Rhode Island State Benefits

All State Benefits

Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services Assistance

The Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services has an online contact form for Veterans and their Family members to request assistance regarding benefits under federal, state, and local laws.

Rhode Island Taxes on Military Retired Pay

Military retired pay follows federal tax rules and is subject to Rhode Island income tax.

Rhode Island does offer a retirement pension tax deduction of up to $15,000 for residents who meet the following requirements:

  • 65 years old or older
  • Receive a federally taxable pension or annuity
  • Meet income limits:
  • Single, Head of household or married filing separately – $87,200
  • Married filing jointly, qualifying Surviving Spouse – $109,050
  • Married filing separately – $87,225
  • Head of household – $87,200

Rhode Island Taxes on Military Pay

Military pay received by a resident Service member follows federal tax rules and is subject to Rhode Island income tax.

Rhode Island State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Military Disability Retirement Pay

Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income. Some payments considered disability benefits include:

  • Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to Veterans or their Families
  • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
  • Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs, or
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program

Rhode Island Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.

Rhode Island State Taxes on Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP)

SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP are taxed in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island does offer a retirement pension tax deduction of up to $15,000 for Surviving Spouses who meet the following requirements:

  • 65 years old or older
  • Receive a federally taxable pension or annuity
  • Have an adjusted gross income of $109,050 or less

In addition, Surviving Spouses that are 65 or older and have an adjusted gross income of less than $25,000 can receive a 2% tax credit, up to a maximum of $500. This credit can only be claimed once.

Rhode Island Nonresident State Tax Exemption

Military pay received by a nonresident Service member stationed in Rhode Island is not subject to Rhode Island income tax. If the Service member holds a separate job, not connected with the military, income received from that job is subject to Rhode Island income tax.

In addition, under the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, income earned by the Service member’s Spouse can only be taxed by their state of residence. This applies only if the Spouse is in Rhode Island only because their Service member Spouse is stationed there.

Rhode Island Property Tax Exemptions

Property taxes are assessed by local municipalities, each with their own forms, regulations and exemption amounts. Exemptions can be claimed for a resident’s real estate tax bill or on their motor vehicle tax bill. To qualify, appropriate documentation will be required by the municipality at the time of application.

Please contact the local tax assessor for exemption amounts, eligibility and documentation requirements.

Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP)

STAP provides a tuition waiver for Rhode Island National Guard Service members who are attending the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island. Service members must pay for books and any required fees.

STAP Benefits:

  • Waives tuition for up to five classes per semester (fall or spring)
  • May be used in conjunction with VA educational assistance

Who is eligible for STAP? To be eligible Service members must meet the following requirements:

  • Rhode Island National Guard Service member pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree
  • Must be in good standing and not be flagged for adverse action
  • Must have one-year military commitment at end of the semester for every 12 credits
  • Discharge date must be after end of class date

Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Exemption Program (STEP)

STEP provides one tuition free course per summer semester from the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island for Rhode Island National Guard Service members. STEP can be used with VA educational benefits.

Service members can take four classes per enlistment and are eligible for four more for every year they extend their enlistment.

Free Tuition for Surviving Spouse and Children of Deceased Rhode Island National Guard Service Members

Rhode Island will pay the tuition at a state supported college or university for a Surviving Spouse or Child of a Rhode Island National Guard Service member that dies in the line of duty. This financial assistance only applies to tuition and may be used for up to four years.

Rhode Island Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver

Rhode Island resident Veterans that have a service-connected disability rating from the VA of 10% or more are eligible for a tuition waiver at Rhode Island public institution of higher learning. This waiver only covers tuition and does not pay any required fees or the cost of books.

Veterans must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying and will be required to provide a recent copy of documentation from the VA as proof of their disability. Any scholarships or grants the Veteran is eligible for will be applied toward the cost of tuition first and will reduce the amount of the Veteran’s Tuition Waiver.

Rhode Island Residency for Tuition Purposes for Service Members, Veterans and Eligible Dependents

Active duty Service members, their dependents and eligible Veterans can receive in-state tuition rates at the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3)

The purpose of this compact is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families due to frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:

  • Facilitating the prompt 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 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 these 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

Rhode Island Employee Leave for Military Duty

 All Rhode Island employers must grant leave for National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserves Service members when ordered to military training or duty.

