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Wisconsin Veteran Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits

wisconsin veteran benefits

Benefits for Veterans and Disabled Veterans in Wisconsin

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are Wisconsin veterans benefits programs provided by the state.

Wisconsin Veteran Education Benefits

Wisconsin G.I. Bill

The Wisconsin GI Bill is a tuition and fees forgiveness program offered to eligible veterans and their dependents for up to eight full-time semesters or 128 credits.

To qualify, the veteran must have an Honorable discharge, wartime service, and be a State of Wisconsin resident. For the veteran’s dependents to qualify, the veteran must have a VA-rated disability at 30 percent or greater. This program is not the same as the federal GI Bill benefit.

Wisconsin Veteran Student Assistance Grant

The Veteran Student Grant program offers qualifying veterans, spouses, and dependents student aid up to 128 credits or eight semesters. The grant amount per semester is the lesser of two thousand dollars or fifty percent of the tuition charged. Other considerations may apply.

This grant subtracts “the number of credits or semesters for which the student received tuition remission under the Wisconsin G.I. Bill.”  According to the State of Wisconsin, there is no “separate pool of credits or semesters for each benefit.”

For these grants, a private institution ”shall match the amount of the grant to offset the tuition charged to the student.”

To qualify, veterans must have an Honorable discharge and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Served on active duty for at least 90 days during wartime
  • Served on active duty for at least two consecutive years during peacetime or the full period of initial service obligation
  • Was discharged due to a service-connected disability
  • Received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, or equivalent
  • Served for any period of service under Section 1 of Executive Order 10957, dated August 10, 1961

Wisconsin Veterans Education Grant Program (VetEd)

The Veterans Education (VetEd) grant program offers a grant to qualifying veterans “based on length of active duty military service.”

This grant is for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree. This program may be used with the GI Bill but if you are eligible for Wisconsin GI Bill benefits, the State of Wisconsin requires you to apply for and use those benefits to qualify for VetEd.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, “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.”

National Guard Tuition Grant & Reserve Tuition Assistance Program

These programs offer up to 100% college tuition up to the cost of University of Wisconsin-Madison rates for eight semesters. 75% Federal tuition assistance may supplement other eligible assistance or separately.

It should be noted: veterans eligible for the National Guard Tuition Grant (NGTG) or Reserve Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) are not eligible for VetEd. A veteran’s eligibility for either of these grants is the determining factor for VetEd eligibility, not whether the veteran has applied.

>> Find VA-approved colleges in Wisconsin with our School Finder

Wisconsin Veteran Homes

Wisconsin operates three veterans homes. They are located in:

  • Chippewa Falls
  • King
  • Union Grove

Veterans have priority, then spouses of veterans, spouses of deceased veterans, and parents of veterans who were killed while on active duty. State residency is not a determining factor in admissions.

That said, applicants who have lived in Wisconsin for over six months have first priority.

To qualify as a veteran, applicants must have served on active duty during peacetime for two or more years, or for the full period of their obligation, or serve on active duty for at least 90 days, with at least one day during a wartime period, and have an honorable discharge.

Wisconsin State Veteran Cemetery

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs operates three State Veterans Cemeteries in Union Grove, King, and Spooner, Wisconsin. Services may include ground burial, above-ground placement in a columbarium wall, and placement of cremated remains in a scattering garden.

To qualify for burial or interment at one of these locations, the veteran must meet the following criteria:

  • The veteran was discharged from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions, or;
  • The veteran died while on active duty, or;
  • The veteran served at least 20 years in the National Guard or Reserves and qualified for military retirement pay

There are also state residency requirements:

  • The veteran was a Wisconsin resident at the time of entry or re-entry into military service, or;
  • The veteran was a resident at the time of death, or;
  • The veteran was a Wisconsin resident for at least 12 consecutive months after entering or reentering service on active duty.

Wisconsin Veteran Employment Benefits

Wisconsin Civil Service Preference For Veterans

Disabled veterans and veterans who served on active duty in qualifying eras may qualify for “competitive preference over non-veterans” when taking Civil Service examinations.

Veterans may qualify for 10 preference points “if they have a VA-approved service-connected disability rating.” Qualifying spouses may be eligible for this consideration, too.

For non-competitive appointments, qualifying disabled veterans with a VA rating of 30% service-connected disability or greater may be appointed to any position in the State of Wisconsin classified service without competition.

Commercial Driver’s License Waiver

If a veteran has a military license and operated qualifying military vehicles professionally, they may qualify for a skills test waiver for a Wisconsin Commercial Drivers License. There is no waiver for the knowledge test. To qualify, the applicant must be a state resident. This waiver does NOT apply to school bus licenses or hazardous materials transport licenses.

Wisconsin Veterans Retraining Grants

This need-based grant is for “recently unemployed or underemployed” veterans. The retraining grant is offered for two years maximum, and the benefit amount is capped at $3,000 per year.

The actual grant amount is determined on a case-by-case basis. According to the official site, “Other education or retraining grants will be included when determining the veteran’s financial need for this program and should be included on the application.” Visit the WDVA Veterans Retraining Grant webpage to learn how to apply.

Wisconsin Tax Breaks For Veterans

The State of Wisconsin does not tax military retirement pay. Military pay exempt from federal taxes, such as combat pay, hazardous duty or hostile fire pay, is also exempt from Wisconsin state income taxes.

The Department of Defense Death Gratuity (paid to the surviving dependent of an active duty servicemember who has died in the line of duty) is not taxable at the state level in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Veterans and Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit offers eligible disabled veterans and un-remarried surviving spouses property tax credit for primary residences and up to one acre of land. You must be a Wisconsin resident for five years after entering active duty, or you must have entered the service in the State of Wisconsin. You must have a VA-rated disability of 100%.

For more information regarding Wisconsin veterans’ benefits, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs