Veterans Texas Veterans Benefits Handbook Compiled by Texas Veterans by jmeltzer

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									     Texas Veterans

                   Compiled by
        Texas Veterans Commission
              P.O. Box 12277
        Austin, Texas 78711-2277

               Administrative Inquiries:
        512/ 463-6564 (FAX) 512/ 475-2395
                  Benefit Inquires:
Veterans Benefit HOTLINE: 1-800-252-VETS (8387)
                Local: 512/ 463-5538

  I. Introduction..............................................        1

II. Texas State Benefits for Veterans,
      Dependents & Survivors ....................                      1

III. A Guide for Veterans’ Survivors ............                      6

IV. Education
    Hazlewood Act: Frequently
       Asked Questions.................................                8

 V. 20 Most Frequently Ask Questions
       by Women Veterans ............................ 14

               Comments concerning veterans' programs
              or delivery of services may be addressed to:
                    Texas Veterans Commission
                         P.O. Box 12277
                    Austin, Texas 78711-2277

      The Texas Veterans Commission does not discriminate on the
        basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or
             disability in employment or providing services.

                                                        WHAT IS THE
                             TEXAS VETERANS COMMISSION?
The Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) is a State agency that was
created in 1927 to serve the needs of our State’s veterans. Commission
personnel assist and represent veterans, their dependents and survivors
in filing claims for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compen-
sation, pension, death benefits, educational assistance, home loans,
insurance, hospitalization and outpatient care, as well as numerous
other benefits and privileges. When veterans or survivors appoint the
TVC to represent them in a claim for VA benefits, the VA cannot make
the final decision on the claim until an expert TVC counselor reviews
the VA decision. Most of the TVC Veterans Counselors are also
accredited with various veterans' organizations.

Assistance and representation in filing for VA benefits is also given to
dependents and survivors of veterans in State schools, centers, institu-
tions, orphanages and homes. The TVC also provides assistance to
residents in the Texas State Veterans Homes. Additionally, assistance
is provided in filing for State benefits, a summary of which follows in
this brochure.

The Texas Veterans Commission publishes a bi-monthly magazine, the
Journal, which is distributed to every public library in the State, as well
as various veterans organizations' posts and chapters throughout the
State and each Veterans County Service Office (VCSO). The Journal
provides updated information regarding State and federal veterans'
benefits and articles of interest to veterans. Information regarding State
benefits, TVC and VCSO office locations, VA facilities and other
agencies and veterans' organizations providing assistance to Texas
veterans is available on the TVC website at: The
TVC also shares a toll-free veterans benefit HOTLINE with the Texas
Veterans Land Board: 1-800-252-VETS (8387). The locations and
phone numbers of all Texas Veterans Commission offices are on the back
of this brochure. Assistance is also available through many Veterans
County Service Offices. A complete Veterans' Service Officers Directory
is on the TVC website.

                                       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 VA or by a
branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Application must be made prior to
the time present drivers license expires. Application forms may be

     TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                          Page 1
obtained from the Department of Public Safety's (DPS) license exam-
ining offices located throughout the State. Application forms should be
completed by the veteran and forwarded to 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. For further
information, visit the DPS website at

                                       SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES
Disabled Veterans, Former Prisoners of War, Pearl Harbor Survi-
vors, 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 disabil-
ity rating of 50% 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. A vehicle on which license plates
issued under Transportation Code 504.202 and 504.315 is exempt
from parking meter fees charged by a government authority other
than the federal government. For further information, contact either
the nearest vehicle title registration office or your county tax office.
You may also visit the Texas Department of Transportation website
at or call them in
Austin at (512) 374-5010 (Option #1).

                      TEXAS VETERANS LOAN PROGRAMS
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB), a division of the Texas General
Land Office, administers three veterans’ loan programs: The Land
Loan Program, Veterans Housing Assistance Purchase Program and the
Veterans Home Improvement Program.

                            TEXAS STATE VETERANS HOMES
                            & STATE VETERANS CEMETERIES
The VLB also administers the David A. Gloier Texas State Veterans
Homes Program. The homes are located in Temple, Floresville, Bonham,
Big Spring, El Paso and McAllen. A new facility in Amarillo is
scheduled to open in late 2006. A Texas Veterans Commission
representative is available at each of these facilities. The VLB also
operates the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery in Killeen. Additional
cemeteries are set to open in Mission in 2007 and Abilene in 2008.
Further information concerning any of these programs may be
obtained by contacting VLB at:
                      1700 N. Congress Avenue
                      Austin, Texas 78701-1496
        Veterans HOTLINE: 1-800-252-VETS (In-state only)

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                           Page 2
                           FREE RECORDING OF DISCHARGES
Under Local Government Code, Sec. 192.002, 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. HB 545 now makes DD Form 214 a confidential
record for 75 years from the file date. The veteran may also request the
County Clerk to destroy all copies of the veterans' record that are under
the Clerk's control.

                                     EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE
                                                     (Hazlewood Act)
Wartime veterans of the Spanish-American War through the Persian
Gulf War, and any ensuing wars, who were legal residents of Texas at
the time they initially entered military service, are entitled to a waiver
of tuition and some fees at State-supported colleges and universities.
This benefit is also available to children of Texas servicemembers
who died or were killed in military service, and to children of Texas
military personnel who are shown to be missing in action or prisoners
of war. Also eligible are children of members of the Texas National
Guard or the Texas Air National Guard killed since January 1, 1946,
while on active duty either in service of Texas or the United States.

