(Orange, Texas)

December 18, 2012

College credits for returning soldiers

Angela Johnson
Orange County Veteran Service Office

ORANGE — The recent return of our soldiers has garnered many questions regarding retraining or educational benefits that may be available to our returning soldiers and if a Texas resident or older veteran, there are some retraining benefits available should a veteran want to use them or transfer these educational benefits.

The veterans handbook, What Every Veteran Should Know 2012, lists several updates the first is the 2011 update for Restoring the GI Bill Fairness Act 2011". Public Law 112-26 is meant to temporarily preserve higher rates for tuition and fees for programs of education and non public institutions of higher learning pursued by individuals enrolled in Post/911 Educational Assistance Program. There is also the Veterans Education Assistance Improvements act of 2010, Vocational Rehabilitation for disabled veterans rated10% or higher, Hazelwood Act for Texas residents, VEAP, etc. For further information (Contact Muskogee Oklahoma at 1-888-442-4551 or go to The Orange County Veteran Service Office on Highway 1442 has a courtesy telephone available in the front lobby for those veterans that have limited minutes on cell phones or do not have a phone available to them.

Veterans have opportunities available if pursued by the veteran with general qualifications.

Character of Discharge (DD214/215), high school diploma or equivalent, must receive benefits within first 10 years of discharge and completed 24 continuous months of active duty if enlisted the first time after 9/7/1980. However, there are a large number of educational benefits available and the colleges/universities have VA representatives available upon registration. If the school VA representative does not answer questions, education questions can be answered at the VA office in Muskogee, Oklahoma 888-442-4551.

For veterans that do not want to go to school and considered disabled (10 % or higher) by the Department of Veterans Affairs there is Vocational Rehabilitation programs (VR&E). Under Federal Regulations, Congress authorizes Chapterr 31. Vocational representatives are available to assist with retraining, obtaining a job or maintaining suitable employment. The veteran must have a service connected disability of 10% or higher to obtain the vocational rehabilitation. The vocational rehabilitation in SE Texas area it is at the Houston Regional Office.

Veterans that have never utilized education benefits and were born and raised in TX (Texas home of record on discharge) may share these benefits up to 150 hrs under the Hazelwood Act. Therefore, veterans can transfer these benefits to grandchildren, spouse, children, stepchildren, etc.. Questions regarding the Hazelwood Act can be located at . The Muskogee, Oklahoma office can answer questions as well as the VA representative at any Texas college/university/technical school that accepts VA education funding.

The book Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors can be found at you local Veteran Service Office or ordered offline. The Orange County Veteran Service Office has necessary forms but due to the large number of veteran educational programs we do not counsel because the Department of Veterans Affairs has representative at local colleges/universities/technical schools. The Orange County Veteran Service office is located at: 10984 FM 1442 or call at 409-745-1535.