Military Order

 of the

Purple Heart

 

    Texas Capital Chapter 1919

   Austin, Texas

 

 e-mail:  or,  call (512) 343-7940, Milt Carr, Adjutant

 


   

BENEFITS

…benefits specifically for…

 PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS

Listed here is information for our recently joined members (and to remind our long-time members) about some of the more valuable veterans’ benefits, or ones most often asked about, for Purple Heart veterans in Texas; and to inform the membership of new or recently changed benefits for veterans, the provisions of which may not yet be well publicized or generally understood. Most benefits listed here are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Texas Department of Transportation. The VA and TxDOT implementing regulations necessarily govern at all times. Those may contain many pages of legal wording and may change without notice in response to court rulings and legal interpretation as well as new legislation. Our summarizations here will be kept as up-to-date as we can make it, but these cannot be considered complete and definitive. For that, you must consult with a Veterans Service Officer, and it is suggested that you start with your County Veterans Service Officer, or the Texas Veterans Commission, or the Texas Veterans Land Board to learn about them.

VA MEDICAL CARE.  If you have not already done so, you can present your proof-of-award of the Purple Heart and VA will register you for medical care in priority group 3 (same group as those with 10 and 20 percent service-connected disabilities).  Enrollees receive free medical care, that is, without assessment of co-payments. The only charges, and that does not necessarily apply in all cases, is that Pharmacy prescriptions may require a co-payment.  The current VA rate is $8 for each 30-day supply of a prescription medication. This medical benefit for Purple Heart recipients was enacted by Congress over ten years ago.  On occasion we still find Purple Heart recipients, even some who are members of our Order, who are not aware of it. All who have been relying on some other health care system should carefully compare what they have now against what the VA will provide. There is great potential here for some Purple Heart recipients to significantly reduce medical expenses by signing up.

TEXAS PURPLE HEART LICENSE PLATES.  You may register your car with Purple Heart Plates at your County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office for only $3 per year.  If you do not, you are not only losing out on saving whatever money you have been paying for your regular license plates every year; but you also miss out on certain free parking privileges (see below).

FREE TRANSFER OF PURPLE HEART PLATES.  You can transfer Purple Heart Plates to your newly purchased vehicle without fee by the state.  In order to save the transfer fee you (or your car dealer) must use a “special plates” transfer form (VTR-420 UT).

TO OBTAIN FORMS.  Download forms from www.txdot.gov or, call the Texas Department of Transportation, (512) 374-5010 and go thru the “menu” of pressing buttons until you get a customer service representative who will mail you the blank forms for anything to do with military plates, including free Transfer of Purple Heart plates to a new vehicle.  Also, the Vehicle Titles and Registration office that serves your local community will have them available.

OTHER BENEFITS FOR TEXAS VETERANS.  Many valuable benefits, in fact the majority of veterans benefits, are open to all (who satisfy eligibility requirements) but, have nothing to do with the Purple Heart or any other individual awards or decorations.  Here are several in that category that are of tremendous value.

POST 9/11 G. I. BILL.  This only went into effect in August 2009.  It provided an expansion of benefits now enabling the newest generation of veterans, and for the first time, their family members, to fully cover the costs of obtaining a college degree.  Designed to pay for tuition and fees, books and living expenses, and to let career troops transfer those benefits to spouses and children, and it is cost free. The VA now reports that in this past school year benefit payments went out to more than 285,000 veterans or their qualified dependents and to their educational institutions.  At least a half-dozen of them are Chapter 1919 members and our other Iraq and Afghanistan wounded patriots ask more questions about this, especially the dependent transferability options, than any other benefits topic.  So, that is what we will focus on in this issue. The wording is too lengthy to reprint in entirety here, but our oversimplification that follows here is not incorrect. Service members with at least 10 years active duty can transfer their benefit (for tuition only) to their spouse or dependent children. Spouses of service members who have served at least 6 years and agree to another 4-year contract can receive the money even sooner, and division of the benefits is also permissible (meaning the service member’s 36 months of benefits can be split among the spouse and one or more children). To see everything the VA has to say about transferability of the G.I. Bill’s education benefits, go to VA’s webpage on the subject:    www.gibill.va.gov/gi_bill_info/ch33/transfer.htm.

TEXAS “HAZLEWOOD ACT” BENEFITS.   Honorably discharged veterans who were Texas residents upon entry into the military, entered active duty in Texas, or declared Texas as “home of record” at time of entry, and who have no federal educational benefits remaining, have lifetime “Hazlewood Exemption benefits;” that being up to 150 hours of tuition and fee exemptions at state supported colleges and universities. A recent change now allows the veterans to transfer their unused hours to a child between the ages of 18 and 25.  More than one child can use it, but no more than one may be enrolled at a time. For more information visit the Texas Veterans Commission webpage: www.texas-veterans.com/education/hazlewood or call the TVC toll free at 1-877-898-3833.

TEXAS RESIDENCE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR VETERANS WITH 100 PERCENT DISABILITY.  Beginning with tax year 2009, state law requires that the homestead (principal residence) of a veteran having either a 100% VA disability rating, or who is compensated at the 100% level due to individual unemployability, be exempt from any calculation of property taxation.  Regardless of the number of taxing units (school districts, utility districts, hospital districts) in which the veteran’s homestead may be, the appraisal district will report the home’s value as $0 (meaning the veteran pays no property taxes on his home). It isn’t automatic. Eligible disabled vets must apply for the exemption with their County Appraisal District and provide a current certification letter from the VA proving the disability rating. We are still finding 100 percent    disabled veteran homeowners who do not know about this. They have already missed out on two year’s of exemptions because applications must be completed between January 1st and April 30th.  Big dollars are at stake here, and there’s no time like the present to get ready for next year.

► Note: Visit your County Veterans Service Officer, or the Texas Veterans Commission, or the Texas Veterans Land Board to learn about these benefits.

 

 

 

Last Updated 2-29-2012