Any person claiming this benefit must have exhausted all Federal
educational benefits and be a legal resident of Texas at the time of
application, which should be made through the registrar of the
school of attendance.

For further information on the Hazlewood Act, please see Section IV,
Page 8 of this Handbook or visit our website at

                           EMPLOYMENT & REEMPLOYMENT
Veterans have preference in employment with State agencies or offices,
as do widows(ers) and children of those killed on active duty. State
agencies must practice veteran's preference until they have reached
40% veteran employment. Additionally, a veteran is entitled to
reemployment rights with his/her last employer when he/she is released
from the Armed Forces of the United States, providing his/her 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. Non-retiree 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 the time spent in the military. Such contribution is paid at the rate
which was applicable at the time the employed veteran first was
covered by the State Retirement System. All veterans may also use

    TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                           Page 3
their military time toward retirement if they are members of the State
Teachers Retirement System.

                                         VETERANS’ EDUCATION
Veterans’ Education, a department of the Texas Workforce Commission,
is under contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs to evaluate
education and training programs within the State of Texas that may
be approved for eligible veterans and their dependents to use federal
educational benefits earned through military service. Responsibilities
include the review, evaluation, and approval or denial of requested
programs; annual supervisory reviews and technical assistance to
ensure accurate reporting; and, outreach to employers, community
and veteran service organizations, and local employment staff to
maximize the number of approved education and training opportunities
for eligible veterans and dependents. Currently approved programs
include senior, junior and community colleges; medical residencies
and law degrees; cosmetology, barber, massage, culinary and bible
colleges; advanced flight training; private, postsecondary schools; and
on-the-job-training and apprenticeship programs.

Veterans’ Education coordinates activities with other state and local
agencies to ensure the widest dissemination to eligible veterans and
persons in programs approved for federal educational benefits. Further
information can be obtained by contacting Veterans’ Education at:
                   101 E. 15th Street, Room 144-T
                     Austin, Texas 78778-0001

For further information on the Hazlewood Act, please see Section IV,
Page 8 of this Handbook or visit our website at

                                           TROOPS TO TEACHERS
The purpose of Troops to Teachers (TTT) is to assist eligible military
personnel to transition to a new career as public school teachers in
“high-need” schools. A network of State TTT offices has been
established to provide participants with counseling and assistance
regarding certification requirements, routes to state certification, and
employment leads. The TTT website provides information and resource
links, including a job referral system to allow participants to search for
job vacancies as well as links to state Departments of Education, state
certification offices, model résumés, and other job listing sites in public
education. For more information about Troops-to-Teachers, contact:
1-800-810-5484 or online at

                            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

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                           Page 4
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/her 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.

                                           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 use 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 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. For further information, contact the Texas Parks & Wildlife toll-free
at 1-800-792-1112 or visit their website at

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                          Page 5
                                  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
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 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 VA for the disability. A resident veteran
as described by the law may hunt wild turkey and deer without a resident
hunting license if he/she has acquired a resident exemption hunting

                                  NO COST MEDICAL RECORDS
Under the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 161, Subchapter M, Medi-
cal Records or Mental Health Records, Texas veterans are eligible for no
cost medical records when they are obtained to file a claim for a disabil-
ity against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The health
care provider or health care facility is not required to provide more than
one complete record for the patient or former patient without charge.
Also, it should be noted, that some medical facilities will charge a small
administrative fee for obtaining the records.

The Texas Veterans Commission is aware that one of the most difficult
responsibilities that a survivor faces after the death of a veteran is
completing the numerous VA forms for survivor benefits. The Texas
Veterans Commission can be a source of assistance during this time.
The anxiety and fear of the unknown - who to call - can be a trying
experience. To help ease this burden and to ensure that you have the
details of where and how to get assistance, this brochure outlines some
of the basic information you will need at this time. Listed below are
important documents to have available when applying for benefits
from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social
Security Administration.

   Veteran's Discharge Certificate or DD Form 214
   Veteran's VA Claim Numbee or Social Security Number
   Veteran's Death Certificate
   Veteran's Government Life Insurance Policy
   Copy of all Marriage Certificates and Divorce Decrees (if any)
   Copy of Each Child's Birth Certificate or Adoption Papers

For any type of assistance, including obtaining copies of these
documents, do not hesitate to contact your nearest Texas Veterans
Commission Office or Veterans County Service Office. The staff at
any one of these offices is available to assist you. For referral to the
nearest office, call the Veterans’ HOTLINE at 1-800-252-VETS (8387).

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                           Page 6
It is important to do the
following after the veteran's death:

   Contact the head of your church and your funeral director for burial
   Furnish the funeral director a copy of the veteran's discharge, DD
   Form 214, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claim number (if
   known), and the veteran's social security number. This information
   allows the funeral director to apply for the amounts allowed from
   VA and the Social Security Administration for burial and plot

The funeral director may also apply for a United States flag to drape
the casket, or application for the flag may be made with the local
postmaster. The funeral director may also assist in applying for a
headstone or grave marker from VA.

