The Texas General Land Office has rejected the classification of the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood as “workplace violence” and will not wait for Congress to act before providing veterans benefits to families.

In a press release issued Friday, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said, “This wasn't workplace violence. These were casualties of war and we’re going to change the rules to give these families full access to VLB benefits.” He went on to say that lawyers are working on creating an exception to rules that have blocked access to those benefits with the intention of honoring the sacrifice of those killed and injured in the attack.

“Each of the active and retired military members who died in the Fort Hood terrorist attack lost their life while assigned to duty in Texas or in support of the military in Texas,” Patterson said. “They were physically on duty in Texas and chose to remain until the time of their death in defense of both the citizens of the United States and Texas. Like Travis and Crockett, their spilled blood remains forever intermingled with Texas soil. Their surviving spouses who are residents of Texas at the time of application should be eligible for VLB programs.”

The federal government continues to consider the attack on Fort Hood an act of “workplace violence”, which denies the victims benefits and honors usually given to those who die in service, including the Purple Heart.