAIC provides educational and financial assistance to U.S. Armed Forces Service members and Veterans who served in the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq and their eligible family members. This assistance can be used for full and part-time study at schools in the University System of Maryland (cannot be used at the University of Maryland Global Campus and the University of Maryland, Baltimore).
The award will provide 50% of the annual tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board.
Maximum award amounts:
- On campus: up to $8,274
- With parents: up to $5,390
- Off-campus: up to $4,820
Applicants must be accepted for admission or enrolled in an undergraduate or approved 2-year certificate program. Students may be full-time (12+ credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per semester).
Award amounts, including state aid and VA educational benefits, may not exceed the total cost of attendance or $29,600, whichever is less.
- Maryland High School Diplomas for World War II and Korean War Veterans: Maryland County Boards of Education will award high school diplomas to Korea and World War II Veterans who left high school early to enter the U. S. Armed Forces. Diplomas are also issued to Veterans who received a GED.
- Maryland 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 educational success for the student
- Maryland Purple Star School Program for Military-Friendly Schools: Recent legislation authorized the Maryland Purple Star School program for military-friendly schools. The Purple Star School program recognizes schools with a significant commitment to students and families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces.
- For a school to qualify for the Purple Star Award, they must appoint a school liaison 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
Maryland Charlotte Hall Veterans Home: The Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary’s County offers an assisted living program, a skilled nursing program, and memory care in secure units to provide a continuum of care for Veterans and their eligible spouses.
The Charlotte Hall Veterans Home strives to deliver a safe, dignified, and compassionate healthcare system that provides Maryland Veterans with a nurturing and engaging home environment.
Eligibility for admission:
- Maryland residents, at least 62 years old or determined to be disabled by either the Social Security Administration or the VA
- Veterans who served on full-time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (other than for training) and were discharged or released under honorable conditions
- Service members who served in reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces and meet the legal residence requirements
- Spouses of eligible Veterans
Employment and Job Training: Veterans Preference
- Maryland State Employee Paid Leave for Military Training: Maryland state employees who are members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are authorized 15 days of paid military leave for military training or active military duty.
- Maryland State Employee Military Administrative Leave: Maryland full-time state employees who are members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces will receive the difference between their military base pay and their state salary when ordered to active duty.
- Maryland State Employment Veteran’s Credit: Maryland offers Veteran preference when hiring for state employment.
When a selection test is used, preference is given by adding points to the passing scores. Applicants must be qualified for the position and able to perform the job duties with or without reasonable accommodation.
10 Points are added to scores of the following:
- Veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge or a certificate of satisfactory completion of military service
- Spouse of an eligible Veteran who has a service-connected disability
- Surviving spouse of a deceased eligible Veteran
Two additional points are awarded to a former prisoner of war, and five extra points will be given to applicants with a disability as defined by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Applicants must provide documentation of service (i.e., DD214); disabled Veterans must also provide proof of disability.
- Maryland State Employment Certified Disabled Veteran Hiring Preference: Certain disabled Veterans may be eligible for state employment without a competitive selection process. Veterans must be qualified for the position and able to perform the job duties with or without reasonable accommodation.
- 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.
- Maryland Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC) Employment Opportunities for Veterans: The Maryland VCC offers jobs for Veterans focused on conservation service work on public lands. VCC utilizes a veteran’s unique background, diverse job skills, and service ethic to address pressing conservation needs on public lands. The VCC focuses on developing Veterans professionally through training and on-the-job experience within the Maryland Park Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
- Maryland Professional Licensing Benefits for Veterans, Service Members, Spouses, and Surviving Spouses: The Maryland Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing helps Veterans and Service members, their spouses, and Surviving spouses receive unique benefits when applying for professional licenses. Applicants who hold a professional license in another state can get expedited licenses within 60 days. Licensing boards and commissions can also issue temporary licenses to applicants who have a valid license in another state and are working to meet Maryland licensing requirements.
- Maryland’s American Job Centers- Workforce Development and Adult Learning Center Employment Assistance: Maryland’s American Job Center helps Service members who are leaving the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans, and their Spouses to transition to a rewarding career by offering employment, training, and placement services.
They have local Veteran employment representatives who work with businesses, contractors, and employer organizations in the local area to develop career opportunities for Veterans. They also have Disabled Veterans Outreach Program staff who provide specialized intensive employment assistance to Veterans with employment and training needs.
Maryland’s American Job Centers offer priority service to those eligible for all programs funded entirely or partly by the U.S. Department of Labor. 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 first access.
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. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) pays tribute to eligible Veterans and their family members by providing a final resting place and a lasting memorial to commemorate the Veteran’s dedicated service to the nation.
The burial benefits encompass a gravesite in any of our open cemeteries with available space, the opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government-furnished headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, all at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also meet the criteria for a burial allowance. Cremated remains are interred or inurned in national cemeteries with the same honors and respect as casketed remains.
Burial benefits extend to eligible spouses and dependents, including burial alongside the Veteran and perpetual care of the interment site. The name and relevant dates of birth and death of the spouse or dependent are inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone at no expense to the family. Importantly, spouses and qualified dependents are eligible for burial even if they pass away before the Veteran and are not required to be interred in the same national cemetery as the Veteran.
National Cemeteries include:
Annapolis: Annapolis National Cemetery
Baltimore: Baltimore National Cemetery
Baltimore: Loudon Park National Cemetery
Scotland: Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery
Maryland VA Benefit Resources
Maryland provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and a VA Medical Center.
Maryland VA Regional Benefits Office
- Baltimore: Baltimore Regional Office
Maryland VA Medical Centers
- Baltimore: Baltimore VA Medical Center – VA Maryland Health Care System
- Baltimore: Loch Raven VA Medical Center – VA Maryland Health Care System
- Perry Point: Perry Point VA Medical Center – VA Maryland Health Care System
Important information for Maryland 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, along with your full name, social security number, branch of service, and dates for which you served. Honorable and general discharges qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.
You should always keep your paperwork, along with your medical records, in a safe place where you and your family can have access to 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
Maryland Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Maryland 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.