Rhode Island Veterans Benefits

Updated: December 24, 2022
In this Article

    Find state and local veterans benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. Rhode Island sometimes breaks down state veteran benefits by era of service (World War Two, Vietnam, War On Terror, etc.) and certain benefits may vary depending on service era. The Ocean State is home to over 65,000 Veterans, according the the Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more about Veterans benefits in Rhode Island.

    Veteran Education Benefits

    In-State Tuition

    Veterans may be eligible to receive in-state tuition rates at the University of Rhode Island, Community College of Rhode Island, or Rhode Island College. This applies to undergraduate and graduate students.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicant must be determined to be a “qualified veteran.” A “qualified veteran” is defined as follows:

    • Established home in Rhode Island by Jan. 1st of the year prior to enrollment
      • Must have physical mailing address
      • P.O. boxes may not be used
    • Certificate of Eligibility for the GI Bill
    • U.S. citizen or permanent residency identification
    • Meets academic and eligibility requirements for the state college he or she will attend
    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been filed on or before March 1 for year of admission
    • Served at least 24 months on active duty
    • Injured due to military service which resulted in less than 24 months active duty

    Spouse and/or dependents may also qualify for this benefit if the veteran meets the following criteria:

    • Minimum of ten years active duty
    • Rhode Island resident at time of transferring benefit

    Tuition Waivers

    Tuition Waivers for Disabled Veterans

    Veterans with disabilities may be eligible to receive free tuition at Rhode Island public colleges and universities. Applicants must be rated between 10% and 100% disabled due to military service, and permanent residents of Rhode Island. They must also apply for and use financial aid first.

    Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP)

    National Guard members may be eligible for tuition waivers at state colleges and universities. Waivers may cover up to five classes per Fall or Spring semester, and may be used along with the GI Bill. This benefit does not cover fees or books.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Army and Air National Guard enlisted service members or officer
      • One year commitment for every 12 credits
      • ETS must be after end of class date
    • In an Associate, Bachelor, or Masters program at a state college or university
    • In good standing

    State Tuition Exemption Program

    National Guard service members may be eligible for tuition exemptions at state colleges or universities. Exemptions can be used with the GI Bill.

    In order to qualify for this benefit, applicants must be an Army and Air National Guard enlisted service member or officer who is enrolled in an Associate, Bachelor, Masters, or certificate program at a state college or university.

    Service members may receive up to four tuition exemptions per enlistment, and an additional four exemptions for each year of enlistment extension. However, exemptions have certain restrictions:

    • Covers one tuition free course per Summer semester
    • May not to exceed two courses a year
    • Based on seat availability

    See What You Qualify For

    Select a VA Home Loan Option to Continue:

    Home Purchase
    Home Refinance
    Cash-Out Refinance
    Explore My Options
    Get Started

    Veteran Employment Benefits

    Veterans Hiring Preference

    Veterans may be eligible for hiring preference when applying for state jobs. In order to be eligible for this benefit, veteran applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Other than dishonorable discharge
    • 30 or more days of active duty service, (excludes training)
    • Discharged because of disability due to military service
    • National Guard or Reserve retiree with 20 or more years service

    Veterans may also receive a five-point credit on civil service entrance exams. Points are applied after applicant has passed the exam.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, disabled veteran applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • War veteran
      • Campaign ribbon or expeditionary medal
    • Honorable or General discharge
    • Physical disability
      • Due to military service
      • VA rating

    Disabled veterans may also receive a ten-point credit on civil service entrance exams. Points are applied after applicant has passed the exam.

    Veteran Housing Benefits

    Veterans Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes

    Rhode Island war veterans may be eligible for residence in the Rhode Island Veterans Home. Located on a 110-acre area at Mount Hope Bay in Bristol, the home has 208 beds. The cost for living in the home is adjusted to 80% of net income, and residents are provided with a wide range of care options, including:

    • Assisted living
    • Nursing care
    • Memory care in secure units
    • Palliative care
    • Health services
      • X-ray
      • Dental
      • Pharmacy
      • Physical therapy
      • Occupational therapy
      • Psychiatric services
    • Transportation to Portland VA center for appointments

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Honorable discharge
    • 90 or more days active wartime service
    • Resident of Rhode Island two consecutive years prior to application; or
    • Joined the service in Rhode Island

    Veterans may be denied admission if diagnosed with any of of the following:

    • Active psychosis
    • Substance addiction
    • Contagious disease
    • Infectious disease

    Public Housing

    Veterans may be eligible for preferential placement in public housing for the elderly.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must have a disability that is due to wartime military service, and must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Individual housing projects have additional criteria applicants must meet in order to be allowed admission.

