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What Being A Veteran In Texas Means

Posted on January 28 2016

So are you a veteran in Texas or are you thinking about moving to Texas? Texas has some of the best benefits for veterans out of any other state. Below I intended to offer a detailed evaluation of those benefits with relative links for anyone who is searching for the answer.

Claims Representation and Counseling

The Texas Veterans Commission serves Veterans, their dependents and survivors, in all matters pertaining to Veterans' state and federal disability benefits and entitlements. It is the designated agency of the State of Texas to represent the State and its Veterans before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The agency represents Veterans in filing VA disability claims and during VA appeals processes, and assists dependents with survivor benefits and entitlements. They have distributed $1.5 billion through there representation. (I have never used this service. I was lucky enough to have all my claims go through with no problems. Except for my purple heart but I fought for it all the way up and finally got it.) Visit the website here: Claims

Hazlewood Exemption

A Veteran must:

    • At the time of entry into active duty the U.S. Armed Forces, designated Texas as Home of Record; or entered the service in Texas; or was a Texas resident;
    • Have received an honorable discharge or separation or a general discharge under honorable conditions as indicated on the Veteran's Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214);
    • Served at least 181 days of active duty service (excluding training);
    • Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31; for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits;
    • Not be in default on a student loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas;
    • Enroll in classes for which the college receives tax support (i.e., a course that does not depend solely on student tuition and fees to cover its cost), unless the college’s governing board has ruled to let Veterans receive the benefit while taking non-funded courses; and
    • Meet the GPA requirement of the institution's satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution's financial aid policy and, as an undergraduate student, not be considered to have attempted an excessive amount of credit hours.
    • Visit the website here to learn more: Texas Veterans Commission
Note: This is only available to a select few veterans. However there was a court decision that said the requirements are unconstitutional and may open this benefit to all veterans no matter what. It is currently under appeal. I have not used this benefit either for I joined in North Carolina. 
Specialty License Plates
Texas has a slew of specialty license plates for honoring veterans. They have one for almost every service medal, campaign and branch of service. They even have specific women veterans plates as well. Check out all their plates here: Texas Veteran Plates
Are you a disabled veteran? Then you get some more perks with your plates and drivers license.
  • Provides a waiver of driver’s license fees (except for individuals who have been convicted for certain sexual crimes) and license plate fees for veterans with a service-related disability rating of 60% or greater.
  • Provides that veterans with special “disabled veteran” license plates may park in accessible parking spaces and may park for free at parking meters. Such plates need not show the international accessibility symbol. (This is amazing, you can literally park anywhere for free as long as you want. I parked at the airport in Austin for a week and all my fees were waived.)
  • Provides for a designation on the back of a driver’s license indicating veteran status.
  • You may also have disabled veteran plates on two vehicles but only get a discount on one.
  • Some tolls in Texas are free for veterans with disabled veteran plates. Not all of them though.
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    Texas State Park Admission

    The Veterans passport allows free entry to Texas state parks for U.S. veterans with a 60 percent or more service-connected disability or loss of lower extremity.

    Present one of the following to get your passport:

    • Disabled Veterans of Texas license plate receipt
    • Veteran's award letter (which establishes the degree of disability)
    • Tax exemption letter for Texas veterans.

    Learn more about that here: Texas Parks

    Hunting and Fishing Licenses

    Disabled veterans of 50% or more get free Hunting and Fishing licenses. Learn more here: TexVet

    Concealed Handgun License Reduced Fees

    You can get a concealed handgun license for a reduced fee. (I think I paid $25 for mine and had to take the class, whom also offered a discount.) Apply here: Texas Concealed Handgun License 

    Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans

    This agency provides pro bono civil legal assistance to brave veterans and their families who otherwise cannot afford legal services. I have personally called and requested assistance through this program, though it turned out I didn't need a lawyer. But awesome resource for those that may need legal help. Texas Lawyers for veterans

    Property Tax Exemption

    You may either qualify for total property tax exemption or partial based upon your disability rating. This is done on a sliding scale, the more you have the more you are exempt. The Texas Government website had a broken link about this but I found a website that explains it pretty well with how you can apply: TexVet

     

    There are a few other benefits but most veterans really don't use it. Hopefully I had provided some adequate resources for one to find all that Texas offers Veterans. Please ask questions or leave comments.

     

    Drive on my Friends.

     

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