Find Georgia state and local active duty and veterans’ benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. The state of Georgia has one of the largest population of veterans with over 700,000 veterans. These benefits are in addition to the benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veteran Education Benefits
High School Diplomas for Certain War Veterans
Qualifying veterans who did not get a high school diploma due to military service in World War Two, Korea, or Vietnam are eligible to obtain a high school diploma. The veteran must apply at the high school attended prior to military service.
Georgia State Veteran Employment Benefits
Georgia State Veterans Hiring Preference
Qualifying war veterans are given five-point hiring preference credit when seeking employment
with the State of Georgia. Veterans who are VA rated with a service-connected disability rating of 10 percent or more qualify for ten points.
State of Georgia Veterans Business Certificate of Exemption
Qualifying Georgia state veterans are eligible for an exemption “from any occupation tax, administrative fee, or regulatory fee imposed by local governments for peddling, conducting a business, or practicing a profession or semi-profession”.
This exemption requires the veteran to meet all of the following:
- Discharged under honorable conditions
- Service-connected disability rating of 10 percent (wartime veterans) or 25 percent (peacetime veterans)
- Income is not liable for state income taxes
Veteran Housing Benefits
Active-duty service members, first responders and some other groups can get up to $7,500 in down-payment assistance in the form of a zero-interest loan.
Georgia Veterans Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes
The Georgia Department of Veterans Service (GDVS) runs two skilled nursing care homes for eligible war veterans in Augusta and Milledgeville. Qualifying criteria for care in these homes includes one the following:
- Military discharged not characterized as Dishonorable
- Resided in Georgia two years immediately preceding the date of application
- Resided in Georgia five or more of the past 15 years
- The veteran must have served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces during wartime/times of conflict
- Must be approved as eligible for skilled nursing care by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Qualifying veterans must also be free of “contagious infectious disease” or behavioral/psychiatric problems. The veteran must not need line-operated mechanical life support.
According to the GDVS official site, a nominal daily fee is charged and VA Aid & Attendance benefits can be used to help offset the daily fee. Veterans with qualifying service-connected disability ratings of 70 percent or higher, or veterans whose admission is due to a service-connected condition will have their daily fees paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Extension of Georgia State Tax Filing Deadlines for Combat Deployment
Combat deployed military personnel receive an extension for filing state taxes-the military member has an additional 180 days after the end of a combat deployment.
Disabled Veteran Homestead Tax Exemption
This exemption this exemption is for the greater of $32,500 or the maximum amount allowable under 38 U.S.C. 2101. The maximum amount is $60,000 plus an index factor. Open to honorably discharged Georgia veterans “who are considered disabled according to any of several criteria” according to the Georgia Department Of Veterans Service official site.
Qualifying for this benefit requires home ownership and occupancy of the home as the disabled veteran’s primary residence. The homestead tax exemption also applies to “surviving unremarried spouses and minor children as long as they remain in the homestead or a subsequent homestead in the same county”.
Honorably discharged Georgia veterans considered disabled under the following criteria are eligible to apply for the exemption:
- VA-rated 100 percent totally disabled
- VA-rated less than 100 percent disabled but paid at the 100 percent rate due to unemployability
- Entitled to receive a statutory award from VA for:
– Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both feet
– Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands
– Loss of sight in one or both eyes
– Permanent impairment of both eyes
- Surviving, unremarried spouses of qualified deceased veterans
- Surviving minor children of qualified deceased veterans
Abatement of Income Taxes for Combat Deaths
Georgia state veterans benefits include this provision for military members who die as a result of military service in a combat zone. These circumstances exempt the veteran’s estate from “all
Georgia income taxes for the taxable year of death”. These taxes also won’t apply “for any prior taxable year ending on or after the first day served in the combat zone”.
“Ad Valorem” Tax on Motor Vehicles
This Georgia state veterans’ exemption is for any veteran VA-certified as 100% permanently service-connected disabled. It’s also open to Purple Heart recipients, Medal of Honor awardees, and also to veterans who are receiving or who are entitled to receive statutory awards from VA for the following:
- Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both feet
- Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands
- Loss of sight in one or both eyes
- Permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a prescribed degree
This George military state vehicle tax exemption applies to one vehicle the veteran owns with a disabled veteran license plate attached to the vehicle. It can be used for either the annual property tax or the title tax where applicable.
Georgia State Sales Tax Exemption for Vehicle Purchase Or Modification
Qualifying disabled veterans with VA grants for buying and modifying a vehicle to be more accessible are exempt from paying state sales tax on the vehicle.
