Find Washington state and local veterans’ benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. According to the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, the Evergreen state is home to over half a million veterans who have access to a wide array of benefits.
Washington Veteran Education Benefits
Veterans Tuition Waiver
The state of Washington has authorized state community colleges, colleges, and universities to waive all or a portion of tuition and fees for eligible veterans or National Guard members. To be eligible, the veteran or National Guard member must have served during a war or conflict, served in another country/in international waters, or served in any location if serving in support of others serving in another country and received an honorable discharge. Contact the financial aid office at the college you are planning to attend for information on applying for the veteran tuition waiver.
Free Tuition for Dependents of Disabled Veterans
Washington state waives undergraduate tuition and fees – up to 200 quarter credits or equivalent semester credits – for eligible dependents of 100 percent disabled veterans at state community colleges, colleges, and universities. Eligibility is determined by the tuition waiver law.
Washington Veteran Employment Benefits
State Employment Preference
Veterans and their spouses receive preference in appointments to state government jobs in Washington. To qualify, the veteran must have been honorably discharged, discharged for medical reasons with an honorable record, or have a DD-214, NGB-22, or their equivalent. Eligibility includes veterans who served during any U.S. war or military campaign for which a campaign ribbon was awarded, and surviving spouses or registered domestic partners of eligible veterans or honorably discharged veterans with a service-connected, permanent, and total disability qualify for preference. Preference is a percentage – ranging from five to 10 percent – added to examination scores.
Veteran Conservation Corps
Training and paid internships are available for veterans while working to restore and protect the Evergreen state’s natural resources.
Military CDL Skills Waiver Program
Service members who currently hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and who are or were employed within the last 90 days in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle are eligible to apply for a CDL without skills testing. However, CDL written tests cannot be waived.
Military Service Credit
The Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) offers non-interruptive military service credit to veterans who served in the U.S. military before becoming Public Employees’ Retirement System Plan 1 members. To be eligible, the veteran must have served on active duty either between World War I and World War II, during a period of wartime, or received the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or Marine Corps and Navy expeditionary medal for opposed action on foreign soil while serving in any branch of the Armed Forces or the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots.
Washington Veteran Housing Benefits
The Washington Home Advantage Government Program
The WSHFC Home Advantage Program is offered to qualifying applicants who meet the program’s income restrictions and credit score requirements. The mortgages eligible under this program include most government-backed mortgage loan programs including VA mortgages.
The WSHFC House Key Home Loan Program
Those who are eligible to apply for Veterans Down Payment assistance are offered access to the House Key home loan program, but there are also opportunities for those who want to purchase “never occupied new construction” or homes in a community land trust with or without the above downpayment assistance options.
The WSHFC official site provides few details about the terms of the loan you can apply for as a qualifying veteran but below market interest rate mortgage loans are available through this program.
The Washington Veterans Down Payment Assistance Loan Program
The Veterans Down Payment Assistance program is a downpayment assistance option offered as a second mortgage loan featuring a 3.00% interest rate (in FY 2020, these rates are subject to change and this number is listed as a reference only).
Washington state hosts four Veterans Homes in Orting, Retsil, Spokane, and Walla Walla. All four homes are Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities and provide 24-hour nursing care, medical care, pharmacy services, and supportive programs. Eligible veterans must have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, received an honorable discharge, and be a Washington state resident or the spouse of a resident. Widows of eligible veterans or Gold Star parents are also eligible.
Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing
In an effort to increase residential stability, greater self-determination, and increase income potential for homeless veterans, Washington offers the Building 9 for Veterans Transitional Housing Program. The facility is located at the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. To be eligible, the veteran must have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, received an honorable or general under honorable discharge, been homeless for at least one night, be sober for at least 30 days with the desire to lead a clean lifestyle, and be willing to undergo a criminal background check. Generally, veterans are referred by the Federal VA Medical Center.
Property Tax Relief
Veterans who reside in Washington and retired because of a disability, veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability, and widows of 100 percent disabled veterans may qualify for income-based property tax exemptions and deferrals. To find out if you qualify, contact your County Assessor.
Washington Veteran Financial Benefits
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Veterans Estate Management Program is available to veterans and family members who are incapable of managing their own financial affairs by offering protective payee services. By assuming custody of finances, the WDVA ensures that basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, and medical care are provided.
Veterans Innovations Program
The Veterans Innovations Program provides assistance to veterans and their families who are experiencing financial hardships due to deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Additional Washington Veteran Benefits
Washington’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Program offers free community-based avenues to counseling that are less formal than traditional counseling. Services offered include individual, couples, family, and veteran group counseling. Veterans do not need to be formally diagnosed with PTSD but should be showing significant post-war adjustment issues. Some contractors offer group services to women veterans and spouses. Learn more here.
Motor Vehicle License Plates
The Washington State Department of Licensing offers free disabled veteran license plates to veterans who have a received a 100 percent VA disability rating for at least one year. The state also offers privileged license plates for veterans, active duty military, family members, and Gold Star Families (free for widows/widowers).
Reduced Fishing/Hunting License
The Evergreen state encourages disabled veterans to enjoy the great outdoors by offering a discount on fishing and hunting licenses. Eligible veterans must have received an honorable discharge with at least a 30 percent disability rating or be at least 65 years of age with a service-connected disability as verified by the VA.
Free Disabled Veteran Lifetime State Park Passes
Disabled veterans with a verified service-connected disability of at least 30 percent may enjoy unlimited access to Washington’s state parks. The Disabled Veterans Pass provides free camping/moorage, campsite reservations through Washington State Parks central reservations system, watercraft launching, and the trailer dump.
Washington State Veterans Cemetery
Located in Medical Lake, Washington, any Washington veteran eligible to be buried in a national cemetery is eligible for burial at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery. The Federal VA provides the burial plot or columbarium niche, concrete liner for casket burials, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care of the gravesite, an inscribed gravestone, and a 30-minute committal service. Spouses and dependent children are also eligible to be buried at the cemetery for $300.
Washington Link to Veterans Services
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