Veteran Benefits in Texas
As the second largest state in the Union, the state of Texas is home to more than 1.6 million veterans. Along with this large number of veterans comes a long list of benefits and resources available to Texas veterans and their families. Knowing where to start can be a bit overwhelming, but the good news is that there are many agencies focused on helping Texas veterans access all the benefits their honorable service has earned.
If you are just getting started accessing your benefits, a great place to start is the online Veterans Portal created by the Texas Veterans Commission. This resource includes links to benefits covering education and training, employment, records and medals, and housing and loans. The site also maintains an events calendar with veteran-focused events and gatherings from around the state. The Texas Veterans Commission also offers trained claims specialists, who are all veterans themselves, available to help you understand and follow up on your claims process. You can contact the Texas Veterans Commission at 1-800-273-8255.
Accessing quality health care is always a top concern for veterans and their families, and the state of Texas is home to seven large health care systems, in Amarillo, Big Spring, Dallas, El Paso, Harlingen, San Antonio, and Temple. Additionally, veterans can access care at five main medical centers in Bonham, Dallas, Houston, Kerrville, and Waco. Finally, 19 outpatient clinics and 37 community-based outpatient clinic locations offer care even closer to home. These facilities offer a wide range of primary and specialty care, and work together when referrals are needed between facilities. Many also offer special programs for caregivers, seniors, veterans facing homelessness, and female veterans. Veterans can check eligibility and make or change appointments online through the medical center websites.
The state of Texas contains 54 state parks and four state forests, offering countless opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation. Veterans and their families may be eligible for discounts that make it even more affordable to enjoy these natural resources. For example, the free Disabled Veteran "Super Combo" Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package is available at no cost to residents and non-residents qualifying as disabled veterans with 50% or greater service connected disability. Additionally, the Texas Parklands Passport offers free admission to Texas State Parks and is available to any veteran (resident or non-resident) with a service-connected disability rated 60% or more, or a service-connected disability, that has resulted in the loss of a lower extremity. You can apply for the Passport at the headquarters office of any Texas State park by providing satisfactory evidence of service-connected disability. Note that the Passport provides only free admission to the state parks, and additional charges, such as camping fees, still apply.
For veterans looking for long-term housing and care options, the Texas Veterans Land Board offers affordable, long-term nursing care for Texas veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents at eight state veteran homes. The homes are conveniently located across the state, and each facility is designed to enhance quality of life with a clean, caring, and dignified setting appropriate to those men and women who have served their country with honor. Because the VA subsidizes much of a veteran’s cost to stay at the homes, daily out-of-pocket rates are well below average and include the cost of medications for veterans. Residents can choose between a spacious private or semi-private room based upon availability. Alzheimer’s units at each home provide highly specialized care, including nicely landscaped, secure courtyards.
A veteran’s honorable service to his or her country earns full honors at the time of death at no cost to his or her family, including burial, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. The state of Texas is home to six national veteran cemeteries in Dallas, El Paso, Kerrville, San Antonio, and Houston, with all but the Kerrville location open to new interments. Additionally, the state – through its Veterans Land Board – maintains four state veteran cemeteries, with burial benefits identical to those of national cemeteries.
Texas Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Texas senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps Texas veterans.