State / Territory Benefits - Rhode Island
Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities
Summary: Rhode Island offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Veterans Employment Preference, Tax Exemption, Education Assistance and Scholarships and Special Vehicle License Plates. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status.
State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility
State Tax Advantage: None
Retired Military Pay: Military retired pay is subject to federal income tax withholding, unless the Veteran chooses not to have tax withheld. If tax is not withheld, or if not enough tax is withheld, estimated tax payments may have to be made. .
Military Disability Retired Pay: Retirees who entered the military before September 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: Surviving Spouses of retirees and Service members killed in action or in the line of duty must include any survivor benefits paid to them as income. However, a surviving Spouse may be entitled to a 2% tax credit based on adjusted gross income up to a maximum of $500 if the following criteria are met (RI §44-30-26). The surviving Spouse must:
File as a "Surviving Spouse" on Federal and State taxes
Be domiciled in the state of Rhode Island for the entire tax year
Be 65 years of age or older
Have an adjusted gross income of less than $25,000
Please contact the Rhode Island Division of Taxation for further assistance.
Non-Resident Tax Exemption: A non-resident Service member stationed in Rhode Island on military orders is required to file a Rhode Island nonresident personal income tax return (RI-1040NR) ONLY if he/she has Rhode Island source income other than his/her military wages. If the Service member is married and filed Federal taxes as 'married filing jointly', both Spouses may elect to file a resident Rhode Island personal income tax return as 'married filing jointly' on their joint income. If one or both of the Spouses must file and pay personal income taxes in another state, then a special computation has to be made for any allowable out-of-state tax credit on the Rhode Island return. Refer to Regulation PIT 90-9.
If either Spouse claims Rhode Island as his/her legal residence, then separate Rhode Island personal income tax returns have to be filed. The Spouse claiming Rhode Island residency is required to file a resident Rhode Island personal income tax return (RI-1040A or RI-1040). The Spouse claiming nonresident status files a Rhode Island nonresident personal income tax return (RI-1040NR) if that person had any Rhode Island source income other than military wages.
Property Tax Exemption: Eligible Veterans residing in Rhode Island may receive an exemption either on their real estate tax bill or on their motor vehicle tax bill. Veterans who serve in more than one campaign may receive only one exemption. Exemptions shall be applied to the property in the municipality where the Veteran resides, and if there is not sufficient property to exhaust the exemption, the Veteran may claim the balance in any other city or town where he/she may own property. An exemption shall not be allowed to Veterans who are not legal residents of the State of Rhode Island. To qualify for an exemption, appropriate documentation will be required by the municipality at the time of application.
There are seven exemption categories:
Veterans' regular exemption
Unmarried Widow/er of a qualified Veteran
Veterans' exemption for totally disabled through service connected disability
Veterans' exemption for partially disabled through service connected disability
Gold Star Parents' exemption
Prisoner of War exemption
Specially adapted housing exemption
Eligibility: To be eligible, a Veteran must have served or been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and served during wartime periods as specified by law. The eligible wartime periods are:
- World War II, December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946
- Berlin: May 9, 1945 to October 2, 1990. Cold War/Show of Strength
- Korean Conflict, June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955
- Quemay and Matsu: August 23, 1956 to June 1, 1963. Show of Force and Escort
- Vietnam: July 1, 1958 to July 3, 1965. Advisory/US Troops Ordered to Undertake Offensive Position
Vietnam Conflict, February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975
Vietnam Conflict & RVNCM: July 3, 1965 to March 8, 1973. U.S. Troops Ordered to Offensive Position
Korea: October 1, 1966 to June 30, 1974. Treaty Commitment
El Salvador: January 1, 1981 to February 1, 1992. Advisory/Training
Persons who actually served in the Grenada or Lebanon Conflicts of 1983 - 1984.
Persian Gulf: August 2, 1990 to November 30, 1995 (Operation Desert Shield & Desert Storm)
Persian Gulf Conflict, the Haitian Conflict, the Somalian Conflict and the Bosnian Conflict at anytime
During the period beginning August 2, 1990 and ending May 1, 1994, or in any conflict or undeclared war for which a campaign ribbon or expeditionary medal was earned, and who was honorably discharged from the service, or who, if not discharged, served honorably, or of the unmarried widow or widower of that person.
