Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Texas Veteran Education Benefits
The Hazelwood Act
The Hazelwood Act and Hazelwood Legacy Act provide qualified Veterans, their spouses, and dependent children with up to 150 hours of tuition and fee exemption at Texas public institutions of higher education. Funds do not cover living expenses, books, or educational supplies.
Under the Legacy Act, run by the Texas Veterans Commission, veterans assign their unused tuition-exempted Hazelwood Act hours to a dependent. The veteran must reside in the state of Texas while the dependent uses the benefit, and only one dependent can use the transferred hours at a time.
Some Hazelwood provisions apply to the spouses and dependent children of Active Duty, Reserve, and Texas National Guard members who:
● died in the line of duty or
● died because of an injury or illness related to military service,
● are missing in action
● became totally disabled for employability purposes
Tuition Assistance for National Guard Members
Texas Tuition Assistance Program (also known as STRP, the State Tuition Reimbursement Program) provides money for college attendance to eligible members of the Texas Military Department pursuing their educational and career goals.
This program is for active drilling members of:
● Texas Air National Guard (TXANG)
● Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG)
● Texas State Guard (TXSG)
To qualify for assistance, applicants must complete basic training or the equivalent. The tuition assistance is only good for first degrees at any regionally or nationally accredited Texas college or university.
Help from The Texas Veterans Commission
The Veterans Commission state agency offers employment help for vets. Services include one-on-one job coaching, interview skill training, and resume development. The site contains current news and application instructions for the Hazelwood Act described above.
The Texas Veterans Commission provides general assistance grants to agencies that are dedicated to helping veterans. Funds are available to approved mental health agencies, treatment courts, and the Housing for Texas Heroes program.
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Veterans with relevant professional training or experience may apply for credit towards licensing or credentialing for careers as electricians or barbers or fields like air conditioning and refrigeration, well drilling, and others.
Veterans meeting the minimum requirements may be exempt from exams and licensing application fees. Applicants must present supporting documentation.
Unemployment Benefits for Veterans and Military Spouses
Texas veterans and military spouses are considered for unemployment benefits. Anyone with Texas-based military service may be eligible if the applicant is living in Texas when filing the unemployment claim. The applicant must have completed a term of service and been discharged under honorable conditions.
Veterans who did not serve a full term but were separated early for a reason specified by Congress may also be eligible.
Guard or Reserve members who served at least 180 continuous days of active duty on or after November 25, 2015, may also qualify.
Military spouses may also qualify for unemployment if they relocated due to PCS orders or other factors.
Texas Veteran Housing Benefits Veteran Homes in Texas
Texas operates eight veterans’ homes:
● Amarillo, Texas
● Big Spring, Texas
● Bonham, Texas
● El Paso, Texas
● Floresville, Texas
● McAllen, Texas
● Temple, Texas
● Tyler, Texas
These homes serve those who need long-term nursing care. Applicants must be Texas Veterans, their spouses, or Gold Star parents. The Department of Veterans Affairs subsidizes a veteran's stay at a State Veterans Home, lowering daily rates.
Visit the website for the National Association of State Veteran Homes for a home directory, contact information, eligibility requirements, and more.
Veterans Land Board
The Veterans Land Board or VLB allows qualifying veterans to borrow up to $15,000 directly from the State of Texas. The funds must be used to purchase land, and interest rates are competitive.
Other home loan options include:
● My First Texas Home Loan from TDHC
● My Choice Texas Home loan from TDHC
● Homes for Texas Heroes Home Loan Program from Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC)
● Sweet Texas Home Loan from TSAHC
The Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP) allows veterans to apply for fixed-rate home loans with no down payment or low down payment. Veterans, active military members, and spouses may borrow up to $424,100 on a fixed-rate loan for 15 to 30 years—disabled Texas veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 30% qualify for discounted interest rates.
Texas Veteran Financial Benefits
The “Texas Income Tax Break”
Since Texas does not charge personal income tax, military members living in the state benefit from the savings. Texas' military retirement income is also not taxed.
Tax Breaks for Disabled Veterans and Surviving Dependents
Some disabled veterans and surviving spouses are eligible for state property tax breaks. One break is a graduated property tax relief for those with VA disability ratings. Tax exemption laws change from year to year, so consult a local tax professional.
Additional Texas Veteran Benefits
Veteran Driver Benefits
Texas veterans can apply for veteran designated driver's licenses and ID cards, and specialty license plates for veterans and disabled veterans. A veteran designation on a driver’s license unless the applicant requests an updated license outside of standard renewal dates. Qualifying disabled veterans with at least a disability rating may be eligible for free driver's licenses. Disabled veterans may also apply for special parking placards and other designations.
Parks and Recreation Benefits
The Texas Parklands Passport affords free admission to Texas state parks for veterans with disability ratings of at least 60% or lower limb loss. To get the passport, present a disabled veteran license plate or a VA award letter.
Free Texas Hunting Licenses
There are special hunting licenses available to military members and veterans. The free Texas Resident Active Duty Military Super Combo requires proof of current Texas residency or military documentation that shows Texas as the service member’s home of record. The licenses include hunting and fishing, except duck hunting, which is licensed separately.
Free or Reduced-Price Texas Handgun Licenses
Individuals currently serving in the military or were honorably discharged within the last year are eligible for a free gun license. Honorably discharged veterans who apply after 365 days from leaving military service are eligible for a handgun license at a reduced rate.