MAINE STATE VETERAN BENEFITS
We endeavor to keep this information current, but it is subject to change without notice.
MAINE EDUCATION BENEFITS PROGRAM
Maine offers one main program for qualifying dependents, plus a national scholarship. The national scholarship is the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship.
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (EAP) provides a full tuition and fee waiver at Maine’s state-supported schools when veterans are permanently and totally disabled, died from complications of their service-connected disability, or who were killed in action. There are additional eligibility rules, such as the Veteran must have been a Maine resident for five years before making application, and timeline restrictions for completing schooling.
In addition to educational assistance for Veteran dependents, Maine provides Guard and Reserves educational assistance, Veteran Upward Bound programs and even a Department of Defense education program run by the VA that can be tapped by those in active duty or reserves, among others.
MAINE VETERAN EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Like other states, Maine follows the federal lead to award preference points to qualifying veterans seeking state employment. Every honorably discharged veteran who gets a passing score on examination receives 5 preference points. Those disabled veterans with at least a 10% VA rating receive 10 points. Some spouses can receive preference points too, based on the eligibility of their veteran.
Credit for Military Training
They recognize certain military experience and training; therefore, they have made it easier to obtain professional civilian licensing in Boiler, Electrical, Fuel and Plumbing fields. They claim great flexibility in evaluating a veteran’s experience outside these fields as well, and possibly can eliminate a veteran’s need for duplicate training prior to professional certification and licensing.
Other incentive programs
In addition, Maine has an active ‘Hire a Vet’ campaign, as well as other incentives and even a program to help Veterans transition into teaching.
MAINE VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS
The Pine Tree State does not tax military pay earned out-of-state, nor do they tax military retirement.
Property Tax Exemption
Provided the Maine veteran separated under other than dishonorable conditions and meets other eligibility requirements, he or she receives some tax breaks. Maine veterans 62 years old who served in wartime or those who are receiving 100% VA disability qualify for a $6,000 property tax exemption. This exemption extends to their surviving spouses too, until they remarry. A $50,000 property tax exemption goes to paraplegic veterans, along with their qualifying spouses.
MAINE VETERAN RECREATION BENEFITS
Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Maine can be a sportsman’s paradise involving bear, wild turkey, pheasant, migratory birds, even a coyote night hunt. They also grant archery, one expanded archery antlerless deer permit, muzzle loading and crossbow options. Furthermore, disabled veterans from Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire who have at least a 50% service-connected disability can apply for a free lifetime license(s) from Maine. The license becomes void should qualifying veterans no longer meet the residency requirements. A few disabled veteran hunters (residents and non-resident alike) may even win a spot in the Disabled Veterans Controlled Moose Lottery. If you win a spot, the state (in participation with Smoldering Lake Outfitters and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife) pays for all permits, individual hunting guides and all equipment.
Maine residents who are on active duty (and their dependents) can purchase hunting, fishing or a combo license at a discount. If you are not a state resident, but still serving on active duty within the state, Maine allows you and your dependents to pay as if you legal residents when applying for your sportsman licenses.
Maine resident veterans don’t pay for access to state parks and historic sites within the state, as long as they have an ‘other-than-dishonorable’ discharge. The state extends free admission to enlisted, active-duty Maine residents and their dependents as well.
MAINE HOUSING BENEFITS
Maine has six veterans’ homes to help their resident veterans who have honorable discharges. In addition to having the right discharge, a few other eligibility criteria must be met for veterans. Primarily, veterans must have been a Maine resident when they entered the service or be a resident at the time of application. Plus, they must have at least one day of active duty (beyond training). There is no requirement for wartime service or for a service-connected condition. Once deemed eligible, both the qualifying veteran and their spouse, surviving spouse, and/or gold star parents can live in a veterans’ residence. Veterans homes in Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Machias, Scarborough, and South Paris offer therapy, rehabilitation, eldercare and skilled nursing care.
The Salute Home Again plan by the State Housing Authority gives veterans and other military members a discount of 0.25 percent on their home mortgages. There are limits to both household income and purchase price (depending on number of people in your family and where you wish to purchase) but most Maine military families would meet the program’s eligibility requirements.
MAINE VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETERY
Like most veteran benefits from the state of Maine, veterans must have an ‘other than dishonorable’ discharge to tap the Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery System. However, one does not need to be a Maine resident to be interred. Maine has a simple application process and the eligibility certification can be done at any time. There’s no fee for either the qualifying veteran, or his or her spouse, to be buried in one of Maine’s four veteran cemeteries. Perpetual care is also provided at no charge and the U.S. government provides the headstone. Cemeteries can be found in Augusta, Caribou and Springvale.
You can find more information regarding these benefits and other programs at the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services website.