What You Should Know about VA Benefits

VA benefits For veterans in Texas, there are many special benefits available, including Property Tax Exemptions, State Retirement Benefits, Veterans Home Improvement Loan Program, and Veterans Employment Preference, just to name a few.  Eligibility for some VA benefits depends on factors such as residency, military component and Veteran disability status. Those with the highest preference in some cases are wartime veterans and the widows and children of soldiers killed while on active duty.  For a full list of Texas State Veterans Benefits, click here.

Property Tax Exemption for Veterans

The State of Texas provide a special property tax exemption for disabled veterans.  The amount of the exemption is graduated based on the nature of the veteran’s disability.  Generally, disabled veterans who meet specific requirements, their surviving spouses and the spouses and minor children of a veteran who dies while on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for a property tax exemption.  The exemption applies to the appraised value of their property.  This exemption applies to taxes levied by all taxing authorities in the State and it is mandatory.

Determining eligibility for the property tax exemption

In order to be eligible for the property tax exemption, veterans must be 65 years old or older and must have service-connected disabilities rated more than 10% by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or a branch of the Armed Forces. For those veterans, the graduated tax exemption rates are based on their disability ratings as follows:

  • 10% through 30% first $5,000 of appraised value
  • 31% through 50% first $7,500 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 involves 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.

Other limitations to eligibility for VA benefits

If a veteran qualifies under more than one of these exemptions, they may not be combined but instead the largest exclusion would apply. 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 as long as the surviving spouse is unmarried. The surviving spouse of a veteran who dies while on active duty is entitled to exemption of the first $5,000 of the appraised value of the spouse’s property. The same is true for a surviving child of a veteran who dies while on active duty, as long as the child is unmarried and under 21 years of age.

VA benefits related to health care

There are several types of assistance for veterans through the VA, or Veterans Administration as well.  This can include medical care at an assisted living facility, at home, in a nursing home or provided by friends, family members, or healthcare professionals.  Veterans who fall into one of the following categories may be eligible for these extended care services:

  • Veterans with a service-connected disability rating (or combined disability ratings) of 70 percent or higher.
  • Veterans with a 60-percent service-connected disability rating who are unemployable, or who have a rating of “permanent and totally disabled.”
  • Veterans with a service-connected disability that’s clinically determined to require nursing home care.
  • Veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria.

Veterans may also be eligible based on other criteria, which must be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Priority is usually given to veterans with service-connected disabilities and those who require care for “post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.”

The typical cost of long-term VA benefits

Veterans are generally required to pay a co-pay for extended care services through the VA  The amount of the co-pay is based on income.  If it is anticipated that the extended care services will exceed 180 days, then the veteran’s assets and those of his or her spouse may also be considered.  The maximum a veteran would be required to pay is $97.00 per day for extended care services.

The long-term care options for veterans

Veterans can receive long-term nursing care through nursing homes and other types of facilities.  The VA has its own nursing homes, but there are also private nursing homes that contract with the VA to provide long-term care for veterans.  These other facilities are referred to as “community nursing homes,” and are most often used by veterans who live in an area where there are no VA facilities nearby.  The VA also runs its own Community Living Centers which provide short-term residential care in addition to ongoing outpatient care.

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