Benefits in my Backyard: Rhode Island

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:13 pm



More than 65,000 veterans call the Ocean State home.  There are more shipwrecks per square mile here than in any other state. The official state name is  "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations".   There are a few sporty firsts here, the first outdoor polo match on U.S. soil was here in 1876, first open golf tournament in 1895 and the first National Lawn Tennis Championship in 1899.  Be aware because it’s illegal to intentionally bite off another person’s limb while living in Rhode Island.  In Providence, there’s a law banning see-through clothing.  And in Newport, you can’t smoke a pipe after sunset.


Rhode Island taxes military retirement pay.

  • There are several tax exemptions for veterans in Rhode Island. Exemptions vary by town. You’ll need an other than dishonorable discharge and active duty service during a time of war.  Apply at your town tax assessor’s office.
    • Rhode Island veteran exemption: $1,000
    • Unmarried widow of a veteran: $1,000
    • Gold Star Parent: $3,000
    • 100 percent, service-connected disabled veteran in specially adapted housing: $10,000
    • Prisoner of War: $15,000
    • Certified Blind: $15,500


  • Disabled Veteran Tuition Waiver.  Veterans who are state residents with at least a 10 percent, service-connected disability receive free tuition at Rhode Island public colleges and universities.  You must apply for and use financial aid first.
  • In-state Tuition.  Eligible active duty military and veterans receive in-state tuition rates.


  • On request, when applying for Rhode Island state jobs, veterans’ preference points may be applied to veterans with an honorable discharge and at least 30 days of active duty service. 
    • 10 points given to veterans with a service-connected
    • 5 points given to eligible veterans
  • RING Employment Transition.  Employment Transition Coordinators help service members transition back into the civilian work sector.
  • EmployRI:  For employers and job seekers


  • Operation Stand Down helps veterans find stable housing and employment.  Other services include case management, basic human needs, referrals and education and training services.
  • RI Serves offers housing, emergency services, employment, recreation, and fitness services.
  • Rhode Island Legal Services provides legal assistance and representation to low-income individuals for the purpose of improving their economic condition and overall wellbeing.
  • Rhode Island Family Relief Fund helps National Guard or Reserve members and their families with a one-time grant of up to $5,000.
  • Financial Coaching.  You may receive a free one-on-one session with a financial coach to help identify your goals and give you the tools to make them a reality


  • Hunting/Fishing licenses.  No person shall hunt, pursue, take or kill any wild bird or animal in the state without first having a Rhode Island hunting license.
    • Resident Hunting License: $18.00
    • Resident combination License (Hunting & Fishing): $33.00
    • Permanent Resident Combination License (over 65 or disabled): no fee
    • Active Duty Hunting License: $18.00
  • Hunter/Bowhunter Education Courses.  You must pass both the online and in-person exam


  • Rhode Island Veterans Home is located on Mount Hope Bay in Bristol.  Veterans with an honorable discharge and at least 90 days of active duty during a war may apply. 
  • City Housing Authorities’ Veterans’ Preference gives wartime-disabled veterans first placement when space is available in public housing for the elderly.  For more information, contact the housing authority for your city or town.

Cemetery and Burial

  • The Rhode Island State Veterans Cemetery is located in Exeter.  Eligible veterans, their spouses and dependent children may be buried here.  Apply online if you have an honorable discharge, lived in Rhode Island for two years prior to death and served during a wartime period or for two or more years during peacetime.
  • Eligibility Determination Form.  Pre-needs determination is intended to simplify and assist the veteran’s next-of-kin at the time of death.  This does not reserve a plot or niche at the cemetery.  There is no cost for this.

Links or Resources