The Town of Westford Veterans Services Department is not affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs!
Mission Statement: The Town of Westford's Veterans Services Department's mission is to honor and serve veterans and their families. By serving as their principal advocate, we are ensuring that they receive the care, support and recognition earned in service to their country.
The department advises residents as to the availability of federal and state services and benefits to which they are entitled to. In addition, the department provides financial assistance to qualifying veterans, surviving spouses and their dependents.
This department also assists veterans in applying for federal VA benefits, such as service connected compensations, non-service connected disability pensions, medical benefits, home loans, educational benefits, death and burial benefits, as well as pension benefits for those veterans in assisted living or are housebound.
We offer the following assistance:
-Cemetery Markers and Flags
-locating Military/Discharge records
.... and a whole lot more. Call us.
Important Phone Numbers
VA Health Care Boston - (800) 865-3384 (follow the prompts)
VA Health Care Bedford - (800) 838-6331 (follow the prompts)
Veterans Crisis Line - (800) 273-8255 (Press 1)
VA Benefits: (800) 827-1000 For information about: Education, Home Loan, Disability, Medical Care, Burial, Life Insurance and Sexual Trauma
VA Pension Management Center: (877) 294-6380
VA Caregiver Support Line: (855) 260-3274 (are you caring for a veteran at home?)
VA Life Insurance: (800) 669-8477
VA Education (GI Bill): (888) 442-4551
VA Health Care Benefits: (877) 222-8387
VA Income Verification and Means Testing: (800) 929-8387
VA Direct Deposit Enrollment/Changes: (877) 838-2778
VA Mammography Helpline: (888) 492-7844
VA Gulf War/Agent Orange Helpline: (800) 749-8387
VA Status of Headstones and Markers: (800) 697-6947
VA Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD): (800) 829-4833
More contacts, click here
2015 Historical Activities /Holidays/Events
Memorial Day - Monday, May 25, 2015 (Westford celebrates on Sunday, May 24th) Event Guide
Flag Day - Sunday, June 14, 2015
Independence Day - Saturday, July 4, 2015 (Federal Holiday Friday, July 3rd)
Veterans Day - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 (Westford celebrates on this day)
Local Service Organizations:
American Legion #159, Cross St, 978-692-7042, 2nd Wed. Sept/Nov/Jan/Mar/May, Time: 7:30 pm
American Legion #437, 114 Dunstable Road, 978-692-7400
VFW Post #6539, West Prescott St., 978-692-7015
DAV Billerica #47, 108 Gorham St., Chelmsford, 978-692-3204, 1st Saturday, Time: 9:30 am
Military Family Support Groups here
VAMC Bedford MA - Health and Wellness Resources, click the image below.
|Am I eligible for financial aid? Can I get help with my medical bills? – If you are a veteran, dependant of a veteran or a widow/widower of a veteran and struggling financially, you may be entitled to assistance. Under Chapter 115 of Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L. Ch. 115), the Commonwealth provides a uniform program of financial and medical assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents. Qualifying veterans and their dependents receive necessary financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, housing supplies and medical care in accordance with a formula which takes into account the number of dependants and income from all sources. Eligible dependents of deceased veterans are provided with the same benefits as they would were the veteran still living. This benefit is defined by law. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115 Eligibility Info How to
Can I get hearing aids or glasses from the VA? - The VA will provide eyeglasses and hearing aids to veterans with any compensable service-connected disability, former Prisoners of War and Purple Heart recipients. This benefit is generally not available for the spouse of a veteran, other assistance may be available, please call your community VSO. Read more here...
Do you qualify for a Utility or Telephone Discount? - If you are recieving Massachusetts Ch. 115 benefits, or VA DIC/disability compensation, you are probably eligible! Utility and telephone discounts are lower rates charged to low-income customers for gas, electricity, and telephone service. Massachusetts law requires regulated gas and electric utility companies to offer discounted rates to customers who receive public assistance benefits and meet income limits. Customers with low-income rates get the same level of service as customers paying the standard rate. Most utility discount programs use a gross annual income limit equal to 60% of the state median income (SMI), the income limits used by the
LIHEAP fuel assistance program. Some utility companies may still use 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). Check with your utility company for their income eligibility rules. Read more at this link.
How do I get a "veterans" ID card? - There is no such thing as a government-issued "veterans" ID card. As of 2012, Massachusetts driver's licenses can now indicate that your are a VETERAN. The military provides all veterans with a DD-214, i.e., your discharge papers as proof of service. This document should be safe-guarded. It is recommended that you make copies of your original and only use those copies and a photo ID (like a driver's license) as proof for those that seek it. What about an ID card for discounts?
