Individuals who serve in the military make a huge sacrifice for their country. To help them recover, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers compensation and other benefits to former service members when they return.
Beyond VA disability benefits, veterans can also seek out benefits at the state level. Texas, the Lone Star State, has programs for former service members, active service members, dependents, and surviving spouses/children. The local and state governments handle Texas state veterans’ affairs. While our law firm cannot help you recover these benefits, we have included some of the possible resources in this article for your convenience.
Some benefits available for Texas veterans do not apply to specific topics such as housing or education. Some general financial veterans benefits in Texas help former service members get back on their feet when they return home.
Texas already has no personal income tax, which means that military members in this state will enjoy more savings on their basic income. In addition, there is no Texas military retirement income tax for veterans.
One of the benefits for disabled veterans in Texas is that those who were honorably discharged and have a VA disability rating of 60% or higher are eligible for a free driver’s license or identification card. All Texas veterans are eligible for a unique specialty vehicle license plate that honors service members.
There is also a special license plate for disabled Texas veterans with a service-connected condition rated at 50% or more. This plate can be personalized for a $40 fee and acts as an identification for the veteran’s vehicle that can grant certain privileges.
Special license plates and disabled veteran benefits in Texas are also available for those who earned a Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, or Gold Star.
Getting a job after leaving the military can be difficult. For those who qualify, Texas benefits for veterans include career assistance and unemployment benefits. If you are a veteran searching for a job in Texas, seek help from your county or state veteran website.
The Texas Veterans Commission is a state organization that helps veterans return to everyday life. They offer interview skills, resume development, and one-on-one job coaching when it comes to employment.
They also offer indirect benefits such as grants to companies that hire veterans. Agencies that are dedicated to assisting Texas veterans also receive funding from the Veterans Commission.
Veterans and military spouses in Texas are both eligible for unemployment benefits if they live in Texas, served their full term of service, and were not dishonorably discharged.
When veterans return from active service, they find themselves under qualified for certain jobs they want. They may need to return to school or take training courses before earning a sufficient wage. Additionally, dependents who rely on a veteran may need financial assistance when seeking education. The Texas veteran educational resources include tuition assistance for veterans and their dependents at participating state institutions.
Texas has specific legislation to grant eligible veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children up to 150 hours of compensated higher learning. This benefit does not account for associated costs such as books, school supplies, or living expenses. Here are the criteria a veteran must meet to qualify for the Hazlewood Act benefits:
The Legacy Act can apply any hours the veteran did not use to their children.
The Legacy Act allows one child at a time to use the veterans’ benefits as long as they meet the following requirements:
Under the extended Hazelwood Act, spouses and dependents of military members who died in service or from a service-connected injury may qualify for a lower benefit of 50 hours of tuition. Dependents of missing soldiers and sailors, as well as those deemed totally disabled by the VA, can also recover 50 hours at a state college.
To recover the smaller benefit, the veteran must have been a Texas resident when entering the service, and the spouse/dependent must meet the following conditions:
The academic progress requirement does not apply to the child if the veteran is killed in action, goes missing in action, or dies due to a service-related issue.
Finding a place to live after returning from active duty can be difficult. While certain federal housing benefits and discounts are available to veterans who have served, it may be necessary to seek state benefits that only benefit residents for additional assistance.
Between tax exemptions and loans supplied by the Texas government, service members, veterans, and disabled veterans can find various helpful resources when procuring a home.
Benefits for 100% disabled veterans in Texas include a full property tax exemption for them and their spouse. If they are less than 100% disabled, their benefits will be decreased accordingly. The veteran’s or spouse’s home will be assessed at a lower value of $5,000 to $12,000, depending on their rating between 10% and 90%.
Surviving spouses of deceased qualifying veterans will also receive the property tax exemption. Depending on the county, the veteran or their spouse may also receive a homestead tax exemption.
Texas’s Veterans Land Board (VLB) provides low-interest loans to service members and veterans. Texas VLB offers home loans and down payment-free land for disabled veterans in Texas by granting them significant funds for mortgages. The property must meet the following requirements:
Houses must also meet specific requirements to have the loan applied:
Check the Texas VLB website for more information on loan eligibility and benefits.
One of the best ways to deal with the stresses of returning from the military is to reconnect with nature. Time spent fishing or enjoying state parks can be therapeutic after the strenuous path of being in the military. Texas allows veterans and active service members to enjoy these areas without paying.
Texas offers an all-inclusive outdoor recreation license called the Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package, which includes the following:
Both resident and nonresident disabled veterans with higher than a 40% disability rating or lost the use of a lower extremity are eligible to receive this pass for free. A veteran must apply in person at a retailer and will be required to present VA documentation that certifies the disability
Active duty service members who are residents of Texas are also eligible for the Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package, the All-Water Fishing Package, or the Hunting Package. The veteran fishing license in Texas allows holders to fish in fresh and salt water.
Many times you cannot apply for state benefits without a disability rating from VA. We are here to help you with that first step of getting an accurate decision on a federal level. Once you have established the effects of your condition and received some form of identification, you can move forward with Texas benefits.
Our Evansville veteran disability law firm is committed to recovering the compensation you deserve from VA. We cannot help you with state benefits, but federal benefits are our specialty. If you sustain a service-connected injury or sickness from your time in the military, you may be entitled to disabled veteran benefits.
Contact us for assistance or track down other state benefit programs if you are not from Texas.