Benefits in my backyard

Jonathan Kaupanger
March 28, 2018 - 10:40 am

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

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A free education for vets and their families is the theme for today’s state veteran benefit drilldown. We see what Maine, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands has to offer US veterans.

Maine

The 116,000 veterans living in the Pine Tree state have six veterans’ homes. You’ll need an honorable discharge after at least one day of active duty. Spouses, widows/widowers of qualified vets and gold star parents can live in a Maine Veterans’ Home.

Military retirement pay is not taxed in this state.

There’s a $6k property tax exemption for wartime vets, once they reach 62 years old. Veterans who have a 100 percent VA disability rating, or became 100 percent disabled while on active duty as well as un-remarried surviving spouses can use this exemption.  Paraplegic veterans and their qualifying spouses can get an exemption for up to $50,000 on property tax.

The veteran employment preference in Maine is typical, honorably discharged vets get five points added to their passing examination score.  A VA disability rating of 10 percent or more gets you 10 points added. Spouses of veterans can be eligible for this benefit as well.

For educational benefits in the state, children of Maine vets who were permanently and totally disabled, died of a service related disability or killed while on duty can get a 100 percent tuition waiver of all fees at state schools. The veteran needs to have entered service from Maine, or been a resident of the state for five years prior to the application for aid.  They need to continue to reside in the state for as long as the educational benefits last.  Spouses have 10 years and children have 6 years to finish the program.

The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services has a great resources list on its website that you should check out, too.

Hawaii

The Office of Veterans’ Services in Hawaii helps veterans with advocacy concerns, short-term counseling, claims, forms and appeal assistance, outreach and burial assistance. The primary service of OVS is advocacy on behalf of vets, family members and survivors to get the appropriate rights, benefits and services.

There is one state veteran’s home in the Aloha State. The vet is responsible for any costs that the VA or Medicare doesn’t cover. You’ll need to have an honorable discharge, over 55 years old and require nursing care to live in this home. Depending on space, spouses can be admitted.

You’ll want to check with a local tax office to get the specifics, but there is a property tax exemption on the island for totally disabled vets and their un-remarried spouses.  The same goes for passenger cars as long as long as they are owned by the vet and subsidized by VA.

Hawaii has a special housing grant of up to $5k for qualified, totally disabled vets for purchasing or remodeling a home to help with accessibility issues.

Veterans who are looking for state employment in Hawaii can get five points added to examination scores and disabled vets get 10 points added to open competitive state employment positions.

US Virgin Islands

Veterans who entered the military from the Virgin Islands can receive free tuition at the University of the Virgin Islands.  There is a homestead tax exemption of up to $650.00 for vets on their primary home.  Also you can get 10 points added to local civil service exams just for being a veteran.  Disabled vets get 15 points.

The Virgin Islands Government website has more information on these programs.