State / Territory Benefits - District of Columbia
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Parks & Recreation Benefits
Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities
Summary: The District of Columbia offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including property tax exemptions, state employment preferences, education and tuition assistance, vehicle tags, as well as hunting and fishing license privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status.
District Benefit Highlights and Eligibility
Retired Military Pay: (DC Code 47-1803.02(a)(2)(N)) Up to $3,000 of military retirement pay is exempt from District Individual Income Tax for individuals 62 or older.
Military Disability Retired Pay: Retirees who entered the military before Sept. 24, 1975, and members receiving disability retirements based on combat injuries or who could receive disability payments from the VA are covered by laws giving disability broad exemption from federal income tax. Most military retired pay based on service-related disabilities also is free from federal income tax, but there is no guarantee of total protection.
VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes.
Military SBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: (DC Code 47-180302(a)(2)(N)(i)) Survivor benefits are fully excluded from District Individual Income Tax.
Property Tax Exemption (Senior Citizen or Disabled Property Owner Tax Relief): When a property owner turns 65 years of age or older, or when he or she is disabled (totally and permanently disabled or receiving government disability payments), he or she may file an application immediately for disabled or senior citizen property tax relief. This benefit reduces a qualified property owner's property tax by 50 percent. If the property owner lives in a cooperative housing association, the cooperative will supply and collect the applications. The following guidelines apply:
- The disabled or senior citizen must own 50 percent or more of the property or cooperative unit;
- The total federal adjusted gross income of everyone living in the property or cooperative unit, excluding tenants, must be less than $127,600 for the prior calendar year; and
- The same requirements for application, occupancy, ownership, principal residence (domicile), number of dwelling units, cooperative housing associations and revocable trusts apply as in the homestead deduction.
State Tuition Program: The DC National Guard Scholarship will reimburse members of the Army DC National Guard up to $6,000 per individual during any school year at an approved college, university or educational institution while monies are available.
Eligibility: DC Army National Guard member in good standing.
Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:
- Facilitating the timely enrollment of Children of military Families and ensuring that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements.
- Facilitating the student placement process through which Children of military Families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment. Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic and social activities.
- Facilitating the on-time graduation of Children of military Families.
- Providing for the promulgation and enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact.
- Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools and military Families under this compact.
- Promoting coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military Children.
- Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents and the student in order to achieve educational success for the student.
Primary Point of Contact:
Taneka Miller, Legislative Director, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education
1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 307
Washington, DC 20004
Credibility of Military Time for Annual Leave Accrual for Individuals with Prior Military Service: A District government employee who is a military retiree is entitled to credit for active-military service only if the military retirement was based on disability resulting from injury or disease received in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war, and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined in Title 38 of the United States Code.
(Military service other than described in the above paragraph is not credible for the purposes of this benefit.)
Employment Assistance: 5 U.S.C. 6323(c) provides 15 days military leave per fiscal year to members of a Reserve component for active duty, active duty for training, and inactive duty training. An employee can carry over a maximum of 15 days into the next fiscal year.
Eligibility: National Guard and Reserve Service members.
Employment Assistance: 5 U.S.C. 6323(c) provides unlimited military leave to members of the National Guard of the District of Columbia for certain types of duty ordered or authorized under Title 49 of the District of Columbia Code.
Eligibility: DC National Guard member.
District of Columbia Veterans Employment Preference: Veterans preference credits are restricted to initial appointments with the District government, or new appointments following a break in service, except for reduction-in-force purposes. The District offers 5-point and 10-point Veteran preference based on eligibility.
Eligibility: A Veteran, whose service in the armed forces was for more than 180 consecutive days, beginning on or before October 14, 1976, or, if in time of war, beginning on or after October 15, 1976, and who was separated with an honorable or general discharge is entitled to a 5 point preference.
The following are eligible for a 10 point preference:
- A Veteran who has established a service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension because of a public law administered by the Veterans Administration or a military department.
