Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Veteran Benefits
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico provides several veteran benefits. However, finding up to date information on Puerto Rican VA services can be difficult. This section offers a brief description of each of the following benefits.
- Veteran Employment
- Veteran Tax Exemptions
- Veteran Education Benefits
- Puerto Rico Public Advocate for VA Contact Information
By law Puerto Rican veterans have several employment and re-employment rights and benefits. The following is a summary of these benefits:
- Preference is given to a veteran, under equal academic and technical conditions or experience, when filling any position, employment or employment opportunity.
- Veterans are to be reinstated in the same position or work they were performing at the time they were activated or re-called into military active duty service.
- Veterans are granted and additional five points or five percent whichever is greater, to their grade on any exam or test required to qualify for a job or a promotion. The veterans who have a service-connected disability shall be given an additional five points or five percent whichever is greater.
- Offer competitive tests to any veteran who, due to being in the active service, has not been able to take the competitive tests, and who requests them within 90 days after his honorable discharge; and if he passes said tests, the veteran's name is to be included in the corresponding list or register.
- Any veteran who enters or reenters the service of the Commonwealth, and becomes a participant of any of the government systems or retirement funds, is entitled to be credited all the time in active service in the Armed Forces towards retirement.
These benefits apply to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, its agencies and instrumentalities, public or quasi-public corporations, municipalities, and all private, natural or juridical persons who operate businesses in Puerto Rico.
Veteran Income Tax Exemption
Every veteran shall be entitled to a deduction in the amount of $500 for life, which shall be effective as of the 1988 taxable year, which begins the first of January of that same year.
Note: The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby empowered to promulgate the rules and regulations needed with regard to this deduction, and the same shall have the force of law as soon as the Governor approves them.
Veteran Property Tax Exemptions
There are several types property tax exemptions, each with its own eligibility criteria and level of exemption ranging from $500 up.
Standard Veteran 10 Year Property Tax Exemption - The dwelling that a veterans build and acquire in good faith for their residence, or family's residence, shall be exempted from the imposition and payment of property taxes for a period of 10 years and up to $5,000 for its appraised taxable value. If the building has more than one dwelling, the appraised taxable value, for the purposes of the exemption, shall be the proportional part, which corresponds to the dwelling occupied by a veteran, of the total value of the building and the lot, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.
Injured Veterans Property Tax Exemption - Every house built, acquired or remodeled or to be constructed, acquired or remodeled in the future by a disabled veteran, and the lot where the same is located, which does not exceed 500 square meters in the urban zone, or one cuerda in the rural zone -- shall be exempted from the payment of property taxes, if it is the dwelling of the injured veteran or immediate family.
Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption - Any veteran who receives disability compensation of fifty percent (50%) or more from the Veterans' Administration shall be entitled to a property tax exemption on the first $50,000 of the appraised value of the property for taxable purposes.
The partial exemption in the payment of taxes shall only be applicable to the tax which corresponds to the house built or acquired by a veteran, and the lot where the same is built -- which does not exceed 500 square meters in the urban zone, or one cuerda in the rural zone -- if the dwelling has been the residence of the veteran or his immediate family on January 1 of the year immediately preceding the taxable year for which he is requesting the exemption.
The partial exemption shall be determined according to the degree of disability that has been determined as of January 1 of each year by the Federal Government's Veteran's Administration for the veteran, through a written certificate to such effect.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico offers several programs to assist military veterans who wish to pursue education or vocational training. One such program covers the cost of education if you do not have the GI Bill or when your GI Bill benefit ends.
The Puerto Rico National Guard Tuition Assistance Fund (FIGNA) Service Member: Provides funding for Graduate Degree up to 18 credits, per academic year; maximum of $75.00 per credit, and a maximum of $1,350.00 per year, undergraduate or vocational courses, up to 18 credits, maximum of $50.00; or the cost per credit according to the educational institution, whichever is less; and a maximum of $900.00 per year and for M.D. up to a maximum of $1,000.00 annually for two years.
Eligibility: To participate in the State Tuition Assistance program, citizen-Soldiers must be on active member, pay $5.00 monthly.
The Puerto Rico National Guard Tuition Assistance Fund (FIGNA) Dependents: Provides funding for Graduate Degree up to 18 credits, per academic year; maximum of $75.00 per credit, and a maximum of $1,350.00 per year, undergraduate or vocational courses, up to 18 credits, maximum of $50.00; or the cost per credit according to the educational institution, whichever is less; and a maximum of $900.00 per year and for M.D. up to a maximum of $1,000.00 annually for two years.
Eligibility: To participate in the State Tuition Assistance program, dependents or Spouse of active citizen-Soldiers, pay $5.00 monthly. The State Tuition Assistance provides the Spouse for Graduate Degree up to 18 credits, a maximum of $75.00 per credit, +a maximum of $1,350.00 per semester. The State Tuition Assistance provides funding for theSpouses and/or dependents under the age of 25 for Undergraduate or Vocational courses up to a maximum of 18 credits, a maximum of $50.00 per credit, and a maximum of $900.00 per semester, or the cost per credit.
Discounted Auto registration: Puerto Rico National Guard members can benefit from a $35 discounted auto registration fee
There are several other programs for serving veterans residing in Puerto Rico; to learn more about the benefits offered to Puerto Rican veterans. For answers to your personal benefit eligibility and for more details contact the office of the Puerto Rico Public Advocate for Veterans Affairs at:
Mercantil Plaza Bldg
Fourth Floor, Suite 4021
Hato Rey, PR 00918-1625
By Phone at: (787) 758-5760
By Fax: (787) 758-5788
Puerto Rico Public Advocate for Veterans Affairs
Public Advocate for Veterans Affairs
P.O. Box 11737
San Juan, PR 00910-1737
You may also find assistance and information on PR specific benefits at the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Guaynabo:
San Juan Regional Office
50 Carr 165
Guaynabo, PR 00968-8024