Georgia Veterans Benefits

If you’re a veteran living in Georgia, there are a number of state and federal benefits available to you. This article provides an overview of the most common benefits, including those offered by the state of Georgia and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

Whether you’re just starting to explore your benefit options or you’re already receiving some assistance, be sure to take advantage of everything that’s available to you. 

Georgia Veterans Employment Benefits

Georgians have employment benefits they can take advantage of while they serve in the military and after they have been discharged. Using these benefits can help veterans get started in their new careers after service. 

State Employee Paid Leave for Military Service

When ordered to military duty, state employees, such as the Georgia National Guard or the Reserve Service members, are eligible for paid military leave, which includes 18 days of paid leave once per fiscal year.

Georgia Veterans Preference for State Jobs

Veterans and their spouses can enjoy the benefit of employment preference in Georgia. Georgia handles these preferences by adding points to passing pre-employment exam scores, which range from five to ten points:

  • Five points are added to exam scores for any veteran. 
  • Ten points are added to a veteran’s surviving spouse, a veteran with 10% or more VA disability, or the spouse of a 100% VA disability rating veteran.

Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center (VECTR)

The VECTR is proven to be effective in helping veterans kickstart their professional careers. The center provides career counseling, workforce training, and educational coaching. Its staff can lead you to new potential opportunities, benefits, and community resources in your area that are designed to help you advance your career.

The VECTR can even provide accelerated programs for high-demand jobs and use your past training while you served in the military to shorten the processes of post-secondary certificates and degrees.

Disabled Veteran Business Certificate of Exemption

In Georgia, if you have a 10% or greater VA disability rating, you are exempt from payments on occupational taxes, regulatory fees, and administration fees imposed by local governments for peddling, practicing a profession or semi-profession, or conducting a business for 10 years.

Georgia VA Education Benefits

Georgia offers excellent educational benefits for veterans who weren’t able to complete their high school education due to service and for veterans who could potentially be called to service while attending a university.

If you were a wartime veteran who was not able to receive your high school diploma due to being called to service, you can apply at the board of education at the school district where you attended high school.

If you’re looking to attend college in Georgia as a veteran,  check your eligibility for the Georgia HERO Scholarship. This scholarship grants recipients up to $8,000 for the equivalent of four academic years.

Other great benefits for college education as a Georgian veteran include mandatory waiver fees and removing educational barriers for children of veterans and service members who are frequently moving. 

Finally, Georgians who are service members and are called to service while attending a Georgia higher learning institution can get a full refund on tuition if they cannot continue their schooling.

Georgia Military Tax Exemption

In Georgia, as a retired veteran, your military retired pay of up to $35,000 is tax-exempt, and veterans earning at least $17,500 from sources other than military retired pay are eligible to be exempt.

Additionally, the tax filing deadline for service members deployed to combat areas is extended until 180 days after the deployment ends.

How Do Georgia State Taxes Affect My Veterans Affairs Disability Retirement Pay?

If you have disability retirement pay in the form of a pension, annuity, or similar allowance, this pay should not be included in your taxable income. 

Here are some payment types that are considered disability benefits and should be exempt:

  • Disability compensation and pension payments
  • Grants for homes for wheelchair living
  • Grants for motor vehicles for veterans with loss of sight or limb
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program

Georgia Retirement Income Exclusion

Georgian veterans could be eligible for the Georgia Retirement Income Exclusion option. If you’re a taxpayer age 62-64 or under age 62 and permanently disabled, you may exclude up to $35,000 of your retirement income on your tax return. If you are 65 and older, you may exclude up to $65,000.

Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption

Disabled veterans or their surviving spouses or minor children might be eligible for the Homestead Property Tax Exemption. As of 2023, the tax-exempt amount stands at $109,986, with the remaining amount of your valued property being taxable.

Veteran Care Centers

Georgia War Veterans Nursing Homes

Along with their highly skilled nursing assistance, the goal of these homes is to provide a greater quality of life for residents.

The two care centers are located in Milledgeville and Augusta, Georgia.

Who Is Eligible for Care at The Georgia War Veterans Nursing Homes?

To qualify for care at these facilities, you must:

  • Be a Georgia resident
  • Have served on active duty in the Armed Forces in one of these wartime periods:
    • World War II
    • Korea
    • Cold War
    • Vietnam
    • Persian Gulf
  • Received a discharge under anything besides dishonorable conditions
  • Been approved by the VA as eligible for skilled nursing care
  • Not have a contagious infectious disease or behavioral or psychiatric problems
  • No need to be sustained by line-operated mechanical means

Georgia Veterans Recreation Benefits

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Georgia resident veterans have access to a one-time license which lasts for one year from the date it is issued. This one-time license includes hunting, a Georgia migratory bird stamp, salt and freshwater fishing, alligator hunting, mountain trout fishing, and big game hunting. 

To be eligible for this, you must meet these qualifications

  1. Served on active duty for 90+ days
  2. Your discharge date was July 1, 2005 or later 
  3. You are a current Georgia resident 
  4. You have completed a hunters safety course

If you don’t have a hunter’s safety course certificate and if you were born after Jan 1, 1961, you may receive a free one-time fishing license.

If you’re looking to continue your hunting and fishing experiences after the one-year free licensing, the state of Georgia offers a reduced rate on the lifetime sportsman license, which includes the same types of game provided by the free one-year license.

State Parks

Active duty and retired service members who are residents of Georgia are eligible for a 25% discount on daily or annual park pass prices.

Veterans Affairs Benefits for Georgia Veterans

VA disability benefits are for those suffering from long-term chronic illness, injury, or mental health conditions. You might qualify for these benefits if your health problems happened during or after your service and are a direct result of that service. 

While state benefits will vary, veterans nationwide are eligible for federal benefits. The United States has the most robust benefits and assistance program of any nation, but the process is often challenging and time-consuming. Additionally, Veterans Affairs benefits change over time. 

How to Know If You Qualify and File a Claim

There is plenty of information online about what qualifies a veteran for disability benefits (unfortunately, not all of it is true). The best approach is to use official channels—like the Veterans Affairs disability web page—for basic information. 

And even the information on these official channels isn’t always easy to navigate. When you are ready, the first step is to apply for disability benefits. However, preparing the application is complicated.

Below are some of the items you’ll need to include:

  • VA medical and hospital records
  • Private records 
  • Supporting documents from those close to you, including family, friends, clergy members, or those you served with

These documents can help tell your story of when your injuries occurred and how they changed over time. Here is a list of the evidence needed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for Veterans Benefits?

To receive benefits, you must have served for the minimum period and have a discharge other than dishonorable. If you’re unsure about your eligibility for benefits, you may get help from an accredited representative for VA-related claims. 

You can also visit your state’s veteran’s agency, the veteran’s assistance website, or even call the VA at 1-877-222-8387.

How Tuley Law Can Help Georgia Veterans 

If you’re struggling to receive benefits as a veteran—including proving disability—the best course of action is to talk to a VA lawyer at Tuley Law Office.

Fill out our website’s contact form or call us to speak with one of our attorneys about maximizing your Georgia veteran benefits for you and your family.