If desired, a veterans' service organization can be contacted for Mili-
tary Funeral Honors (“Taps”) and pallbearers, if needed. The veterans'
organization can also present the next of kin with the U.S. flag during
the graveside service.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) If the veteran was a military retiree, the
widow and/or children may be entitled to payments from the Survivor
Benefit Plan. Survivors should contact the nearest Personnel Affairs
Office of the service department of the veteran to determine if the
veteran made necessary provisions for SBP coverage. You may also
call toll-free:
                  Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines
                       Coast Guard, NOAA

A Texas Veterans Commission counselor or a Veterans County Service
Officer will assist in applying for other VA and State benefits to which
the survivor may be entitled. These include:

   Widow's or Children’s Compensation
   Widow's or Children's Pension
   Parent's Compensation
   Education Benefits
   Medical Benefits
   Tax Exclusions
   Home Loan Guaranty

Insurance A Texas Veterans Commission Counselor or a Veterans
County Service Officer may offer assistance in supplying and com-
pleting forms for G.I. Insurance.
If life insurance is carried with another commercial company, contact
an agent of that company.

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                         Page 7
Additional information to pre-record:

   Spouse's Social Security Number
   Veteran's Service Number
   Veteran's Insurance Numbers
   Location of VA Claim File
   Location of G.I. Insurance File
   Pastor's Phone Number
   Funeral Home Phone Number
   Service Dept. Phone Number
   Contact Info. for Texas Veterans Commission or Veterans County
   Service Office

     Hazlewood Act: Frequently Asked Questions

                                    COLLEGE CHARGES COVERED
1. What charges are covered?
   The Hazlewood Act exempts qualified students taking classes at
    public institutions of higher education in Texas from all tuition and
    fee charges.

2. What charges are not covered?
    Books, supplies and living expenses are not covered, nor are
    property deposit and student services fees.

3. What is the maximum amount of credit hours that can be attempted
   using the Hazlewood Act exemption?
   A student using the Hazlewood benefit can attempt no more than
   150 credit hours.

4. How does the exemption work? Will I get a check in the mail for
   The Hazlewood Act exemption is a waiver of tuition and most fees.
   There is no money exchanging hands with this benefit. The institution
   the student attends absorbs the cost of tuition and fees for that

                                      DEPENDENTS AND RESIDENCY
5. Which dependents may qualify for Hazlewood Act benefits?
   Children of service members who are killed in the line of duty or who
   die as a result of injury or illness directly related to military service
   are eligible for Hazlewood Act benefits. The student will need to
   provide official military documentation indicating he/she meets the

6. Does the Hazlewood Act provide benefits to the spouses of veterans?
   No. It provides benefits to the dependent children of a veteran, but

    TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                           Page 8
    only if the veteran is killed in the line of duty or dies as a result of
    an injury or illness directly related to military service.

7. Would a veteran who was a dependent when his/her parents moved
    to Texas and who shortly thereafter entered the service be eligible?
    To be eligible, the veterans must have been a resident of Texas at the
    time he/she enlisted. The residence of a dependent child is that of
    the parents, but parents who move to Texas would not be considered
    Texas residents for tuition purposes until they had been in the state
    12 months. If a veteran, who, as a dependent, enlisted in fewer than
    12 months after his/her parents move to Texas, he or she would not
    have been a resident of Texas at the time of enlistment and is,
    therefore, not eligible for Hazlewood Act benefits.

8. Does the dependent child of a deceased veteran using Hazlewood
   Act benefits have to be a Texas resident at the time he/she uses the
   Yes. The dependent child must be classified by the institution of
   higher education as a resident of Texas for the term/semester for
   which they apply for the exemption.

9. If the dependent child of a deceased veteran wants to use the
   Hazlewood Act benefit, must the parent have entered the service as
   a Texas resident?
   Yes. The Hazlewood Act benefit was designed to provide assistance
   to Texas veterans and the dependent children of certain deceased

10. Can the dependent children of a member of the Texas National Guard
    who is killed in the line of duty use the Hazlewood benefit?
    Yes. The Hazlewood Act benefit is extended to the dependent
    children of Texas National Guardsman and Texas Air National
    Guardsmen killed in the line of duty while serving the state of Texas
    or the United States.

                                             DISABLED VETERANS
11. Does the Hazlewood Act provide benefits to injured/disabled
    Yes. The Hazlewood Act is available to all veterans who meet the
    program requirements, regardless of injury or disability.

                                                  DISCHARGE ISSUES
12. Does a veteran have to show his DD214 to qualify?
    Though not required, the DD214 is the preferred form used by
    institutions. The veteran must provide official military
    documentation to prove eligibility for the Hazlewood Act exemption.

13. I can’t find my DD214. Where can I get a new copy?
    You can obtain a copy of your DD214 from the National Personnel
    Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The fastest way to obtain

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                            Page 9
    a copy is to submit your request via the NPRC websitea
    records.html. You can also make your request via mail by sending
    in a Standard Form 180, which can be obtained by calling the Texas
    Veterans Commission at 1-800-252-8387.

14. What is acceptable discharge language related to the phrase “under
    honorable conditions”?
    Discharges that have been characterized as “honorable” or “general,
    under honorable conditions” are legally acceptable for qualifying for
    the Hazlewood Act exemption. If other wording is used and you are
    unsure of its meaning, please contact the Texas Veterans Commission.

