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Veteran Benefits for Rhode Island

Veteran Benefits for Rhode Island

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 Taxes on Military Retired Pay: Beginning January 1, 2023, military retired pay is exempt from Rhode Island personal income tax.
    • 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.
  • Rhode Island Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay received by a resident Service member follows federal tax rules and is subject to Rhode Island income tax.
  • Rhode Island 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 payments considered disability benefits include:
    • Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to Veterans or their families
    • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
    • Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs or
    • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
  • Rhode Island 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.
  • Rhode Island State Taxes on Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP): SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP are taxed in Rhode Island.

    Rhode Island offers a retirement pension tax deduction of up to $15,000, increasing to $20,000 for the 2023 tax year. Surviving spouses must meet the following requirements to be eligible:

    • 65 years old or older
    • Receive a federally taxable pension or annuity
    • Have an adjusted gross income of $ $119,750 or less

    In addition, Surviving spouses who are 65 or older and have an adjusted gross income of less than $25,000 can receive a 2% tax credit, up to a maximum of $500. This credit can only be claimed once.

  • Rhode Island Nonresident State Tax Exemption: Military pay received by a nonresident Service member stationed in Rhode Island is not subject to Rhode Island income tax. If the Service member holds a separate job, income received from that job is subject to Rhode Island income tax.

    Income earned in Rhode Island by a nonresident spouse of a nonresident Service member stationed in Rhode Island is also exempt from state income taxes. Spouses are only eligible if they are in Rhode Island because their Service member’s spouse is stationed there.

  • Rhode Island Property Tax Exemptions: Property taxes are assessed by local municipalities, each with its own forms, regulations, and exemption amounts. Exemptions can be claimed for a resident’s real estate or motor vehicle tax bill. To qualify, appropriate documentation is required by the municipality at the time of application.

    Please get in touch with the local tax assessor for exemption amounts, eligibility, and documentation requirements.

Sales Tax:

  • 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%


  • Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans: Rhode Island offers several hunting and fishing benefits to Service members and Veterans. A short description of each is listed below. Applicants are required to show documentation proving eligibility when they apply:
    • Active Duty Service members – Military ID
    • Veterans – DD214
    • Disabled Veterans – VA Disability Certification Letter
  • Extension of Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces: If a Rhode Island resident has a valid hunting or fishing license when they join the U.S. Armed Forces, it will remain valid until six months after discharge.
    • Free Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for 100% Disabled Veterans: A Veteran with a 100% disability rating from the VA is eligible for free Rhode Island hunting and fishing licenses.
  • Nonresident Service Members can Purchase Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Resident Prices:Nonresident Service members can purchase hunting and fishing licenses at resident prices.
  • Free Rhode Island State Park Passes for 100% Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island offers the State Park Disability Pass for use at any state-owned recreational facility to disabled Veterans with a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA.

    The State Park Disability Pass authorizes free admission and parking but does not exempt the following:

    • Licensing fees
    • Camping fees
    • Picnic table fees
    • Specialized facility use fees
    • Use of equestrian areas
    • Performing art centers
    • Game fields fees
    • Mule shed fees

    If the disabled Veteran cannot drive, the vehicle transporting the Veteran will not be charged.

    Veterans must apply in person at the Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters and must show official documentation (dated within the past year) from the VA that states they have a 100% service-connected disability.

  • Goddard Park Golf Course Fee Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island resident Veterans with a 100% permanent and total, service-connected disability rating from the VA are exempt from paying any fees to play golf at the Goddard Park Golf Course. For more information, call the Clubhouse at Goddard Memorial State Park from April 1st through the 3rd Saturday in November at 401-884-9834 or year-round at Division Headquarters at 401-667-6200.

Education Programs

  • Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP): STAP provides a tuition waiver for Rhode Island National Guard Service members attending the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island. Service members must pay for books and any required fees.

    STAP Benefits:

    • Waives tuition for up to five classes per semester (fall or spring)
    • It may be used in conjunction with VA educational assistance

    Who is eligible for STAP? To be eligible, Service members must meet the following requirements:

    • Rhode Island National Guard Service member pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree
    • Must be in good standing and not be flagged for adverse action
    • Must have a one-year military commitment at the end of the semester for every 12 credits
    • The discharge date must be after the end of the class date
  • Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Exemption Program (STEP): STEP provides one tuition-free course per summer semester from the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island for Rhode Island National Guard Service members. STEP can be used with VA educational benefits.
    • Service members can take four classes per enlistment and are eligible for four more every year they extend their enlistment.


