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Rhode Island Veterans & Disabled Veterans Benefits

rhode island veterans' benefits

The following are the Rhode Island veterans’ benefits programs for education, healthcare, housing and employment for 2018-2019.

Rhode Island Veterans Benefits Programs

Education Benefits for Veterans In Rhode Island

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans benefits programs provided by the states.  The following are the Rhode Island veterans’ benefits programs for education in 2018 and 2019.

Rhode Island Free Tuition for Disabled Veterans

RI resident veterans with 10 – 100% service-connected disability get free tuition at RI’s public colleges and universities. Must apply for and use financial aid first.

State Tuition Exemption Program

Covers one (1) tuition free course per SUMMER semester, not to exceed two (2) courses a year. STEP can only be used based on seat availability. You must get a STEP certificate from the Education Office before registering for your class. STEP can be used with Montgomery GI Bill. Four free per enlistment, the member can get four more free for every year he/she extend his/her enlistment.

This program is available to all Army and Air National Guard Service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, Masters Degree, or certification from Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and University of Rhode Island.

National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program

The Rhode Island National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) provides a tuition waiver for current National Guard members at Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities.


  • Up to five tuition free classes per (fall or spring) semester at RI’s public colleges and universities.
  • Fees and books must be paid by the military member.
  • The waiver can be used in conjunction with GI Bill.


  • Army and Air National Guard service members (enlisted and officer) who are pursuing an Associate, Bachelor, or Masters Degree from Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and University of Rhode Island.
  • Service members must be in good standing and not be flagged for adverse action.
  • Guard members must have one year military commitment at end of class for every 12 credits.
  • Guard member’s ETS must be after end of class date.

The state of Rhode Island provides for waiving of tuition for up to five classes at any Rhode Island institution of higher learning and must be applied towards an Associates, Bachelors or Master’s degree. Soldiers must obligate one year of service after the completion of classes for every 12 credits waived.

RELATED: National Guard Tuition Assistance

Find colleges in Rhode Island with our School Finder.  Use the filters to sort schools by state.

Housing Benefits for Veterans in Rhode Island

Property Tax Exemptions

There are property tax exemptions for veterans and widow/widowers of veterans. They also give them to gold star parents, parents who have lost a child in a military action. The exemptions do vary by town, and the veteran will need to have received an other than dishonorable discharge. They will also have needed to be in the service during wartime during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, or service in a recognized conflict for time after the Vietnam war.

City Housing Authorities’ Veterans’ Preference

Wartime-disabled veterans receive first placement when space is available in public housing for the elderly. Some housing authorities in Rhode Island have additional policies for veterans’ preference for their housing programs.

Here is the breakdown of the services and where they are located:

Veterans’ preference in local housing developments: Cranston, East Greenwich, East Providence, Johnston (in elderly/disabled housing,) and Woonsocket.

Service-connected veterans’ preference: Burrillville (100% disability required,) Bristol (in elderly housing,) East Greenwich, Lincoln, Warren, and Woonsocket.

Preference to families of deceased veterans: East Greenwich.

There is also a Pilot Chronic Homeless Program through the Housing Authority of the City of Pawtucket. 10 units are allocated to chronically homeless applicants, and disabled veterans and veterans who served in World War II or before are given preference.

In order to be eligible for the state elderly placement preference, veterans will need to have been disabled while serving in war or conflict. Veterans will need to be discharged under other than dishonorable conditions and veterans must fulfill all other eligibility criteria for the housing project. You will need to contact your the housing authority in your city or town for more information.

Health Care Benefits for Veterans in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Veterans Home

There is one Rhode Island Veterans Home, which is a 110 acre complex on Mount Hope Bay in Bristol. They provide social, medical, nursing and rehabilitative services to war veterans. They have approximately 208 beds, and in order to be eligible, a veteran will need to have an honorable discharge, 90-days of active service during wartime, be a Rhode Island resident for two consecutive years prior to the date of application or joined the service from Rhode Island, and the veteran may not have active psychosis or substance addiction or diagnosis of a contagious or infectious disease.

Employment Benefits for Veterans In Rhode Island

Rhode Island Veterans’ Hiring Preference

Rhode Island has a hiring preference for veterans applying for competitive state positions. Veterans will receive a 5 point credit on competitive civil service entrance exams, while disabled veterans will receive 10 points. Veterans will have to achieve a passing score before the preference is applied. In order to qualify, they will need to have an other than dishonorable discharge and 30 or more days of active duty service, other than for training, or have been discharged because of a service-connected disability. A national guard or reserve retiree with 20+ years of service will also be considered a qualifying veteran.

In order to be qualified as a disabled veteran, they would be a war veteran, having a campaign ribbon or expeditionary medal earned in a conflict war, undeclared war or contingency operation, with an honorable or general discharge. The veteran must also be physically disabled with a VA service-connected rating.

Other Veterans’ Benefits in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Family Relief Fund

The Rhode Island Family Relief Fund was established in 2004, to assist Rhode Island National Guard or Reserve Component members and their families, as well as active duty, in times of crisis that can reasonably be expected to be remedied with a one-time grant that is either financial or casuality based. The crisis does not have to be caused by a deployment or mobilization and the maximum amount for a one time grant is $5,000 per military/immediate family.

Members will need to be in good standing, with a military component or unit that is located in Rhode Island or be in active duty with Rhode Island as their home of record or his or her immediate family. They also need to be registered in DEERS, have suffered a casualty, have an emergency financial need, have served at least a year of satisfactory military service, need the financial assistance, to include, but not limited to, rent or mortgage, utilities, medical services or prescription, and insurance or vehicle payments. Grants will not be subject to board approval.

For more information regarding Rhode Island veterans’ benefits, please visit – Rhode Island Division of Veterans Affairs


Related state military and veteran information:



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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.