Additional Veteran Benefits
Free Georgia Veteran Drivers’ Licenses
Georgia state drivers’ licenses are available free to honorably discharged veterans with Georgia residency and service “during a recognized period of war or conflict”. Georgia veterans qualify for these free licenses if they entered service from Georgia as evidenced on DD Form 214 military discharge paperwork, and are a current resident of Georgia.
Free veterans’ licenses are also available to vets who have been legal residents of the state for the last two consecutive years. Current and former members of the Reserve or National Guard are also eligible depending on the length of service and state residency.
Free Georgia Drivers Licenses For Qualifying Military Spouses
Spouses of disabled veterans with qualifying disabilities (that prevent the veteran from operating a vehicle) may be eligible for a free “honorary driver’s license”. Residence and qualifying service terms are identical to those for the free veteran’s driver’s license mentioned above.
Unremarried surviving spouses of qualifying veterans may also be eligible for a free honorary driver’s license. Qualifying spouses must bring supporting documentation to a Georgia Department of Veterans Services (GVDS) field office to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-516), which is presented at the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
Free Georgia State Veteran ID Cards
Qualifying veterans who meet eligibility and residency requirements for a veteran’s driver’s license are also eligible for a Georgia State veterans’ ID card. Proof of qualifying service and residency must be taken to a GDVS Veterans Field Service Office to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-516) which must be presented at the Georgia Department of Driver Services at application time.
Honorary Military Spouse Georgia State ID Card
Qualifying spouses and surviving unremarried spouses of disabled veterans (who meet the eligibility and residency requirements for an honorary veteran’s driver’s license) are also eligible for a free ID Georgia State identification card.
Free Georgia State Veteran License Plates
There are several options for free Georgia State veteran license plates. They include a “generic” veteran designation, a retired veteran option, plus plates for disabled vets, women veterans, military medal award plates and many more.
These are, in general, offered to veterans with honorable discharges and surviving unremarried spouses of qualifying deceased service members. Most of these plates feature no registration fee, annual fee, or other payments for these veteran plates, and vets are able to apply for a second plate for a nominal fee.
Georgia State Veteran Burial Benefits
Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemeteries (Glennville and Milledgeville) are available for qualified veterans and in some cases, their dependents. Those who are eligible include:
- Veterans with any military discharge other than dishonorable.
- Members of the Reserves or National Guard eligible to draw retirement pay at the time of death.
- Military members killed in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training.
- Those who “otherwise died on active duty.”
Spouses, unmarried dependents under the age of 21, and eligible life-long dependents of any qualifying service member meeting the criteria above are also eligible. The veteran’s DD Form 214 or other proof of service is required, and a marriage certificate is required for a spouse to be buried with the veteran.
Georgia State Park Entrance Fee Reduction For Qualifying Vets
Georgia veterans with honorable discharges and who have VA rated service-connected disabilities are offered a 25 percent reduction of the entrance fee to state parks, historical sites, and recreational areas.
This benefit must be applied for at a Georgia Department of Veterans Services field office using military discharge paperwork.
Free Georgia State Full Privilege Sportsman Licenses For Returning Veterans
Qualifying returning veterans who have been discharged from active duty, Georgia reservists, and Georgia National Guard members ordered to federal duty for a period of 90 days or longer are eligible for a “free one-year honorary full privilege sportsman’s license” which includes all state paid recreational hunting and fishing privileges.
Free Georgia State Hunting And Fishing Licenses For Permanently and Totally Disabled Vets
Free Georgia State hunting and fishing license are available for vets with VA-rated total/permanent disabilities that prevent gainful employment.
Free Georgia State Lifetime Fishing Licenses For Qualifying Blind Veterans
Veterans who are Georgia residents and totally blind are eligible for a free lifetime fishing license from the state.
Free Georgia State Hunting/Fishing Licenses For Vets 65 Or Older
Qualifying Georgia residents who are eligible for free lifetime senior hunting and fishing licenses.
Georgia Motor Fuel Service for Disabled Veterans
Georgia gas stations offering both self-serve and full-service options will (by request), provide full-service options at the self-service price to a disabled veteran. This is available when:
-A disabled veteran is driving a vehicle displaying Disabled Veteran license plates.
-The disabled veteran is not accompanied by another person (16 years old or older and not also disabled) who is capable of pumping gas.
Links to Georgia Veterans Services
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