  • Free Tuition for Surviving Spouse and Children of Deceased Rhode Island National Guard Service Members:  Rhode Island will pay the tuition at a state-supported college or university for a Surviving spouse or child of a Rhode Island National Guard Service member who died in the line of duty. This financial assistance only applies to tuition and may be used for up to four years.
  • Rhode Island Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver: Rhode Island resident Veterans who have a service-connected disability rating from the VA of 10% or more are eligible for a tuition waiver at Rhode Island public institutions of higher learning. This waiver only covers tuition and does not pay any required fees or the cost of books.
  • Rhode Island Residency for Tuition Purposes for Service Members, Veterans, and Eligible Dependents: Active duty Service members, their dependents, and eligible Veterans can receive in-state tuition rates at the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island.

    Who is eligible for Rhode Island Residency for Tuition Purposes for Service Members, Veterans, and Eligible Dependents? The following individuals are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of their state residency:

    • Service members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who were on active duty for 30 or more days, their spouses, and dependents
    • Veterans discharged from active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces after less than 30 days due to a service-connected injury.
    • Students living in Rhode Island using transferred VA education benefits or Fry Scholarship recipients.
  • Rhode Island 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 due to 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


Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes

Rhode Island Veterans Home Community Living Center: The Rhode Island Veterans Home, located on Mount Hope Bay in Bristol, provides quality assisted living and nursing care to Rhode Island war Veterans.

Rhode Island State Veterans Home at Bristol

Services Provided Include:

  • Social activities
  • Medical and nursing care
  • Rehabilitative services
  • X-ray
  • Dental care
  • Pharmacy services
  • Physical and occupational therapies
  • Social work services
  • Transportation to Providence VA Medical Center

Who is eligible for care at the Rhode Island Veterans Home Community Living Center? To be eligible, Veterans must meet the following criteria:

  • Received an honorable discharge after at least 90 days of active duty service during wartime
  • Rhode Island resident for two consecutive years before applying or entering the U.S. Armed Forces from Rhode Island.

Veterans are required to provide the following documentation:

  • DD214
  • Medical records from primary care physician (at least two previous years)
  • Copy of guardianship or power of attorney for health care or finances, if applicable


Employment and Job Training: Veteran Preference

  • Rhode Island Employee Leave for Military Duty: All Rhode Island employers must grant leave for National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserves Service members when ordered to military training or duty.
  • Rhode Island State Employee Differential Pay During Military Duty: State employees who are Service members serving in the National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves are eligible for differential pay. Differential pay is paid to offset the difference between the employee’s state-based pay and the pay received while serving federal active duty.
  • Rhode Island Military Family Leave: Companies must provide unpaid family military leave to an employee when federal or state activation orders are in effect. The amount of leave depends on the size of the employer:
    • Employers with 51 or more employees must allow employees to take up to 30 days of leave
    • Employers with 15 to 50 employees must allow employees to take up to 15 days of leave.


  • Rhode Island Civil Service Veterans Hiring Preference: Rhode Island offers a Veteran hiring preference for Veterans applying for competitive state employment. Preference is given by adding points to passing civil service entrance exam scores.

    Veterans are awarded the following:

    • Veterans receive 5-point credit
    • Disabled wartime Veterans receive 10-point credit
  • Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) Career Centers, Veteran Services: DLT Career Centers offer specialized assistance and “Priority of Service” to eligible Veterans and their spouse.

    Priority of service gives eligible individuals preference over others for Workforce Investment Act employment, training, and placement services. This includes providing first access to services when offered for a limited time and giving preferred registration in limited enrollment situations.

    Some of the services offered include:

    • Job search assistance and access to online job listings
    • Career counseling
    • Coaching on job search skills
    • Workshops on a variety of job search strategies
    • Access to resources (computers, reference materials, resume-building software, and economic data)
    • Networking groups
  • 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.

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:

Exeter: Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery

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

Rhode Island VA Medical Centers

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.