DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA VETERAN BENEFITS
We endeavor to keep this information current, but it is subject to change without notice.
DC EDUCATION BENEFITS
National Guard Scholarship
The DC National Guard Scholarship reimburses Army DC National Guard members for tuition paid at an approved institution of higher learning. Reimbursements can go as high as $1,500 per semester or quarter while monies last.
Top Up Tuition Assistance
Top-up assistance is also a reimbursement program that enables the federal VA to cover after-the-fact for all or a portion of tuition charges not covered under other military education programs. Benefits can extend to degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships and OJT. Even some refresher or remedial courses could be reimbursed. For example, if a benefit program covers 75% of your expenses for a course, the Top Up Tuition Assistance program may be able to reimburse the remaining 25%.
Potentially eligible military and veteran for this program must be eligible for either the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post 9/11 GI Bill or active duty benefits, and they must be approved by the military.
Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program
This federal program acts in many ways like the Top Up tuition assistance program in that the program bridges gaps left by the Post 9/11 GI bill and the true costs of an education at a participating school. It is a voluntary program where participating colleges and universities nationwide voluntarily enters into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA. The school determines the amount of tuition and fees they will contribute and then the VA matches that amount. The VA’s portion of the payment goes directly to the school on your behalf and your receipt of any benefits does not alter your GI Bill benefits.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program (DEA)
Eligible dependents of veterans who are rated 100% permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability can use benefits provided by this program to get a degree or certificate. Likewise, eligible dependents of military members who die serving the country in active duty or who die later as a result their service-related condition can get an education under this program too. Not only does it offer education with the goal of getting a degree, qualified individuals may use the benefits for apprenticeship, on-the-job training, some correspondence courses, remedial, or refresher courses.
DC VETERANS EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The District of Columbia participates in a veteran hiring preference system for public jobs. Veterans with 180 straight days or more of active duty before October 14, 1976, or with any amount of active duty service during an official period of conflict after October 15, 1976, are eligible for this preference if they have an ‘other than dishonorable’ discharge.
There are guidelines that spell out special rules and exceptions but in general, veterans within five years of their separation date receive 5 points added to their successful civil service exam scores. Disabled Veterans with at least a 30% VA rated disability get ten points. Some spouses and surviving spouses of disabled veterans may also qualify.
Homeless Veterans employment assistance
- Homeless and at-risk veterans can get training and job placement assistance through The Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP). The program hires their target population and trains them to be Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRSs) to offer these services to others
- Veterans in Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Program are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage. This program targets homeless Veterans and helps them return to the competitive work force through three separate applications: Sheltered Workshop, Transitional Work, and Supported Employment
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program
Veterans with service-connected disabilities get help preparing for, finding and keeping jobs suitable for their needs through a program called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E). Assistance may include an evaluation to determine abilities, skills, and interest; employment services; on-the-job training, apprenticeship, and non-paid work experiences that prepares veterans for being hired.
DC VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS
Property Tax Exemption
Veterans 65 or older, or any property owner who is disabled, can apply for financial relief through property tax exemption. This benefit cuts a qualified property owner’s property tax in half.
ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME
The District of Columbia doesn’t have a veterans’ home in the traditional sense. What they have is a retirement home community with two campuses for enlisted military retirees and certain other Veterans. The campuses offer wellness and life enrichment programs, and advanced medical care when necessary. The community is open to former military members who are aged 60 or older and who have 20 years in honorable service with at least half of their active service as non-commissioned. Being a warrant officer or limited duty office is acceptable. The community also accepts veterans with a service-connected disability, veterans who served during an official war time in a war theater and are considered by the Chief Operating Officer to have sustained injury, disease or disability as a result. They also won’t turn away military women who served before June 12, 1948 who eligibility may come down to ‘compelling personal circumstances.’
They will accept married couples, but both must meet respective eligibility requirements for residency. For example, one must be ambulatory and able to care for oneself. Fees apply.
Regardless of having an honorable discharge at time of separation, they will not accept a person who has since been convicted of a felony or who is not free of substance abuse or psychiatric problems.
D.C. has no veterans’ cemetery within its geographic location.
You can find more information regarding these benefits and other programs at the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs website.