Veterans

After World War II, Massachusetts established Veteran’s Services to support veterans, making it the sole state offering this benefit program. Governed by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115, 108 CMR, every town and city appoints a Veteran’s Services Officer (VSO) to administer benefits. The program began post-WWII to uphold veterans' dignity, ensuring they didn't rely solely on welfare. Veteran’s Services Officers also aid veterans with federal benefits from the Veterans Administration, including employment, education, medical care, pensions, etc. The Commonwealth reimburses 75% of veterans' benefits disbursed by towns and covers the same portion of costs for flags on veteran’s graves and burial expenses on Memorial Day. Individual benefits are granted based on income, assets, and a veteran’s DD214 (discharge paper). Applications are available for lost DD214s and for various benefits like medals, license plates, pensions, education, loans, etc., in the Veteran’s Services Office. The VSO is an advocate for veterans, their families, and their dependents. Additionally, a VSO provides referrals and assistance with housing, alternate sources of income, such as Social Security and the VA, employment and educational opportunities, fuel assistance programs, area food banks and shelters. The primary mission and responsibility of the local Veterans’ Agent is to advise and assist resident veterans and their dependents in availing themselves of Federal and/or State benefits for which they may be eligible; also, perform varied duties in disbursing and administering the State veterans services program of financial and/or medical benefits referred to above. There are two sources of benefits and services available to eligible veterans in Massachusetts. The first, which is familiar to all veterans, is the Federal Program commonly known as VA benefits. The second source is a State sponsored program which provides needy, eligible veterans and their dependents with financial and/or medical assistance. The eligibility criteria for State and Federal benefits varies according to source and type of benefit. Inquires pertaining to eligibility should first be directed to the local agent who will provide particulars or refer the matter to a more knowledgeable source. Inquiries are recommended and encouraged and personal appointments are also available, preferably, on a call-first basis. All personal data is considered highly confidential.

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