There are numerous benefits available for the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces.
Featured Program: Welcome Home Benefit
The “Welcome Home” program provides Massachusetts veterans who served in the armed forces, the National Guard, or reserves for at least six months after Sept. 11, 2001 from $500 to $1,000, depending on where they were deployed.
According to a recent report, up to one-third of eligible veterans have not yet participated in the state’s “Welcome Home” program.
Do I Qualify as a Veteran?
According to Massachusetts Law, to be a veteran one must have served 180 days of active duty service, and must have been discharged or released under honorable conditions -OR-must have served 90 days of active duty service, one day of which is during “wartime” and is released under honorable conditions.
Do I Qualify as a Dependent?
Veteran’s dependents are also eligible to receive veteran’s benefits. These people include:
- Spouse of veteran
- Widow or widower of the veteran
- Dependent parent of veteran
- Any person who acted as a parent to the veteran for five years immediately preceding the commencement of the veteran’s wartime service
- Child of the veteran until his or her 19th birthday
- Child of the veteran between 19 years and 24 years of age while the child is attending high school, an institution of higher learning or some other accredited educational institution
- Child of the veteran 19 years of age or older who is mentally or physically unable to support him/herself the disability prior to his/her 18th birthday
- Legally adopted children of the veteran
Public Assistance for Veterans
The Commonwealth provides a uniform program of financial and medical assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents. Veterans who qualify for the program (see definition of MA Veteran, above) and their dependents receive financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, fuel and medical care. Eligible dependents of deceased veterans are provided with the same benefits.
Who to contact to receive benefits:
- Massachusetts Department of Veteran Services: 617-210-5480
- Visit the Department of Veteran Services’ Website: www.mass.gov/veterans
- Email: email@example.com
Educational Benefits for Veterans
Veterans of MA are eligible for state-supported courses in undergraduate degree programs by a public college or university. Members of the National Guard are also eligible for a waiver of both fees and tuitions at all state colleges and universities. Public service scholarships will be awarded to children of prisoners of war or military or service persons missing in action in Southeast Asia starting in 1955, and to children of veterans who were killed in action.
Contact 617-727-0067, or www.osfa.mass/edu for more information.
Veterans are also eligible for the Veterans Upward Bound program at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. The program provides veterans with information about college and career choices, and helps veterans acquire the academic skill necessary for entrances into higher-education. The Veterans Upward Bound program is free for all veterans!
Tax Exemption Benefits
Eligible veterans, spouses and parents can receive property tax exemption. To qualify, all veterans (and spouses, when applicable), must be legal residents of Massachusetts, be occupying the property as his/her domicile on July 1 in the year of the application, have lived in Massachusetts for at least six months prior to entering the service (spouses exempt), or have lived in Massachusetts for five consecutive years immediately prior to filing for a property tax exemption. Exemptions rage from $400-10,000 depending on disabilities and injuries as a result of service.
If you are eligible contact: 617-626-2300 or www.mass.gov/dor for more information.
Veterans applying for housing, specifically for low-rent housing projects, public slum clearance or urban renewal projects shall be given preference. Housing for veterans exists all throughout Massachusetts, including Homeless shelters for veterans, transitional and supportive housing with services, and Women veteran housing.
Contact 617-854-100 or www.mhfa.com for more information.
Outreach and Counseling Programs
Lots of outreach centers and non-profit organizations receive state money through the Department of Veteran Services to assist veterans and their families with a range of services. The programs vary by location but include: assistance and referrals to obtain federal and state veterans’ benefits, food pantry and clothing closets, transportation services, community activities, peer counseling, professional counseling, substance abuse counseling, anger management and post-traumatic stress counseling. There are NO requirements or eligibility for using outreach programs, and one need-not meet the “veteran” definition of Massachusetts.
National Center for PTSD: 857-364-4145 or www.ncptsd.org
The National Center for PTSD also provides services for Military Sexual Trauma, including sexual assault or harassment.
Other counseling services in the Middlesex & Worcester District:
o Veterans’ Outreach Center- Metrowest, 508-460-9993 or www.vetsoutreach.org
Veterans have access to special tenure, pension and employment benefits, as well as preparation and training for civil, public and labor service.
Contact the division of Career Services, at 617-626-5300, or go to www.mass.gov/dcs for more information.
Women Veterans and Women Resources
Women veterans receive the same financial assistance as their male counterparts. However, because women might have had experiences not experienced by men in war, there are several special services offered.
The Women Veterans’ Network of the Department of Veterans’ Services purpose is to find women in the military, as many women do not know they are entitled to benefits and are unaware of their veteran status. Although approximately 28,200 women veterans reside in the commonwealth, only about half of these residents have been accounted for. If you are a woman who has served in the military in any way and live in Massachusetts, please add your name to the Database of Women Veterans to receive benefits and services. Call, write or email the Women Veterans’ Network and request your name be added. Include: full name, mailing address, branch of service and years of service.
Other important contacts for women veterans:
Governor’s Advisory Committee of Women Veterans
3 Lonvale Lane #62
Amesbury, MA 01913-0021
Lillian J. Eaton, President
Homeless Women Veterans’ Outreach and Case Management Program
150 S. Huntington Ave (116B-3)
Boston, MA 02130
Military Sexual Trauma Counseling
Boston Vet Center
665 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215
National Center for PTSD
Boston VA Medical Center
Women’s Health Sciences Division
150 South Huntington Avenue (116B-2)
Boston, MA 02130
There are many other benefits for Veterans, including Veterans’ Bonuses and Annuities, Burial Rights, Military Records and State Memorials, Rights of Guard and reserve Members Called-Up and other sources of assistance. If you have any questions about specific issues, or would like more information, please visit this resource guide: http://www.mass.gov/Cago/docs/civilrights/vets_guide_120508.pdf