Texas State Veteran Benefits

TEXAS STATE VETERAN BENEFITS

We endeavor to keep this information current, but it is subject to change without notice.

TEXAS VETERAN EDUCATION BENEFITS

Hazlewood Act

Texas’ Hazlewood Act awards qualifying veterans, spouses, and dependent children with up to 150 hours of higher learning for no charge. The benefit covers most fees but does not pay for associated costs such as books and supplies or living expenses. To qualify, the veteran must have:

  • Entered the service as a Texas resident
  • Reside in Texas
  • An honorable discharge
  • Served the country for 181 days or more on active duty
  • Exhausted federal VA benefits for education
  • Be in good standing with state student loans
  • Meet minimum levels for GPA, academic progress and credit hours

Legacy Act (Child)

A Veteran’s unused benefit hours under the Hazlewood Act may be reassigned to a Veteran’s dependent child under certain conditions. Only one child may be the designee at one time.

The child must: 

  • Also be a resident of the state
  • Be a Veteran’s biological child, stepchild or adopted child (or be a dependent in the previous or current tax year)
  • Be no more than 25 years old on the first day of the semester or term 
  • Meet minimum levels for GPA, academic progress and credit hours

Hazlewood Act for Spouse/Child

Additional dependents may be eligible for a smaller amount of free tuition under the extended Hazlewood Act as well. Spouses and dependent children of military members (Guard, Reserve and Active Duty) who died in service or from a service-connected injury or illness may qualify to each receive up to 50 hours tuition free. Likewise, dependents of those soldiers and sailors missing in action, or who are deemed by the VA to be totally disabled based on individual employability could be eligible for 50 hours at a state college. 

The qualifying veteran must have entered the service as Texas resident.  In addition, the spouse or dependent must:

  • Also be a resident of the state
  • Not have VA education benefits
  • Meet minimum levels for GPA, academic progress and credit hours

Note:  The criteria to meet certain academic progress expectations does not apply to the child when the qualifying Veteran is killed in action, missing in action or deceased due to a service-connected disability or condition.

TEXAS VETERAN EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Veterans Preference

The state maintains a list of private employers who make it a policy to hire veterans. In addition, wartime veterans seeking state jobs receive hiring preference, along with the surviving spouses and children of those military members killed while on active duty. The state mandates this hiring preference until they have veterans representing 40 percent of the state’s public work force.

Credit Toward State Retirement

Veterans in the State’s employ, who are not eligible for military retirement, can buy back 60 months of their military time to be credited toward their state retirement plan. Under the program, they can purchase up to 5 years toward retirement by paying into the fund the monthly contribution amount for being a state employee times the number of months he or she was on active duty until the buy-back limit is reached.  

TEXAS VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS

Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption

Texas gives a complete property tax exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses who meet certain qualifications. The tax exemption gets prorated for Veterans with lower disability ratings. For example, disabled Veterans have their home’s assessed value reduced by $5000 to $12,000 depending the VA rating of 10% to 90%.

To go further, some surviving spouses retain the property tax exemption for which the veteran qualified, and some counties offer additional homestead tax exemptions for veterans.

Free Driver’s License for Disabled Veterans

The Lone Star State waives driver license or identification card fees for Veterans who have an honorable discharge and a VA service-connected disability rating 60% or higher.

Home Loans

The Texas Veterans Land Board underwrites home loans, home improvement and land loans up to $150,000 for disabled Texas veterans. Depending on credit, Veterans with at least a 30% service-connected disability can get a loan from the state at generally below-market interest rates with 5% down and 30 years to pay.

TEXAS VETERAN RECREATION BENEFITS

Hunting & Fishing Licenses

Veterans rated at for a 50% service-connected disability who are receiving compensation from the VA or who lost the use of a leg or foot can apply for an annual ‘Super Combo” Hunting and All-Water Fishing license at no charge. There is no residency requirement for the Super Combo package, which includes:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Archery permission
  • Freshwater fishing permission
  • Saltwater fishing with red drum tag
  • Upland game bird permission
  • Migratory game bird permission (does NOT include FEDERAL DUCK STAMP)

Resident military on active duty can also get an annual Super Combo license.  Non-resident

military members (and their dependents) on active duty anywhere may obtain a hunting or fishing license at the resident rate.

Disabled Veterans State Park Admission

Veterans do not have residency requirements to get free access to state parks in Texas. Instead, they must prove a service-connected disability of at least 60% or be service-connected for the loss of use of their lower extremities.

TEXAS VETERANS HOMES

The Lone Star State operates eight veterans’ homes under the auspices of the Texas Land Board (vlb.texas.gov). These long-term care facilities can be found in Amarillo, Big Spring, Bonham, El Paso, Floresville, McAllen, Temple, and Tyler.

The homes provide private or semi-private rooms based on availability and offer ‘memory care’ units as well. Veterans with other than dishonorable discharges, their spouses, unmarried surviving spouses and Gold Star parents may all be eligible for admittance, depending on residency and other criteria. Costs vary based on type of room, type of care, home location and veteran or non-veteran status.

TEXAS VETERANS CEMETERIES

Texas has four state veterans’ cemeteries and hosts four national cemeteries. The state properties can be found in Killeen, Corpus Christi, Killeen, Mission and Abilene. 

There is no charge for burial of a Veteran, spouse or child. Should a Veteran die of a service-connected condition or disability, the VA may reimburse up to $2,000 for funeral home expenses, i.e., casket, cremation, viewing, transportation, etc., not associated with actual internment.

Internment qualifications for a Texas State Veterans Cemetery match those of a U.S., including but not limited to:

  • Members of U.S. Armed Forces killed in active duty
  • Veterans with honorable discharges
  • Certain Reserve components and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
  • Merchant Marines from World War II
  • Armed Forces military members of the Philippines
  • Spouses of eligible Veterans and certain dependents

 

You can find more information regarding these benefits and other programs at the Texas Veterans Commission website and the Texas Land Board.