- A Spouse of a "disabled Veteran," a "disabled Vietnam Veteran," or a "30 percent disabled Veteran," provided such Veteran is disqualified, by reason of his or her service-connected disability, for appointment to a Federal civil service or District government position along the general lines of his or her usual occupation.
- An eligible survivor who was married to a Veteran, at the time of such Veteran's death, and who has not subsequently remarried, unless such remarriage has been annulled, provided that such Veteran's service in the armed forces was during a war, in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, or included any portion of the period from April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955, and that such Veteran either:
- Separated from the armed forces with an honorable or general discharge; or
- Died while on active duty under conditions which would not have been cause for separation with other than an honorable or general discharge.
Federal Veterans Hiring Preferences: By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans both in hiring into the Federal civil service and in retention during reduction in force. Veterans may be entitled to 5 or 10 points included in any scoring process for examination or interviews.
5-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:
- During a war; or
- During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or
- During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or
- In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.
10-point Compensable Disability (CP) Preference: Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of:
- A Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent but less than 30 percent.
10-Point 30 Percent Compensable Disability Preference (CPS): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.
10-Point Disability Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:
- A Veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs but does not qualify as a CP or CPS; or
- A Veteran who received a Purple Heart.
10-Point Derived Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of Spouses, Widows, Widowers, or Mothers of Veterans as described below. This type of preference is usually referred to as "derived preference" because it is based on service of a Veteran who is not able to use the preference. Both a Mother and a Spouse (including Widow or Widower) may be entitled to preference on the basis of the same Veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the Veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.
Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the Spouse of a disabled Veteran who is disqualified for a Federal position along the general lines of his or her usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the Veteran is unemployed and
- Is rated by appropriate military or Department of Veterans Affairs authorities to be 100 percent disabled and/or unemployable; or
- Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position on the basis of a disability that is service-connected in origin; or
- Has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of his or her usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability.
Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.
A campaign medal holder or Gulf War Veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligible Veterans separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to Veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.
Unemployment Insurance: Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a program that provides temporary benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, and who are able and available for work. The benefits paid to unemployed workers reduce the hardship of unemployment, help to maintain purchasing power of the unemployed, thereby supporting the local economy, and help to stabilize the workforce so that local workers are available to employers when they are ready to re-employ.
To begin the process of filing for your unemployment benefits, you will need to have the following information readily available:
- Your social security number
- Your most recent 30-day employer's name(s), address(es), phone number(s) and dates of employment
- Your Alien Registration Number, if you are not a US Citizen
- Your DD214, if you are ex-military
- Your Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50, if you are a former federal employee
- Severance pay information (only applicable if you did or will receive severance pay)
Service Contact: Office of Unemployment Compensation - Unemployment insurance Benefits
4058 Minnesota Ave, NE, 4th Fl, Washington, DC 20019
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone: (202) 724-7000
Contact Fax: (202) 698-5706
Veterans' Employment Initiative: The Department of Employment Services (DOES) offers Veterans a wide variety of job search and training services. Special Veterans' representatives are employed at most American Job Centers, where case managers ensure complete services for Veterans, especially those who are disabled. Specialized Federal services such as the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program are also available to eligible Veterans by contacting the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) specialist at (202) 530-9371.
Eligibility: Veterans must provide proof of service and discharge under other than dishonorable conditions. Disabled Veterans must provide proof of disability (i.e., award letter from Department of Veterans' Affairs).
Benefits include the following:
- Registration at an American Job Center
- Assessment of individual interest, skills and abilities, as well as counseling, to assist with an effective job search
- Follow-up services
- Assistance in securing medical services or counseling
- Priority status accorded to all Veterans for all employment services
For more information about Veterans employment, please contact the following agency:
DC Department of Employment Services
Veterans Assistance Center (Veterans Only)
1722 I Street Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20421
Phone: (202) 530-9379
"Veteran" Designation on Driver License: DC DMV is offering a Veteran designation on a driver license or ID card.
Eligibility: To receive the designation, the applicant must:
- Have been honorably discharged
- Provide a DD 214, WD AGO, or DD Form 256 certifying Veteran status.
