Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Maine, The Pine Tree State, has benefits for its 116,000 plus veteran population.
Maine Veteran Education Benefits
Veterans and Dependents Educational Benefits
Maine extends a 100% waiver of college tuition and fees to qualified state veterans and their spouses. To qualify, a veteran must be VA-rated at 100% total, permanent disability, or meet one of the requirements below:
● Killed in action
● Died because of a service-connected disability
● was totally and permanently disabled because of a service-connected disability
● Is on active duty in the armed forces serving for a minimum of 90 days as missing in action, captured, or forcibly detained in the line of duty
A spouse can apply for this benefit if the veteran’s condition qualifies.
State of Maine National Guard Tuition Assistance
Maine state law LD 1612, an act designed to improve the services, benefits, and their delivery for Maine’s veterans, includes a 100% tuition waiver for Maine’s National Guard members. The waiver applies to all community colleges in Maine, the University of Maine, and the Maine Maritime Academy.
Maine Veteran Employment Benefits
A Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation program accelerate the licensing process” for veterans who are Maine residents. The expedited licensing is available to veterans who have had military training or experience in the skill areas below:
● Electrical systems
Maine offers flexibility when evaluating military training and experience when the veteran applies for a license or needs to fulfill continuing education requirements. Some in-demand skill areas may have state-sponsored training workshops that offer same-day licensing options.
The Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, a Department of Labor program, offers employment placement and career planning services to disabled individuals. While the program is not specifically for veterans, any veteran who needs these services can apply. Qualifying criteria for the program include:
● Having a disability that prevents an individual from getting or keeping a job
● Needing Vocational Rehabilitation services to find or keep a job
Maine Veteran Housing Benefits
Veterans Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes
Maine operates veterans’ homes in six locations:
● Augusta, Maine
● Bangor, Maine
● Caribou, Maine
● Machias, Maine
● Scarborough, Maine
● South Paris, Maine
To be admitted into these homes, a veteran must have received an honorable discharge and be a Maine resident. To qualify for residency, the veterans must have been a Maine resident at the time of their entry into military service or be a resident of Maine at the time of their application. The homes also veteran family members, including spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents.
The care services vary depending on the location. Maine Veterans Homes usually offer skilled nursing care, respite care, assisted living, and dementia care services.
Maine Housing offers a .025% discount on the low first home, fixed loan rates on 30-year to qualified active duty, veterans, and retired military personnel.
Maine Veteran Financial Benefits
Military Retirement Tax Exemption
Military pension benefits and survivor benefits are exempt from Maine income tax. Federal civilian retirees who are retired veterans can take advantage of a $10,000 pension tax exemption if their retirement plan qualifies. Any military pension benefits rolled over into a civilian program will only be eligible for the $10,000 exemption.
State of Maine Property Tax Exemption
Qualifying veterans 62 or older can be exempt from property taxes for up to $6,000 of the property’s value. The property must qualify as the veteran’s primary residence.
Some qualifying disabled veterans may be eligible for more property tax breaks. Paraplegic veterans may qualify for an exemption from municipal property tax for up to $50,000 if the home has been specially adapted for the veteran and is the veteran’s legal primary home. To qualify, the veteran must have received a Specially Adapted Housing grant from the VA for adaptation modifications.
Additional Maine Veteran Benefits
Maine License Plates, Driver License, and ID Cards
Maine offers a veteran designator on its state-issued licenses and IDs. Present proof of active military service or honorable discharge with an application. A small fee will be charged for designation for changes made outside of the regular renewal schedule. Maine residency is required.
Maine Gold Star Family License Plates
Gold Star Families, families of qualifying service members who died on duty, can apply for Maine Gold Star license plates. In 2015 the rules changed to offer these license plates to any family member of someone who dies while honorably serving as an active member of the U. S. Armed Forces.
Maine Recreational Benefits for Veterans
Maine offers recreational benefits for veterans. Disabled veterans with VA-disability ratings at least 50% can get free licenses for hunting and trapping activities that include archery, night hunting of some breeds, and muzzle-load hunting. The licenses are available to veterans who live in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire and are valid for life. (the license holder must maintain residency in one of the qualifying states.)
Maine vets with any discharge other than dishonorable get free admission to Maine state parks and historic sites. Active duty Maine residents qualify for discounts on their hunting and fishing licenses. Military members stationed in Maine (and their families) are offered discounted permits regardless of their residency status.
To apply for benefits, submit documentation such as discharge paperwork, current orders, or VA award letters, at application or admission time, depending on the facility.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
Maine has four state-run veteran cemeteries:
● Two in Augusta, Maine
● One in Caribou, Maine
● One in Springvale, Maine.
The cemeteries are open to veterans, spouses, and dependents, and there is no burial charge.
Pre-need application and determination are encouraged. Documentation, including military discharge paperwork, marriage certificates, and similar documents are required with the application.