Seventeenth annual veterans summit, February 4, 2015

The Veterans Summit, sponsored by the Texas Veteran’s Commission, was held at the Crowne Plaza North, Austin, Texas, Wednesday February 4, 2015.

Attendees consisted of Veterans, government entities, non-profit service providers,  clinicians, & those providing liaison between collaborations; these have enhanced & enriched the services that may be given to consumers, as well as opening up access to areas & services that may be difficult for many to locate.

One of the major issues revolves around the Hazlewood Act, a Texas Act that provides educational benefits to Vets & their families.  Currently, the Hazlewood Act’s status is what you might say is in “limbo.”  I’ll explain why in a minute. The Act limits the Veterans who may have been inducted into the military to Texas Vets (Vets born in Texas), and not to Vets who were born or inducted in other states than Texas.

A claimant brought a law suit due to Hazlewood, because he believed it was unfair & discriminatory to not be able to receive the educational benefits, even though he wouldn’t be eligible to receive funding, as outlined by the Hazlewood Act, because he was born in another State.  A District Federal Judge ruled in favor of the Claimant.

This decision will impact Veterans & their families, service providers, educational institutions, non-profits and government agencies, too.  Under Hazlewood, a Vet may transfer 150 Credit Hours to family members.  There’s also a ‘survivor clause’ that if a Vet dies in the line of duty, or if his medical illness(es) prohibits the Vet from working, then the Vet may be eligible to transfer 150 Credit Hours to family members.

Up to the present, the Hazlewood Act has assisted thirty-eight thousand Veterans in the State of Texas. Funds from other sources have allowed 1.7 million dollars. There are concerns that providing a larger base of Vets born in Texas, thus, a more limited amount of monies will have to borne by external resources here.

For example, one representative on this panel, was a staff person from a Texas Junior College; he explained in a very logical and clear way, how Hazlewood operates as it relates to tuition & fees, and he was very adamant that their college would have a large “shortfall” of one hundred and seventy-nine million dollars, due to changes in Hazlewood in the future.

If you have other questions regarding the Hazlewood Act you can contact the Texas Veterans Commission, or if ,  have general questions around education benefits for Veterans, please contact them at: (512) 936-1872, and check out their website  at: www.tvc.texas.gov.

©Christopher Bear-Beam February 4, 2015

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