How To Find And Access Veterans Benefits In Washington On Your Own
The WDVA assists veterans and their family members to connect to the benefits and services earned through their service to the military and the country. However, United States veterans have historically found it rather difficult to find and access benefits on their own. Compounding the issue, many veterans have no idea what benefits they’re actually entitled to in the first place.
If you’re interested in looking into the Washington state veterans benefits on your own, below are the available avenues.
You may also try visiting your local Veterans Affairs office. However, as many veterans know all too well, you should be prepared for a long wait time, as VAs tend to be overloaded and understaffed. Further, the “local” VA closest to your residence might not actually be local, since offices are spread throughout Washington.
In some instances, the benefits you wish to inquire about aren’t handled at the VA office but rather by another organization at another location. This makes finding the services you need a little more difficult and time-consuming.
Washington State Education Tuition Waiver For Veterans
State community colleges, as well as other colleges and universities, will waive all or a portion of tuition and fees for eligible veterans. The state will also provide a $500 stipend for textbooks and course materials. Every college and university establishes and operates its own veterans waiver program contact the college or university you plan to attend for details on its program.
To be eligible, a veteran must:
- Be a Washington resident who was an active or reserve member of the armed forces, or
- Be a National Guard member called to active duty who served under either Title 10 or Title 32 orders
- Have received an honorable discharge
For more information: Washington state education waiver for veterans
Washington Veterans Financial Benefits
Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption
The State exempts disabled Veterans with 100% service-connected disabilities from paying property tax on their primary residence but there are income qualifications. Veterans must earn less than $40,000, but they do not have to consider their VA disability payments when calculating their income. Some surviving spouses may also qualify.
Free License Plates for Disabled Veterans
After one year of receiving VA disability at the 100% rate, disabled Veterans can apply to receive a disabled veteran vehicle license plate at no charge.
Loans and Assistance Programs
The USDA operates several active programs in Washington that encourage Veterans to get into farming and ranching. Specific programs include:
- Farm Service Agency loans money to veterans so they can invest in farmland, buy equipment, or make repairs
- The FSA Microloan program loans smaller amount of money to Veterans and others in order to meet the obligations and vision of niche-type farm and small operations
- Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans for Veterans
- Farm Service Agency Direct Farm Ownership Loans
- Department of Veteran Affairs Farm Loans: Home Loans for Rural Residents
Qualifying For A Professional License
Washington State allows veterans in certain medical roles to qualify for licensing on the basis of military training and experience. This applies to:
- dental, nursing, pharmacy, radiology, physician, osteopathic physician, and physical therapy assistants
- EMTs and first responders
- physical therapists and respiratory care therapists
- pharmacy technicians and x-ray technicians
- dispensing opticians
Court Of Appeals For Veterans Claims
If you are unhappy with the BVA decision, you can file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims or CAVC. I am admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. CAVC is an independent court in Washington, D.C. that is not part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. You have 120 days from the date of the BVA decision to file an appeal.
In this appeal, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is the appellee and is represented by the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Briefs must be submitted by you as the appellant and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as the appellee. The CAVC may affirm, remand or reverse the BVA decision.
Either party may appeal a decision of the CAVC to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and may seek review in the Supreme Court of the United States. This is your last opportunity to appeal.
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Make Sure You Get All The Benefits You Deserve
Regardless of what state you live in, its important that you pursue the monthly compensation payments due to you for disabilities connected to your military service.
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. At VA Claims Insider, we help veterans understand and take control of the claims process, so they can get the rating and compensation theyre owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim so you can increase your rating in less time!
If youve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating or youre not sure how to get started reach out to us! You served you deserve.
Washington Veteran Housing Benefits
The Washington Home Advantage Government Program
The WSHFC Home Advantage Program is offered to qualifying applicants who meet the programs income restrictions and credit score requirements. The mortgages eligible under this program include most government-backed mortgage loan programs including VA mortgages.
The WSHFC House Key Home Loan Program
Those who are eligible to apply for Veterans Down Payment assistance are offered access to the House Key home loan program, but there are also opportunities for those who want to purchase never occupied new construction or homes in a community land trust with or without the above downpayment assistance options.
The WSHFC official site provides few details about the terms of the loan you can apply for as a qualifying veteran but below market interest rate mortgage loans are available through this program.
The Washington Veterans Down Payment Assistance Loan Program
The Veterans Down Payment Assistance program is a downpayment assistance option offered as a second mortgage loan featuring a 3.00% interest rate .
Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing
Property Tax Relief
The VA Home Loan offers $0 Down with no PMI. Find out if youre eligible for this powerful home buying benefit. Prequalify today!
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Washington Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits
Washington veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service may receive disability compensation benefits. Such Washington VA disability benefits are paid monthly.
You must be found to be at least 10% disabled as a result of your military service to be eligible for monthly compensation from the VA. The amount of veterans disability benefits a Washington veteran is paid depends on the percentage of his or her disability and the number of a veterans dependents. For example, a Washington veteran that is found 80% disabled receives more money than a Washington veteran that is found 30% disabled.
Washington State Worksource Veteran Services
Washington state WorkSource helps thousands of military veterans, including disabled veterans, find jobs each year. Veterans get priority access to WorkSource services, including priority referrals to jobs listed with WorkSource as well as other employment services.
WorkSource centers offer veterans and their spouses:
- Job listings, job referrals, and hiring events
- Resumé, application, and interviewing assistance
- Use of computers, photocopiers, and phones
- Skill assessments and referrals to training and other resources
Identify yourself as a veteran on the Washington state WorkSource website to make it easier for veteran-friendly employers to find you and to search for job openings where employers are giving veterans priority.
Most WorkSource centers have veteran employment specialists to those with disabilities and other severe employment barriers.
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Washington State And County Veterans Assistance Programs
Washington state law allows counties to establish programs to assist indigent resident veterans, their families, and the families of deceased veterans. Each county establishes a veterans assistance program to address the needs of local indigent veterans and their families. Interested applicants should contact their county representative for more information and eligibility requirements.
Building A Successful Veterans Disability Appeal In Washington
To obtain service connection for a disability, veterans must provide the following:
- A current diagnosis of a medical condition
- An event, illness, or injury that occurred during your military service and
- A link, or nexus between medical condition and your in-service illness, event, or injury.
The link between your military service and your condition establishes service connection. As a client of Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, we will gather evidence to draw a strong link between your military service and your medical diagnosis.
For instance, if your disability involves a respiratory condition, we may submit lay evidence from you testifying to your exposure to military burn pits. If a doctor can establish your respiratory condition resulted from your exposure to burn pits, you are one step closer to receiving the benefits you deserve.
To prove service connection, we would draw on specific evidence from your military records and medical history.
In some cases, the VA presumes service connection. For example, if you suffer from respiratory cancer and were stationed in the Korean demilitarized zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971, the VA assumes you were exposed to Agent Orange and does not require a nexus in order to grant your claim.
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Washington State Department Of Labor And Industries Apprenticeship Programs
An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with related classroom instruction under the supervision of a journey-level professional. Apprentices get paid while they learn and develop knowledge, skills, and abilities in a new career field. Veterans can use their VA education benefits for many of these programs.
After completing a registered apprenticeship program, apprentices receive a professional credential that is recognized nationwide.
Some apprenticeships offer direct entry into the programs for veterans check the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries search engine to see registered programs.
Washington State Property Tax Assistance Program For Surviving Spouses Of Veterans
Qualifying surviving spouses may receive a grant to assist them with payment of property taxes. The assistance amount is based on the applicants income, value of the residence, and local levy rates. The grant does not have to be repaid if the applicant continues to live in the residence until at least December 15 of the year a grant is received.
To be eligible, the applicant must be the unremarried surviving spouse of a veteran who:
- Died as a result of a service-connected disability, or
- Was rated 100% disabled by the VA for 10 years prior to death, or
- Was a former POW and rated 100% disabled for one year prior to death, or
- Died on active duty or training status
The surviving spouse must be at least 62 years old by December 31 of the year the taxes are due or be retired by reason of disability.
The surviving spouse must also own and occupy a primary residence in Washington state and have a combined disposable income of $40,000 or less.
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Washington State Reduced Fee Hunting And Fishing Privileges For Disabled Veterans
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife offers licensing fees at half price for disable veterans. If you have been honorably discharged from military service, received a disability percentage rating from the VA, and meet the criteria below, you qualify for a reduced-fee license.
The following are eligible for a combination fishing license and/or hunting license at the discounted rate:
- Resident qualified disabled veterans rated 30% service-connected or more as verified by VA letter
- Resident veterans 65 years or older with a service-connected disability as verified by VA letter
- Nonresident veterans with at least 30% service-connected disability as verified by VA letter
- Nonresident veterans 65 years or older with a service-connected disability as verified by VA letter
Full Tuition Waiver For Eligible Veterans Dependents
State universities, regional universities, the Evergreen State College, and community and technical colleges will waive all tuition and fees for eligible dependents of veterans who are declared prisoners of war, 100% disabled, or who died in active military service. The state will also provide a $500 stipend for textbooks and course materials.
