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Wisconsin offers low-rate hunting, fishing licenses for disabled

The State of Wisconsin recently announced a new benefit for those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Disability benefits, some other permanent and total disability benefits or pensions, and many beneficiaries of Veterans Disability Compensation. Wisconsin beneficiaries of the programs now qualify for a reduced-rate fishing license. Free hunting permits with special privileges are also available for many residents with disabilities.

The reduced-rate fishing licenses are available for all beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Disability. Vets qualify if they are receiving VA benefits for a disability rating of 70 percent or higher, or if they are receiving service-related disability benefits and are categorized as individually unemployable.

Vets interested in the low-cost fishing license need to present the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a VA disability award letter or other VA documentation that their disability rating is 70 or more, a Wisconsin State Park & Forest Disabled Veteran or Former POW ID Care issued by the WDNR, or a completed Disabled Veteran Free State Park application signed by a county veterans service officer.

Hunters with disabilities can now get free permits that allow them special privileges to accommodate their limitations. For example, hunters could be allowed to hunt from a stationary vehicle or with a crossbow. You will still need a regular hunting license in addition to the permit.

The special hunting permits are not limited to beneficiaries of SSDI, SSI or other programs. You can qualify if you have a valid medical reason, such as restricted mobility that precludes traditional hunting methods, or if your mobility depends on aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, two canes or crutches, leg braces or prostheses. People who are legally blind or who suffer from certain lung diseases and cardiovascular disorders also qualify for the special permit.

Free fishing and small-game hunting licenses are also available for members of the military who are on leave or furlough.

For more information about these free and reduced-cost licenses, contact the Wisconsin DNR online or at 888-936-7463, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, or a county veterans service officer.

Source: The Journal Times, "Wisconsin offers reduced rate fishing licenses for disabled residents," Aug. 21, 2013

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