Benefits in my Backyard: Texas

The fastest road in the US is in Austin. It has a speed limit of 85 mph.

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:09 pm

Dreamstime

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The Lone Star State is home to about 1.7 million veterans.  Texas is big.  It makes up 7.4 percent of the total area of the United States.  The state boasts a lot of "first," "largest," and "more than" any other state too. The first rodeo was held in Texas in 1883, the largest rose garden is in Texas, the most species of bats live in Texas.  Did you know the first word from the moon was “Houston?”

 

Taxes

There is no personal income tax in Texas.  Property tax is collected at the local level. Contact the local Appraisal District to verify if you qualify for a disabled veteran tax exemption. Honorable discharge is required.  The general deadline for filing an exemption application is before May 1.  You can file for a disabled vet exemption up to one year from the delinquency date.

  • Disabled Veteran and Surviving Spouse exemption: This is for vets who were disabled while on active duty, their surviving, unmarried spouse, or children of disabled vets or those KIA.  The veteran must be a Texas resident. 
    • Disability rating under 29 percent = $5,000 deduction. 
    • Disability rating of 30 – 49 percent = $7,500 deduction. 
    • Disability rating of 50 – 68 percent = $10,000 deduction.
    • Disability rating of 70 – 99 percent = $12,000 deduction.
  • 100 percent Disabled Veterans Exemption: The total appraised value of the property is applied to the exemption. 
  • Disabled vets who are at least 65 years old, with at least a 10 percent disability rating and are blind in one or both eyes, or has lost use of one or more limbs qualify for a $12,000 deduction.
  • Some counties offer homestead tax exemptions for veterans. Contact your local tax office to find out more.
  • Driver’s license and ID cards.  Veterans with an honorable discharge, service-connected disability of at least 60 percent, receives compensation due to disability, and isn’t subject to sex offender registration can get a driver’s license or ID card free of charge. 

 

Education

Texas veterans and their family members are eligible for several state educational benefits.  The Texas Education Agency is a good starting place for research.  Eligible vets can assign or transfer unused hours of exemption to a child under certain conditions.  Spouse and children of those who died while on duty, are MIA or became totally disabled for purposes of employability can receive up to 150 credit hours exemption.  

 

Career

 

Family

Several organizations in the state provide financial assistance for utilities for vets and their family members.

  • 2-1-1 Texas.  Not a veteran-specific program; offers help with housing, child care, crisis counseling, substance abuse treatment, food and more. 
  • Women Veterans Professional Network is a closed social media network hosted by Texas Veterans Commission.  Find information on employment to healthcare or simply network on this site.
  • TexVet.org  Get help with basic needs like food, emergency funds or home repairs.
  • Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel.  Utility payment assistance programs. 

 

Entertainment

  • Texas Parklands Passport.  Free entry to Texas state parks for veterans with at least 60 percent disability rating by VA.
  • Disabled Veteran Super Combo.  Free for disabled veterans with at least 50 percent service-connected disability.  Official proof of disability, issued by the VA, must be shown when applying for this license.  Includes licenses for archery, freshwater fishing, migratory game bird, saltwater fishing with a red drum tag and upland game bird.  Apply for your license here. 

 

Housing

  • Texas Veterans Home Improvement Program.  Veterans, active duty and their spouses may qualify for below-market interest rate loans for home repairs and improvement to their existing homes. 
  • Veterans Housing Assistance Program.  Helps veterans purchase a new home.  Low interest loans with little or no down payment required.  Veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more qualify for a discounted interest rate.
  • Texas Veterans Land Board provides Texas veterans with low-interest land, home and home improvement loans. 
  • Veterans Land Loan Program gives state vets the opportunity to borrow up to $150,000 to purchase land at competitive interest rates while requiring only a five percent down payment on one acre or more.
  • State Veterans Homes are open to veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents. 

 

Cemetery and Burial

 

Links or Resources