sipa 20452474 From hiring vets to cash for school: a quick look at NC, VA and GA state benefits

Fireworks explode over the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) during the 2017 Harborfest fireworks in Norfolk, Virginia, June 10, 2017.  Coming in at #8 for the total number of veteran residents, the Commonwealth’s VTAP program makes the transition to civilian life much easier.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Andrew Winz)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

Virginia is a great place to transition from the military to civilian life. Since 2012, there’s been a major push to get state businesses to hire veterans.  To date, almost 30,000 vets have joined the Commonwealth’s workforce.

This week, we’re digging into veterans benefits that come from the states of North Carolina, Georgia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The state tax exemption for all three states is CONFUSING, so make sure you reach out to someone on the state VA level for more help.

North Carolina

There are four State Veterans Homes in North Carolina. To live in one of these homes you’ll need an honorable discharge, have lived in the state for at least 24 months prior to the application date, have a referral from a licensed physician.

For state income tax, as long as you’ve had five years of creditable military service as of Aug. 12, 1989, your military retirement income is exempt from being taxed. For property tax relief, the first $45,000 of your assessed property value is exempt for veterans with a 100% service connected disability.

Vets have preference in State Government, as do their surviving spouses or the spouses of disabled vets. Military leave with reemployment rights are also part of the state benefits.

There’s a four-year scholarship program at some of the schools in North Carolina and it’s for children of certain class categories of combat, deceased or disabled vets as well as for children of POW/MIA vets. For more info on what North Carolina has for veterans, you can go to the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website here.

Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia runs two long term care facilities for veterans. One is in Richmond, the other in Roanoke.  Veterans who have been honorably discharged and residents of VA are eligible to live here.

The financial benefits for veterans and active duty residents include up to $15,000 of military basic pay can be exempted from state income tax. The more you make, the less you can deduct though… for every $1 over the $15,000, the max deduction is reduced by $1.  If your basic pay is more than $30k, you can’t use the deduction however.  And you will need to have been on active duty for at least 90 days and you can be stationed either in or out of state.  There is also a special deduction for VA National Guard, but only for O-3’s and below.

VA vets with a 100% service connected disability that is permanent or those who have unemployable disability ratings that is service connected are exempt from paying real estate tax on their primary residence. In VA, the exemption is based on the disability rating and not the level of compensation of the veteran.  Surviving spouses of eligible vets can also get the real estate tax exemption if the veteran died on or after Jan 1, 2011.

The Commonwealth has a program to help resident veterans transition out of the military too. The Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP) is exactly what it sounds like, a program to help vets move from the military to a civilian life.  It includes employment, education, entrepreneurial and support services.  For state employment, vets get an additional 5 percent of their score added to the total.  10 percent is added to the score for Vets with a service-connected disability that has been rated by Veterans Affairs.

The Virginia Military Survivors and /Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP) helps spouses and children of service members killed, MIA, POW or who are at least 90 percent disabled due to military service. There are up to 36 months of benefits available through VMSDEP.

You can dig up more information at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services website.

Georgia

Vets who have an honorable discharge can get free treatment at one of Georgia’s two “War Veterans” homes. You’ll want to check with the Georgia Department of Veterans Service to find out if you’re eligible.

The phrase “War Veteran” is key if living in this state. You will need to have served on specific dates to be eligible for these services.  Those dates are: Jan. 31, 1955 – May 7, 1975 or Aug. 2, 1990 to now.

Exemption from state income tax goes by when you were on active duty, it’s a bit confusing, so get some help with this. There are some special tax exemptions for vets who have disability ratings from the VA or for vets who get grants to help buy or adapt vehicles.

The state employment help is very similar to other states. There’s a 5 point credit for war veterans and service connected disability of 10 percent or more gets you a 10 point credit when applying for state jobs.  Disabled vets have a few exemptions on business licenses too.

For education help, the state has the Georgia HERO (Helping Educate Reservists and their Offspring) scholarship program provides grant assistance for members of the Georgia National Guard and US Reservists who have served in a combat zone or their children. You can get a grant of up to $2,000 per year for four years.

Here’s the link to the Georgia Department of Veterans Services website.

Next week we’ll research veteran benefits for Illinois, Michigan and Washington State.  You can find the other states that we’ve profiled already here.

Check out our resource below to search for benefits by state:

Connect: @JonathanVets1 | Jonathan@ConnectingVets.com

 

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