Veteran Benefits for Wisconsin
The state of Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Veteran Financial Benefits
- Wisconsin Individual Income Taxes on Military Pay: Regular pay received by Wisconsin residents serving in the military on active duty or on inactive Reserve duty or in the Wisconsin National Guard is not exempted from income tax.
- Wisconsin Retired Military Pay Income Taxes: Payments received from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for military retirement pay are not taxable in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin Individual Income Tax Exemption for Mobilized Reserve/Guard Pay: For taxable years beginning in 2004 and thereafter, military pay received by certain members of the Reserves and National Guard may also be exempt for Wisconsin tax purposes.
- Wisconsin Veterans and Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit: The Wisconsin Veterans and Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit provides eligible Veterans and un-remarried, Surviving Spouses a refundable property tax credit for their primary, in-state residence and up to one acre of land. The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs verifies the Veteran’s eligibility for the program. The credit is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue through the state income tax return.
- Wisconsin Individual Income Taxes Extension in Filing Deadline: Any extension of time allowed under federal law for filing your federal income tax return also applies for Wisconsin. For example, if you are on military duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico on April 15, you are allowed an automatic two-month extension and an additional four-month extension of time to file your federal return.
- Assistance to Needy Veterans Grant: The Assistance to Needy Veterans Grant (ANVG) program provides limited financial assistance to those in need and who have exhausted all other sources of aid. The grants may be used for specified health care and subsistence needs up to maximum grant limits.
- Statewide: 5.0%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 0.6%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 5.458%
Wisconsin Military Free Fishing and Small Game Hunting License for Service Members on Leave: Any resident in active service with the Armed Forces, who present their military I.D. and leave papers is eligible for a free Small Game & Fishing License. All other hunting, trapping or fishing licenses can be purchased at resident rates.
Disabled Veterans Fishing License: Wisconsin disabled Veterans with at least a 70% disability rating are eligible for a reduced-fee fishing license.
Active Duty Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing Licenses: Active duty Wisconsin residents on leave can get a free small game license, turkey permit, & fishing license. They can also buy a bonus antlerless deer carcass tag for any ONE unit with a quota; even if the unit is sold out, a sturgeon spearing license after the October 31st deadline, through the end of the open season for spearing sturgeon; and can get a one-time transfer of a Class A Bear license. All other hunting, trapping or fishing licenses can be purchased at resident rates. Non-Resident active duty members stationed in Wisconsin can get licenses at the resident rate.
Returning Veterans Hunting & Fishing Licenses: Recently returning Wisconsin resident veterans can get a one-time free small game, archery, gun deer or annual fishing license.
Purple Heart Recipients Licenses: Purple Heart recipients can buy a spring turkey harvest authorization without being awarded a harvest authorization through the turkey drawing. They can also get a one-time transfer of a Class A bear license. Purple Heart recipients can get the Conservation Patron license at reduced fees (for both residents and non-residents). Non-resident Purple Heart recipients can get hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses at the resident rate.
State Parks: Disabled Veterans with at least a 70% disability rating may receive waivers of vehicle admission and trail pass fees to Wisconsin state parks.
Wisconsin GI Bill Tuition Remission Program: The Wisconsin GI Bill remits (forgives) full tuition and segregated fees for eligible Veterans and their dependents for up to eight full-time semesters or 128 credits, whichever is greater, at the any University of Wisconsin System or Wisconsin Technical College System school. The Wisconsin GI Bill is a state program that is entirely separate from the Federal GI Bill. The Veteran must have entered service as a Wisconsin resident and the benefit recipient must reside in Wisconsin. The character of service and active duty service requirements apply. For Veterans, there is no post-service time limitation (such as the Federal Montgomery G.I. Bill 10-year delimiting date) on the use of the benefit. The Veteran may attend full- or part-time. The benefit may be used for continuing education, or for study at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Academic Credit for Military Experience: Service members, Reservists, and Veterans pursuing a college education may be able to obtain academic credit for military courses they have completed through the military. Prior to enrollment individuals should discuss possible credit with the Veterans’ Coordinator at the college or university they plan to attend; credit received may reduce attendance time and cost.
Wisconsin 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:
- You don’t have to be a Wisconsin resident to be admitted, however, Wisconsin residents get priority.
- You must have an honorable discharge to be admitted.
- Spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star Parents are also eligible for admission.
- There is a monthly fee.
Employment and Job Training: Veteran’s Preference
Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty during certain periods or campaigns are, for their first position within the classified service, entitled to competitive preference over non-Veterans. All honorably discharged Veterans can have 10 points added to any state employment examination scores. Those with a VA service-connected disability rating of less than 30% will get 15 points added to their score and those with more than 30% will get 20 points added to their passing score. Some spouses of disabled or deceased veterans may also have points added to a passing score.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protect civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA also makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive the Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
Wisconsin Veterans Professional/Occupational Licensure Fee Waiver Program: Wisconsin Act 209, signed into law on April 4th, 2012, and effective July 1, 2012, created a program which requires that the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) establish and maintain a program under which 13 State Agencies will grant fee waivers to qualified Veterans when issuing initial licenses.
Veterans Retraining Grants: Recently unemployed or underemployed Veterans may receive a grant of up to $3,000 per year, for a maximum of two years, if they have a financial need while being retrained for employment.
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. Honorably discharged Wisconsin resident veterans and their dependents are eligible for burial. There is no fee for the veteran’s burial and a small fee for the dependents.
National Cemeteries include:
Madison: Forest Hill Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot
Milwaukee: Forest Home Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot
Milwaukee: Wood National Cemetery
Portage, WI: Fort Winnebago Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot
Prairie du Chien: Fort Crawford Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot
Racine: Mound Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot
Wisconsin VA Benefit Resources
Wisconsin provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
Wisconsin VA Regional Benefits Office
- Milwaukee: Milwaukee Regional Office
Wisconsin VA Medical Centers
- Madison: William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
- Milwaukee: Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Tomah: Tomah VA Medical Center
Important information for Wisconsin 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
Wisconsin Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in Wisconsin 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.