Benefits in my Backyard: New Jersey

While in NJ, it’s against the law for men to knit during fishing season.

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:23 pm

Dreamstime

More than 400,000 veterans call the Garden State home. With more than 1,200 people per square mile, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the Union. To put it in perspective, New Jersey is also the fourth smallest state by area. 

New Jersey is home to several firsts, mosts, longests and largests... The phonograph, light bulb and motion picture projector were invented in the state by Thomas Edison. The world’s first submarine ride happened in the Passaic River in 1878. Go back a few years to 1845 and you’d see the first baseball game in the country. The world's longest (and oldest) boardwalk is in Atlantic City.  It’s considered the diner capital of the world and has the most shopping malls in one area – seven in a 25 mile radius.  And probably the most important piece of trivia you’ll learn today comes from New Jersey.. the world’s tallest water tower is in Union, New Jersey.

The state has some headscratchers still on the law books. Did you know that if you commit a murder in the state, it’s illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest?  It’s also against the law to delay or detain a homing pigeon in this state. You’re not allowed to frown at police officers while in New Jersey, and if you’re in Bernards Township, keep that smile on your face as it’s a “frown-free town zone.”  Cresskill, NJ has a law stating that cats must wear not one, not two but thee bells so that birds can hear them coming. And in Trenton you're not allowed to throw a bad pickles in the street, but on Sunday's it’s against the law to eat them at all! 

Taxes

New Jersey does not tax military retirement pay.

  • Veteran Tax Exemption. New for 2017 taxes, vets with an honorable discharge may receive a $3,000 exemption. Your spouse may claim this if you file a joint return. This exemption is in addition to any others you may claim. This will not pass to surviving spouses though. Provide official documentation showing your discharge when filing. This does not apply to income earned in 2016 or earlier.
  • Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans. Veterans who served at least 14 days in certain wartime periods are exempt from real estate taxes on their principal residence. You’ll need to have VA documentation stating you are totally and permanently disabled. Contact your local tax assessor’s office for more info. 
  • Property Tax Deductions for Veterans. Veterans who’ve spent at least 14 days in a combat zone may be eligible for a $250 annual deduction on personal property. Contact your local tax assessor’s office for more info. 

Education

  • POW – MIA Tuition Benefit Program. Free undergraduate college tuition for any child whose parent was officially declared a prisoner of war or missing in action after Jan 1, 1960. The veteran must have been a NJ resident at the time they entered service. For more information contact the Veterans Benefits Bureau at (609) 530-6949.
  • War Orphan Tuition. For children of service personnel who die while in the military due to service-connected disabilities or who are officially listed as MIA by DoD. The veteran must have been a NJ resident at the time they entered service. For more information contact the Veterans Benefits Bureau at (609) 530-6949.
  • Veterans Tuition Credit Program. This provides additional educational benefits for veterans who are already federally funded. You’ll need to have served sometime between Dec. 31, 1960 and May 7, 1975. For more information contact the Veterans Benefits Bureau at (609) 530-6949.
  • Service members Opportunity Colleges. This consortium of colleges and universities provides educational opportunities for service members and their families.

Career

Family

Several organizations in the state provide financial utility bill assistance for vets and their family members

Entertainment

  • Fishing/Hunting license. Veterans with an honorable discharge and who are declared by VA to have a service-connected disability of any degree qualify for free licenses, permits and stamps. First time issue of a firearm or bow and arrow hinting license requires proof of a prior year resident hunting license from any state or a hunter education course completion card. 

Housing

  • Transitional Housing Programs
    • Veterans Haven North (908) 537-1963
    • Veterans Haven South (609) 561-0269
    • Hope House for Women with children (201) 420-1070
  • Home Keeper Call Center (877) 496-4951
  • There are three veterans’ homes in New Jersey. Vineland, Menlo Park and Paramus are the locations. Resident accommodations are assigned based on the level of care required. The facilities are open to veterans with an honorable discharge, their spouses and to Gold Star parents and spouses. Complete and submit the required forms to the home of your choice to apply.

Cemetery and Burial

Links or Resources