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August 5, 2021

Top 10 Rhode Island Veteran Benefits

Your Ultimate Guide to 2021 Veteran Benefits in Rhode Island

There are many Rhode Island veteran benefits and exemptions provided by the state to current and former members of the Armed Forces.These include Rhode Island disabled veteran benefits for those veterans with a disability rating.

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, but the state offers over 63,000 veteran residents numerous benefits, many of them administered through the Office of Veterans Services! In fact, Rhode Island offers a variety of services you won’t find in many other states. The state offers an excellent tuition waiver program for disabled veterans and also places an emphasis on ensuring all veterans have a home. 

Rhode Island also offers veterans employment and career services, financial assistance for military families in need, and recreational discounts. Make sure to compare the different types of exemptions you may qualify for as a veteran, especially when it comes to property tax exemptions.

VA Claims Insider has built this guide to the top Rhode Island veteran benefits, to help you find all the benefits you earned!

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Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers veterans eight different types of property tax exemptions! Unlike many other states, veteran property tax exemptions within Rhode Island are different in each county. 

Exemptions often apply in the following categories:

  • Active duty military
  • Regular veteran exemption
  • Surviving spouse exemption
  • Permanent and total (P&T) disabled exemption – typically $10,000
  • Partially disabled exemption
  • Gold Star parent or spouse exemption
  • POW exemption
  • Specially adapted housing exemption – typically $15,000

You can look up your specific county and the exemptions for which you may qualify with the Rhode Island Department of Revenue. 

Veterans can also apply exemptions towards a vehicle tax bill. This is an excellent benefit if you rent your home and don’t pay property tax. Apply with your local county assessor by March 18th of the year you are applying for the property tax exemption.


Rhode Island Veteran Benefits Include Income Tax Exemptions

Rhode Island taxes both active duty pay and military retirement pay. For active duty service members, the state taxes your active duty military income regardless of where you’re stationed.

Rhode Island taxes military retirement pay at the state income tax range of 3.75 percent to 5.99 percent, depending on total income. As a veteran, you may qualify for exemptions up to $15,000 if you’re age 65 or older and are under the following income limits:

  • $84,700 for single tax filers
  • $105,850 for married tax filers who file jointly

Although the state taxes military retirement, Rhode Island veteran benefits include no taxation on:

  • Military disability pay
  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) pay

As a veteran you can simply deduct your disability or DIC pay from your adjusted gross income for the state.

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What education benefits are available to veterans in Rhode Island?

Resident College Tuition Rates in Rhode Island

In-state tuition rates are available at Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, or Community College of Rhode Island for all active duty military personnel stationed in Rhode Island along with their spouse and dependents. All veterans are also eligible for resident tuition as soon as they establish residency in Rhode Island. 

College Credit in Rhode Island for Military Training

The valuable training you gained during your military service enables you to save time and money on your college degree in Rhode Island! Here are the steps to requesting credit:

  1. Request military transcripts

You must request your transcripts based on your branch of service. The Joint Service Transcript (JST) contains all military training and experience for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. JSTs are sent electronically to colleges after you make a request.  Air Force transcripts are held by the Community College of the Air Force and should be mailed to:

University of Rhode Island

Office of Admission

Newman Hall

14 Upper College Road

Kingston, RI 02881

  1. Notify the University of Rhode Island system of your college admission

Once you’re admitted to a college or university in Rhode Island, contact Jeff Johnson at [email protected] to start the credit transfer process. Expect four to eight credits to transfer for Basic Training, and possibly more based on recommendations of the American Council of Education (ACE).

Rhode Island Disabled American Veterans Tuition Waiver

When it comes to education, Rhode Island disabled veteran benefits offer excellent opportunities! Many states require higher VA disability ratings when assisting with college tuition. However, Rhode Island offers free tuition to any Rhode Island public college or university for veterans with a disability rating of 10 percent or higher! 

You qualify for this benefit if you’re a permanent resident of Rhode Island and use up any other available financial aid first. 

Learn how to apply for a Disabled American Veterans Tuition Waiver here. 

Tuition Assistance and Exemption for Rhode Island National Guard Members

The Rhode Island Guard has two separate programs for members of the National Guard: the State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) and the State Exemption Program (STEP). 

These programs apply at the Community College of Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island, or the Rhode Island College.

The STAP program allows members of the Rhode Island National Guard to take up to five tuition free classes per fall and/or spring semesters, not to exceed 12 credits per semester. Tuition is 100 percent waived for these classes, with members responsible for the cost of fees and books. STAP can be used in conjunction with the Montgomery GI Bill.

This program is available to all Army and Air National Guard service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, Masters Degree, or certification.

Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Exemption program (STEP) covers one tuition free course per summer semester, not to exceed two courses a year. STEP can only be used based on seat availability. You must get a STEP certificate from the Education Office before registering for your class. STEP can also be used with the Montgomery GI Bill. 

A member can get a total of four tuition-paid classes per enlistment; you can get four more for every year you extend your enlistment.

Learn how to take advantage of these education benefits with the Rhode Island National Guard. 

