The state of Wisconsin provides state and local veterans benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation and much more below. With nearly 400,000 veterans the FORWARD state provides many benefits for its veterans.
Wisconsin Veteran Education Benefits
The State Of Wisconsin GI Bill
The Wisconsin GI Bill offers forgiveness or remittance of the greater of eight semesters or 128 credit hours worth of “full tuition and segregated fees” for eligible veterans and dependents. Qualifying is a two-step process dependent in part on the standards of each institution of higher learning that participates in the program.
This program is available for attendance at any University of Wisconsin System or Wisconsin Technical College System school. This program is not associated with the VA GI Bill program in spite of the name.
The VetEd Program
Qualifying veterans who have not yet earned a Bachelor’s degree may qualify for VetEd reimbursement of tuition and fees at qualifying state colleges, private schools, and technical colleges. This program is based on the applicant’s length of qualifying military service and is permitted to be applied concurrently with VA GI Bill benefits.
However, the State of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs official site says, “VetEd reimbursement will be reduced to the extent that tuition and fees have already been paid by other grants, scholarships, and remissions provided for the payment of tuition and fees, including federal VA Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition benefits.” Those who are eligible for the Wisconsin GI Bill must use that benefit prior to applying for VetEd.
State Of Wisconsin High School Diploma Program For Veterans
Wisconsin Statutes section 120.13 (37) permits local school boards to offer high school diplomas to qualifying veterans who had their high school education interrupted by military service during wartime.
The veteran or a veteran’s family must apply directly to the local Wisconsin school district. Requirements include an honorable discharge, and the applicant must 65 years old or 55 or older with a qualifying service-connected disability.
Veteran Employment Benefits
State Of Wisconsin Veteran Hiring Preference (Civil Service)
The State of Wisconsin offers “competitive preference” for disabled veterans and combat veterans who served during qualifying era. This preference is available for competitive hiring processes that require a Civil Service exam.
Ten additional points are awarded to qualifying veterans on the exam and those with VA approved service-connected disabilities “are entitled to points added to their passing score, depending upon their level of disability.” Qualifying military spouses of disabled or deceased eligible veterans may also be eligible for hiring preference points.
Qualifying disabled veterans who have VA-rated service-connected disabilities (at least 30% disabled) may be hired to any non-competitive State of Wisconsin job with no exam required.
The hiring preferences listed here do not necessarily apply for Limited-Term Employment (LTE) positions; veterans interested in these positions will need to inquire if any hiring preference mechanism is available for the specific LTE job they want to apply for.
Wisconsin Unemployment Compensation For Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)
Honorably discharged veterans who cannot find employment may be eligible for UCX, Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers. These applications must be made by phone; callers should have ready their DD Form 214, Social Security Number, and a Wisconsin drivers’ license where applicable. To file a new claim, qualifying veterans should call one of three numbers:
Madison: (608) 232-0678
Milwaukee: (414) 438-7700
State of Wisconsin Unemployment / Underemployment Benefits For Veterans
Qualifying veterans considered underemployed or who have become “recently unemployed” may qualify for $3,000 per year (with a two-year maximum) by demonstrating a financial need while “being retrained for employment”.
The actual amount of this grant is determined by financial need. The applicant must declare any other retraining funds made available to them at application time, and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs makes the final decision as to the grant amount.
Wisconsin One-Time Fee Waiver For Professional/Occupational Licenses
The state offers a single-use fee waiver for a variety of occupational licenses, many of which are related to hunting, trapping, farming, sanitary licenses, and much more. Qualification requirements may vary depending on the type of license the veteran needs; basic qualifications include being an individual (rather than a company or corporation trying to apply for the same fee waiver) and being a qualifying veteran who is a Wisconsin resident.
Veteran Housing Benefits
Wisconsin Veterans Assisted Care Homes And Nursing Homes
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs operates three veteran’s care homes in the state:
- Chippewa Falls
- Union Grove
Each facility is a 24-hour care operation that accepts federal assistance for individual residents where applicable, plus private-pay and Medicare paid options. These facilities are open to honorably discharged veterans, but also offers space-available care prioritized in descending order for:
- Spouses of veterans who are still alive
- Spouses of deceased veterans
- Parents of veterans killed on active duty
For admission purposes, “veteran” is defined with the following criteria as found on the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs official site:
- Those on active duty during peacetime for two or more years or the full period of their initial obligation. OR;
- Those who served on active duty for at least 90 days, one day of which must have been during a wartime period. AND:
- Those who served and were discharged from the armed forces under honorable conditions.
- Spouses of veterans and parents of veterans killed on active duty.
Wisconsin Veterans And Surviving Spouse Property Tax Credit
The State of Wisconsin offers a property tax credit to qualifying veterans and un-remarried surviving military spouses for primary residences and up to an acre of land. Qualifying veterans must be a Wisconsin resident for five consecutive years after entering military service (Active Duty) or who was a Wisconsin resident upon entering military service.
To qualify for the tax credit, these veterans must have a 100% service-connected disabled (SCD) rating or be considered 100% disabled for the purpose of determining employability. Unremarried surviving spouses may claim this tax credit if they receive the VA benefit known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Wisconsin Income Tax Breaks for Veterans
Wisconsin offers a variety of state income tax breaks for veterans including the following:
- Wisconsin Income Tax Combat Pay Exemption
- Wisconsin Income Tax Filing Extension Deadlines For Active Duty Military
- Wisconsin Income Tax Military Retirement Benefits Exemptions
- Wisconsin Income Tax Military Pay Tax Exemption For Mobilized Guard/Reserve Members
Tax code changes from time to time, and it’s best to consult a tax professional to see how and which benefits may apply to your current year’s Wisconsin State Income Tax filing.
Additional Veteran Benefits
State of Wisconsin MOVE-IT Program
Wisconsin’s Making Opportunities For Veteran Employment In Transportation program allows vets to transfer commercial driving skills from their military careers to civilian employment in the state.
This program includes a military skills waiver for those who operated military vehicles and want a skills test waiver for a Wisconsin Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL). Applicants must have operated military versions of commercial vehicles for a minimum of two years, are either on duty or within a year of discharge, and are willing to take the “knowledge portion” of the Wisconsin CDL test.
Driver License, ID Cards, and License Plates For Veterans
The State of Wisconsin offers the usual options for Veteran and military designations on state ID cards and drivers’ licenses. Applicants must furnish proof of military service. The licenses are not advertised as free for veterans, but a military designation is an option.
Wisconsin Drivers’ License Renewal Options For Qualifying Military Members
Military members stationed outside of Wisconsin during times of military conflict are considered to be active duty personnel when it’s time to renew or duplicate drivers’ licenses. This also applies to vehicle registration and insurance procedures, reinstatement of revoked licenses, applications for special plates and related issues.
Any active duty perks applicable for active duty military under such conditions will apply to all Wisconsin military members serving outside the state.
Wisconsin State Veteran Cemeteries
There are three Veteran Cemeteries in the State of Wisconsin:
- Union Grove
There are no fees for qualifying veterans to be interred at one of these facilities. Veterans with discharges not characterized as Dishonorable are eligible for burial benefits in these cemeteries as long as they meet residency, time-in-service, and discharge requirements.
Certain requirements do not apply to veterans who died in one of the state’s three Veterans’ Homes. Eligible spouses and dependents may also be buried in these cemeteries for a fee. No-fee pre-registration services are available to veterans.
Wisconsin Recreation License Discounts For Veterans
There are a great many discounts, fee-exemptions, and other perks for veterans using Wisconsin State Parks and other facilities; so many that they cannot all be listed here. They include discounted and free hunting and fishing licenses for active duty, retirees, disabled, and Purple Heart awardees.
Contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (1-888-936-7463) to learn what discounts may apply to you and what documentation is required to take advantage of the discounts, reduced fees, and free/reduced licenses.
Wisconsin Links to Veterans Services
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