15. My discharge is listed as “other than honorable.” Can I use the
    Hazlewood exemption?
    No. You must have a discharge of “honorable” or “general under
    honorable conditions.” You can make a request to have your
    discharge status upgraded. For information, contact the Texas
    Veterans Commission.

16. My military documents state I have an “honorable separation” as
    opposed to an “honorable discharge.” Can I still quality for
    Hazlewood benefits?
    Yes. In September 1996, the Texas Attorney General issued an
    opinion that military personnel honorably separated after being on
    active duty may qualify for the Hazlewood Act exemption if they
    meet other program requirements.

                                LENGTH OF ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY
17. Is the required amount of active service still 181 days? Are there any
     The requirement is “more than 180 days” of active military service,
     excluding training, for the veteran. There are exceptions: veterans
     who completed all of their duty prior to the conclusion of the Korean
     War. If the applicant is the dependent child of a veteran who dies
     in the line of duty, the active duty time of the veteran may be fewer
     than 181 days.

18. If a veteran served less than 181 days of active duty service when
    he or she entered the service as a Texas resident, but had previously
    participated in active duty in the armed forces, could periods of
    service be combined to meet the 181-day requirement?
    Yes. The law requires more than 180 days of active duty excluding
    training. It does not indicate this duty time has to fall in the period
    of service after entering as a Texas resident.

                                           MILITARY DUTY ISSUES
19. Can service in the Texas National Guard qualify an individual for
    Hazlewood benefits?
No. The Hazlewood Act benefit is for veterans who served in the armed

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                          Page 10
    forces of the United States. The National Guard is a state unit.
    However, an individual in the National Guard who is called into
    active duty service by a branch of the United States Armed Forces
    who serves at least 181 days (excluding training) and meets all other
    program requirements may qualify for Hazlewood benefits.

20. Can men/women who served in Operation Desert Storm qualify for
    Hazlewood benefits?
    Yes, as long as they meet all of the program requirements, including
    181 days of active military duty, excluding training.

                                          RESIDENCY OF VETERAN
21. Can a veteran whose place of entry is another state qualify for
    Hazlewood Act benefits if he/she was a Texas resident at the time of
    Yes. The veteran must prove to the institution that he/she was a
    resident of Texas at the time of entry into military service.

22. If the veteran is now a Texas resident but was not a resident at the
    time of entering the service, can he/she qualify for Hazlewood Act
    No. The veteran must have been a resident of Texas at the time he/
    she entered military service.

23. If someone entered the service from another state but then became
    a Texas resident, could he/she use the Hazlewood Act benefit?
    No. The veteran must have been a Texas resident at the time he/she
    entered military service.
24. If someone from another state re-enlists after establishing residency
    in Texas, can he/she be eligible for Hazlewood Act benefits?
    Yes, but only IF he/she was out of the military and living in Texas
    long enough to establish Texas residency (12 months). The person
    would then have to re-enter as a Texas resident and meet the 181-
    day active duty service requirement. If the person was in Texas
    simply because he/she was stationed here at the end of previous
    enlistment period, the time while stationed here does NOT count
    toward the establishment of residence in Texas for the subsequent

                                           STUDENT FINANCIAL AID
25. Is financial need an eligibility requirement?
    No. Hazlewood Act benefits are awarded regardless of financial

26. If I am receiving the Federal Pell Grant (PELL) or Supplemental
    Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), can I still use the
    Hazlewood exemption?
    Yes. Eligibility for the PELL and the SEOG is NO LONGER
    considered in determining eligibility for Hazlewood benefits.

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                         Page 11
27. What federal education benefits must be exhausted prior to using the
    Texas Hazlewood Act benefits?
    Federal education benefits, including Title 38, United States Code,
    Chapters 30, 32 and 35, and Title 10, United States Code, Chapters
    1606 and 1607 must be exhausted.

28. Do federal education loans or federal work-study benefits qualify as
    federal education benefits?
    No. The only federal education benefits that must be exhausted are
    listed in Question 27 above. Federal education loans and federal
    work-study programs do not qualify as federal education benefits.

29. What documents do I need to prove I’ve exhausted my federal
    education benefits?
    You must contact the VA Regional Office in Muskogee, OK to
    obtain a letter that states you’ve exhausted ALL federal education
    benefits. The office can be contact by calling 1-888-442-4551 or by
    writing PO Box 8888, VA Regional Office, Muskogee, OK 74402-

30. If a Texas veteran has defaulted on an education loan through a loan
    program in another state, would he/she be eligible for an exemption?
    A default on a nonfederal education loan authorized by the legislature
    of another state and administered by that state is not a basis for
    denying the Hazlewood Act benefit. A veteran who has defaulted
    on any federal education loan is disqualified from receiving Hazlewood
    Act benefits. A portion of the law indicates that defaulted loans
    made or guaranteed by the State of Texas also disqualify a veteran
    from Hazlewood benefits. This portion of the law relates to defaults
    on education loans authorized by the Texas Legislature and
    administered by the State of Texas. Currently, the state loans to
    which this provision applies are: Hinson-Hazlewood Stafford
    Loans, Hinson-Hazlewood Health Education Loans (HELP),
    Hinson-Hazlewood College Access Loans (CAL), uninsured Texas
    Opportunity Plan Loans (TOP) and the Texas B-On-Time Student
    Loan administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating

31. Will individuals in default on a federal or state student loan be eligible
    to use the Hazlewood Act benefits for non-credit courses?
    If a veteran has a default, which would exclude him/her from
    Hazlewood Act benefits, that exclusion would apply no matter
    what types of classes are taken.