Each college or university establishes and operates its own veterans waiver program contact the college or university you plan to attend for details on its program.
Eligible dependents must have:
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Washington State Veterans Transitional Housing Program
The Washington state Veterans Transitional Housing Program assists veterans in need of stable housing, vocational rehabilitation, and increased income potential. Veterans are surrounded by supportive staff and wrap-around services designed to lead to their successful completion of the program and a successful return to the community. The Transitional Housing Program facilities are in Port Orchard and Orting.
Veterans are eligible if they:
- Served in any branch of the U.S. armed forces
- Received an honorable or general under honorable discharge. Other than honorably discharged veterans are eligible on a case-by-case basis.
- Homeless for one or more nights
- Desire to lead a clean and sober lifestyle
- Desire to make meaningful life changes leading to independent living
- Willing to undergo criminal background check
Additional Washington Veteran Benefits
Washingtons Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Program offers free community-based avenues to counseling that are less formal than traditional counseling. Services offered include individual, couples, family, and veteran group counseling. Veterans do not need to be formally diagnosed with PTSD but should be showing significant post-war adjustment issues. Some contractors offer group services to women veterans and spouses. Learn more here.
Motor Vehicle License Plates
The Washington State Department of Licensing offers free disabled veteran license plates to veterans who have a received a 100 percent VA disability rating for at least one year. The state also offers privileged license plates for veterans, active duty military, family members, and Gold Star Families .
Reduced Fishing/Hunting License
The Evergreen state encourages disabled veterans to enjoy the great outdoors by offering a discount on fishing and hunting licenses. Eligible veterans must have received an honorable discharge with at least a 30 percent disability rating or be at least 65 years of age with a service-connected disability as verified by the VA.
Free Disabled Veteran Lifetime State Park Passes
Washington State Veterans Cemetery
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Washington Veteran Financial Benefits
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Estate Management Program is available to veterans and family members who are incapable of managing their own financial affairs by offering protective payee services. By assuming custody of finances, the WDVA ensures that basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, and medical care are provided.
Veterans Innovations Program
The Veterans Innovations Program provides assistance to veterans and their families who are experiencing financial hardships due to deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom.
How Veterans Can Claim Benefits
After reading about Washington state veteran benefits, veterans now have a better idea of the help that is available for them. While some veterans may only be eligible for a few benefits, other veterans may be entitled to every benefit.
It is worthwhile for veterans to check what they are eligible for.
If veterans have any questions or queries about benefits, then they can get a free evaluation now.
More Veteran Benefits In Washington
State employment is also available for Washington veterans. Veterans who have been honorably discharged or veterans who have a campaign ribbon get preference for state jobs.
The employment benefit has proved to be vital for getting veterans back to work.
This is why additional support may be given to veterans if jobs require examinations.
Non-combat veterans get an extra 5 percent credit in their examinations. Combat veterans get an extra 10 percent credit. Mobilized guards or reserve members get 5 percent credit.
While honorable discharge is required, any veteran who has retired from the military can get an extra 5 percent in their examination scores.
Qualified public employees may also receive military service credit. This is something that the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems provides.
Washington state also gives veterans licenses and credentials in some healthcare professions. However, their previous military training must be appropriate to that profession.
In terms of driving, veterans may also get a pass for their skills test. To be eligible, veterans must have operated a commercial driving license in the last 90 days of their military duties.
Employment And Job Training: Veterans Preference
In every public department, and upon all public works of the state, and of any county thereof, honorably discharged service members, who are Veterans of any war of the United States, or of any military campaign for which a campaign ribbon shall have been awarded, and their surviving spouses shall be preferred for appointment and employment. Age, loss of limb, or other physical impairment, which does not in fact incapacitate, shall not be deemed to disqualify them, provided they possess the capacity necessary to discharge the duties of the position involved.
All honorably discharged Veterans can have 5 points added to any state employment examination scores. Those with a VA service-connected disability will get 10 points added to their score. Mobilized guard or reserve members will receive a 5 point addition.
Washington State Employment Military Service Credit in Retirement System: If you take a leave of absence from your Washington State Department of Retirement Systems-covered position to serve in the United States military, you are interrupting membership in your retirement system. If you return to your DRS-covered position, you might be able to recover service credit for the time you spent in the U.S. Armed Forces. That service credit is called interruptive military service credit. Service credit is one of the factors used in computing your retirement benefit, so increasing your service credit would increase your future monthly benefit.
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