Texas Veterans Benefits & Disabled Veterans Benefits
Texas State Veteran Benefits
In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, veterans benefits programs are provided by the state of Texas. The following are the Texas veterans’ benefits programs.
Texas Veteran Education Benefits
The Hazlewood Act
The Hazlewood Act created a State of Texas military education benefit offering qualified veterans, spouses, and dependent children up to 150 hours of tuition-free learning at state-supported institutions of higher learning.
Students must cover their own living expenses, books, and supply costs. To qualify, the veteran must:
- Be a Texas resident and have entered military duty from Texas;
- Have an honorable discharge;
- Served at least 181 days on active duty;
- Have no VA education benefits remaining;
- Not be in default on a state student loan.
Legacy Act For School-Age Dependent Children of Veterans
Veterans eligible for the Hazlewood Act may qualify to transfer their unused Hazelwood Act benefits to a dependent who is:
- a Texas resident
- claimed as a dependent in the current or previous tax year
- 25 years old or younger on the first day of the semester or term
Only one child can use Hazlewood Legacy benefits at a time.
Hazlewood Act for Spouses
Spouses and dependent children of eligible Active Duty, Reserve, and Texas National Guard members who died in the line of duty as the result of service-connected injury or illness, are missing in action, or who became totally disabled may qualify for up to 50 credit hours of tuition-free learning. Spouses are required to:
- have no federal VA education benefits
- be a Texas resident; and
- meet GPA, academic progress, and credit hour requirements
Qualifying Dependent Children must:
- have no federal VA education benefits,
- be a Texas resident
- meet GPA, academic progress and credit hour requirements.
State Tuition Reimbursement Program, STRP
The Texas State Tuition Assistance Program, also known as the State Tuition Reimbursement Program, STRP, offers military education assistance to qualifying military members from
- Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG)
- Texas Air National Guard (TXANG)
- Texas State Guard (TXSG)
This program may fund up to 12 credit hours of tuition and fees per the Fall and Spring semesters. Funding is subject to availability, and this program can be used with federal financial aid but may be considered the last payer. In cases where federal financial aid has covered the qualifying expenses, State Tuition Assistance is not paid.
>> Find VA-approved colleges and universities in Texas with our School Finder.
Texas Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans
The Texas Tax Code allows a partial property tax exemption “for any property owned by a disabled veteran.” The exemption varies depending on the veteran’s VA disability rating and may apply to un-remarried surviving spouses and surviving children of a disabled veteran.
The Texas Tax Code also offers qualifying surviving spouses a total property tax exemption on a primary residence. VA-rated 100% disabled veterans may qualify for a total property tax exemption.
According to the State of Texas, some veterans may qualify for a “partial exemption for a residence homestead donated to a disabled veteran by a charitable organization,” and this can include “the surviving spouse of the disabled veteran who has not remarried.” The amount of the tax break is dependent on the veteran’s VA disability rating.
Tax exemptions may vary depending on the county and other factors. Contact your nearest tax assessor’s office to learn what specific procedures may be required in your zip code.
Texas Veteran Nursing Homes
There are 10 veterans homes in Texas:
- Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple
- Tejeda Texas State Veterans Home in Floresville
- Guillen Texas State Veterans Home in El Paso
- Ussery-Roan Texas State Veterans Home in Amarillo
- Gonzalez Texas State Veterans Home in McAllen
- Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez Texas State Veterans Home in Big Spring
- Cosper Texas State Veterans Home in Bonham
- Watkins-Logan Texas State Veterans Home in Tyler
- Anderson Texas State Veterans Home in Houston
- Tuskeegee Airmen Texas State Veterans Home in Fort Worth
Services may vary depending on location but typically, these homes offer long-term nursing care for Texas veterans, spouses, and Gold Star parents. Residents can live in private or semi-private rooms, and Memory Care units are available at each home, offering a “secure environment.”
Texas State Veteran Cemeteries
The State of Texas operates veteran cemeteries, including:
- Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, Killeen
- Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery, Mission
- Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery, Corpus Christi
- Texas State Veterans Cemetery, Abilene
Services provided include military honors for veterans, a grave plot, opening and closing of the grave, grave liner, headstone or marker, and perpetual care. Pre-need planning may be possible, but you may not be permitted to reserve a plot or niche physically.
Requirements for burial in one of these state veteran cemeteries is identical to the requirements for burial in a VA National Cemetery.
Texas Veterans Employment Benefits
Texas State Employment Veterans’ Hiring Preference
The State of Texas offers veteran hiring preference for state jobs hiring under merit systems or competitive exams. Those who qualify may earn 5 to 10 preference points added to the final score. Those with service-connected disabilities may qualify for additional points. An Honorable discharge is required, and surviving spouses may also apply for this hiring preference.
Texas State Retirement Military Service Credit
Veterans who do not have military retirement pay and are employed by the State of Texas may qualify for military service credit toward the state retirement program.
According to Army.mil, “Non-retired Veterans may claim their active duty military time toward state retirement. After a Veteran’s first retirement contribution has been posted with the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), they can buy up to 60 months of eligible active duty service” to establish this retirement credit.
To qualify, the veteran must not be eligible for a full military retirement benefit and cannot have a dishonorable discharge.
For more information regarding Texas veterans’ benefits, please visit the Texas Veterans Commission website.
- Texas BAH Rates
- Yellow Ribbon Schools
- Choice Act: In-State Tuition Benefits for Veterans
- States Offering Free College to Veterans and Dependents
- College Scholarships for Texas Residents
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.