Many people believe the U.S. owes a special debt to its service members. That commitment continues after they enter civilian life.

The state of Georgia offers benefits to make the lives of veterans a little more comfortable. Veterans can receive a break on certain taxes, fees and in other areas.

Available benefits

Georgia takes care of its veterans. For qualifying veterans, the state offers:

· Property tax exemptions. Surviving spouses who have not remarried may also qualify.

· An exemption to the state’s vehicle tax.

· A waiver on the 10% penalty on missing license fees or special, occupation or sales taxes.

· A five- or 10-point credit toward state employment.

· Exemptions for occupational taxes and other business-related fees.

· Acceptance of military firefighter training as basic training for firefighters.

· Free hunting and fishing licenses for one year.

· Reduced entrance fees to state parks, historical sites and recreational areas.

· Housing at veterans’ homes in Augusta and Milledgeville.

· Burial in veterans’ ceremonies in Milledgeville and Glennville.

Qualifying for benefits

All benefits come with qualifications, of course. An honorable discharge is a common rule. Other benefits apply to veterans with service during wartime.

Many benefits target veterans suffering from disabilities. The value of the benefit often depends on the extent of the disability.

In some cases, the families of veterans are eligible for benefits. Spouses of veterans may receive some benefits after a loved one passes away.

Applying for benefits also means meeting the needs of military bureaucracy. Veterans must provide evidence of military service, prove financial need, meet deadlines, etc.

Getting your benefits

In the words of U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller: “Paperwork will ruin any military force.” You may feel the same way when applying for veterans’ benefits.

The difficulty of the application process may depend on the health of your loved one. Injuries and age may have taken a toll, leaving veterans limited in their capacity to assist. Lucky for them, you have options for securing their rightful benefits.