    Veterans Can Buy a Home with $0 Down

    {Sponsored} The VA Home Loan offers $0 Down with no PMI. Find out if you’re eligible for this powerful home buying benefit. Prequalify today!

    Veteran Financial Benefits

    Property Tax Exemption For Totally Disabled Veterans

    Veterans, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents may be eligible for property tax exemptions. Exemptions vary from town to town, and the state Department of Revenue maintains a list of eligible properties.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Other than dishonorable discharge
    • Wartime service during WWII, Korea, Vietnam
    • Service in recognized post-Vietnam conflict

    Additional Veteran Benefits

    Driver License, ID Cards, and License Plates For Veterans

    Veterans may be eligible for driver licenses and IDs with a “Veteran” designation. The designation is available to honorably-discharged veterans, and is free of charge.

    Veteran License Plates

    Veterans may be eligible for license plates with service-specific designations. Initially-issued plates are free of charge, and remade plates carry a charge of $31.50.

    Special designations include the following:

    • Disabled Veteran
    • Veteran
    • Veteran Gold Star
    • Prisoner of War
    • Purple Heart

    Bus Passes

    Disabled veterans may be eligible to receive bus passes at reduced prices through the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. In order to qualify for this benefit, applicants must have certification of 70% or higher disability rating from VA.

    Bus Pass ID cards cost $25 and remain valid for five years, and applicants have two options for passes: No Fare or Reduced Fare.

    No Fare ID cards allow holders to ride free of charge on all fixed service routes.  In order to qualify for a No Fare ID card, veterans must meet income guidelines.

    Reduced Fare ID cards allow holders to pay half fare during non-peak hours on all fixed service routes, (full fare must be paid during peak hours). Applicants who do not meet income guidelines for No Fare ID cards may be eligible for Reduced Fare ID cards.

    If a Bus Pass holder requires a personal care assistant when traveling, the assistant rides free of charge.

    Legal Benefits For Veterans

    Veterans Treatment Court

    Veterans diagnosed with trauma-related disorders may be eligible for treatment through the Kent County District Veterans Treatment Court. Utilizing the Rhode Island Alternatives to Sentencing and Trauma Recovery Program with Priority to Veterans, or ASTR, the goal of the court is successful rehabilitation and reintegration of veterans currently involved in the the judicial system. Treatment options may include the following:

    • Jail diversion
    • Reduction of charges
    • Alternatives to sentencing
    • Court-supervised compliance with treatment options and recommendations
    • Referral to the Trauma, Addiction, Mental Health, and Recovery (TAMAR) Program
    • Peer support through the Veterans Mentor Program
    • Additional services through the VA and supporting organizations

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, applicants must be diagnosed with a trauma-related disorder that is due to military service. Also, criminal history and charges may affect eligibility.

    Burial Benefits For Veterans

    Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery

    Eligible veterans, spouses, and dependents may be eligible for burial in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Located in Exeter, the grounds of the 280-acre cemetery are maintained by the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs. This includes well-maintained landscapes and markers, as well as 31 monuments dedicated to veterans.

    The cemetery offers a variety of burial options, including in-ground cremation or casket, and columbarium cremation. Burials for veterans are provided at no cost, but certain fees are not covered for burial of spouses or dependents. All committal services include military honors.

    In order to be eligible for this benefit, veterans must have had honorable service, and must also meet one of the following criteria:

    • Resident of Rhode Island two consecutive years prior to death
    • Joined the service from Rhode Island
    • Active duty service with receipt of campaign or expeditionary medal
    • Two or more consecutive years peacetime active duty
    • 20 or more years of National Guard or Reserve service
    Written by Veteran.com Team