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Letter: REAL Veterans Fight for Their Families at Home

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Texas Senator and retired Army Officer, Brian Birdwell introduced, and passed through the senate, SB 1735 which is scheduled to reform the Texas Veterans Hazlewood Act (Legacy provision) which allows veterans to pass on up to 120 credit hours to a dependent.

“The Hazlewood program is quickly becoming unviable, and soon, its benefits will be too costly to provide even to the veteran—not just his or her dependent,” said Birdwell. “I can think of few things that would be as tragically shortsighted as ignoring the simple facts that foretell the long-term unsustainability of this program, and that’s why the Legislature had to act.”

If it passes, a veteran would be required to have served in the military six years before being allowed to pass on the tuition benefit to a dependent.  Currently, the requirement is to serve on active duty for 180 days.

Six years is simply way too long for a combat or disabled veteran with service connected injuries. These particular veterans are normally the “boots on the ground” who are enlisted men and women just trying to survive and provide for their families. It’s not like they are retired Army officers with a nice retirement check plus a VA pension like Senator Birdwell!

Combat and disabled veterans count on this benefit for their dependents because having a nice salary or decent paying job isn’t necessarily easy for us!  Our injuries and disabilities make sustaining a regular job difficult or for others, impossible.

Senator Jane Nelson has made her statement clear to my fellow veterans and registered voters, she voted “YES!”

Representative Tan Parker has failed to respond to emails and phone calls with his position on helping combat and disabled veterans.

I say to all of them, if you want to cut benefits in Austin, let’s start with UT and Mack Brown, $3.8 mil, Charlie Strong, $3.0 mil, and Richard Barnes, $2.6 mil.  To top it off, their “Special Assistants,” Darrell D. Dodds and Major Applewhite receive $874K and $665K, respectively!

Jane Nelson and Tan Parker, if you REALLY want to prove you’re “warriors” then please fight in Austin to reduce those salaries to help keep the Hazlewood Act intact for those who can’t fight anymore!

Ironically, according to Birdwell’s bio, he has one son, Matt, who is a recent graduate of Texas Tech University.  I wonder if he took advantage of the Hazlewood Act?

Paul T. Perez Jr., Master Sergeant US Air Force (Retired)
Disabled Veteran 22 years in service; Former Military Police and Civilian Police Officer
Flower Mound, TX

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