Your Ultimate Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Veterans in the State of Georgia
Georgia honors military service by offering resident veterans and service members a wealth of benefits, exemptions, and resources unique to the state.
Georgia’s population of 651,000 veterans makes up about 5 percent of the state’s total population. As a veteran, your service may make you eligible for many types of benefits (including Georgia disabled veteran benefits) to include financial, educational, career services, and recreational benefits.
Military branch, career status, disability status, and residence status can affect benefit eligibility.
VA Claims Insider has built this complete guide of Georgia veteran benefits to help you find all the benefits you earned. Read on for the ultimate guide to top Georgia VA benefits for 2021!
- Your Ultimate Guide to the Best 2021 Benefits for Veterans in the State of Georgia
- Property Tax Benefits for Georgia Veterans
- Georgia Veteran Benefits for Income Tax
- Georgia Veteran Benefits for Education
- Hiring and Employment Benefits for Georgia Veterans
- Georgia Veteran Benefits for Housing
- Veteran Health Care in Georgia
- Georgia Veteran Vehicle License Benefits
- Are there Georgia veteran benefits for parks and recreation?
- Miscellaneous Benefits for Georgia Veterans
- Are there special property tax exemptions for Georgia veterans?
- Are there income tax benefits for Georgia veterans?
- Does Georgia award college credit for military training?
- Do Georgia veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
- Does Georgia offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
- Are there Georgia veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
- About the Author
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Property Tax Benefits for Georgia Veterans
Georgia Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption
Georgia disabled veteran benefits include an annual homestead property tax exemption of up to $60,000 plus an additional sum set by the VA, which is currently $90,364. This makes the current total property tax exemption $150,364 for Georgia disabled veterans.
To qualify for the Georgia disabled veteran property tax exemption, you must be a resident of Georgia and rated 100 percent permanently and totally (P&T) disabled by the VA, or be blind or an amputee.
Surviving spouses and minor children of eligible veterans also qualify for this Georgia disabled veteran benefit as long as they continue to occupy the home as their residence.
Georgia Veteran Benefits for Income Tax
Georgia income tax ranges from 1 percent to 5.75 percent, depending on income.
Although Georgia does tax military retirement pay, there are several exemptions you may qualify for depending on age and disability status. If you’re between the ages of 62 and 64 or permanently and totally (P&T) disabled, you may exclude up to $35,000 of your military retirement pay from your taxable income. If you’re 65 or older, this exclusion increases to a total of up to $65,000.
If you’re a resident of Georgia and in the military, you must pay income tax on your military pay regardless of station location. Service members killed in the line of duty are exempt from income taxes for the year of death and any years served in the combat zone.
Although Georgia taxes income and military retirement pay, Georgia doesn’t tax:
- Military disability pay
- VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) pay
Veterans can deduct these payments from their adjusted gross income for the state.
You can learn more about Georgia’s military state income tax policies with the Department of Revenue.
Georgia Veteran Benefits for Education
Georgia’s educational benefits are excellent for veterans and their families, augmenting the federal education support available to all U.S. veterans.
There are many military-friendly colleges in Georgia. According to the VA, in 2017, 291 Georgia schools received Post 9/11 GI bill funds for over 23,000 students totaling over $150 million.
Georgia Resident Tuition for Nonresident Military Service Members and their Dependents
Georgia veteran benefits include in-state tuition rates. In-state tuition rates are offered at any University System of Georgia school for active-duty military personnel stationed in Georgia or members of the National Guard or their spouses or dependent children.
Dependent children qualify for in-state tuition if the member was stationed in Georgia in the last five years and the dependent child attended a year of high school in the state.
U.S. veterans eligible for VA education benefits, as well as spouses or dependent children of these veterans, are also eligible for resident tuition if they’re within three years of separation and intend to become Georgia residents.
College Credit for Military Experience in Georgia
Georgia veteran benefits include converting your military training and experience into college credit! Most universities and local community colleges in Georgia use the recommendations made by the American Council on Education to award academic credit for education and training received in the military. To claim credit for military training toward your degree, request a transcript from your military service branch at Air University for the Air Force and Joint Services Transcript for all other branches and contact your local veteran certifying official.
