With Veterans Day approaching, I’m reminded of the incredible commitment and sacrifice that our veterans give for our freedom. I am proud of my late father, a proud Marine, as well as my brother who served in the Air National Guard. These heroes, among many others, continue to provide our country freedom and security.
There are thankfully many financial, educational and health care related resources available to the armed forces for those who are eligible and apply. I was the fortunate beneficiary of my father’s service in college through the Hazlewood Act. Although we could have benefited further by discovering information earlier on in my college journey, it was a great benefit that I was able to enjoy for my final few years in college. My hope is that this information can help someone else realize their eligibility, and not repeat our delay to get the most out of the program.
The Hazlewood Act is a benefit specific to the State of Texas that benefits veterans, their spouses and dependent children. Through this statute, up to 150 hours of tuition at public institutions of higher education in Texas are exempt from charge, including most fees. It’s an incredible benefit that can amount to significant savings! A Texas Veterans Commission department specialist can help you determine if you qualify, guide you on paperwork, and determine what requirements you need to fulfil to qualify. It is also important to note that if a dependent is claiming benefits, then they must use them before they turn 25 to remain eligible. With Texas being poised to surpass California as the most veteran-populated state, these benefits can potentially help many deserving families reach their educational endeavors. Additional Veterans Administration (VA) education benefits may be available to a service member’s child(ren) or spouse if they have a service-connected disability or died in the line of duty.
The VA also provides great health care benefits. With VA health care, you have coverage for regular checkups and appointments with specialists. This can be an invaluable benefit prior to reaching Medicare age, and also works as a supplemental plan once you begin Medicare.
Another important program is VA disability benefits. The VA may pay for medical care, equipment, and even provide a monthly tax-free payment to veterans who become ill or injured while serving in the military. There are even benefits such as housing grants to buy or modify a home for service members with disabilities.
There are many more benefits available to veterans. If you are a veteran, it is important that you consult with a specialist to see what you might be entitled to. You can reach VA Benefits Administration at (800) 827-1000, and you can obtain more information on the Hazlewood Act at (512) 463-3168. My family made use of the specialists at these departments extensively as we went through the process of applying for the Hazlewood Act, and I would encourage you to do the same if you are eligible for any benefits. Thank you to all veterans for your service!
Published in the Victoria Advocate
David Faskas is a CFA and CFP® professional with KMH Wealth Management, LLC. He specializes in investments and portfolio management. He is the Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial Planning Officer, and a managing member of the firm.