Texas has always been a long-standing supporter of veterans. In 1946, the Texas Veterans Land Board was created to offer Texas-based veterans exclusive benefits for their dedication to their country and service. Since their start, the VLB has offered offer 200,000 loans to veterans and offers a wide variety of benefits that ensure every veteran in Texas is taken care of
Home and Land Loans
One of the biggest services offered by the VLB is their home and land loans. The VLB offers low interest and long-term home and land loans to local veterans who want to purchase land or secure a new home. Through the Veterans Housing Assistance Program, the Texas Veterans Land Board secures bonds and low interest rates for veterans. Also, the approval process for veterans is more friendly compared to traditional home loans.
To be eligible for a home or land loan through the VLB, veterans must:
- Be at least 18 years or older
- Be a proven resident of Texas with proof of intent to remain in the state — this can include being a Texas resident serving active duty out of the state
- Be a surviving spouse of a Texas-based veteran
- Be the spouse of a veteran that was identified as missing in action, died in the line of duty or a veteran that died before completing his or her own application for a VLB loan
- Serve as an active duty member after September 1940
Home and land loans are offered at a considerable discount. Also, veterans with disabilities may qualify for an even lower interest rate as long as they have an Award Letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs stating their disability and eligibility.
Home Improvement Loans
Veterans who currently own or finance a home may be able to get a home improvement loan through the Veterans Land Board. The VLS can help veterans improve their existing homes through the Texas Veterans Home Improvement Program or VHIP. This program was created in 1986 to help veterans with below-market interest rate loans for improving and remodeling their current homes.
Veterans that need to make safety and/or health-related repairs, such as mold removal or lead paint, can qualify for quick loans so that they can secure the financing to make improvements immediately. There are closing costs associated with these types of loans, but they are lower than traditional home improvement loans secured through services other than the VLB.
Forfeited Land Sales
Sometimes veterans cannot make their payments and they need to forfeit their land. The VLB understands that this is a common occurrence, especially in today’s economic climate. That is why they host their own auctions for these properties and lands and only allow other Texas-based veterans to bid on them. If the land or property isn’t sold during these auctions, it will be put up for sale through traditional channels.
Veterans can also secure a home loan or land loan through the VLB for forfeited land purchases.
State Veteran Homes
The Texas Veterans Land Board does more than just secure home loans and property. They also provide veterans with affordable living options, long-term nursing care programs, and support for their families. Throughout Texas, there are state veteran homes that are supported by the VLB. These facilities are designed to enhance a person’s quality of life and they are guaranteed to provide clean, safe living environments.
The daily out of pocket rates for these state veteran homes is substantially lower than traditional nursing homes. The rates are well below average and these daily rates include the cost of medications for all veterans living in the housing units. Residents also get a choice between private and semi-private quarters and those suffering from Alzheimer’s can find a home in their Alzheimer’s care facilities that have specially trained staff to help with their condition.
Currently there are VLB-sponsored veteran homes in Amarillo, Big Spring, Bonham, El Paso, McAllen, Temple, Floresville, Temple and Tyler.
The costs of burials is on the rise, which is why the Texas Veterans Land Board also offers burial services for those who served their country. These cemeteries are exclusively offered to veterans, their dependents and spouses only. There is no charge to be buried in these facilities; which can save loved ones a considerable amount of money. Also, veterans are allowed to pre-register for their burial spot so that their loved ones do not have to worry about it.
Veterans are eligible for the free burial service, but there is a fee for family to be buried in the same plot. The free burial for veterans includes:
- Grave plot
- Headstone or marker
- Grave opening and closing service
- Concrete grave liner
- Care of the grave and grounds
The cost of the casket, flowers, cremation and funeral service are out of pocket expenses not covered by the Texas Veterans Land Board. However, the VLB will provide a family with $2,000 toward that cost if their veteran dies while still in the service.
The VLB also offers burial planning and funeral planning services to loved ones who have lost their vet. While there are no viewing facilities at these cemeteries, there are contracted funeral homes that will provide the viewing service and funeral for a lower rate than traditional cost.
Benefit Fairs and Education
To keep veterans educated, the Texas Veterans Land Board also offers benefit fairs throughout the year. These display the latest benefits offered by the VLB, and have specialists on site to help veterans sign up for benefits, plan their funerals or even secure a home loan. Each calendar year the schedule for benefit fairs is published on the Veterans Land Board website at http://www.glo.texas.gov/vlb/. Here you will find the local fairs, times and other related events.
Other Tools and Information
The VLB is constantly updating their website to provide veterans with the latest benefits, interest rates and events. Veterans in the Texas area can sign up and register for their mailing list, so that they receive updates regularly from the VLB.
There is no membership or sign up form with the VLB. Instead, veterans can apply for services as they are needed. For example, if a veteran wants a home loan, he applies and proves eligibility to the VLB for that home loan. If he later wants to reserve a burial plot, he will then need to prove eligibility. Eligibility requirements for loans and other services are listed on the VLB website. While all veterans are eligible for services from the VLB (as long as they are a Texas resident), not all spouses and dependents are may qualify.
The Texas Veterans Land Board is a valuable tool for service men and women who are looking to live in or currently live in Texas. They provide robust services to veterans to thank them for their service and provide them with a lifestyle they deserve for sacrificing their lives for their country.
The video below is a webinar about Texas VLB and what it means to you.
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