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October 12, 2021

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits: Our Top 6

Last updated on October 14, 2021

Your Guide to Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits in 2021

There are many Puerto Rico veteran benefits and exemptions for current and former members of the U.S. military. Nearly 106,000 veterans make their home in Puerto Rico (about 3.3% of the population) and the Island of Enchantment is proud to honor and support those who served.

VA Claims Insider has built this complete guide of Puerto Rico veteran benefits to help Puerto Rico veterans like you find all the benefits you earned!

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits
Table of Contents

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What are the top veteran benefits in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico veteran benefits include property tax exemptions, income tax exemptions, free and reduced tuition, license benefits, injury and death benefits and much more. 

The San Juan Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs administers many veterans programs and benefits in Puerto Rico. This is a great place to learn more about Puerto Rico veteran benefits and get help with claims and applications.

Read on for the ultimate guide to Puerto Rico veteran benefits!


Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Taxes

Puerto Rico veteran benefits include tax advantages. Puerto Rico veterans can take exemptions on personal tax, property tax and retirement pay, plus tax deductions on pensions.

Taxes on Retirement Pay

Puerto Rico veteran benefits may exempt some retirement pay from taxes in the territory, depending on where you served. For example, if you retired after 20 years and served five years in Puerto Rico and 15 outside Puerto Rico, only 75% of your retirement income is taxed.

Learn more about Territory of Puerto Rico military retirement pay taxes

Age-Based Retirement Pension Tax Deduction

Puerto Rico offers a tax reduction (based on age) for those receiving a retirement pension or annuity from the U.S. government. If you’re under 60, the standard deduction is $11,000; for veterans 60 and older, the deduction is $15,000.

Learn more about Territory of Puerto Rico age-based retirement pension tax deduction

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Taxes

Personal Tax Exemptions

Puerto Rico veteran benefits entitle you to an additional personal tax exemption of $1,500. If both spouses are veterans and filing jointly, the exemption is $3,000.

Learn more about Puerto Rico veteran tax exemptions

Property Tax Exemption

Puerto Rico veteran benefits provide several types of property tax exemption, each with its own eligibility criteria and level of exemption, ranging from $500 to a complete property tax exemption.

The standard exemption for a residence built or acquired by a Puerto Rico veteran can be as much as $5,000 for its appraised taxable value. A surviving, unremarried spouse can also receive this exemption.

Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemptions

A house built, acquired, or remodeled by a 100% disabled veteran is exempt from Puerto Rico property taxes. The home may not exceed 1,000 square meters in urban zones (or one cuerda in rural zones) and must be the residence of the disabled veteran or immediate family. (NOTE: The term “cuerda” refers to a unit of measurement in some Spanish-speaking regions. In Puerto Rico, a cuerda is a traditional unit of land area nearly equivalent to 3,930 square meters, or 4,700 square yards, 0.971 acre, or 0.393 hectare.)

Any veteran with a VA disability rating of 50% or more receives a property tax exemption on the first $50,000 of the property’s appraised value.

This partial exemption applies only to the tax corresponding to the house built or acquired by a veteran. The lot may not exceed 1,000 square meters in urban zones (or one cuerda in rural zones) and must have been the residence on January 1 of the taxable year.

Learn more about Territory of Puerto Rico veterans property tax exemptions.

Tax Exemptions for War-Surplus Property 

Puerto Rico veteran benefits provide an exemption from all taxes and duties for war-surplus property as long as it is only for personal use and does not have a total value of more than $5,000.

Learn more about war-surplus property exempt from taxes.

National Guard Retiree Annuity

Honorably discharged National Guard retirees (between the ages of 55 and 59) who have served 20 or more years can receive $175 per month as part of the National Guard Retiree Annuity.


Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Education

Are there Puerto Rico veteran benefits for education? Yes! The territory offers excellent programs for veterans and their families seeking tuition and education support.

