Massachusetts Guides to Benefits
The Massachusetts Attorney General's office provides a Veterans Resource Guide which provides information about resources available to veterans, military service members and families.
The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth publishes a Veterans' Benefits and Laws guide, a compilation of resources regarding major state benefits in the areas of education, employment, housing, motor vehicles, property taxes, and medical assistance.
If you are a veteran, dependent 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 877-827-3702 or visit the VA's home loan guaranty program website.
All Massachusetts veterans are entitled to free tuition at Massachusetts' state colleges and universities. Be sure to see the Veterans Representative at the college you plan to attend, or are attending, to maximize your state and GI Bill Benefits.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day 800-273-TALK (8255). PTSD is a real item for all who served from D-Day to Fallujah.
VA Headstones, Markers & Medallions
VA offers a service-related medallion as an alternative to a headstone or marker to eligible 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. Find more information on the headstones, markers and medallions available.
Welcome Home Bonus
Have you received your Massachusetts Welcome Home Bonus? 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
- Must show 6 months to 1-year residency in Massachusetts before latest deployment
- Must have received your original Welcome Home Bonus under Chapter 130 Acts of 2005
- Service inside of Iraq/Afghanistan, or at least 180 days of active Foreign Service
- 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!
Benefits/Resources 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.
VA Home 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 .
Disabled Westford Veterans
Do you qualify for a real estate tax exemption? , and download the application (PDF). Also, here is a link to other possible Tax Exemptions for Westford property owners.
You may be exempt from Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes on ONE personal vehicle. To be eligible for a motor vehicle excise exemption, a veteran must, as documented by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, have actually lost, or have the permanent loss of use of, at least one foot or hand, or have permanent legal blindness in at least one eye, due to his or her military service. Read the MA DOR Bulletin 2015-01b for additional information. The application can be found here.
IRS & 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:
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
- 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
The VA publishes an annual benefits booklet, a comprehensive guide for Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors. If you are a military retiree and receive your disability benefits from the VA, see IRS Publication 525 (PDF) for more information.
If you have a VA service connected disability, the VA created an SCD rating matrix showing the various benefits available for the various percentage level, click here to view their web page.