32. If a veteran receives Hazlewood Act benefits and it is later discovered
    that he/she defaulted on an applicable federal or state loan, does he/
    she have to reimburse the school for the classes taken with the
    If the veteran signs a statement that he/she is not in default of any
    federal education loan or any education loan made or guaranteed by

    TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                            Page 12
    the State of Texas and is later found to be in default, the school can
    require repayment of tuition and appropriate fees.

33. If a student is in default on a PLUS loan, can he/she receive
    Hazlewood Act benefits?
    PLUS loans are taken out by the parents of students. If the parents
    default on their child’s PLUS loan, the child is not in default. This
    default status does NOT have an impact on the student’s eligibility
    for Hazlewood Act benefits.

                                     TYPES OF COURSES COVERED
34. Does the Hazlewood Act cover teacher certification fees?
    No. The teacher certification fee is not an institutional fee. It is a fee
    required by the State Board for Educator Certification and is paid
    directly to that board.

35. Does the Hazlewood Act cover credit by examination?
    Yes. Since Texas Education Code 54.203 (a) refers to an exemption
    from “all dues, fees and charges…” the exemption would include
    charges for credit by examination.

36. Will Hazlewood Act benefits pay for continuing education classes?
    Institutions are NOT required to offer Hazlewood Act benefits to
    veterans enrolled in continuing education classes for which the
    college or university receives no formula funding (tax support).
    However, the college or university may choose to permit this option
    and shall charge a reasonable fee to each person registered in a
    continuing education course if the course does not apply to the
    student’s degree plan.

37. Can Hazlewood Act benefits be used for graduate school?
    Yes. Hazlewood Act benefits may be used for graduate studies,
    including law school or any other program of study at public
    institutions (other than continuing education) if the veteran has not
    accumulated 150 credit hours using Hazlewood Act benefits since
    fall of 1995.

38. Can veterans who are concurrently enrolled in more than one
    college or university (in the same semester) received Hazlewood Act
    benefits for both schools?
    Yes. But each college/university granting Hazlewood Act benefits
    must document the veteran’s eligibility and must observe the 150-
    hour limit.

39. Can the Hazlewood exemption be used to pay for courses taken via
    distance education (correspondence, web-based, ITV, etc.)?
    There is nothing in the Hazlewood statute that limits the means by
    which a course is being taught, although correspondence courses can
    ONLY be covered by the Hazlewood benefit if the course applies
    to the veterans’ degree plan. An otherwise eligible student living in

    TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                            Page 13
    Texas who takes a distance education course from a Texas public
    institution of higher education could use the Hazlewood exemption.
    A student taking a class through distance education and living in
    another state generally cannot meet the program’s residency
    requirement. The Hazlewood benefit requires students to be Texas
    residents at the time they use the program. However, an otherwise
    eligible person who is temporarily out of state but still classified by
    the institution as a resident could use the exemption for distance
    education courses.

40. Are aircraft training courses covered by the Hazlewood Act?
    Each school must decide this. The governing board of a junior or
    community college may establish a fee for extraordinary costs
    associated with a specific course or program such as flight training,
    diesel mechanics or other classes in which fees are higher than that
    of a normal class.

                                        RECORDING INFORMATION
41. What information will be made available upon signing the release
    All students using the Hazlewood Act benefit are required to sign
    a release form which allows the Texas Higher Education Coordinating
    Board, along with any institution the veteran may attend, access to
    the number of credit hours attempted in the current and previous

42. How will the Hazlewood credit hours attempted be tracked and
    The governing board of each institution shall report to the Texas
    Higher Education Coordinating Board information relating to each
    individual receiving an exemption from fees and charges through the
    Hazlewood Act benefit.

The Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) assists women veterans in
accessing VA benefit programs and healthcare services. The TVC
promotes awareness of five different public laws that authorize the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide gender-specific services
to eligible women veterans such as: Papaniclaon tests (pap smears),
breast examinations, management of menopause, mammography, general
reproductive health care services, counseling and treatment for sexual
trauma, maternity and infertility excluding in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Public law also mandates that the Veterans Health Administration in
each region must serve as coordinator of women’s services with specific
responsibility for assessing the needs of and enhancing services for

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                          Page 14
women veterans. As a result Women Veterans Coordinators are available
in VA hospitals and clinics to ensure that eligible women veterans have
access to all necessary medical care, including care for gender-specific
conditions, that is equal in quality to that provided to male veterans.

The Texas Veterans Commission offers free, professional benefits
counseling and advocacy through a network of state counselors and
veterans county service officers across the state. The TVC has also
appointed six female veterans counselors as Women Veterans
Coordinators. State veteran counselors and veteran county service
officers can assist you in applying for a variety of VA benefit programs
and healthcare services, many briefly mentioned in this brochure.