Rhode Island Military Family Leave

Companies must provide unpaid Family military leave to an employee during the time federal or state activation orders are in effect. 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.

Rhode Island Civil Service Veterans Hiring Preference

Rhode Island offers a Veteran hiring preference for Veterans applying for competitive state employment. Preference is given by adding points to passing civil service entrance exam scores.

Veterans are awarded the following:

  • Veterans receive 5-point credit
  • Disabled wartime Veterans receive 10-point credit

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) Career Centers Veteran Services

DLT Career Centers offer specialized assistance and “Priority of Service” to eligible Veterans and their Spouse.

Priority of service gives eligible individuals preference over others for Workforce Investment Act employment, training, and placement services. This includes providing first access to services when offered for a limited time and giving preferred registration in limited enrollment situations. Some of the services offered are:

  • Job search assistance and access to online job listings
  • Career counseling
  • Coaching on job search skills
  • Workshops on a variety of job search strategies
  • Access to resources (computers, reference materials, resume building software, and economic data)
  • Networking groups

Federal Employment Veteran’s Hiring Preferences

By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans 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.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of reserve components. USERRA also protects Service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.

Absence from Work for Military Duty

USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years. Exceptions to the five-year limit, including initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual’s service as long as the basic eligibility criteria are met.

Disability Accommodation

USERRA provides protection for disabled Veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Service members recovering from injuries received during service or training may have up to two years from the date of completion of service to return to their jobs or apply for reemployment.

Return to Work without Loss of Seniority

USERRA provides that returning Service members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. USERRA also requires that reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) be made to enable returning Service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for reemployment. USERRA also provides that while an individual is performing military service, they are deemed to be on a furlough or leave of absence and are entitled to the non-seniority rights accorded other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.

Extension of Health and Pension Plans

Health and pension plan coverage for Service members is provided for by USERRA. Individuals performing military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue employer sponsored health care for up to 24 months; however, they may be required to pay up to 102% of the full premium. For military service of less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the Service member had remained employed. USERRA clarifies pension plan coverage by making explicit that all pension plans are protected.

Rhode Island Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX) Program

Service members separating from active duty may qualify for unemployment compensation if they cannot find a job. The UCX program provides benefits under a program administered by the state for the federal government. VA benefits do not affect UCX benefits, but military retired pay reduces UCX benefits dollar for dollar.

Rhode Island Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training administers the UI program that provides temporary financial assistance for workers that are unemployed through no fault of their own. UI is a partial, short-term replacement of lost wages while workers are seeking other work and is not intended to be a permanent source of income .

Employers pay all costs of the UI program. The amount of benefits applicants may be eligible for is determined by the amount of work they performed and wages they earned during the 18 months prior to filing the claim.

Applicants will need to provide the following information to file an initial claim:

  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID number
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of employment for all employers in the last 18 months
  • Rate of pay and income from each employer
  • Name and local number of labor union or hiring hall (if applicable)
  • Alien registration number (A-number), if not a U.S. citizen
  • DD214 if a former Service member in the past 18 months
  • SF8 or SF50 If a former federal employee in the past 18 months
  • Names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for all dependent Children (if applicable)

Rhode Island Veteran Designation on Driver’s License or ID Card

Rhode Island offers a free Veteran designation on Rhode Island driver’s licenses and ID cards.

Free Rhode Island Vehicle Registration and Driver’s License for Disabled Veterans

Wartime Veterans with serious disabilities may be exempt from Rhode Island vehicle registration and driver’s license fees.

Rhode Island Military and Veteran License Plates

Rhode Island offers six distinctive military / Veteran license plates to honor the service and sacrifice of Veterans, retired Service members, Service members and Family members.

Rhode Island Purple Heart License Plate

The Rhode Island Purple Heart/Combat Wounded license plate is available to recipients of the Purple Heart Medal. These plates may be used on private or commercial vehicles weighing 10,001 lbs. or less. There is no initial or renewal fees for this license plate. Only one set of plates is authorized. Plates may be transferred to the unmarried Surviving Spouse. If there is no Surviving Spouse, a Family member may keep one of the plates as a keepsake.