Applicants may request the designation by visiting a DC DMV Service Center and presenting the required documentation when obtaining a new driver license or ID card, as well as during renewal or requesting a duplicate. There are no additional fees incurred when adding a Veteran designation other than what is required for renewal or issue of a duplicate license or ID card.
*Note: If the applicant does not already have a DC REAL ID credential (contains a star in the upper right hand corner), he/she will also be required to present additional source documents for validation when obtaining the Veteran designation. Please refer to the document verification guide.
Disabled American Veterans License Plate: (DC Code §50-1503.01) Disabled Veterans who are members of the District of Columbia Disabled American Veterans are eligible for Disabled American Veterans license plates.
Eligibility: Disabled Veterans who are members of the DC Disabled American Veterans are eligible. Proof of membership, disability, and service is required to obtain the plates, and must be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Normal registration fees apply for DAV tags. However, Veterans with a service-connected permanent and total disability, as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs, may receive one set of tags (i.e., DAV, Veteran, passenger, etc) at no fee for a non-commercial vehicle DC Code §50-1501.03. Note the "no fee" is only applicable to annual registration fees.
Veterans' License Plates: (DC Code §50-1501.02a) DMV is issuing DC Veteran Tags on behalf of the Office of Veteran Affairs. The specialty Veteran tags can only be used on passenger cars, pickup trucks and vans. There are additional fees other than registration fees for specialty tags.
Eligibility: For the purposes of issuance, the term "Veteran" means an individual who has:
- Served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, OR
- Served as a member of the National Guard or Reserves,
- Been called to active duty authorized by the President of the United States or Secretary of Defense, or
- Had at least 20 years of service with record of separation, and
- Discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
Proof of military service must be provided to the DC Office of Veterans Affairs (OVA) and an application [PDF] issued by OVA must be completed, which will verify eligibility. Interested residents may apply at the Office of Veteran Affairs office at 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 570 South. After receiving a completed application from OVA, the following documents must be presented at a DMV service center in order to secure the Veterans tags:
- Completed application from the Office of Veterans Affairs (OVA) showing eligibility for issuance of the DC Veteran plate.
- DC driver license and vehicle registration of the registered owner(s)
Health Insurance: TRICARE Reserve Select is a premium-based plan, available worldwide for Selected Reserve, (Reserve and National Guard) and their Families who meet the following qualifications:
- Not on active duty orders
- Not covered under the Transitional Assistance Management Program
- Not eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program or currently covered under FEHB, either under their own eligibility or through a Family member.
The plan provides comprehensive health care coverage when you're not activated and covered by active duty TRICARE benefits.
Group Insurance: Veterans Affairs Life Insurance: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides valuable life insurance benefits to Veterans, Active and Reserve Component Service members and their Families to provide financial security given the extraordinary risks involved in military Service. The VA provides the following life insurance benefit programs:
- Service Member's Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
- Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
- Family Members Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
- Service Members Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Projection (TSGLI)
- Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI)
- Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
Medical Benefits: State Active Duty receives medical, dental and hospital benefits.
Eligibility: DC National Guard member.
Group Insurance: State low-cost life and health insurance.
Eligibility: DC National Guard member.
Worker's Compensation: DC National Guard members receive State worker's compensation.
Eligibility: DC National Guard member.
Injury / Death benefits: Covered through State worker's compensation.
Eligibility: DC National Guard member.
No-Cost Fishing License for Senior Citizens: Persons 65 years of age or older may fish in the District of Columbia without a fishing license.
Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) Washington: The Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC is a retirement community for enlisted military retirees and Veterans. The AFRH has a wide range of programs and amenities for residents coupled with accredited healthcare, including assisted living and long-term nursing care. For a complete listing of amenities, please click here.
