Other Texas State Benefits
(and Links to Other State Agencies)

Employment & Reemployment Fishing & Hunting Licenses for Disabled Veterans
Texas Veterans Land Program Free Park Admission for Disabled Veterans
Texas Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP) Free Recording of Discharges
Texas Veterans Home Improvement Program (VHIP) Special License Plates
Free Drivers License for Disabled Veterans Tax Exemption for Veterans

EMPLOYMENT & REEMPLOYMENT
Wartime veterans have preference in employment with State agencies or offices, as do widows and children of those killed on active duty. State law requires that at least 40% of employees in each State agency must be veterans. Non-retired veterans who are employed by the State of Texas are entitled to claim their active duty military time toward retirement, provided they present a proper request and pay to the Retirement System the specified amount of retirement contribution for up to 60 months' military credit. Such contribution is paid at the rate which was applicable at the time the employed veteran first was covered by the state Retirement System, plus any accrued interest. Additionally, a veteran is entitled to reemployment rights with his last employer when he is released from the Armed Forces of the United States, providing his absence is not longer than four years. The right of reemployment is available regardless of whether the veteran was, prior to service, employed by the State, county or city government, or by private industry. Reemployment rights of veterans are now provided by both State and Federal laws.

TEXAS VETERANS LAND PROGRAM
Eligibility for participation in this program to purchase land in Texas is provided to veterans who were legal residents of Texas at the time of entry into Federal military service and are Texas residents at the time of application; and to other veterans who have been legal Texas residents for two or more years at the time of application. A veteran must have served 90 consecutive days at any time since September 16,1940, unless sooner discharged because of service-connected disabilities, and who has not been dishonorably discharged from military service. At a slightly higher interest rate, Texas National Guard members or Reservists and unmarried spouses of deceased Texas veterans may be eligible, although some provisions apply. Under this program, a veteran must purchase at least five acres, and the property must have at least 30 foot-wide access to public road. Loans under this program may be made for a maximum $40,000 and for a maximum of thirty years, and payment in full may be made at any time without penalty.

TEXAS VETERANS HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (VHAP)
Eligibility for participation in this program is the same as for participation in the Texas Veterans Land Board Program.

Under this program, a veteran may apply for a low interest loan of up to $150,000 for the purchase of a home. The loan may be combined with a VA guaranteed home loan, FHA, or Conventional loan. The home must be located in Texas and must be the veteran's primary residence and must remain as such for the first three years of the loan. Type of homes eligible for VHAP are single-family dwellings, condominiums, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. Duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes must be at least five years old and one unit must be the veteran's primary residence. Modular or manufactured homes on a permanent foundation and part of the real estate may also be eligible. Restrictions also apply for newly constructed homes. There is no limit on the amount of acreage bought with a home. Down payment requirements and financial qualifications will be determined by the primary lender. All VHAP loans must be originated by an approved lender or the Veterans Land Board. Loans are available in 15, 20, 25, and 30 year terms. Veterans wishing to participate in this program should first select a home, have a contract with a participating lender and, through the lender, submit a Request for Certification to the Texas Veterans Commission. After certification by the Commission, a Certificate of Eligibility will be issued and the veteran may continue with closing procedures with the lending institution.

TEXAS VETERANS HOME IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (VHIP)
Eligibility for participation in this program is the same as for participation in the Texas Veterans Housing Assistance Program. Under the provisions of the program, a veteran may apply for a low interest loan to make substantial repairs and improvements to the primary residence. The program will make loans with varying terms. Loans up to $10,000 may be made for a term of two to ten years; loans for over $10,000 and up to $25,000, the terms are two to twenty years. Additionally, the loan is available to veterans in a 2-4 family residence, such as a duplex, triplex or fourplex, as long as the property was constructed at least five years prior to the closing date of the home improvement loan. Types of repairs and improvements allowed under this program include any alterations, repairs and improvements eligible for financing under the HUD Title I Program and must be in compliance with all applicable building and housing codes and standards. All work must be on a existing residence and must substantially protect or improve the basic livability or energy efficiency of the property, or correct damage resulting from a natural disaster or correct conditions that are hazardous to health or safety. Further information concerning these loan programs may be obtained by contacting the following:

Texas Veterans Land Board
1700 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701-1496
1-800-252-VETS
www.glo.state.tx.us/vlb
vlbinfo@glo.state.tx.us

FREE DRIVERS LICENSE FOR DISABLED VETERANS
Texas drivers licenses may be furnished free of charge to veterans who have service-connected disabilities rated 60% or more by the VA or by a branch of the Armed Forces of the U.S. Application must be made prior to the time present drivers license expires. Application forms may be obtained from Department of Public Safety's license examining offices located throughout the State. Click HERE to go to the Texas Department of Public Safety's Web Page. Application forms should be completed by the veteran and forwarded to the VA for verification of service-connected rating of 60% or more. If a veteran was disability-retired from military service and has no VA claim file, proof of disability must come from their respective branch of military service.