Waivers for Mandatory Fees for Georgia Colleges for Veterans with Combat Service
If you’re a combat veteran attending a University System of Georgia school, you may be eligible for a waiver of all mandatory fees. This includes mandatory parking fees, technology fees, student activity fees, recreation center fees, and more. You must have served in a combat zone for 181 days or more to be eligible.
Georgia Hero Scholarship
If you’re a member of the Georgia National Guard or Reserves and you served in a combat zone, you and your dependents may be eligible for up to $2,000 per academic school year towards tuition at a participating college in Georgia. The scholarship is first-come first-served, and is capped at $8,000 total.
To be eligible, veterans must have served at least 181 days in a combat zone. Children of eligible veterans must be under 25. For spouse eligibility, the service member must have died in the combat zone or received a 100 percent disabled rating due to injuries sustained in the combat zone.
Georgia College Refunds for Military Service Requirements
If you’re a service member attending a University System of Georgia school and unable to complete your term due to military service (Active Duty or Temporary Duty orders), you may be eligible for a full or prorated refund of tuition and fees. This also applies to National Guard and Reserve service members.
Hiring and Employment Benefits for Georgia Veterans
Many offices within Georgia offer support with employment, and many resources are available to help veterans and their families find jobs and advance their careers.
Georgia Veterans’ Employment Preference
Georgia veteran benefits include preference when applying for federal, state, county, and local government jobs. This supports service members getting back to work quickly. Georgia law authorizes either five- or 10-point additions to pre-employment exam scores for veterans with an honorable discharge if they meet all other qualifications. All veterans receive 5 points. Georgia disabled veteran benefits include an employment preference of 10 points for disabled veterans (and their spouses) with a rating of at least 10 percent.
Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center (VECTR)
VECTR serves Georgia veterans and their families with career services. Advisors will help you find the right career, translate your military experience, match you with the right college or training through educational coaching, and help you find employment. The VECTR Center is located in Warner Robbins.
Veterans and family members may schedule an appointment before visiting the VECTR Center by calling (478) 218-3900 or emailing [email protected].
Fee Exemptions for Georgia Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses
Georgia disabled veteran benefits include exemptions from occupational taxes, administration fees, and regulatory fees charged to business owners by local Georgia governments. To be eligible, veterans must have an honorable discharge and a VA disability rating of 10 percent or higher. Business owners will receive a Certificate of Exemption good for ten years. Veterans can apply with their local County Probate Court Office.
Georgia Veteran Benefits for Housing
Veteran Homes in Georgia
Georgia veteran benefits include two Georgia War Veteran Nursing Homes (GWVNH). Located in Augusta and Milledgeville, these homes offer high-quality skilled nursing care to improve veterans’ quality of life.
To apply to one of the homes, veterans must be residents of Georgia. Requirements include either state residency for the previous two years or for five of the past 15 years.
To learn more about each home and how to apply, visit the GWVNH website.
Veteran Health Care in Georgia
List of VA Locations in Georgia
Georgia Veteran Vehicle License Benefits
Veteran Designation on Georgia Driver License ID
Georgia veterans can get a “Veteran” designation on a driver’s license or ID card. If the veteran has qualifying wartime service, this ID card is free. National Guard members with 20 years of service or more are also eligible.
To be eligible, you must present a DD214 or equivalent that indicates “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” discharge along with your proof of residency at a Georgia Department of Veterans Services (GDVS) Veterans Field Service Office. Take the verification document from this office (DS-516) to your local Georgia Department of Driver Services office to receive your updated license.
Free Driver’s Licenses for Spouses and National Guard Members
Georgia veteran benefits also include free driver’s licenses for:
- National Guard members who have served at least one year in good standing
- Eligible surviving spouses and spouses of veterans unable to drive due to a service-connected disability
Residents should visit the GDVS Veterans Field Service Office for eligibility verification, and take the form to the local Department of Driver Services office to receive the free driver’s license.
Georgia disabled veteran benefits include free license plates and vehicle registration.
