Washington Veterans Benefits

Washington State Veterans Benefits

In addition to federal programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, there are veterans benefits programs provided by the states.  The following are the Washington veterans’ benefits programs for education.

Housing Benefits for Veterans

Property Tax Relief

In Washington state, there are income-based property exemptions and deferrals that may be available to seniors, those who have retired due to disability, and veterans compensated at the 80% service-connected rate. Widows of 80% disabled veterans may also qualify for grant assistance.

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program

The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) helps homeless veterans off the street and to become productive members of society. The WDVA provides program services to veterans in the following counties:

  • King
  • Kitsap
  • Mason
  • Pierce
  • Thurston
  • Lewis
  • Yakima
  • Spokane
  • Stevens
  • Pend O’reille
  • Ferry
  • Grant
  • Adams
  • Lincoln
  • Whitman

HVRP offers a structured and individually designed case management plan to help assist these veterans. They help with immediate needs such as food, and clothing, outreach to homeless veterans providers, employability needs and skills assessments, job readiness services, as well as 30, 60, 90, 180, and 270-day job retention follow-ups.

To be eligible for the HVRP, a person would need to be a veteran and homeless. They would need to have served in the US military and discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. There are eligibility requirements based on where the individual or family lives, how long they can keep their current housing or the lack of resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing.

Health Care Benefits for Veterans

Washington State Veterans Homes

Washington state has four veterans homes. They are located in Orting, Port Orchard, Spokane, and Walla Walla.

To be eligible for these homes, applicants must have served during any time, in any branch of the US Armed Forces including the national guard. They also must have received an honorable discharge and reside in Washington state.

Spouses of residents or widows of eligible veterans as well as gold star parents who lost a child while serving in the US Armed Forces are also eligible.

These homes provide 24-hour nursing and medical care, as well as pharmacy services and supportive programs and services.

Employment Benefits for Veterans

CDL Skills Test Waiver

If a service member drove trucks when they were in the military, they may be able to get a CDL in Washington state without having to take a skills test or meet training requirements. They will have to take the knowledge test and can’t get a passenger or school bus endorsement with this waiver.

In order to qualify, they will have to have had at least 2 years of experience driving commercial vehicles as part of their military job, and meet all the requirements for the Military Skills Test Waiver. They need to be currently active duty or within a year of an honorable discharge. They will still have to pay the fees to have the CDL issued.

Preference in State Hiring

Washington state does provide preference in state hiring and appointments to military veterans that were honorably discharged from the US military.

Surviving spouses of qualified veterans are also eligible for this hiring preference. Spouses of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled because of service-connected disabilities are also eligible.

Veterans can also not be disqualified for a position because of their age or disability as long as they are able to perform the job correctly.

When it comes to civil service exams, those who are eligible and who pass the exam will have a percentage added to their grade.  There is a 10% increase for those who:

  • have served during a time of war or during a conflict where campaign ribbons were issued
  • are not military retirees
  • those who are applying for their first appointment

If you did not serve in the military during a time of war or receive a campaign ribbon and are not military retirees, you will receive a 5% increase.

For those who were working for the state when they were called to active duty, and who are seeking a promotion, you will also receive the 5% increase for your first promotion only.

Military Service Credit

In Washington state, the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) offers non-interruptive military service credit to those who have served in the US military before they became Public Employees’ Retirement System Plan 1 members.

In order to be eligible for this, the veteran will have needed to have served on active duty, 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 while serving in the US Armed Forces or the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots.

Education Benefits for Veterans

Washington State Education Tuition Waiver for Veterans

The state of Washington has authorized state community colleges, colleges, and universities to be able to waive all or a portion of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and members of the National Guard.

Washington State Education Benefits for Dependents of 100% Disabled Veterans or Those Who Died as a Result of Military Service

Washington state requires all state universities and state community colleges to waive all undergraduate tuition and fees for eligible dependents of 100% disabled veterans or National Guard members. Waivers for graduate credits are encouraged but not required.

Eligible dependents are:

  • A child that lives in Washington state between the ages of 17 and 26. Their marriage status does not affect their eligibility.
  • A surviving spouse or domestic partner. They have 10 years from the date of death, total disability, or federal determination of POW or MIA status of the eligible veteran or National Guard member in order to receive the benefits under the waiver. Once a surviving spouse or domestic partner is remarried or has a registration of a subsequent domestic partnership, they are ineligible.

“Operation Recognition” High School Diplomas for Wartime Veterans

Three bills have been passed to issue high school diplomas to veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Veterans who left high school to join the military during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam are eligible.

Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

This compact will remove the barriers to educational success that are imposed on the children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents.

Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) and Dedicated Army National Guard (DEDNG) Scholarship

The high price of tuition doesn’t have to stand in the way of a great education. The Army National Guard provides financial assistance to students who wish to attend college and enlist in the Guard with two major scholarships: the Dedicated Army National Guard scholarship (DEDNG) and the Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty contract (GRFD).

GRFD and DEDNG scholarships are for full-time students. These scholarships pay full tuition and mandatory fees, or can pay room and board (not to exceed $10,000 per year). In addition, cadets will be paid a monthly stipend. Following graduation, cadets begin a new Military Service Obligation (MSO) contract and serve eight years in the Guard, which includes training.

Find VA-approved colleges and universities in Washington with our School Finder.

Other Veterans’ Benefits

King County Veterans Services

WDVA contracts with King County Veterans Services which will provide programs and services to veterans and their families who are in King County.

They offer homeless services, financial and housing support services, a service officer, military family outreach, a King County Funded Veterans Treatment Court, and a King County Funded Training and Support Center.

 

For more information regarding Washington veterans’ benefits, please go here.

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About the author

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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.