Benefits for Veterans in Puerto Rico

by Genevieve Babychz
Veterans benefits in Puerto Rico are diverse and bountiful.

The most obvious benefit for veterans is their access to health care. In addition to Veteran's Administrations health care centers--for inpatient, outpatient and post-conflict care--Puerto Rico provides a wealth of benefits to veterans. Tax programs, education, employment and specially accorded assistance to Puerto Ricans all add to the benefits veterans can receive.

Employment

Federal and territory laws provide Puerto Rican veterans with several employment benefits. Veterans preference is given when hiring, and they are given an additional five points or 5 percent on competitive exams. They can receive whichever is higher; those with service-connected disabilities are given an additional five points or 5 percent. If a veteran was active-duty while competitive tests were given, he can request to take the exam within 90 days. If a veteran is re-called or activated, he will be reinstated to his job upon completion of his tour. Veterans who enter into service for Puerto Rico are entitled to use their military service years toward retirement time.

Tax Exemptions

In Puerto Rico, veterans are entitled to additional tax relief measures. All veterans are allowed an additional $500 deduction for life. In addition, a range of property tax reductions are accorded for Puerto Rican veterans. The Standard Veteran 10-Year Property Tax Exemption allows veteran to not pay property taxes on their primary dwelling for 10 years or up to $50,000. If the home has a secondary house, such as a guest house or rental, the secretary of treasury will reduce the property taxes on the property in proportion to the veteran's occupation of the property and secondary dwelling on site. The Injured Veterans Tax Exemption removes the property taxes for homes constructed, remodeled, acquired to accommodate disabled veterans. Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption removes the tax liability for disabled veterans homes. A veteran who receives 50 percent or more in disability benefits from the Veterans Administration is eligible. The exemption reduces the tax rate on the home for the first $50,000 in appraised value.

Education

The Puerto Rico National Guard Tuition Assistance Fund (FIGNA) provides funding for 18 credit hours of graduate classes per a year or $1,350; undergraduate or vocational funding is accorded for 18 credits or $900. Medical students are awarded $1,000 for two years. Additionally, Puerto Rico provides benefits for veterans education if the veteran did not have the GI Bill or if benefits have run out. These veterans are entitled to free tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges. If veterans are studying at schools outside Puerto Rico and the United States, they are granted the same benefits. Government employees, who are veterans, may apply for educational leave without pay. Veterans are given admission preference to the Puerto Rico Merchant Marine School.

About the Author

Genevieve Babychz has been writing professionally since 2003, with her work appearing on eHow and various websites. She focuses on technical writing and editing as well as writing about bridal fashion and other topics. Genevieve has a Ph.D. in American history from Stony Brook University.

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