RHODE ISLAND STATE VETERAN BENEFITS
We endeavor to keep this information current, but it is subject to change without notice.
RHODE ISLAND EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS
Disabled Veterans with any level of service-connected disability from 10% to 100% can get free tuition at a Rhode Island public college as long as they first apply for and use financial aid.
RHODE ISLAND EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Veterans vying for competitive state positions will receive a hiring preference through a point system. Qualifying Veterans must have served at least 30 days on active duty beyond training, have an ‘other than dishonorable discharge’ or be discharged due to a service-connected disability. Retired Guard and Reserve with 20 years of service or more also qualify.
The system requires points be added after the Veteran achieves a passing score. Veterans receive 5 points. Disabled Veterans receive 10 points but have additional criteria they must meet. They must have a VA service-connected disability that gives them a physical disability and they must be a war veteran. For example, the veteran could have earned a campaign ribbon or an expeditionary medal for a conflict, undeclared war or contingency operation.
RHODE ISLAND VETERANS’ FINANCIAL BENEFITS
Property Tax Exemption
Property tax exemptions for either real estate or motor vehicle taxes may be available for Veterans with other than dishonorable discharges who served during a wartime or a recognized time of conflict. Exemption amount varies and additional qualifications may exist for any of the state’s seven exemption categories:
- Regular exemption
- Exemption for being totally disabled from a service-connected disability
- Exemption for being partially disabled from a service-connected disability
- Unmarried widow/widower of qualified veteran
- Gold Star parents’ exemption
- Prisoner of war exemption
- Specially adapted housing exemption
Free Vehicle Registration For Disabled Veterans
Rhode Island gives a lifetime break on vehicle registration and license fees to two classes of disabled veterans: Those who have a 100% permanent and total rating, and those missing a limb (or the use of a limb) from active combat. In both cases, disabled Veterans must have honorable discharges.
The state has set aside money in a survivor’s pension to help care for certain survivors of deceased, wartime veterans. Low-income surviving spouses and certain unmarried children may qualify for $8,359 paid over 12 months. The actual pension rate varies based on number of dependents, and whether the survivor is housebound or requires daily care. Eligibility rules apply.
Military Family Relief Fund
This fund was originally set up to assist Guard and Reserve members and their families in time of crisis, but now extends to active duty personnel and families negatively impacted by deployment. Eligibility criteria for the military member include:
- Being on active duty or being a member of the military reserve component in good standing either serving in Rhode Island or having Rhode Island as your home of record when you enlisted
- Being registered in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System or equivalent status
- Have earned a Purple Heart for injury/death or official status as MIA or POW
- Be deployed or mobilized in support of the war on terrorism or support of Homeland Security
- Be a member of good standing with current unit or have served honorably for one year
- Have an emergency financial need for basic necessities such as housing, food, utilities, medical attention or medicines, vehicle payments, fuel or insurance
No Fare and Half Fare Bus Passes
Low-income Veterans can apply for a no-fare bus pass which allow them to ride all fixed routes at no charge. The low-income pass requires the veteran to have income that is 200% below the federal poverty level for their size family.
Disabled veterans who have a VA award letter showing service-connected disabilities at 70% or higher can apply for a Half Fare Pass. This pass allows them to ride all fixed routes for half price except during peak periods. In some cases, they may also qualify to have a personal attendant or care giver ride with them free.
RHODE ISLAND VETERANS’ RECREATION BENEFITS
Hunting & Fishing Licenses
When a Veteran is 100% disabled with a service-connected disability, he or she can obtain a hunting and fishing license free of charge without even being a resident of Rhode Island.
The state also allows military members stationed in Rhode Island who are not residents to buy hunting and fishing licenses for the same amount that residents pay.
State Park Admission
When a Veteran is 100% disabled with a service-connected disability, he or she can also enter Rhode Island state parks at no charge, and you don’t even need to be a resident. However, there may still be camping, equestrian and other such usage fees.
RHODE ISLAND VETERANS HOME
The Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol has about 208 beds for long term care. Admission requires 90 days of honorable, active service during wartime. In addition, the applicant must have entered military service from Rhode Island or be a current resident for the past two or more years. Fees apply and the Medical Director has final authority on applications.
RHODE ISLAND VETERANS’ CEMETERY
The veterans’ cemetery for the state is in Exeter on 280 acres. They accept eligible Veterans, their spouses and dependent children. Burial is free for veterans whose eligibility criteria includes:
- Having served honorably
- Be a resident of Rhode Island for two years just prior to death or have had Rhode Island listed as the home of record when he or she entered military service
- Served in active duty service for which they received a campaign ribbon or expeditionary medal OR
- Served for at least two years in active duty beyond training, OR
- Served 20 or more years in a National Guard or Reserve unit
You can find more information regarding these benefits and other programs at the Rhode Island Office of Veteran Services website.