The range of available health care may vary among VA medical centers
and community clinics. Every medical center has a Women Veterans
Coordinator, who is sensitive to the needs and health care problems of
female patients. These Coordinators will be your points of contact for
medical concerns.

How can you apply for VA benefits and services? Simply visit one of
the Women Veteran Coordinators listed in this brochure indicated with
a or call the Texas Veterans HOTLINE at 1-800-252-VETS (8387).

1. What services are available to women veterans?
   A full continuum of comprehensive medical services including health
   promotion and disease prevention, primary care, women’s gender-
   specific health care; e.g., hormone replacement therapy, breast and
   gynecological care, maternity and limited infertility (excluding In-
   vitro fertilization), acute medical/surgical, telephone triage,
   emergency and substance abuse treatment, mental health,
   domiciliary, rehabilitation and long term care. VA researchers at
   many VA facilities also conduct medical research on women’s health.

2. How do I access the system for health and benefits services, gender-
   specific services, including pap smears, mammography, pre-natal
   and childcare?
   Veterans can apply for VA health care enrollment by completing VA
   Form 10-10EZ. The 10-10EZ may be obtained by visiting, calling
   or writing any VA health care facility or veterans’ benefits office.
   You can also call the VA Health Benefits Call Center toll-free at 1-
   877-222 VETS (1-877-222-8387), to determine your eligibility or
   access the form from the Health Administration Eligibility Reform
   website: The provision of health care to non-
   veteran children is limited to those instances where specific authority
   is given to VA by law. Contact your local VA health care facility and
   ask to speak with the Women Veterans Program Manager.

   For VA benefits, refer to Federal Benefits for Veterans and
   Dependents at This

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                          Page 15
  booklet discusses the variety of Federal benefits available to veterans
  and their dependents, such as:
    Compensation and Pension
    Montgomery GI Bill (Education)
    Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
    Veterans Group Life Insurance, and
    Home Loan Guaranty

  Additional information and application forms can be obtained at
  the VA website at The Veterans Online Application
  (VONAP) allows you to complete and submit most application
  forms on-line. You may also call the VA nationwide toll-free number
  at 1-800-827-1000 for specific benefit information.

3. Where are the special PTSD treatment centers?
   Women Veteran Stress Disorder Treatment Programs have been
   established at the following VA sites:
     Boston, MA                  Loma Linda, CA
     Brecksville, OH             New Orleans, LA

4. Where are the designated Clinical Programs of Excellence in
   Women’s Health?
    Women Veterans Health Care Program, Alexandria, LA VAMC
    Women Veterans Comprehensive Health, Durham NC VAMC
    Women Veterans Health Program, Boston MA VAMC
    Women Veterans Health Program, Bay Pines FL VAMC
    Women Veterans Health Program, Pittsburgh Health Care System
    Women Veterans Health Program, South Texas Veterans Health
    Care System, San Antonio

5. Where can I get Military Sexual Trauma treatment?
   You may enroll and receive counseling and treatment for any
   emotional or physical condition experienced, as a result of sexual
   trauma experienced while on active duty, at any VA health care
   facility or Rehabilitation Counseling Center (Vet Center) in the
   continental United States without regard for your service-connected
   rating or length of military service.

6. Where do I find research studies and surveys on women veterans?
   The Office of Research and Development at VA national headquarters
   oversees research within the Veterans Health Administration through
   its four service areas:

  The Medical Research Service provides knowledge of the
  fundamental biological processes to form an understanding of disease
  pathology, diagnosis, and treatment.

  The Cooperative Studies Program applies the knowledge gained
  from medical research to patients by determining the effectiveness

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                         Page 16
  of novel or unproven therapies using multi-center clinical
  intervention trials.

  The Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D)
  contributes to improving the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, and
  accessibility of health care services for veterans.
  The Rehabilitation Research and Development Service addresses
  the minimization of disability and restoration of function in veterans
  disabled by trauma or disease. Some important DVA research
  websites to know are:

7. How do I contact a coordinator for options for women veterans
   who are homeless with children?
   Contact the local VA homeless coordinator (or point of contact),
   Social Work Services department, or Women Veterans Program
   Manager at your local VAMC. There are homeless women veteran
   and homeless women veterans with children pilot programs located
   at eleven designated VA facilities as well, and the Women Veterans
   Program Manager can discuss what options are available in your

8. Are VA services authorized for women veterans who were
   involuntarily discharged from the military for pregnancy prior to
   May 1974? If not, how does one get this issue addressed?
   The provision of health care services to veterans is established by
   certain eligibility criteria and discharge status requirements. To
   determine your eligibility for services, contact your nearest VA
   health care facility.

  Women veterans involuntarily discharged may also be eligible to
  Compensation and Pension, Vocational Rehabilitation &
  Employment, Home Loan Guaranty, and Burial benefits. Children
  born to veterans who served in Vietnam may also be eligible for
  monthly monetary benefits, medical care, and vocational training if
  they have certain birth defects linked to their mother’s service.
  Contact the nearest VA Regional Office on the nationwide toll-free
  number, 1-800-827-1000 for benefit information and eligibility
  requirements, or visit the VA homepage at:

9. What is the process of getting quality of care issues addressed?
   Contact the Women Veterans Program Manager at your local health
   care facility.

