Location:
STATE AID; VETERANS;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations; Program Description;

OLR Research Report


August 21, 2012

 

2012-R-0380

SUMMARY OF VETERANS' BENEFITS

By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst

This report summarizes benefits available to veterans under state law. Not all provisions of the pertinent laws are included. For further information on programs and eligibility requirements, veterans may contact the state Veterans' Department Office of Advocacy and Assistance at 1-800-447-0961 and visit the Veterans' Department website: www.state.ct.us/ctva/.

SUMMARY

Veterans honorably discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for a range of benefits under state law. These include admission to the state Veterans' Home and burial in the state veterans' cemetery. Veterans who served during wartime, as defined in law, are eligible for additional benefits. These include local property tax exemptions, tuition waivers at the state's public colleges and universities, and financial aid from the Soldiers,' Sailors' and Marines' Fund.

Benefits are not given automatically. The veteran or his or her qualified dependent (usually surviving spouse or dependent child or children) must claim them. To make a claim, the veteran must document eligibility by submitting appropriate documentation such as a Department of Defense document (DD 214), Report of Separation, or Certificate of Service.

To be eligible for war service benefits, a veteran must have at least 90 days of service during or in statutorily specified wars, operations, or conflicts unless he or she (1) was separated from service earlier because of a Veterans' Administration (VA)- service-connected disability or (2) served for the duration of a military operation that lasted less than 90 days.

Table 1 shows the post-1940 qualifying war periods for purposes of state veterans' benefits. Table 2 summarizes the benefits.

Table 1: Post-1940 “Service in Time of War”

Operation

Date

Service Condition

World War II

12/07/41-12/31/47**

Active service during the war

Korean War

06/27/50-01/31/55

Active service during the war

Lebanon Conflict

07/01/58-11/01/58 or 09/29/82-03/30/84

Combat or combat-support role in Lebanon

Vietnam Era

02/28/61-07/01/75

Active service during the war

Grenada invasion

10/25/83-12/15/83

Combat or combat-support role in Grenada required

Operation Earnest Will (escort of Kuwaiti tankers flying U.S. flag in Persian Gulf)

02/01/87-07/23/87

Combat or combat-support role required in the operation

Panama invasion

12/20/89-01/31/90

Combat or combat-support role required in the invasion

Persian Gulf War

08/02/1990 until a date prescribed by the President or law

Active-service anywhere during the war (not necessarily in the Persian Gulf or in a combat role)

*Service means service on active-duty in the (1) U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard or (2) the armed forces of any government associated with the United States (CGS 27-103).

**Ending dates specified in CGS 12-86 for property tax exemptions.

TABLE 2: STATE VETERANS' BENEFITS

Benefit

Benefit Detail

Eligibility Criteria

TAXES

   

Property Tax Relief

Minimum $1,500 property tax exemption; additional amounts depend on income, disability, and other factors CGS 12-81(19)). (For details of the property tax exemption program, see the Office of Policy and Management Q&A Booklet).

War service and residency

EDUCATION

   

Tuition Waiver

Tuition waiver at the state public colleges and universities (CGS 10a-77(d), -99(d), and -105(e)). (For more information on the tuition waiver program and waiver conditions and coverage, visit http://www.ctohe.org/edinfo/pdfs/VeteransTuitionWaiver.pdf.).

War service and residency when accepted for admission at institution

High School Diploma

Local or regional school boards may award high school diplomas to certain honorably discharged veterans who did not receive their diplomas because they left high school for military service (CGS 10-221a(i)).

World War II or Korea service

Education Assistance

Up to $400 per year in need-based aid for 16- to 23-year-old veteran's child at state college, vocational school or technical institute, or accredited military preparatory school for tuition, matriculation fees, room and board, and supplies (CGS 10a-166).

Veteran (1) was killed in action or died from an illness or accident while on active duty or (2) is totally and permanently disabled; need; and residency

HEALTH

   

Veterans' Home Admission

Admission to state Veterans' Home (CGS 27-108 & 27-103(b)).

Honorable discharge or release

Depleted Uranium Exposure Tests

The adjutant general and veterans' affairs commissioner must help veterans get federal treatment services, including a best practice health screening test for exposure to depleted uranium (DU), if they (1) are assigned a risk level I, II, or III for depleted uranium exposure by their branch of service; (2) are referred by a military physician; or (3) have reason to believe they were exposed to DU during military service (CGS 27-140ii).

Service in Persian Gulf War or combat zone during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom

FINANCIAL AID

   

Soldiers,' Sailors' and Marines' Fund Aid

Food, clothing, medical aid, general care and relief, and burial expenses (CGS 27-138, et. seq.). (For more information, contact the Soldiers', Sailors' and Marines' Fund.)

War service, need, and residency

Commissioner's Aid

Temporary assistance for an amount and time the veterans' affairs commissioner determines (CGS 27-125).

War service, need, and state citizenship

EMPLOYMENT

   

Civil Service Examination Bonus Points

Bonus points on state and municipal civil service examinations. A wartime veteran eligible for or receiving VA disability compensation or pension, and unable to pursue gainful employment because of the disability, receives 10 bonus points; wartime veteran ineligible for VA disability compensation or pension is eligible for five bonus points (CGS 5-224 and 7-415).

An honorably discharged or released veteran who received or is entitled to receive a campaign badge or expeditionary medal and is not otherwise eligible to receive bonus points is also eligible for five bonus points (CGS 5-224).

