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Georgia Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veteran Benefits

Georgia Veterans Benefits

Georgia State Veteran Benefits

The following are the Georgia veterans’ benefits programs for education, housing, healthcare and employment.

Education Benefits for Georgia Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans’ benefits programs provided by the State of Georgia.

Georgia HERO Scholarship

The Georgia HERO Scholarship program offers financial assistance to qualifying active duty, Guard, and Reserve members who served in combat zones as well as the spouses and school-age children of qualifying military members.

  • These scholarships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis; those who qualify may receive up to  $2,000 per academic school year for full-time attendance.
  • The scholarship is prorated for part-time study.
  • This benefit is typically capped at $8000 total for four academic years.

Applicants must file a Georgia HERO application within two years of becoming eligible. You must renew the application each academic year.

University System of Georgia Resident Waiver of Mandatory Fees for Combat Vets

Combat vets applying to any University System of Georgia school may qualify for a waiver of all mandatory fees. This waiver cannot be used for housing or elective fees. It is not automatic and must be applied for. Contact the admissions office of the school you are interested in for more details.

Who qualifies for this benefit?

Georgia residents called to active duty and deployed to a combat zone on or after September 11, 2001 who meet the following criteria:

  • The veteran served 90 days in a combat zone.
  • The veteran received full disability as a result of injuries received in the combat zone.
  • The veteran was evacuated from a combat zone.

University System of Georgia Resident Tuition rates for Nonresidents

The University System of Georgia offers resident tuition rates for eligible nonresident service members and veterans, their spouse and dependent children. The requirements include:

  • Being assigned or stationed for military duty in Georgia, OR;
  • Having been previously assigned and still enrolled in a school there.

Other guidelines for approval apply to dependents and spouses including approval for “any student” using VA benefits for education transferred to them by their spouse or parent.

University System of Georgia Military Service Refunds

All schools in the University System of Georgia offer “full refunds” of tuition, mandatory fees and “prorated refunds” of elective fees for qualifying students who serve. There are several qualifying circumstances:

  • Reservists who receive orders to training, active duty or TDY that prevents completion of the school term;
  • Active duty Service members who PCS, go TDY or are ordered to training that interferes with class attendance;
  • Students “significantly affected” by the activation of a Reserve component or deployment and “can show a need for a refund”.

These refunds are not automatic, and must be applied for. Additional criteria may apply depending on circumstances. Contact the admissions office of the school you are attending to learn what is required to claim these refunds.

> Find VA-approved colleges and universities in Georgia with our School Finder

Tax Benefits for Georgia Veterans

Extension of Filing Deadline for Combat Deployment

The State of Georgia tax filing deadline is extended for those who are combat deployed–taxpayers typically have 180 days to file after the end of their deployment.

Waived Income Taxes for Those Who Die In A Combat Zone

Georgia law waives state income taxes for those who die in a combat zone.

Georgia Tax Exemption for Military Pay

The State of Georgia offers tax exemptions for qualifying veterans worth up to $35,000, half of which is applied toward military retirement pay. Those who earned a minimum of $17,500 from another source (not military retirement pay) may qualify for an additional $17,500 exemption on Georgia state taxes.

Military disability retirement pay the service member elected to draw as a pension is not considered taxable income. This includes, but may not be limited to:

  • Disability compensation
  • Pension payments for disabilities
  • Qualifying grants for specially adapted homes
  • Qualifying grants for motor vehicles for Veterans

Disabled Veteran Homestead Tax Exemption

Honorably discharged Georgia veterans with disabilities may qualify for a homestead tax exemption on a primary residence. Criteria for this tax exemption includes:

  • The veteran is VA-rated as 100% disabled OR;
  • The veteran is VA-rated less than 100% disabled but is entitled to a 100% rating “due to unemployability” OR;
  • The veteran receives an award from the VA for Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both feet, hands, loss or loss of use of one or both eyes OR;
  • The applicant is a surviving, un-remarried spouse of a qualified veteran OR;
  • The applicant is a surviving minor child of a qualified veteran.

This tax exemption is not automatic and must be applied for. The amount of the exemption may be subject to change year to year. Tax laws change frequently, to determine what is possible in the current year, consult a tax professional.

Georgia Ad Valorem Tax Waiver For Vehicles

Those with VA disability ratings of 100% and veterans who have qualifying injuries (see below) may qualify for a Georgia tax exemption on either title tax or annual property taxes on one vehicle the veteran owns. The vehicle must display a Disabled Veteran license plate to qualify.

Qualifying injuries under this program include but may not be limited to:

  • 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 of both eyes “to a prescribed degree.”
  • Those awarded the Purple Heart or Medal of Honor also qualify.

The state also offers a tax break on the purchase and/or alteration of a vehicle to make it more accessible–those who are awarded a grant by the federal-level Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase a specially adapted vehicle or to adapt a vehicle already owned are exempt from paying the initial sales tax on it.

Another vehicle-related veteran benefit in the State of Georgia allows those who have been deployed and serve in combat zones to get a driving license renewal extension or renewal by mail.

There is also a six-month grace period when a servicemember’s Georgia driving license expires while the member is on duty outside the state.

Georgia State Nursing Home Benefits Veterans

Georgia operates two skilled nursing care homes for qualifying wartime veterans. To qualify you must be a Georgia resident for two years before the application or you must have lived in the state for five or more years “of the past 15 years” according to the State of Georgia.

Applicants must be eligible for skilled nursing care as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They must also be:

  •  “Free of contagious infectious disease” according to the State of Georgia official site;
  • The applicant must also be free of “behavioral and psychiatric problems” according to the State of Georgia official site;
  • The applicant “must not need to be sustained by line-operated mechanical means”.

Qualifying wartime periods include, but may not be limited to:

  • World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
  • Post-World War II: January 1, 1947 – June 26, 1950
  • Korea: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
  • Cold War: January 31, 1955 – August 1, 1990
  • Vietnam: July 1, 1964 – May 7, 1975
  • Persian Gulf: August 2, 1990 – present

Applicants must not have a discharge characterized as Dishonorable.

Employment Benefits for Georgia Veterans

Georgia Business Certification of Exemption For Veterans

Georgia veterans may be eligible for an exemption from occupation taxes, admin fees, or regulatory fees such as those for peddling, operating a business, or “practicing a profession”.

A military discharge under honorable conditions is required, and applicants must have a service-connected disability rating of 10% for wartime vets or 25% for peacetime vets). Applicants also must have income not subject to state income tax.

Georgia Veteran Employment Preference

Qualifying veterans may be eligible to claim a 5-point exam credit for wartime veterans competing for state jobs. A 10-point exam credit is offered to qualifying veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 10% or more.

More information regarding Georgia veterans benefits can be found at the Georgia Department of Veterans Service official site