Free Tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and Regional Colleges

Puerto Rico veteran benefits allow free tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges if you have not used the GI Bill (or if its benefits have run out).

University of Puerto Rico veterans preference request form

Learn more about free tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and regional colleges.

Reduced Tuition for Dependents

Puerto Rico veteran benefits allow your dependents a 50% reduction in tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges.

Learn more about reduced tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and regional colleges for dependents of Puerto Rico veterans.

Children of 65th Infantry Regiment Scholarships

Puerto Rico veteran benefits provide scholarships to children of honorably discharged veterans under the age of 26. There is no age limit for children with documented physical or mental limitations.

Requirements include:

  • A minimum 2.5 GPA 
  • 12 credits minimum for bachelor’s degree, or 6-9 credits for master’s degree or doctorate
  • A copy of your high school diploma
  • Proof of college admission
  • Official high school or college transcripts
  • Notarized pay stub
  • No outstanding debt with the U.S or the government of Puerto Rico 

Only one child per family may participate, and the child may not receive additional VA educational benefits.

Government of Puerto Rico, 65th Infantry Regiment scholarship program application

Learn more about the Children of Veterans Scholarship, 65th Infantry Regiment

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits Grant Time Off to Complete Education

Veterans employed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and who choose to pursue studies in Puerto Rico (or any other part of the United States or abroad) can take leave without pay for as long as their studies require. This is one of the most desirable Puerto Rico veteran benefits!

After studies, veterans have 180 days to request (and by law must receive) reinstatement to the prior position (or another position or office of equal category, salary, and rank).

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits in Education for Surviving Spouses and Children of Service Members Killed on Active Duty

The children and surviving spouse of a service member killed in action (or those on active duty whose death is service-related) are exempt from the tuition and fees needed to complete their degree at any Puerto Rican post-secondary institution (universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools).

High School Diplomas for Puerto Rico Wartime Veterans

All Puerto Rico Veterans who interrupted their high school studies to serve in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War can receive a high school diploma from the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. This diploma may be awarded posthumously.

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Education

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Government Employment

Do Puerto Rico veteran benefits offer hiring preferences in civic employment? Yes! The government of Puerto Rico gives hiring preference to veterans who meet the employment requirements.

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits in Government Job Test Scores

When a test is required for a government position, and the veteran has obtained the minimum score needed to qualify, 10 points or 10% (whichever is greater) is added to the veteran’s score.


Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Driver and Vehicle Licenses and Registration

Puerto Rico veteran benefits, disabled veteran benefits, and veterans’ family benefits include special license plates and reduced rates at the Puerto Rico Department of Motor Vehicles.

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for License Plates

Puerto Rico veteran benefits provide one free license plate to qualified applicants. Additional plates are available for $10 (plus $2 for proof of internal revenue). The license plate belongs to the veteran, who must remove it when the vehicle is sold.

Submit proof of honorable discharge, either from VA or form DD214.

Application for a veterans license plate

Learn more about Puerto Rico veteran benefits for license plates.

Puerto Rico Disabled Veteran Benefits for Driver and Vehicle License Fees and Taxes

In Puerto Rico, disabled veterans are exempt from taxes on motor vehicles. Those who have been declared 100% disabled by the VA pay no fees for a license plate or a driver license.

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Driver and Vehicle Licenses and Registration

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for Health Care

Puerto Rico veteran benefits are available at a regional benefits office and VA medical centers.

Guide to the VA Caribbean health care system

There are numerous resources available for Puerto Rico veterans and their families. Check the link below to find a listing for your nearest facility.

VA medical facility locations in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits for National Guard (FIGNA) and Retirees Group Insurance

Puerto Rico’s National Guard is known as FIGNA—Fideicomiso Institucional de la Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico. The Institutional Trust of FIGNA provides $5,000 in life insurance for Puerto Rico National Guard service members and retirees.

National Guard members or National Guard retirees up to 60 years old who have paid FIGNA until the time of retirement and have served 20 years or more in the Puerto Rico National Guard are eligible.