Free Tuition for Dependents of Rhode Island National Guard Members Killed in the Line of Duty

Rhode Island honors the ultimate sacrifice of its National Guard members by paying full tuition at a state school for spouses and children of members killed in the line of duty. The state will pay tuition for up to four years. Children must enter college between the ages of 16 to 21. 

Apply with the financial aid office at your Rhode Island state school of choice. 


Hiring and Employment Benefits for Rhode Island Veterans

There are a number of Rhode Island veteran benefits that offer support with employment, and many resources are available to help veterans and their families find jobs and advance their careers.

Veterans and disabled veterans receive preference when applying for federal, state, county, and local government jobs in Rhode Island. 

Rhode Island Veteran Employment Preference

Rhode Island recognizes those who have served by offering employment preference to veterans and their family members. This also includes National Guard and Reserve retirees with at least 20 years of service.  

RI General Law 36-4-19 establishes a hiring preference for veterans applying for competitive state positions. Veterans with an honorable discharge receive five points added to their passing score on the civil service exam as they’re qualified for the position. Rhode Island veterans with any VA disability rating and wartime service receive 10 total points, so long as the veteran is physically disabled. 

Network Rhode Island Veteran Career Centers 

Network Rhode Island (netWORKri) operates career centers committed to helping all eligible veterans and their spouses obtain meaningful employment. Priority of service is available to all veterans and includes training and placement services. 

The career centers also employ local Veterans Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists to assist you in your job search. 

Find a location near you to take advantage of these Rhode Island veteran benefits. 

Rhode Island Unemployment Compensation for Veterans

Transitioning service members may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation through the Ex-Service Members program (UCX). Filing eligibility begins for veterans after the discharge date on your DD214, and the state recommends you file the week of your discharge date. 

You can apply by calling the Unemployment Insurance Center at (401) 415-6772.


Financial Assistance Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund

Rhode Island veteran benefits include recognition for the sacrifices of military families by offering financial assistance during times of emergency. This fund is intended to provide a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to military families in need (including families of service members injured or killed in the line of duty). 

All service members with Rhode Island as their home of record can apply for this grant, including National Guard and Reserve members. You must have at least one year of military service and be in good standing with your unit to apply. Applications are typically approved within one week, with creditors receiving payments in two to three weeks after application approval. 

Financial assistance is intended to help pay for costs to include rent or mortgage, utilities, medical costs, and insurance or vehicle payments. 

Learn how to apply for a Military Family Relief Fund grant with the RI National Guard Family Assistance Center here.

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Housing Benefits for Veterans in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Veterans Home

The Rhode Island Veterans Home is located in Bristol, RI. The home is a long-term care facility and provides high-quality nursing and residential care to respect veterans and honor veteran service and sacrifice. 

The Rhode Island Veterans Home offers many services including:

  • X-ray
  • Dental
  • Pharmacy services
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social work services
  • Alzheimer’s Care Unit
  • Transitional supportive program for homeless veterans
  • Transportation

Veterans must meet the following eligibility requirements to be admitted to the Veterans Home:

  • received an honorable discharge with at least 90 days of wartime service
  • be a resident of Rhode Island for two years prior to applying OR entered military service from Rhode Island

To learn more about the Veterans Home call (401) 253-8000. You can apply with the Office of Veterans Affairs. 

City Housing Projects for Veterans

Housing authorities throughout the state offer local housing options as part of Rhode Island veteran benefits. If you’re a veteran in need of housing, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference. Options vary from city to city. Some towns require a 100 percent disability rating, while others have age minimums. The following towns give preference to veterans:

  • Cranston
  • East Greenwich
  • East Providence
  • Johnston
  • Woonsocket

Check with your local housing authority to see what options may be available to you. 


VA and Medical Facilities in Rhode Island

LocationMedical Facilities for Rhode Island Veteran Benefits
MiddletownMiddletown Outpatient Clinic
ProvidenceProvidence VA Medical Center
WarwickProvidence Vet Center

Rhode Island Veterans Vehicle and Driver’s License Benefits

Rhode Island Veteran Designation on Driver License or Identification (ID) Cards

Any honorably discharged veteran can request a Veteran designation for free on the front of his or her Rhode Island driver’s license or ID card.

The word “Veteran” printed on the lower right hand corner of a license allows Rhode Island veterans to validate their honorable service with a government-issued ID card. 

To apply for Rhode Island veteran benefits through the Division of Motor Vehicles, veterans must submit a Veteran Designation Form along with a DD214 in-person at a DMV location

Free Veteran License Plates

There are many types of veteran license plates available in Rhode Island, but the following plates are available for at no additional cost if you meet requirements:

  • Veteran
  • Disabled veteran – only available for veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating
  • Prisoner of War
  • Purple Heart
  • Gold Star

Apply for a veteran license plate at your local DMV location with this application.

Free Vehicle Registration for Disabled Veterans

Rhode Island veteran benefits include free vehicle registration and driver’s license fees. Veterans must have an honorable discharge and also have:

  • received an injury during wartime service
  • lost the use of en extremity (OR be an amputee OR have received a grant from the VA for a specially adapted vehicle
  • a 100 percent VA disability rating (OR be considered individually unemployable due to a service-connected disability)

Apply with your local DMV and proof of your disability status.