Rhode Island Veteran License Plate

The Rhode Island Veteran license plate is available to honorably discharged Veterans for use on private or commercial vehicles weighing 12,000 lbs. or less and motorcycles. Plates may be transferred to the unremarried Surviving Spouse.

Rhode Island Gold Star Family Plate

The Rhode Island Gold Star Family license plates are available to immediate Family members of a Service member that was killed in the line of duty while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. These plates may be used on private or commercial vehicles weighing 12,000 lbs. or less. Only one set of plates will be issued to an eligible Family member.

Rhode Island National Guard State Sponsored Life Insurance (SSLI)

 SSLI offered through the National Guard Association of Rhode Island to Rhode Island National Guard Service members is made up of several voluntary group life policies that are designed to help meet the needs of National Guard Service members and their Families. Every member of the Rhode Island National Guard is covered with $1,000 SSLI at no cost to the

Key Benefits of the SSLI:

  • Over $500,000 in coverage available through a combination of the SSLI plans
  • Coverage available for Spouse and Children
  • Rates do not go up when Service members separate from the National Guard
  • Coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • No War Exclusion
  • No Aviation Exclusion
  • Service members are eligible for $10,000 SSLI coverage at no cost for the first year of service in the Rhode Island National Guard (must enroll within 90 days of joining).

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Life Insurance

  • The VA provides 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:
  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
  • Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
  • Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program (TSGLI)
  • Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (S-DVI)
  • Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)

Rhode Island National Guard Coverage for Injury, Illness, Disability and Death Incurred While on State Active Duty

Rhode Island National Guard Service members serving on state active duty that are injured, become ill, become disabled or die in the line of duty are eligible for benefits and compensation under the Rhode Island workers’ compensation laws

Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans

Rhode Island offers several hunting and fishing benefits to Service members and Veterans. A short description of each is listed below. Applicants will be required to show documentation proving eligibility when they apply:

  • Active Military Service – Military ID
  • Veteran Status – DD214
  • Disabled Veteran – VA Disability Certification Letter

Extension of Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces

If a Rhode Island resident has a valid hunting or fishing license when they join the U.S. Armed Forces it will remain valid until six months after their discharge.

Free Rhode Island State Park Passes for 100% Disabled Veterans

Rhode Island offers the State Park Disability Pass for use at any state owned recreational facility to disabled Veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA.

The State Park Disability Pass authorizes free admission and parking but does not exempt the following:

  • Licensing fees
  • Camping fees
  • Picnic table fees
  • Specialized facility use fees
  • Use of equestrian areas
  • Performing art centers
  • Game fields fees
  • Mule shed fees

Goddard Park Golf Course Fee Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans

Rhode Island resident Veterans that have a 100% permanent and total, service-connected disability rating from the VA are exempt from paying any fees to play golf at the Goddard Park Golf Course.

Rhode Island City Housing Authorities’ Veterans’ Preference

Wartime disabled Veterans receive first placement preference when space is available in public housing for the elderly. In addition, some local housing authorities have additional policies for Veterans’ preference for their housing programs.

Veterans’ preference in local housing developments: Cranston, East Greenwich, East Providence, Johnston (in elderly/disabled housing), Woonsocket

Service-connected Veterans’ preference: Burrillville (100% disability required), Bristol (in elderly housing), East Greenwich, Lincoln, Warren, Woonsocket

Preference to Families of deceased Veterans: East Greenwich

The Housing Authority of the City of Pawtucket has a Pilot Chronic Homeless Program, 10 housing units are allocated to chronically homeless applicants. Disabled Veterans and Veterans who served in World War II or before are given preference.

Rhode Island Bus Pass Program for Disabled Veterans

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority Bus Pass Program offers No-Fare and Half-Fare Bus Passes for eligible Veterans.

The No-Fare Bus Pass is offered to low-income Veterans and authorizes free rides on all fixed routes. Half-Fare Bus Passes are offered to eligible disabled Veterans and authorizes half price fares during off-peak hours and full fare prices during peak hours on all fixed route service.

Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund

The Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund provides grants for emergency situations for eligible active duty, Rhode Island National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves Service members and their Families. Grants will be provided for emergencies that can reasonably be expected to be resolved with one time assistance. Emergency assistance grants can be provided for expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, medical services, prescriptions, insurance, or vehicle payments.

The Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund also provides casualty based grants for the Families of Service members that are injured, killed, or declared missing in action MIA or a Prisoner of War (POW)

The maximum amount for a one time financial or casualty grant is $5,000 per Service member or immediate Family member.

Rhode Island Veterans Justice Outreach Program

 The Veterans Justice Outreach Program helps Veterans avoid unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration. This program involves cooperation between VA Medical Center staff, local law enforcement, and treatment services, to help Veterans avoid subsequent arrests.

Veterans’ Justice Outreach specialists (VJOs) are responsible for direct outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails. VJOs link eligible Veterans to appropriate services provided through the Veterans Health Administration. VJOs also coordinate with judicial and law enforcement partners and educate them on Veterans’ issues.

Recording of Rhode Island Veterans Military Records without Fee

 A Veteran’s military service records may be recorded in the office of the Town or City Clerk (except in Providence, where it will be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds) free of charge.

Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) Assistance

OSDRI helps active and reserve component Service members, Veterans and their Families secure stable housing and employment as well as aiding based on their needs. This assistance includes case management, basic human need support, referrals, education, and training services.

Housing: OSDRI offers low-income and disabled Veterans a combination of permanent supportive, transitional and recovery housing options. There are 88 housing units located on eight campuses across Rhode Island, each offers various levels of supportive services. OSDRI will also provide financial assistance for those at risk of becoming homeless.

Employment and Training: The Employment and Training Program offers job placement, training, job development, career counseling, resume preparation, and education to help those eligible re-enters the workforce.

Basic Human Needs: OSDRI operates a food pantry located at 1010 Hartford Avenue, in Johnston, Rhode Island that provides food, personal hygiene products and other necessities for those eligible.

Legal Assistance: OSDRI’s Legal Assistance for Warriors (LAW) program provides free representation to those eligible for:

  • Initial applications for VA and Social Security Disability Benefits
  • Misdemeanor criminal matters before the Rhode Island Veteran Treatment Court
  • License reinstatement in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal
  • Landlord Tennant matters
  • Limited Family Court cases

VA Disability and Social Security Disability appeals are handled on a reduced fee contingency basis that does not require out of pocket expense. OSDRI’s lawyers are experienced and accredited by the VA to represent Veterans in th

Rhode Island State Veterans Home Community Living Center

 The Rhode Island Veterans Home, located on Mount Hope Bay in Bristol, provides quality assisted living and nursing care to Rhode Island war Veterans.

Services Provided Include:

  • Social activities
  • Medical and nursing care
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Secure unit for Alzheimer’s and dementia care
  • Palliative care
  • X-ray
  • Dental care
  • Pharmacy services
  • Physical and occupational therapies
  • Social work services
  • Transportation to Providence VA Medical Center

Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery

The Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter provides a dignified final resting place for Service members, Veterans, and their eligible Family members.

The cemetery offers in-ground casket burial, in-ground cremation burial, above-ground columbarium cremation sites and committal services. All Veterans and Service members eligible for burial at the cemetery are entitled to Military Funeral Honors.

Burials for Veterans are provided at no cost, eligible Family members will be charged a fee for the grave liner.

Burial at Public Expense for Rhode Island Veterans

Rhode Island will pay the funeral expenses of honorably discharged wartime Veterans that do not have the ability to pay for a funeral.

Rhode Island Military Funeral Honors for Veterans

When requested by the Family of any honorably discharged, wartime Veteran, the Rhode Island Adjutant General will provide a firing squad, and when possible, a bugler to play “Taps,” live (not synthesized or pre-recorded). Family members should request Military Funeral Honors through their funeral director.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities in Rhode Island

The VA has numerous resources available for Veterans and Family members. Please see the local location listing for your nearest facility

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Cemeteries in Rhode Island

The VA National Cemetery Administration does not maintain a national cemetery in Rhode Island. Rhode Island has one state Veterans cemetery. Please see the local location listing for the nearest cemetery.