Southwest Asia: December 1995 ongoing. Maritime Intercept Operation, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Desert Thunder, Operation Desert Fox, Exercise Intrinsic Action, Exercise Iris Gold, Operation Desert Spring
Former Republic of Yugoslavia: December 20, 1995 - ongoing. Operation Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard and Force
Haiti: April 1, 1995 to January 31, 2000. Operation: UNMHI, U.S. for Haiti, USSPTG-Haiti
Kosovo, March 24, 1999 to Present
Operation Noble Eagle, September 12, 2001 to Present
Operation Enduring Freedom, September 12, 2001 to Present
Operation Iraqi Freedom, September 12, 2001 to Present
Please note there are other military engagements that encompass a smaller period of eligible time for which Veterans' exemptions are available. Please contact the local tax assessor for eligibility.
Rhode Island State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP): The State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) is available to all Army National Guard Service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, or Master's Degree from Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), Rhode Island College (RIC), and University of Rhode Island (URI).
STAP waives tuition for up to five (5) tuition free classes per semester. Fees and books must be paid by the Service member. Soldiers must be in good standing and not be flagged for adverse action. Soldiers must have one (1) year military commitment at end of class for every 12 credits. For less than 12 credits, the Soldier's ETS must be after end of class date. The waiver can be used in conjunction with the GI Bill.
Soldier must register for classes first, then bring class schedule information to the Education Office, 645 New London Ave, Cranston, RI and have the waiver signed. Bring the waiver to the bursar's office at the school and tuition will not be charged.
Eligibility: National Guard Service members who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, Master's Degree, or certification from CCRI, RIC, and URI with in-state tuition rates.
Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Exemption program (STEP): Covers one (1) tuition free course per SUMMER semester, not to exceed two (2) 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 be used with Montgomery GI Bill. Four free certificates are awarded per enlistment; the member can get four more free for every year he/she extends his/her enlistment.
Eligibility: This program is available to all Army and Air National Guard Service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, Master's Degree, or certification from Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and University of Rhode Island.
Tuition for surviving Spouses or Children of National Guard Members: If an active member of the Rhode Island National Guard is killed or dies while in the performance of his or her duty, the surviving Spouse and/or Children may attend any state college or university tuition-free. This benefit covers tuition only.
Eligibility: Proper documentation must be provided (i.e., birth/marriage certificates, DD214, Notification of Casualty, etc.). Surviving Children must enroll at an institution between 16-21 years of age. Aid is granted for the period of time that may equal the normal time for completing a degree program offered by the institution (no more than 4 years).
Disabled American Veterans Tuition Waiver: Tuition may be waived for disabled Veterans at all Rhode Island colleges and universities under the following conditions:
The student must be a resident of the State of Rhode Island and eligible to be assessed instate tuition rates in accordance with the Residency Policy established by the RI Board of Governors for Higher Education.
The student must present recently dated evidence of Veteran status with a minimum 10% disability.
Matriculated students must have a verified FAFSA on file for the current academic year. The waiver will be reduced by the amount of any grant or scholarship awards received.
The student must remit payment for required fees, or demonstrate sufficient financial aid assistance, at the time that this waiver is presented.
Please contact the Financial Aid office at your specific school for the application or further information.
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:
Rosemarie K. Kraeger, Commissioner
Address: 26 Oliphant Lane, Middletown, RI 02842
Employment Assistance: State employee receives 15 days paid military leave per year. Leave without pay for State active duty or length of emergency.
Eligibility: State employee on orders for annual training or active duty.
Veterans Employment Preference: Veterans receive an additional 5 points for Veterans, 10 points for disabled Veterans on state examinations for state employment.
You are a 5 point preference eligible if your active duty service meets any of the following:
180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a future date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976.
In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.
You are a 10 point preference eligible if you served at any time, and you:
Have a service connected disability, OR
Received a Purple Heart.
Eligibility: A Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States. "Retired members of the armed forces" are not included in the definition of preference eligible unless a disabled Veteran OR retired below the rank of major or its equivalent.