Veterans with a disabled license plate aren’t required to pay vehicle registration fees in Georgia. You’re eligible for a free license plate if you’re rated 100 percent permanently and totally (P&T) disabled by the VA, or you receive compensation from the VA for:
- Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both feet
- Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands
- Loss of sight in one or both eyes
- Permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a prescribed degree
Additionally, if you received a grant from the VA to buy your car, you don’t have to pay sales tax on that car.
Are there Georgia veteran benefits for parks and recreation?
Yes, Georgia veteran benefits include discounts for hunting and fishing licenses. If you’re a military veteran and Georgia resident with 90 days of active duty service time, you can apply for a free one-time hunting and fishing license good for one year. Once this expires, you can purchase a discounted lifetime sportsman’s license at a 20 percent discount for $600.
Veterans who are rated 100 percent permanently and totally (P&T) Disabled by the VA are eligible for a three-year disability sportsman’s license for $18. Blind veterans may also apply for a free lifetime honorary fishing license.
Georgia disabled veteran benefits include a 25 percent discount on annual park passes and recreation fees within the state for veterans with any disability rating. Bring your proof of service with you to the park office when you visit.
Miscellaneous Benefits for Georgia Veterans
Georgia Women Veterans Office
Georgia VA benefits support women. Women veterans and their families have access to information, advocacy, outreach, and support in Georgia. With 93,000 women veterans in the state, the office provides special assistance and counseling. Services include guidance in pursuing benefits and assistance unique to women veterans. Contact the director for additional information at [email protected].
Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemeteries (GVMC)
Georgia honors veteran service to the nation with two veteran memorial cemeteries, located in Milledgeville and Glennville. Free burial and perpetual care are provided at no cost to the veteran or veteran’s family. This includes the gravesite, vault, marker, and use of the committal chapel. Spouses and eligible family members may also be interred at the same plot as the veteran.
Unlike many other states, there are no residency requirements for burial in one of the cemeteries. Requirements include:
- Veterans discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
- Service members killed in the line of duty
- Reservists and National Guard members eligible for retirement pay
- Dependents who are unmarried and under age 21, or life-long dependency on the veteran
Are there special property tax exemptions for Georgia veterans?
Yes, 100 percent permanently and totally (P&T) disabled veterans receive a property tax exemption in Georgia up to $150,364, which reduces the taxable value of a veteran’s home. Surviving spouses and minor children of eligible veterans may also apply for this benefit.
Are there income tax benefits for Georgia veterans?
Yes, Georgia veteran benefits include income tax exemptions for residents of Georgia. Veterans can exclude up to $35,000 of their military retirement pay from their state income tax return if they’re between the ages of 62 and 64, or 100 percent permanently and totally (P&T) disabled. Veterans can exclude up to $65,000 of their military retirement pay income if they’re 65 or older.
Service members must still pay income tax on their military pay regardless of station location. However, service members killed in the line of duty are exempt from income taxes for the year of death and any years served in the combat zone.
Does Georgia award college credit for military training?
Yes, Georgia colleges award college credit for military training and experience. Contact your Veteran Certifying Official at the college you are interested in for more information.
Do Georgia veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?
Georgia veterans with an honorable discharge receive a 5-point addition to their scores on state or civil service exams. Disabled veterans with a VA rating of 10 percent or higher receive a 10-point addition to the Georgia pre-employment civil service exam.
Does Georgia offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans seeking employment?
Yes. Georgia operates the Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center to help veterans and their families with career services.
Are there Georgia veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources offers a free one-time hunting and fishing license for veterans that’s good for one year. After this time, veterans can apply for a discounted lifetime sportsman’s license. Veterans who are rated 100 percent permanently and totally (P&T) disabled can get a discounted three-year license. There’s a 25 percent discount for veterans with any disability rating for annual park passes and recreational fees.
MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
Regardless of what Georgia you live in, it’s important that veterans pursue the monthly compensation payments due to them for disabilities connected to their military service.
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. At VA Claims Insider, we help veterans understand and take control of the claims process, so they can get the rating and compensation they’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC) – so you can increase your rating in less time! If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating – or you’re not sure how to get started – reach out to us! You served … you deserve.
Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Strategy Session with an experienced veteran coach. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve! We’ve supported more than 15,000 veterans to win their claims and increase their ratings. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.
About the Author
About VA Claims Insider
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Independent Medical Opinions & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.