10. How do I get a clinic appointment when the waiting list is six
   months for an initial appointment?

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                        Page 17
   If you experience an urgent or emergent medical condition you can
   contact your local VA health care facility telephone care program;
   or visit their walk-in (urgent care) clinic or emergency room. Non-
   acute problems will be scheduled on a next available appointment

11. Where can I get inpatient psychiatric care as a woman veteran?
   Most VA Medical Centers have inpatient mental health programs.
   Contact your VA Primary Care Provider or the local Mental Health
   Program office for assistance. If you already have a therapist and
   need inpatient care, please discuss your concerns with your
   therapist. If you have urgent or emergent needs, you can contact
   your local VA health care facility telephone care program or urgent
   care clinic.

12. How do I get evaluated for nursing home care?
   If you have never been seen at a VA health care facility, you must
   first enroll for benefits. Then you must enroll in a primary care
   clinic and ask for an evaluation for nursing home care. The evaluation
   will be done either by the primary care provider or a geriatrics care

13. How do I locate a buddy I served with?
   The Privacy Act obliges the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),
   as a Federal agency, to protect the privacy of veterans’ personal
   information. Therefore, VA cannot release personal information about
   a veteran in its records system without that person’s permission.
   VA can, however, forward a message from you to the veteran,
   providing VA has a current address on record.

   Write your message to your friend and place it in an unsealed,
   stamped envelope. Include a note to VA explaining who it is that
   you are trying to reach and add as much identifying information as
   you have. Put all of this in another envelope and address it to the
   nearest VA Regional Office.

   If the veteran is in VA records, your message to the veteran will be
   sealed and the envelope will be sent to the address on file for the
   veteran. It is then up to the veteran to contact you. This process is
   designed to protect the privacy of veterans as required by law. If
   you have questions, you may call VA at 1-800-827-1000.

   You may also contact the Women In Military Service for America
   Memorial (WIMSA) located at the ceremonial entrance of Arlington
   Cemetery in Arlington, VA at or by
   phone toll free at 1-800-222-2294.

14. How do I locate my military records?
   To obtain copies of your military records and/or Report of
   Separation from Active Military Service (DD Form 214 or

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                         Page 18
   equivalent) you must submit a Request Pertaining to Military
   Records (Standard Form 180) to the records custodian of your
   branch of service. Addresses for each service’s records custodian
   are found on page 2 of the SF 180. The SF 180 requires a signature
   and must be submitted either by mail or fax. Contact the National
   Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page
   Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100, or fax requests to (314) 801-
   9195. The web site is:

15. How and where do I apply for home, business, or car loans?
   The Texas Veterans land Board (VLB) provides loans to veterans
   to purchase land or homes and also offers home improvement
   loans. In addition, the Texas State Veteran Cemeteries and Texas
   State Veterans Homes are managed by the VLB. For more information
   call toll-free at 1-800-252-VETS (8387) or visit their website at

   VA Home Loan Guaranty Program provides VA loan guaranties to
   service members, veterans, reservists, and unmarried surviving
   spouses for the purchase of homes, condominiums and manufactured
   homes, and for refinancing loans. Some of the ways a VA loan
   guaranty can be used are:
     Buy a home or a residential condominium
     Build a home
     Repair, alter or improve a home
     Refinance an existing loan
     Buy a manufactured home with or without a lot

   You must complete VA Form 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of
   Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits and submit it to one of the
   VA Eligibility Centers along with acceptable proof of service as
   described on the instruction page of the form.

   Center for Veteran Enterprise partners with the Department of
   Labor and the Small Business Administration to provide information,
   assistance, and mentoring for veterans who would like to start their
   own business. Visit for additional information.

   VA does not provide assistance for automobile purchases except for
   certain veterans and service members who need special adaptive
   equipment. To apply, contact a VA regional office (1-800-827-1000)
   or a VA medical center.

16. Where can I find information regarding benefits and services for
   National Guard and Reserves?
   Current and former members of the Selected Reserve who served on
   active duty may establish veteran status and may therefore be eligible
   for VA benefits, depending on the length of active military service
   and the character of discharge or release. Members of the National
   Guard activated for federal service during a period of war or domestic

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                         Page 19
   emergency may be eligible for certain VA benefits, such as VA health
   care, compensation for injuries or conditions connected to that
   service and burial benefits. Activation for other than federal service
   does not qualify Guard members for all VA benefits. Contact the
   Women Veterans Program Manager at your local health care facility.

   Transition Assistance Program (TAP) was established to meet the
   needs of separating service members during their period of transistion
   into civilian life. For further information, contact the U.S.
   Department of Labor, Veterans Employement & Training Service
   (VETS) at

17. Am I eligible for burial at Arlington National cemetery, if not what
   are my options?
   Although Arlington National Cemetery is a national cemetery, it is
   one of two cemeteries maintained by the Department of the Army,
   not the Department of Veterans Affairs. For further information,
   you may call 703/ 695-3250; or visit

   You may also wish to consider burial at one of VA’s 120 national
   cemeteries or a State Veterans Cemetery. You may view a listing of
   these cemeteries and review eligibility requirements at

   The State of Texas Veterans Cemeteries are managed by the Texas
   Veterans Land Board. For more information, contact them at 1-
   800-252-VETS (8387) or visit

18. How do I access employment options for women veterans?
   Optional job websites for veterans include the following:
     Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Human Resources
     Department of Labor veterans site:
     Office of Personnel Management:
     America’s Job Bank:
     A generic but powerful job hunting/posting database used by
     industry country and worldwide:

19. I have been out of the military for more than 10 years. How do I get
   an extension to my GI bill educational benefits?
   Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) Benefits end 10 years from the
   date of your last discharge or release from active duty. If your
   benefits expire mid-term, your benefits are extended to the end of
   the term or semester. (Example: Your benefits expire in November
   but the course ends in December. You will be paid for December.)
   The delimiting date can be extended past your 10-year period if you
   were prevented from attending classes due to:
      A severe disability, or
      You were held against your will by a foreign government or power.