Rhode Island Military Family Leave: Employers with at least 15 employees must give time off to eligible employees with a Spouse or Child who has been called to military service lasting more than 30 days in the state or the United States. The amount of leave depends on the size of the employer:
Employers with 50 or more employees must allow employees to take up to 30 days of leave.
Employers with 15 to 49 employees must allow employees to take up to 15 days of leave.
Discrimination in employment against reservists: No employer, or officer or agent of any corporation, company, or firm, or other person shall discharge any person from employment because of being an officer or enlisted person in the reserve military forces of the United States, or hinder or prevent that person from performing any military service he or she may be called upon to perform by proper authority, or dissuade any person from membership in the reserve military forces of the United States by threat of injury to that person in respect to his or her employment, trade, or business in case of his or her enlistment or commission. Any person violating any of the above provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Universal Citation: RI Gen L § 30-11-6 (2012))
Veterans' Employment Initiative: Specialized services for Veterans through Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veterans' Employment Representatives (LVERs). These counselors are located in each netWORKri Career Center in Providence, West Warwick, Woonsocket, or Wakefield. Through Veterans' Preference, the netWORKri one-stop career center system offers priority of service to Veterans and eligible Spouses under the Jobs for Veterans Act. Priority of service gives covered individuals preference over non-covered individuals in receiving any Workforce Investment Act employment, training, and/or placement services. This includes providing first access to services when a time element is involved and giving Veterans preferred registration in a limited enrollment situation.
Eligibility: Veterans eligible for Priority of Service include those who have served in the Armed Forces and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. This includes National Guard and Reserve Personnel. Also eligible are Spouses of Veterans who have died as a result of a service-connected disability; Spouses of Veterans who have a total disability resulting from a service-connected disability; and Spouses of active duty members of the armed services who, at the time of the Spouses' application for services, have been classified as missing in action, captured or forcibly detained for more than 90 days.
Veterans' Unemployment Compensation: If you are a Service member separating from active duty, you may qualify for unemployment compensation if you are unable to find a new job. The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) program provides benefits for eligible ex-military personnel. The program is administered by the States as agents of the Federal government.
Eligibility: You may be eligible if:
You were on active duty with a branch of the U.S. military, and you have separated under honorable conditions.
You should file for benefits in the week of your discharge date, as shown on your DD-214 (Discharge Papers).
You are allowed to file a claim in the state whose soil you are standing on. There are no residency requirements that need to be met for UCX.
The Veteran will need their DD214, as well as their SSN and civilian/military job history when applying.
NOTE: Retirement pay and disability retirement pay reduces UCX benefits dollar for dollar. VA disability compensation benefits do not affect UCX benefits.
If the Veteran is currently unemployed, he/she can apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits by calling (401) 243-1900 or over the Internet at https://uiclaims.ri.gov/RI-ICS/Intro/Index.aspx?AC=yes
Unemployment Insurance: Rhode Island's Department of Labor and Training administers the Unemployment Insurance (UI), providing temporary assistance and partial wage replacement to unemployed Rhode Island workers. Unemployment Compensation (UC) is money paid to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The program, funded by employer paid taxes, aids in maintaining the economic stability within a community by safeguarding the income and purchasing power of the unemployed worker.
There are two ways to file a claim for Unemployment Insurance: Click here to file a UI claim online, or file a claim over the telephone through the UI Call Center at (401)243-9100.
You will need to provide the following information in order to file an Unemployment Insurance Claim.
Social Security Number
Full name, address and telephone number of all employers you have worked for in the last two years.
If you are not a US citizen, you will need your alien registration number.
Please be sure you have all of the above information BEFORE calling to file your claim.
Veteran Designation on License/ID: Rhode Island state law allows a Veteran designation on a Rhode Island license or ID. The Veteran designation is free of charge.
Eligibility: Veterans must present a DD214 or other proof of service in the Armed Forces, showing an honorable discharge. Veterans will also need to complete the Veteran Designation Form and bring it to the DMV.
