Veteran Benefits for Washington
The state of Washington offers many veteran benefits for service members and Veterans that have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. These benefits include income and property tax exemptions, financial exemptions, education and training programs, hunting and fishing licenses, vehicle registrations, and assistance with employment. Your residency, military career, and disability status may result in certain differences in what benefits you may be eligible for. The following are benefits for the state of Washington.
Washington Veteran Financial Benefits
- Washington State Personal Income Tax: Washington State does not have a personal or corporate income tax. However, people or businesses that engage in business in Washington are subject to business and occupation (B&O) and/or public utility tax.
- Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption: Veterans with a 100% disability rating and an income of less than $40,000 (not including VA disability payment) may be exempt from paying property tax on their home. Surviving spouses may also qualify.
- Washington State Property Tax Exemption:To qualify for the Exemption Program, you must be at least 61 years of age OR disabled OR a disabled veteran with a 80 percent service-connected disability. You must also own and occupy your residence and your combined disposable income must be $40,000 or less.
- Washington State Property Tax Assistance Program for Surviving Spouses of Veterans: The qualifying Surviving Spouse receives assistance for payment of property taxes in the form of a grant. The assistance amount is based on the applicant’s income, the value of the residence, and the local levy rates. The grant does not have to be repaid as long as the applicant continues to live in the residence until at least December 15 in the year a grant is received.
- Free License Plates for Disabled Veterans: Veterans who have been receiving 100% VA disability for at least one year can receive a free disabled Veteran vehicle license plate.
- Statewide: 6.5%
- Municipalities: can levy a sales tax of no more than 3.9%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 8.68%
Disabled Veteran Hunting & Fishing Licenses: Discounted hunting and fishing licenses are available to Veterans who have a 30% and greater disability rating (resident or non-resident). These licenses are also available to those over 65 with any disability.
Active Duty Hunting & Fishing Licenses: Active duty members stationed in Washington can buy hunting & fishing licenses at the resident rate.
State Parks Disabled Veteran Lifetime Pass: Disabled Veterans with at least a 30% disability rating can get a free lifetime pass which offers free camping, campsite reservations, watercraft launching, trailer dump, and day-use admission to all state parks.
Washington State Education Tuition Waiver for Veterans: The State Legislature has authorized state community colleges, colleges and universities to waive ‘all or a portion of tuition and fees’ for eligible Veterans or National Guard members. Each college or university establishes and operates its own Veterans waiver program, so it is best to get in touch with the college or university you plan to attend for details on their program.
Who is eligible for the Washington State Education Tuition Waiver for Veterans? An eligible Veteran or National Guard member is defined as: “…a Washington domiciliary who was an active or reserve member of the United States military or naval forces, or a National Guard member called to active duty, who served in active Federal service, under either Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code, in a war or conflict fought on foreign soil or in international waters or in another location in support of those serving on foreign soil or in international waters, and if discharged from service, has received an honorable discharge.”
Washington State Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:
- Facilitating the timely 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 children of military families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment
- 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 promulgation and 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 in order to achieve educational success for the student
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Eligibility for admission:
- Served at any time, in any branch of the United States Armed Forces including the National Guard
- Received an honorable discharge
- Reside in Washington State
- Be the Spouse or Surviving Spouse of an eligible Veteran
- Or be a Gold Star Parent
Employment and Job Training: Veteran’s Preference
In every public department, and upon all public works of the state, and of any county thereof, honorably discharged service members, who are Veterans of any war of the United States, or of any military campaign for which a campaign ribbon shall have been awarded, and their surviving spouses shall be preferred for appointment and employment. Age, loss of limb, or other physical impairment, which does not in fact incapacitate, shall not be deemed to disqualify them, provided they possess the capacity necessary to discharge the duties of the position involved.
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. Mobilized guard or reserve members will receive a 5 point addition.
Washington State Employment Military Service Credit in Retirement System: If you take a leave of absence from your Washington State Department of Retirement Systems-covered position to serve in the United States military, you are interrupting membership in your retirement system. If you return to your DRS-covered position, you might be able to recover service credit for the time you spent in the U.S. Armed Forces. That service credit is called “interruptive military service credit.” Service credit is one of the factors used in computing your retirement benefit, so increasing your service credit would increase your future monthly benefit.
Washington State Work Source Veteran Services: As a Veteran, you can get priority access to WorkSource services. This includes priority referrals to jobs that are listed with WorkSource, as well as other employment services.
WorkSource centers offer Veterans and their Spouses:
- Job listings, job referrals and hiring events.
- Résumé, application and interviewing assistance.
- Use of computers, photocopiers, and phones.
- Skill assessments and referrals to training and other resources.
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. Eligibility for interment in the State Veterans Cemetery follows National Cemetery Administration eligibility requirements. Veterans discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and their spouses and dependent children are eligible for burial. There is no residency requirement. There is no charge for Veteran interments and a one-time fee of $300.00 fee for eligible dependents. All other funeral expenses are borne by the family.
National Cemeteries include:
Kent: Tahoma National Cemetery
Seattle: Fort Lawton Post Cemetery
Washington VA Benefit Resources
Washington provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Washington VA Regional Benefits Office
- Seattle: Seattle Regional Office
Washington VA Medical Centers
- Spokane: Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center
- Vancouver: VA Portland Health Care System – Vancouver Campus
- Walla Walla: Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center
Important information for Washington 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, 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 December 2019
Washington Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Washington 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 if you are eligible for an increase in VA compensation and whether you qualify for additional benefits.