Rhode Island offers unique benefits for Service members, Veterans, and their Families, including veterans’ employment preferences, property tax exemptions, education assistance and scholarships, and special vehicle license plates. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status. The following are benefits for the state of Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Veteran Financial Benefits
- Rhode Island Retired Military Pay Taxes: Military retired pay follows federal tax rules. It is subject to state tax.
- Rhode Island Military Disability Retired Pay Taxes: Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income if any of the following conditions apply:
- You were entitled to receive a disability payment before September 25, 1975;
- You were a member of the military (active or reserves) or were under a binding written commitment to become a member on September 24, 1975;
- You receive disability payments for a combat-related injury. This is a personal injury or sickness that:
- Resulted directly from armed conflict,
- Took place while you were engaged in extra-hazardous service,
- Took place under conditions simulating, including training exercises such as maneuvers, or
- Was caused by an instrumentality of war.
- You would be entitled to receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if you filed an application for it (the exclusion under this condition equals the amount you would be entitled to from the VA).
- Rhode Island State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (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-related injury or disease.
- Rhode Island Property Tax Exemptions: Eligible Veterans residing in Rhode Island may receive an exemption either on their real estate tax bill or on their motor vehicle tax bill. Veterans who serve in more than one campaign may receive only one exemption. Exemptions shall be applied to the property in the municipality where the Veteran resides, and if there is not sufficient property to exhaust the exemption, the Veteran may claim the balance in any other city or town where he/she may own property. An exemption shall not be allowed to Veterans who are not legal residents of the State of Rhode Island. To qualify for an exemption, appropriate documentation will be required by the municipality at the time of application. There are seven exemption categories:
- Veterans’ regular exemption
- Unmarried Surviving Spouse of a qualified Veteran
- Veterans’ exemption for totally disabled through service-connected disability
- Veterans’ exemption for partially disabled through service-connected disability
- Gold Star Parents’ exemption
- Prisoner of War exemption
- Specially adapted housing exemption
- Statewide: 7.0%
- Counties: cannot levy any additional sales tax
- Common exceptions at the state level:
- Prescription medications are exempt
- Clothing is exempt
- Unprepared foods and meals are exempt
- Prepared foods: 8%
Disabled Veterans Hunting & Fishing Licenses: All disabled Veterans with a 100% disability rating can get a hunting and fishing license for free (you don’t have to be a Rhode Island resident).
Active Duty Hunting And Fishing Licenses: Non-resident military members stationed in Rhode Island can get hunting and fishing licenses for the resident rate.
State Park Admission: Veterans with a 100% disability rating can get into Rhode Island state parks for free. Camping, picnic, and equestrian fees are still charged. You don’t have to be a Rhode Island resident.
Rhode Island Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver: Rhode Island residents with a U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs service-related disability of at least 10 percent may be eligible for a waiver of tuition. All other required fees are the responsibility of the student and should be submitted with the waiver forms.
- Recently-dated evidence of Veteran status with a minimum 10 percent disability must be submitted.
- Matriculated students are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before submitting a waiver. The FAFSA, and any verification documentation requested by Enrollment Services, will be used to determine financial aid eligibility. Scholarship and grant funds received will be used to defray the cost of tuition and will reduce the amount of the waiver award.
Free Tuition for Surviving Spouses or Children of Deceased Rhode Island National Guard Service Members: If an active member of the Rhode Island National Guard is killed or dies while in the performance of his or her duty, the Surviving Spouse and/or Children may attend any state college or university tuition-free. This benefit covers tuition only.
Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP): The State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) is available to all National Guard Service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s Degree from Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), Rhode Island College (RIC), and University of Rhode Island (URI).
STAP waives tuition for up to five (5) tuition-free classes per semester. Fees and books must be paid by the Service member. Service members must be in good standing and not be flagged for adverse action. Service members must have one (1) year military commitment at end of class for every 12 credits. For less than 12 credits, the Service member’s ETS must be after the end of the class date. The waiver can be used in conjunction with the GI Bill.
Who is eligible for Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP)? Those Eligible are:
- Army and Air National Guard Service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s Degree from CCRI, RIC, and URI.
- Service members must be in good standing and not be flagged for adverse action.
- Guard members must have a one-year military commitment at end of class for every 12 credits.
- Guard member’s ETS must be after the end of the class date.
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Eligibility for admission:
- An honorable discharge (DD214)
- Veterans with 90-days (active) service during wartime
- Rhode Island resident for 2 consecutive years prior to the date of application, or joined the service from Rhode Island
- Veteran may not have active psychosis or substance addiction or diagnosis of a contagious or infectious disease
Employment and Job Training: Veteran Preference
All honorably discharged Veterans can have 5 points added to any state employment examination scores. Those with a VA service-connected disability will get 10 points added to their score. Veterans must achieve a passing score before the preference is applied.
Rhode Island State Employees Leave for Military Duty: Employees, by reason of membership in the United States Military, Naval or Air Reserve of the Rhode Island National Guard or Naval Reserve, are required by the appropriate authorities to participate in training activities or in active duty as a part of the State military force or special duty as a part of the Federal military force, shall be granted military training leave with pay not to exceed fifteen working days in any one calendar year. Should the employee be required to participate in such training activities for a period greater than fifteen working days, they shall be granted leave without pay for this purpose. During the period of military training leave with pay, the employee shall accrue sick and vacation leave credits.
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:
Rhode Island VA Benefit Resources
Rhode Island provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and a VA Medical Center.
Rhode Island VA Regional Benefits Office
- Providence: Providence Regional Office
Rhode Island VA Medical Centers
- Providence: Providence VA Medical Center
Important information for Rhode Island 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 for which 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 conditions other than dishonorable. 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
Rhode Island Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Rhode Island 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.