Massachusetts Drivers License - Veteran status - All Massachusetts residents who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and were honorably discharged can choose to have a Veteran’s Indicator on their Driver’s License, Learner’s Permit, Massachusetts ID card, or Liquor ID card. If they choose this, the word “Veteran” will be printed on the lower right corner of their license or ID card, or in the bottom center of their learner’s permit. There is no additional fee for the Veteran’s Indicator, but all
regular transaction fees will apply.
One of the following documents (typed, not handwritten) must be presented as proof of honorable discharge:
• A DD-214 that indicates honorable discharge
• A DD-215 that indicates honorable discharge
• An Honorable
Telemarketer targeting Westford residents on behalf of local veterans? - We have received a number of calls from residents about a telemarketing firm who may state that they are calling on behalf of local veterans soliciting for a contribution to aid soldiers overseas or a veterans benefit. Westford's Department of Veterans Services is NOT soliciting for funds in this manner... More on the VSO Blog, linked
Veterans Book Corner at Cameron Senior Center - A Veteran’s Book Corner has been launched at the Cameron Senior Center in Westford providing books of interest to veterans such as memoirs, biographies, and nonfiction books with military themes. Initiated by the Westford Women’s Club with a vision to provide easy access of books in this genre to veterans of all ages, the initial collection of books housed in the second floor library at the Cameron is now open to the public. Thanks to the staff at Cameron for hosting this veterans resource. Press release can be found here.
Flags on Veterans graves... PROCEDURE/POLICY effective November 2010 - Flags on Veterans graves will be retired after Veterans Day and replaced prior to Memorial Day. The Veteran Marker/Flag holder will remain on the grave site. Our veterans organizations will be removing flags on November 14, 2014. New flags will be put in place before the Memorial Day holiday in 2015. Please report any missed grave markers by calling 978-392-1170.
VSO Blog...We have started using a blog for propagating information on veterans’ services, benefits or programs. All visitors to this site can "subscribe" to the blog and get notification when new content has been posted. Look for the VSO Blog link on the left.
Financial Aid – If you are a veteran, dependant of a veteran or a widow/widower of a veteran and struggling financially, you may be entitled to assistance. Assistance is based on your income and assets, means-based. This benefit is under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115.
Help for Veterans in danger of foreclosure – To obtain help from a VA financial counselor, veterans can call VA toll-free at 1-877-827-3702 or visit the VA's home loan guaranty program. Web site http://www.homeloans.va.gov
VA headstones, markers and medallions - VA offers a service-related medallion as an alternative to a headstone or marker to eligibile veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. MOre information on the headstones, markers and
medallions available, click here.
Welcome Home Bonus – Have you received your Massachusetts Welcome Home Bouns? Active Duty service during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terror (OEF/OIF/GWOT) means you are entitled to a Welcome Home Bonus. Amounts vary depending on assignment and there is no time limit on applying for this bonus. Current award for the GWOT is $1,000 for service in Afghanistan and Iraq or $500 for service in
other locations. Update: Multiple Welcome Home Bonuses are now authorized. Under new legislation, enacted November 2009, veterans serving multiple deployments since September 11, 2001 are eligible for multiple bonuses:
Multiple Welcome Home Bonus Requirements:
1. Must show six months to one-year residency in Massachusetts before latest deployment.
2. Must have received your original Welcome Home Bonus under Chapter 130 Acts of 2005.
3. Service inside of Iraq/Afghanistan, or at least 180 days of active Foreign Service.
4. Veteran must have received an honorable discharge
5 Years of Cost Free Health Care – OEF/OIF combat Veterans can receive cost free medical care for any condition related to their service in the Iraq/Afghanistan theater for five years after the date of their discharge or release. In order to take advantage of these benefits, OEF/OIF Vets need to enroll in VA's health care system. Don't delay!
What benefits/resources are available to veterans - Here is a 90 minute webcast session done on June 16, 2009 with a lot of Q&A and solid information about what is available to Massachusetts veterans and returning service members. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o5M_jEO1yE
VA Loans - Veterans, did you know that you can buy a home with no money down and virtually no out of pocket expenses? The Department of Veterans Affairs offers home loans like this to veterans. Read more about this extremely beneficial program at the following link http://www.mortgageloan.com/veterans/
Disabled Westford veterans... Do you qualify for a real estate tax exemption? Check for eligibility at this link. Download the application at this link.
IRS and VA Disability Benefits - Do not include disability benefits you receive from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in your gross income. In particular some of the payments which are considered disability benefits include:
• Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to veterans or their families,
• Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living,
• Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs, or
• Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.