Eligibility: Service members who served for a minimum of twenty years and at least one-half of their service was not active commissioned service (other than as a warrant officer or limited-duty officer), are eligible to become residents of the Retirement Home:
- Service members with 20 or more honorable years of active duty service and are at least 60 years old, or
- Service members unable to earn a livelihood due to a service-connected disability, or
- Service members unable to earn a livelihood due to injuries, disease, or disability, or who served in a war theater or were eligible for hostile fire pay; were discharged or released from service in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions; and determined to be incapable of earning a livelihood due to injuries, disease or disability, or
- Female Service members who served in a women's component of the Armed Forces prior to June 12, 1948 and determined to be eligible for admission because of compelling personal circumstances.
- Married couples are welcome, but both must be eligible in their own right.
Also, applicants must be free of drug, alcohol, and psychiatric problems, and have never been convicted of a felony. At time of admission, applicants must be able to live independently; however, if increased health care is needed after admission, assisted living and long term care are available. Complete eligibility guidelines may be found on the application. For additional information and eligibility categorized by service, click here.
Below is a list of the resident fees (as of January 1, 2016):
- Independent Living: 40 % of total current income (not to exceed $1,425 / month)
- Independent Living Plus: 45 % of total current income (not to exceed $1,570 / month)
- Assisted Living: 60 % of total current income (not to exceed $2,550 / month)
- Long Term Care: 80 % of total current income (not to exceed $4,650/ month)
*Note: Fees are computed annually and adjusted for inflation each January. The AFRH Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is based on military retirement COLA. Fees are computed using the most recently filed tax forms. For more information on fees, please click here.
Reduced Fare Program for Veterans with Disabilities (Reduced Fare/SmarTrip® Photo ID Card): Metrobus and Metrorail customers with disabilities may be eligible to ride at a discounted rate. Those customers who qualify will be issued a Reduced Fare SmarTrip® photo ID card. Reduced Fare SmarTrip® photo ID cards can be used to:
- Pay Fare when using Metrobus and Metrorail
- Buy a 7-Day regional pass
- Pay half the peak fare on Metrorail
- Pay 85¢ with cash or if paying with the Metro Reduced Fare SmarTrip® Photo ID on regular Metrobus routes and other regional bus services
Eligibility: Disabled Veterans who have been granted a 60% or greater disability rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs do not need to complete Part B or C of the application. The applicant must appear in person at the Metro Transit Accessibility Center, 600 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC with a valid photo ID and an original letter of disability notification issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Disabled Veterans rated at 100% can show their valid DD Form 2765 Department of Defense Uniformed Services ID card in lieu of an award letter. Metro Disability ID Card Application
Please see the District of Columbia Resource Locator for additional information
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Washington, DC
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
Henderson Hall, Washington, D.C.
District of Columbia Air National Guard
U.S. Army Reserve (USAR):
Regional Support Command (RSC) Headquarters, 99th RSC
Veterans Health Administration
VA Medical Center
Washington: Washington DC VA Medical Center, 50 Irving St. NW, 202-745-8000 / 877-328-2621
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Washington: Community Clinic-Southeast, 820 Chesapeake St, SE, 202-745-8685 / Fax: 202-562-8789
Washington: Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC), 1500 Franklin St, NE, 202-636-7660
Vet Center 877-927-8387
Washington: Washington DC Vet Center, 1250 Taylor St, NW, 202-726-5212 / Fax: 202-726-8968
Veterans Benefits Administration
Regional Benefit Office
Washington, D.C.: Washington D.C. National Capitol Regional Benefits Office, 1722 I St NW, 800-827-1000
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
Bolling AFB: Bolling Air Force Base, Airman and Family Readiness Center, 118 Brookley Ave, Bldg 13, Suite 100
Washington: DC Coast Guard, Coast Guard Head Quarters, 2100 Second St, SW
Washington: Pentagon (Air Force), 11MSS/DPF, RM 5C1049, 1565 AF Pentagon
National Cemetery Administration
Washington: Congressional Cemetery Government Lots, 1801 E St, SE, 410-644-9696 / Fax: 410-644-1563
District of Columbia Office of Veterans Affairs
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 332 North Washington, DC 20004
Document Review Date: 12 January 2017