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Veterans Benefits in Rhode Island for Recreation

Although Rhode Island is a small state, there are many recreational opportunities for service members and veterans! 

Discounted Hunting and Fishing for Service Members

All service members can purchase Rhode Island hunting and fishing licenses at Rhode Island resident prices. In addition, if a resident with a hunting license enters active duty, his or her license remains valid until six months after discharge. 

Fishing Licenses

If you’re a service member home on leave from active duty, a blind veteran, or a veteran with a permanent and total (P&T) disability, you don’t need a license to fish.

Free Hunting and Fishing Licenses for 100 Percent Disabled Veterans

Rhode Island veteran benefits include free hunting and fishing licenses for resident veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating. If you’re over 65, you’ll receive a permanent license. Otherwise you must reapply annually. 

You can apply in-person at the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) or mail in an application. Make sure to provide the original document of the VA’s final disability decision.

Special Deer Season for Disabled Veterans

Rhode Island veteran benefits also include a Special Deer Season for disabled hunters at the end of October each year. The hunt is limited to paraplegic and double amputee hunters only. Each veteran must be accompanied by an assistant. The assistants themselves cannot hunt. 

Obtain your permit through the RI DEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing Division, 23 Promenade St, Providence, RI 02908.

Recreational Discounts for 100 Percent Disabled Veterans

Veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating receive free entry into State Parks. This discount doesn’t apply to camping or facility fees. Apply for a pass at the DEM Parks Headquarters.

If you’re a fan of golf and 100 percent disabled, you can play golf for free at the Goddard Park Golf Course if you’re a resident of Rhode Island. You can reserve a tee time by calling (401) 884-9834.


Miscellaneous Benefits for Rhode Island Veterans

Rhode Island Blue Bus Pass Program for Disabled Veterans

If you’re a veteran with a 70 percent or higher VA disability rating, you have access to the state’s bus pass program. 

Rhode Island veteran benefits offer two options for qualifying veterans based on income: either a free bus pass or fares at 50 percent off. If your income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty level, you’re eligible for a free pass after you purchase an ID card. (Check the income limit table below to see if you qualify for a free pass). 

The ID card costs $25 and is valid for five years. 

Income Limit for No-Cost Rhode Island Bus Pass

Persons in family200% Income Limit
1$25,760
2$34,840
3$43,920
4$53,000
5$62,080
6$71,160
7$80,240
8$89,320

Apply at the Kennedy Plaza Ticket Sales and Information Window in Providence or call (401) 784-9500 (ext. 604). Bring your disability rating from the VA and proof of income with you.

Operation Stand Down Rhode Island

Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) is a non-profit organization that helps homeless and at-risk veterans by providing legal services, employment and training, and housing to homeless and disabled veterans. 

Learn more about OSDRI services online. 

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FAQs

Does Rhode Island offer any property tax exemptions for veterans?

Yes, Rhode Island offers eight types of standard property tax exemptions. Eligible veterans can reduce taxable home values up to $1,000 for standard exemptions. These exemptions increase for veterans with service-connected disabilities and are limited by individual counties. 

Make sure to apply for property tax exemptions by March 18th with your local county assessor to receive the exemption that year. 

Does Rhode Island offer veterans any tuition assistance for college?

Rhode Island veteran benefits include full tuition waivers to Rhode Island public universities for all veterans with a disability rating of 10 percent or higher.  Veterans must be Rhode Island residents and have an honorable discharge to apply for the tuition waiver. Rhode Island also offers tuition waivers for National Guard and Reserve members, with up to 11 classes waived per year.

Are there income tax benefits for Rhode Island veterans?

Active duty service members who are residents of Rhode Island are required to pay Rhode Island state income tax regardless of their duty location. Veterans are also required to pay state income tax on their military retirement, but Rhode Island veteran benefits include a $15,000 exemption for veterans age 65 and older if you fall under income limits. 

Do Rhode Island veterans receive preferential treatment when seeking employment?  

Rhode Island veterans with an honorable discharge receive a 5-point employment preference on exams for state jobs as long as they initially receive a passing score on the exam. Veterans with a disability rating receive a 10-point employment preference on their exam. 

Does Rhode Island offer employment counseling and assistance to veterans?

Rhode Island operates Network Rhode Island (netWORKri) Career Centers designed to help veterans with career counseling, resume development, job search planning, interview skills, and more and offers veterans’ preference to veterans and eligible spouses. 

Are there housing options for Rhode Island veterans?

Yes. The Rhode Island local housing authorities offer veterans’ preference for low-income and homeless veterans. Preference is usually given to elderly veterans and disabled veterans. 

Are there Rhode Island veteran benefits offering reduced recreational fees?

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management offers free hunting and fishing licenses for veterans with a disability rating of 100 percent or residents over age 65. Active duty service members are eligible to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at resident rates, no matter their residency status. Resident disabled veterans with a rating of 100 percent or more are also eligible for free entry into Rhode Island State Parks and free golfing at Goddard Park Golf Course. 


MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE

Regardless of what state you live in, it’s important that veterans pursue the monthly compensation payments due 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.

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