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                        Page 20
  The delimiting date is only extended by the amount of time you
  were prevented from attending classes.

  VA can also extend your 10-year period if you reenter active duty
  for 90 days or more after becoming eligible. The extension ends 10
  years from the date of separation from the later period. Periods of
  active duty of less than 90 days can qualify you for extensions only
  if you were separated for:
     A service-connected disability
     A medical condition existing before active duty
     Hardship, or
     A reduction in force.

  If your benefit eligibility is based on two years of active duty and
  four years in the Selected Reserve, you have 10 years from your
  release from active duty, or 10 years from the completion of the
  four-year Selected Reserve obligation to use your benefits, whichever
  is later. For more information, you may visit:

20. How do I get my disability compensation claim re-evaluated?
   You may request a reevaluation of your claim anytime that you
   believe your condition has changed or worsened. The Texas Veterans
   Commission has veterans counselors located across the state who
   can assist with filing a compensation claim or having a claim re-
   evaluated. You can also contact a local Veterans County Service
   Officer to assist with this matter. Be prepared to provide the
   following information:
     Name and current address
     Claim number or Social Security Number
     Day and evening contact information
     Statement explaining change requested
     Any new and pertinent medical evidence that supports your

   TEXAS VETERANS BENEFIT HANDBOOK - 2006                       Page 21
                    FOR ASSISTANCE
        TVC Regional Office                            TVC Regional Office
         6900 Almeda Road                              One Veterans Plaza
       Houston, TX 77030-4200                               701 Clay
            713/383-2756                                 Waco, TX 76799                              254/299-9950

Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center                    South Texas Veterans Health Care System
Amarillo, TX 79106                                                         Kerrville Division
806/468-1883                                                             Kerrville, TX 78028
VA Outpatient Clinic
Austin, TX 78741                                                         Wilford Hall USAF
512/389-6543                                                                 Medical Center
                                                               Lackland AFB, TX 78236-5300
VA Outpatient Clinic                                                          210/292-7401
Beaumont, TX 77707
409/981-8598                                                             VA Outpatient Clinic
Toll-free: 1-800-833-7734                                                 Laredo, TX 78043
VA Medical Center
*Big Spring, TX 79720-5500                                               VA Outpatient Clinic
432/264-4819                                                              Lubbock, TX 79412
Sam Rayburn Memorial
 VA Medical Center                                        Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic
*Bonham, TX 75418                                                          Lufkin, TX 75904
903/583-6390                                                                  936/633-2780

VA Outpatient Clinic                                                     VA Outpatient Clinic
Cedar Park, TX 78613                                                     McAllen, TX 78503
512/260-1368, Ext. 58022                                                      956/618-7106

VA Outpatient Clinic                                                    102 W. Houston Street
College Station, TX 77845                                                 Marshall, TX 75671
979/ 680-0361, Ext. 58417                                                       903/935-8415

VA Outpatient Clinic                                           Midland Co. Courthouse Annex
Corpus Christi, TX 78405                                                 Midland, TX 79705
361/806-5610                                                                   432/688-4879

North Texas Veterans Health Care System              South Texas Veterans Health Care System
 Dallas, TX 75216                                          Audie L. Murphy Memorial VAMC
214/857-0444                                                     San Antonio, TX 78229-4404
VA Health Care Center
 El Paso, TX 79930-4211                                  Frank M. Tejeda VA Outpatient Clinic
915/564-6100, Ext. 6282                                               San Antonio, TX 78240
Toll-free:1-800-672-3782, Ext. 6282                                           210/699-5076

Building 18010                                                              426 5th Avenue
 Fort Hood, TX 76544                                      82 MSSQ/MSP Bldg. 402, Room 234
254/287-3341                                                  Sheppard AFB, TX 76311-2929
Bldg. 2263
1706 Stanley Rd., Suite 18                         Central Texas Veterans Health Care System
 Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5024                               Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center
210/221-2044                                                                Temple, TX 76504
VA Outpatient Clinic                                     Toll Free: 1-800-423-2111, Ext. 40549
Fort Worth, TX 76104
817/882-6090                                                             VA Outpatient Clinic
                                                                          Victoria, TX 77901
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center                                            361/582-7710
 Houston, TX 77030-4298
713/794-7785                                                              VA Medical Center
Toll-free: 1-800-553-2278, Ext. 7785                                      *Waco, TX 76711

* =   Part-time office; call first for hour
  = Women Veterans Coordinator Available

                    You may also contact your local Veterans County
                Service Office for information concerning veterans' benefits.

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