Veterans of the United States armed forces, including those living in Georgia, are entitled to a long list of federal benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. These include a pension, disability compensation, educational assistance, vocational rehab and job assistance, home loans, life insurance, traumatic injury insurance, health care and burial benefits. Veterans’ surviving spouses and dependents may also be eligible. More benefits are available through the Georgia Department of Veterans Services.
State Tax Exemptions
Georgia offers a homestead tax exemption for certain disabled veterans, their widowers and minor children, a sales tax exemption for disabled veterans purchasing specially adapted vehicles with a VA grant, and an exemption of the ad valorem tax on vehicles for former prisoners of war and veterans who have been fully, permanently disabled by their military service. Disabled veterans can also receive a certificate of exemption releasing them from paying local business taxes. Georgia military personnel serving active duty are exempt from paying state income tax, and surviving spouses of service members killed in combat are exempt from Georgia income taxes that year.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses
Georgia veterans who are fully and permanently disabled can receive hunting and fishing licenses free of charge for life. The benefit extends to anyone 65 and older who is legally blind. Applicants must file proof of the disability with the Game and Fish Division of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources.
Any veteran who has served active duty during wartime can receive a Georgia state drivers’ license for free, provided he was a Georgia resident at the time he enlisted, or for at least two years before applying for the license. The veteran must have been honorably discharged to qualify. Veterans who have served with the National Guard or another reserve force for at least 20 years also qualify for a free driver’s license. This benefit extends to the surviving spouses of eligible veterans, provided they do not re-marry. Free personal identification cards are provided as an alternative.
License Plate Tags
Certain Georgia veterans can qualify for special license plates, free of charge, honoring their service to the country. This applies to Medal of Honor recipients, disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Veterans who served during WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom or and Operation Iraqi Freedom can buy special license plates.
Veterans who were disabled by their military service can apply for a certificate from the State Department of Veteran Services entitling them to lower admission fees at state parks, historical sites and state recreational zones. When filing claims with the VA, Georgia veterans and their families can receive Georgia marriage, divorce, birth and death certificates free of charge, as well as veterans’ discharge certificates from county superior courts.
Care and Burials
Georgia veterans who served active duty between Jan. 31, 1955, and May 7, 1975, are eligible for care at the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville and the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta. Veterans can also receive burial sites at the State Veterans Memorial cemeteries in Milledgeville and Glennville.