Veterans’ Education Benefits – US Territories
In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans benefits programs provided by the territories of the United States. The following are the veterans’ education benefits programs for US territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Guam Veteran Benefits
State Income Tax Break For Guam Veterans
Guam does not tax military disability retirement pay.
State Property Tax Exemption For Disabled Guam Veterans
Qualifying disabled veterans, surviving Spouses, Gold Star parents, and a veteran’s legal guardian may be exempt from all Guam property taxes. To qualify, applicants must fit into one of the following categories:
- The veteran must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces
- The veteran must have a VA-rated 100% service-connected disability rating or has been rated as individually unemployable by the VA
- Unremarried surviving spouses and Gold Star parents of an eligible Veteran
- Legal guardian of a veteran who has service-connected disabilities
The tax exemption applies to primary residences only. No commercial properties are allowed.
Guam Veteran Hiring Preference
Guam offers hiring preference to veterans competing for civil service jobs. Qualifying veterans may be given 5 preference points.
Qualifying disabled Veterans may be offered 10 points. Veterans must have served for 180 days and have not received a punitive discharge. Disabled Veterans must have received a service-connected disability rating from the VA or their branch of service.
Guam National Guard State-Sponsored Life Insurance (SSLI)
SSLI is offered to eligible Guam National Guard members thanks to “several voluntary group life policies” providing more than $275,000 in coverage.
- Insurance is available for spouses and children
- Coverage is year-round
- No military career field, combat, or war coverage exclusions
Contact your unit orderly room to learn how to apply for this coverage if you do not have it already.
Guam Burial Benefits
Guam operates one state-level veteran cemetery located in Piti. Burial benefits are offered to all veterans, service members killed while serving on active duty, eligible spouses and dependents, plus:
- Biological or adoptive parent of a service member who dies during qualifying wartime service;
- Biological or adoptive parent of a veteran who is buried in a veterans cemetery.
Contact the Guam Veteran Cemetery to make arrangements or get more information.
For information regarding US Virgin Islands veterans’ benefits, please visit – Guam Veterans Affairs Office
Puerto Rico Veterans Benefits
The following are veterans’ benefits for residents of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico Veteran Education Benefits
- Puerto Rico National Guard Institutional Trust (FIGNA) Military Education Incentive: The FIGNA Military Education Incentive offers student aid for Guam Guard members, their spouses, and school-age dependents. This program offers up to $50 per credit for a bachelor’s degree and up to $75 per credit for a master’s or doctoral degree. There is a limit of 18 credits per semester. To qualify, you must be an active member of FIGNA, and there is a monthly minimum contribution.
- Free/Reduced Tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and Regional Colleges for Puerto Rico Veterans Puerto Rico offers free tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges for veterans who do not have VA education benefits or whose benefits have been used. Dependents of veterans may qualify for up to half off tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges.
- 65th Infantry Regiment Scholarship for Children of Veterans: This scholarship pays for up to 12 credits per semester for a bachelor’s or master’s degree and between 6 and 9 credits for a master’s or doctoral degree. To qualify, applicants must be the children of Honorably discharged veterans, they must be high school graduates and only one child per family may receive the scholarship.
- Puerto Rico Education Benefit for Surviving Spouses and Children of Service Members Killed on Active Duty: Survivors of those killed on active duty may qualify for a 100% exemption of tuition and fees at Puerto Rico-supported schools.
Territory of Puerto Rico Veteran Tax Exemptions
Puerto Rico veteran residents may qualify for an income tax exemption of $1500.
Puerto Rico Veteran Property Tax Exemptions:
Puerto Rico offers multiple property tax exemptions, with amounts starting at $5 thousand and going all the way to 100% exemption, depending on circumstances:
- Territory of Puerto Rico Regular)Veteran Property Tax Exemption: Veterans are eligible for up to $5,000 of exemption of the appraised taxable value of the home.
- Territory of Puerto Rico Totally Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption: 100% disabled veterans may be eligible “for a complete property tax exemption” on a primary residence.
- Territory of Puerto Rico Service-Connected Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption: Veterans with a VA-rated disability of at least 50% may qualify for a property tax exemption on the first $50,000 of the appraised value of a primary residence.
Puerto Rico Government Employment Veteran Hiring Preference
Puerto Rico offers veteran hiring preference for those taking exams to compete for government jobs. According to Army.mil, “Preference is given by adding 10 points or 10% (whichever is greater) to passing examination scores.”
Furthermore, a veteran who must leave a government job because they were placed on active duty can be reinstated to their old job if they apply to return “within 180 days of receiving an honorable discharge.”
Puerto Rico National Guard Retiree Annuity
Puerto Rico offers a National Guard Retiree Annuity to Guard retirees between 55 and 59.
For more information regarding Puerto Rico’s veterans’ benefits, please visit the Office of Veteran Advocates.
US Virgin Islands Veterans Benefits
Veterans’ benefits for residents of the US Virgin Islands.
U.S. Virgin Islands Veteran Education Benefits
University of the Virgin Islands CELL for National Guard
UVICELL offers free in-person and online courses to National Guard members. These programs are for “a wide variety of topics ranging from cake decorating to computer science”. All UVICELL courses are offered free to Veterans. Contact the USVI Office of Veterans Affairs to learn more or to sign up.
US Virgin Islands Veteran Housing Benefits
Veterans Home/Land Loan and Home Improvement Loan
The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) offers mortgage programs for qualifying Virgin Islands veterans. This is offered to veterans who are also first-time home buyers, meet income requirements, and can make an earnest money deposit specified by the lender.
Homebuyer education is also required. In the past this program has offered qualified applicants a 25% discount on the VIHFA application fee, plus a 30% set-aside in VIHFA new land and home developments, and a fixed interest rate 3% below the Federal Prime rate.
RELATED: Best Practices for the VA Loan Process (@MyMilitaryBenefits)
Property Tax Credits
The US Virgin Islands offers qualifying veterans a property tax credit for primary residences. In past tax years, these credits have been worth up to $650.
US Virgin Islands Veteran Employment Benefits
Military Service Credit For Government Employee Retirement System of the Virgin Islands
US Virgin Islands government employees may qualify for service credit with the Government Employee Retirement System of the Virgin Islands for active military service with the US Armed Forces. Depending on when the veteran worked and paid into the program between three and 10 years of credit are possible.
U.S. Virgin Islands Veteran Medical Travel Benefit
The USVI Office of Veterans Affairs offers travel assistance to qualifying veterans who need to attend medical appointments. If you are traveling to a VA facility outside the VA Caribbean Network, you may be eligible for 100% reimbursement of flight arrangements if the following conditions apply:
- Appointments must be verified in writing by the local VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).
- The veteran must provide their appointment slip to the USVI Office of Veterans Affairs after returning to the area.
- Appointment must be initiated by the CBOC or USVI Office of Veterans Affairs on an emergency basis before travel
- Appointment must be a non-service-connected appointment
U.S. Virgin Island Burial Benefits
USVI government burial benefits are offered to qualifying service members, veterans, and dependents. The U.S. Virgin Islands Office of Veterans Affairs offers this in local cemeteries with sections “specifically set aside for Veterans, Service members, and their Families.”
Service members and Veterans must have been residents of the USVI at the time of death and must have entered the U.S. Armed Forces from the USVI or “were residents but entered service while temporarily living outside the USVI.”
For more information regarding US Virgin Islands veterans benefits, please visit – the Virgin Islands Department of Veteran Affairs website.
Northern Mariana Islands Veteran Education Benefits
For information regarding Northern Mariana Islands veterans’ benefits, please visit – USA.Gov State Site for Northern Mariana Islands
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