License Plates: Applicants for a military-related license plate in Rhode Island must provide proof of service (i.e., DD214), and an Application for Registration from the DMV. Also, some license plates may require further documentation (listed below with each plate).
National Guard Member License Plate: Applicant must present a letter from his/her commanding officer stating that they are a member of the Rhode Island National Guard. Retirees must show proof of retirement form the Rhode Island National Guard. There is a one-time fee of $20.00 to order this plate. Normal registration fees apply. A fee of $31.50 will be assessed to remake damaged plate. (RIGL 31-3-62)
Purple Heart License Plate: Applicant must present either your DD-214 or other paperwork showing award of a Purple Heart. There is no fee to order this plate. In addition, yearly registration fees are also waived. Upon death of the holder of any Purple Heart plates, the plates may be transferred to the surviving Spouse for the Spouse's lifetime or until he/she remarries. There is no fee for initial or renewal plates. A fee of $1.50 will be assessed to remake damaged plate. (RIGL 31-3-48)
Prisoner of War (POW) Plate: Applicant must provide either discharge papers (form DD-214) or other valid proof supporting your military record. This plate is issued to former POW. Upon the death of the holder of any POW plates, the plates shall be transferred to his or her surviving Spouse for the Spouse's lifetime until he or she remarries. There is no fee to order the plate. A fee of $31.50 will be assessed to remake damaged plate. (RIGL 31-3-46)
Veteran Plate: Applicant must provide discharge papers (form DD-214) or other valid proof supporting their military record. There is an initial fee of $20.00 plus a plate change fee of $21.50. A fee of $31.50 will be assessed to remake damaged plate. If you are a current "War Veteran" plate holder, you can request an online remake of your existing plate number with the newly designed "Veteran" plate. There will be a sticker on the upper right corner designating the branch of service. (RIGL 31-3-53)
Veteran Gold Star Parent Plate: "Gold Star Parent" means a person who has lost a son or a daughter as a result of service with the armed forces of the United States of America; provided, the death was determined to be in the line of duty. Applicants must provide the Notification of Casualty or other supporting documents. There is no fee to order this plate. A fee of $31.50 will be assessed to remake damaged plate. There will be a sticker on the upper right corner designating Gold Star Parent. (RIGL 31-3-53)
Disabled Veteran: Applicant needs to provide either discharge papers (form DD-214) or other valid proof supporting your military record. In addition, a form from the Department of Veteran Affairs, 300 Westminster Street Providence RI describing the injury and indicating a 100% disability rating is required. There is no fee for initial or renewal plate. A fee of $31.50 will be assessed to remake damaged plate. (RIGL 31-6-8)
Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
Medical Benefits: Worker's Compensation
Eligibility: National Guard Service member on State active duty.
Worker's Compensation: Same as State employees.
Eligibility: National Guard Service member on State active duty.
Injury/Death Benefits: Disease, Injury, or Death occurs while serving on State Active Duty.
Eligibility: National Guard Service member on State active duty.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses:
100% Disabled Veterans: In order to be determined to be eligible for a 100% Permanent Disability Fishing/Combination License, applicants are required to present the original document of the final decision(s), from the Department of Veteran Affairs for a fishing license. For a hunting license, the applicant MUST also provide a previous Rhode Island hunting license, a hunter safety card, or an honorable discharge (DD-214). This license, once issued is permanent.
Active Duty Military Personnel Hunting and Fishing License: All Active duty military personnel are entitled to purchase a RI Resident Hunting and / or Fishing Licenses even if you do not live in Rhode Island. Those licenses held by active military personnel are valid until 6 months after their official discharge. Applications for Hunting and Fishing Licenses.
100% Disabled Veteran State Parks Pass: No fee shall be charged to any Veteran with a disability regardless of age, or to automobiles transporting a non-driver with a disability at any recreational facility owned by the state, however, proper identification is presented as prescribed by the Department of Environmental Management. For the purpose of this section "person with a disability shall mean an individual who has a physical or mental impairment and is receiving: [A] Social Security disability (SSDI), [B] Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) or Veterans benefits and who shall be determined under applicable federal law by the Federal Department of Veteran's Affairs to be 100% disabled through a service connected injury."Fees" shall include all fees for parking, admittance, or other user-fees for playing golf. The term "fees" shall not include licensing fees; camping fees, picnic table fees or specialized facility use fees, including, but not limited to fees for the use of equestrian areas, performing art centers, game fields and mule shed.