War service and passing examination score

Retirement Credit

Members of the Municipal Employees' Retirement System who leave employment to enter the armed forces while the United States is at war or engaged in hostilities, or during national emergencies, and are reemployed by the municipality within six months of discharge, are credited with the period of service as though they had been continuously employed. The six months may be extended in cases of a service-related disability (CGS 7-434).

Wartime veterans who become members of the State Employees' Retirement System or Teachers' Retirement System may purchase retirement credit for time of service. Veterans purchasing teachers' retirement credit may not be receiving or eligible to receive retirement credit for service from any other government source (CGS 5-180 & 10-183e(b)(3) and (11)).

State police officers and correction guards and instructors who were granted military leave and returned to service within 90 days after discharge receive retirement credit for any period of wartime service. They may also get retirement credit for wartime service prior to such employment, provided they make the appropriate contributions to the retirement fund (CGS 5-173).

War service or service during war national emergencies

War or peace service

War service

Reinstatement After Military Service

Municipal employers must reinstate an employee who left service of a political subdivision to enter the armed forces to his or her former position if he or she applies within 90 days after receiving a certificate confirming satisfactory military service (CGS 7-462).

Discharge from satisfactory military service

 

The Department of Transportation must set aside at least 30% of air traffic noise mitigation projects or contracts for war service veterans. It can award the contracts to eligible veterans or to businesses that employ them (PA 12-138).

War service and appropriate certification in weatherization and insulation techniques

MOTOR VEHICLES

   

Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Exemptions

Vehicle registration fee exemptions for up to three vehicles in the (1) passenger; (2) camper; or (3) combination passenger and commercial registration categories, whether owned or leased (CGS 14-49(o).

Former prisoners of war (POWs) and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients are eligible for registration fee exemptions for up to two vehicles. Surviving spouses may keep the exemption for life or until they remarry (CGS 14-21d).

War service and certain certified, VA-rated service-connected disabilities

War service (see Benefit Detail)

Free Special Disabled Veteran License Plate

Free special license plates for disabled veterans; vehicle displaying such plates may park in the same spot for up 24 hours without incurring a penalty (CGS 14-254).

War service and certain certified, VA-rated service-connected disability

Fee Exemption for

Motor Vehicle Registration

A veteran who applies within two years of discharge from active service is exempt from paying motor vehicle operator's license or registration fees, including renewal fees, for one licensing period (CGS 14-50 (c)).

Honorable discharge or release and residency

Waiver of

License Examination

DMV commissioner may waive motor vehicle license examination for veteran who, while in the service, held a military operator's license for vehicle of same class for which he or she is applying for a license and applies within two years of separation from service (CGS 14-36(e)).

Honorable discharge or release

Special Veterans' License Plate

Any type of motor vehicle owned or leased by a veteran or his or her surviving spouse for one year or longer qualifies for special veterans' license plates. The fee is set by the commissioner and is in addition to the registration fee (CGS 14-20b).

Honorable discharge or release

State Identification Card Waiver Fee For Blind Veterans

DMV commissioner may waive the $22.50 non-driver identification card fee for blind veterans (CGS 1-1h, as amended by PA 11-197).

Honorable discharge or release

MILITARY HONORS

   

Burial in State Veterans' Cemetery

Veteran and one spouse eligible for burial in state veterans' cemetery (CGS 27-122b).

Honorable discharge or release

Funeral Honor Guard

Veteran entitled to honor guard detail at funeral (CGS 27-76).

War service

Wartime Service Medal or Ribbons

Veteran entitled to service medal or ribbon issued by the VA commissioner (CGS 27-73e).

War service and resident when called to active duty or domiciled in the state on the date of the award

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE

   

Free License Reinstatement

Waiver of reinstatement fee for hairdressing or cosmetology license that expired while veteran was in service (CGS 20-256).

Honorable discharge or release

Funeral Director License Examination Fee Waiver

Waiver of examination required for reinstating embalmer or funeral director's license or registration that expired while veteran was in service, provided the (1) veteran applies upon separation from active duty or within one year after separation or discharge and (2) Department of Public Health approves the veteran's professional qualifications (CGS 20-228).

Honorable discharge or release

Hawker and Peddler Fee Exemptions

Free town hawker and peddler permit (CGS 21-37).

War service and residency

Itinerant Vendor Permit Fee Exemptions

Free local itinerant vendor's license (CGS 21-30).

War service and residency

SERVICES

   

Probate Records

Free certified copy of probate record to determine a veteran's eligibility for VA benefits (CGS 45a-12).

Honorable discharge or release

Death Certificate Fee Waiver

One free certified copy of a veteran's death certificate when the deceased veteran's spouse, child, or parent requests a copy (CGS 7-74, as amended by PA 11-49).

Honorable discharge or release

MISCELLANEOUS

   

Burial Expenses

Indigent veterans are eligible for $1,800 from VA commissioner for funeral expenses or cremation (CGS 27-118).

Honorable discharge or release

Housing Preference

Veterans get preference in Department of Economic and Community Development-funded low- or moderate-income rental housing project when their housing needs are substantially equal to other applicants' needs (CGS 8-75).

Honorable discharge or release

Free Lifetime State Park Pass

Free lifetime pass to state parks, forests, and recreational facilities for disabled wartime veterans who live in Connecticut. The pass allows free parking, admission, and boat access parking (CGS 23-26, as amended by PA 11-68).

Honorable discharge or release; residency; and disability, as defined by state or federal law

VR:ts