Families of soldiers killed to receive full state veteran benefits

Posted at 6:49 PM, Aug 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-26 09:05:01-04

Nearly four years after the worst shooting on U.S. Military post the families of the 13 soldiers killed in the attack will finally get some of the benefits they've been wanting.

In a bold move, the Texas General Land Office announced Friday they're not waiting for congress to act.  The Texas Veterans Land Board rejected the government's classification of the attack as workplace violence and said they will be giving the families of the soldiers killed in the shooting the same benefits of soldiers killed in combat.

The victim's families have been fighting to have the shooting categorized as a terrorist attack since it happened.

Fort Hood shooting survivor Howard Ray told News Channel 25 why that classification matters.   

"It's extremely important because those that either lost their lives or those that are seriously injured that day or those that just received injuries at all whether physical or emotional really deserve this to be called what it is. [It] really matters to the actual care that they get," said ray. 

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says VLB lawyers are already working on changing the rules to make an exception for the victim's families. He says the state doesn't care what the attack is classified as.

"Texas is going to step up and offer benefits that we think shows the men and women stationed at fort hood and all those serving in uniform that here in Texas we care and we're proud of your service and all we're supportive of all you do," said Patterson. 

The change will allow families to apply for certain benefits they haven't been able to receive since the attack was categorized as workplace violence.

Those benefits include:

- Low cost housing

- Below market home improvement or land loans

- The use of highly skilled nursing and long term care facilities

- Free burial of veterans with full military honors at any Texas state veteran cemetery.

 *Click here for more information of the Texas Veterans Land Board and what they have to offer.