FISHING & HUNTING LICENSES FOR DISABLED VETERANS
Disabled veterans are eligible for special hunting and fishing licenses, at a reduced cost. A disabled veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States is one who has a service-connected disability, as defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs, consisting of the loss of use of a lower extremity or of a disability rating of 60% or more, and who is receiving compensation from the United States for the disability. A resident veteran as described in the law may hunt wild turkey and deer without a resident hunting license if he has acquired a resident exemption hunting license. We have provided a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Web Site for your convenience.

FREE PARK ADMISSION FOR DISABLED VETERANS
Free admission to Texas State Parks is available to any veteran who has a service-connected disability which is rated 60% or more by VA or a service-connected disability which has resulted in the loss of a lower extremity. Application may be made at the headquarters office of any Texas State park by providing satisfactory evidence of service- connected disability. If such evidence is not readily available, it can be obtained from the VA regional office where the claims folder is located. The Texas State Parklands Passport is available to any veteran who meets the disability requirements, whether or not he or she resides in Texas. The Passport provides only free admission to the State parks, and does not exempt anyone from payment of other charges, such as camping fees, etc. We have provided a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Web Site for your convenience.

FREE RECORDING OF DISCHARGES
Under State laws, the County Clerk in each County is required to record, free of charge, the official discharge of each veteran who served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. This free service is very important as it provides veterans with a ready source from which they can obtain a certified copy of their discharge whenever it is needed.

TAX EXEMPTION FOR VETERANS
Disabled veterans who meet certain requirements, their surviving spouses and the spouses and minor children of a person who dies on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for property tax exemptions on the appraised value of their property. The exemption is mandatory and applies to taxes levied by all taxing authorities in the State. A veteran whose service-connected disabilities are rated less than 10% by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or a branch of the Armed Forces, is not entitled to a property tax exemption. For those rated 10% or more, the tax exemptions below apply:

Disability Rating Tax Exemption
10% through 30% First $ 5,000 of appraised value
31% through 50% First $ 7,500 of appraised value
51% through 70% First $ 10,000 of appraised value
71% or more First $ 12,000 of appraised value

A veteran whose disability is 10% or more, and who is 65 years or older, is entitled to exemption of the first $12,000 of appraised value of property. A veteran whose disability consists of the loss of use of one or more limbs, total blindness in one or both eyes, or suffers paraplegia, is exempt on the first $12,000 of the appraised value of his property. A veteran who qualifies under more than one of the exemptions may not combine the exemptions, but may take the one providing the largest exclusion. The surviving spouse of a person who dies on active duty is entitled to exemption of the first $5,000 of the appraised value of the spouse's property. A surviving child of a person who dies on active duty is exempt on the first $5,000 of appraised value of the child's property, as long as the child is unmarried and under 21 years of age. The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran who, at the time of the veteran's death had a compensable disability and was entitled to an exemption, is also entitled to that exemption if the surviving spouse is unmarried. This law is administered at the local level by the various taxing authorities. To apply, obtain an application from the local appraisal district office. APPLICATION MUST BE COMPLETED BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND APRIL 30. Click HERE for a link to the Texas Department of Transportation's list of all County Tax Assessors/Collectors in the state. Then click on "Vehicle Title & Registration Information."

SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES

Disabled Veterans, Former Prisoners of War, Pearl Harbor Survivors, Purple Heart and Medal of Honor plates are among the special license plates available to eligible veterans and their survivors for personal use on their automobile or light commercial vehicle of one ton or less. Disabled veterans must have a service-connected disability rating of 60% or more or 40% due to amputation of a lower extremity. Former prisoners of war are eligible if they were captured or incarcerated by an enemy of the United States during a period of conflict with the United States and at the time of the capture, were citizens of the United States. Eligibility is for both former members of the Armed Forces and civilian U.S. citizens who were captured by an enemy of our government. For further information, contact either the nearest vehicle title registration office or your county tax office. Click HERE for a link to the Texas Department of Transportation's list of all County Tax Assessors/Collectors in the state. Then click on "Vehicle Title & Registration Information."

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