State governments often go out of their way to make life easier for returning veterans. If you live in a US territory, however, you might be wondering what you can expect when you return from service. Can residents of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John claim any veteran benefits?
The great news is that those living in the US Virgin Islands can claim many Virgin Islands Veteran Benefits! This is also true for disabled veterans. Veterans with disabilities may need a little more support from their local government to get back on their feet.
Benefits for veterans in the Virgin Islands range from loans for veterans to benefits for employees. All of these perks exist to make a veteran’s transition out of service easier. Do you know which benefits you qualify for, and have you claimed them yet?
We’ve created this guide to help you locate and understand the many benefits available to veterans in the US Virgin Islands. Continue reading to learn more about the help you might receive after filing a benefits claim.
Virgin Islands Financial Benefits for Veterans
When filing taxes in the US Virgin Islands, all property-owning residents can claim property tax credits. As a veteran, you may receive the general Homestead Tax Exemption for all Virgin Islands residents, as well as one additional tax credit. Credit options exist for seniors, the disabled, and veterans.
You will receive the most significant real estate credit if you file as a veteran in this instance. The general Homestead Tax Credit is $400. The veteran’s Homestead Tax Credit is an additional $650.
Note that there are eligibility clauses for all exemption categories. You will most likely need to provide some proof of military service. Veterans should apply for the credit before the first day of the tax year.
VIHFA also offers home improvement loans. These are for veterans who are first-time home-buyers residing in the US Virgin Islands.
These veterans may qualify for up to $40,000 in loans, with a ten-year maximum term. Interest rates are set low to make it easier for veterans to successfully repay the loan and continue living and working on the islands.
Virgin Islands Veteran Education Benefits for Veterans
Veterans who entered the military while living in the Virgin Islands may enroll in the University of the Virgin Islands for free. They may also claim free tuition at other local educational institutions. This is through the CELL program, which stands for Community Engagement & Lifelong Learning.
The free tuition applies to either in-person or virtual courses.
You do not need to enroll in a degree-granting program to attend free of charge. This allows interested veterans to take free courses in any subject offered. These courses may help enrich their lives, learn new skills, and continue to grow professionally and academically.
Veterans who were not living in the US Virgin Islands when they began service can still claim resident tuition rates at UVI. You must have separated from the military within three years to qualify, per the GI Bill.
Virgin Islands Employment Benefits for Veterans
Individuals must pass a public employment exam to gain state employment in the US Virgin Islands. Traditionally, prospective employees receive a ranking according to their scores. Other special categories might help a prospective employee move higher on the list, leading to faster employment.
In the US Virgin Islands, Veterans qualify for an additional ten points added to their score. Disabled veterans receive a fifteen-point preference on their score. This can make finding work after service quicker and more efficient for any veteran with an honorable discharge status.
Spouses and surviving spouses of military veterans can also receive preference for state employment in the US Virgin Islands.
Furthermore, some veterans can claim credit for military service when applying for retirement. Depending on which tier you qualify for, you may receive up to ten years of service credit toward your retirement.
Other Benefits for Virgin Islands Veterans
Veterans can claim several other benefits, related to burial and emergency medical transportation. These can make it easier on families and caregivers who may be caring for a senior or disabled veteran.
Expenses Related to Interment
Any veterans who were living in the US Virgin Islands when they joined the military can claim a free burial plot in a local cemetery. Families will receive a grant of $3,500 to cover the cost of burial.
Emergency Medical Transportation
Paying for an ambulance can be a major expense for those struggling with aging or disability. In the islands, all military veterans receive complimentary emergency medical transportation by ambulance.
The location of the Virgin Islands can also sometimes make it hard for veterans to receive care off-island. If a veteran travels to a VA appointment, they will receive a 100% travel reimbursement. Medical care does not need to be service-connected.
In the US Virgin Islands, there are fees associated with acquiring license plates for vehicles. The Virgin Islands waives license plate fees for all veterans. Veterans must have a valid US Virgin Islands driver’s license.
Claim Your Virgin Islands Veteran Benefits
Once you’ve served you deserve to enjoy your civilian life after the military. The Virgin Islands Veteran Benefits make it possible for veterans to live a more fulfilled life. Often, you can only claim these benefits if you have an accurate, up-to-date disability status rating.
Are you sure that your current disability rating is correct? If not, a professional at VetLink Solutions can help you assess whether you are receiving the funds and benefits that you deserve. Get in contact today to receive a free evaluation that can help ensure that you’re getting what you need now that you’re home.