Effective April 1, 2014, Disability passes are issued at the following location only:
Rhode Island State Parks Headquarters
1100 Tower Hill Road
North Kingtown, RI 02852
Click here for more information regarding a disability pass.
Eligibility: Veterans determined under applicable federal law by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs to be 100% disabled through a service connected injury.
Goddard Park Golf Course Exemption: Any Veteran who is a resident of the state, and who is determined under applicable federal law by the Veteran's Administration of the United States of America to be totally disabled through service connected disability shall be exempt from paying any fee to play golf at the Goddard Park Golf Course. Further information can be obtained regarding this exemption by calling the Clubhouse at Goddard Memorial State Park from April 1st through the 3rd Saturday in November at (401) 884-9834 or year round at Division Headquarters at (401)667-6200.
Recording of Military Records without Fee: A certificate of the honorable discharge of any Service member may be recorded in the office of the Town or City Clerk (except in Providence, where it shall be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds). It shall be the duty of said clerk to record any certificate and/or separation notice upon presentation without payment of any fee. For any purpose for which an original copy of an honorable discharge may be required, a certified copy from the office of recording shall be deemed sufficient and accepted in lieu.
State Veterans' Home and Nursing Care Facilities: Located in Bristol, the Veterans Home consists of 260 nursing care beds in six long-term care units, including an Alzheimer's Care Unit. There are also two ambulatory care units with 79 beds. Additional services include: dental, x-ray and pharmacy services, and transportation to and from the Veterans Administration Hospital clinics in Providence.
Eligibility: The Rhode Island Veterans Home Services is open to war service Veterans who were honorably discharged and who served for 90 days or more during any foreign war or conflict in which the United States was engaged or in any expedition or campaign for which the United States government issued a campaign medal or as a result of service, acquired a service-related disability or disease.
Applicants must be honorably discharged and deemed in need of the care and services provided at the Home. In addition, war service Veterans need to have lived in the state at least two years prior to the date of application or who were inducted into military services while a resident of the State of Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Veterans Home will accept any Veteran we are licensed to accept, however, the Medical Director has the authority to approve or disapprove any Veteran's diagnosis for admission to the Home. Admission to the Rhode Island Veterans Home is voluntary. Click here for the RI Veterans' Home Application or here for the Application for Palliative Care.
Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery: The Division of Veterans Affairs maintains a dignified and solemn military cemetery on 265 acres in Exeter, Rhode Island. Committals are conducted with military honors and memorial services are provided at the facility as well. The grounds of the cemetery are beautifully maintained and include memorials dedicated to Veterans of specific wars and conflicts, including the recently dedicated Korean War Memorial. (RIGL 30-25-14)
Eligibility: Veterans, his or her Spouse, and an eligible dependent Child may be buried at the cemetery. A Veteran must have:
Been discharged from the military with "Honorable Service,"
Entered the service from Rhode Island or lived in Rhode Island two consecutive years prior to death,
Been on active duty during a wartime period, served two or more consecutive years of active duty during peacetime, or served 20 years of National Guard or Reserve time.
The RIVMC Application for Burial can be found here.
Veterans Health Administration
VA Medical Center
Providence: Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave, 401-273-7100 / 866-363-4486
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Middletown: Middletown Community Based Outpatient Clinic, One Corporate Place, 401-847-6239 / Fax: 401-847-8057
Warwick: Providence Vet Center, 2038 Warwick Ave, 401-739-0167 / 877-927-8387 / Fax: 401-739-7705
Veterans Benefits Administration
VBA Regional Office
Providence: Providence Regional Office, 380 Westminster St, 800-827-1000
Rhode Island Division of Veterans Affairs
Address: 480 Metacom Ave, Bristol, RI 02809, 401-253-8000 / Fax: 401-254-2320
Military Installations in Rhode Island
Document Review Date: 14 April 2015