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits Include Free Medical Care for Eligible Veterans and Dependents

Puerto Rico provides treatment, hospitalization, and necessary medications with a financial evaluation based on the Federal Medical Assistance Program (Title 19 of the Federal Social Security Act). Puerto Rico veterans and their spouses and children until their legal age (or up to 25 if they are students) are eligible. Physically or mentally disabled children of Puerto Rico veterans may receive these benefits with no age limit.

These benefits extend to the children of veterans who died in battle, and the above conditions apply.


Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits For Recreation

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits at National Parks and Recreation Areas

Puerto Rico veteran benefits include discounted visits to U.S. national parks and other recreational areas. Puerto Rico veterans, their spouses, and their minor or disabled children receive a 10% admission discount at national parks (or recreational areas belonging to national parks such as beaches, zoos, aquariums, vacation centers, and camping areas). This benefit is transferable to a surviving spouse and minor or disabled children upon the veteran’s death.

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits For Recreation

Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Puerto Rico veteran benefits include a personal tax exemption?

Yes! Puerto Rico veteran benefits entitle you to a personal tax exemption of $1,500. If both spouses are veterans and filing jointly, the exemption is $3,000.

Are property tax exemptions among Puerto Rico veteran benefits?

Yes! Puerto Rico veteran benefits provide several types of property tax exemption, each with its own eligibility criteria and exemption level, ranging from $500 to a complete property tax exemption.

Are property tax exemptions enhanced for Puerto Rico disabled veteran benefits?

Yes! Puerto Rico disabled veteran benefits provide that a house built, acquired, or remodeled by a 100% disabled veteran is totally exempt from the territory’s property taxes. The home may not exceed 1,000 square meters in urban zones (or one cuerda in rural zones—in Puerto Rico, a cuerda is a traditional unit of land area nearly equivalent to 3,930 square meters, 4,700 square yards, 0.971 acre, or 0.393 hectare) and must be the residence of the disabled veteran or immediate family. Also, any veteran with a VA disability rating of 50% or more receives a property tax exemption on the first $50,000 of the property’s appraised value.

Do Puerto Rico National Guard retirees receive an annuity, and how much is it?

Puerto Rico veteran benefits are available to National Guard retirees between the ages of 55 and 59 if the retiree has served 20 or more years and has been honorably discharged. Until age 60, the retiree receives $175 per month.

Are there Puerto Rico veteran benefits to help with college tuition?

Yes! Puerto Rico veterans receive free tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges. Also, the children and surviving spouse of a service member killed in action (or those on active duty whose death is service-related) are exempt from the tuition and fees needed to complete their degree at any Puerto Rican post-secondary institution.

Do Puerto Rico veterans receive preferential hiring for government employment?

Yes! When a test is required for a government position, and the veteran has obtained the minimum score needed to qualify, 10 points or 10% (whichever is greater) is added to the veteran’s score.

Are there Puerto Rico disabled veteran benefits for driver and vehicle licenses and taxes?

Yes! Puerto Rico disabled veterans are exempt from paying taxes on motor vehicles. Those declared 100% disabled by the VA pay no fees for their license plate or driver’s license.

Do Puerto Rico veteran benefits really include free medical care?

Yes! Puerto Rico provides treatment, hospitalization, and necessary medications with a financial evaluation based on criteria of the Federal Medical Assistance Program (Title 19 of the Federal Social Security Act). Puerto Rico veterans, as well as their spouses and children until their legal age (or up to 25 if they are students) may be eligible. Physically or mentally disabled children of Puerto Rico veterans may receive these benefits with no age limit. These benefits are also extended to the children of veterans who died in battle. The same conditions apply.

For answers to more questions, visit the San Juan regional office of VA.


MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE

Regardless of what state you live in, it’s important that you pursue the monthly compensation payments due to you for disabilities connected to your 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 for a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call, 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.

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