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.
To be eligible for veterans' benefits, one must be a "veteran" or a dependent of a "veteran"
under M.G.L. c. 4, sec. 7, cl. 43rd as amended by the Acts of 2005, ch. 130. See below for service requirements and exceptions.
*Naval and Marine DD214 must indicate Expeditionary
Medal. All DD214's must specify campaign: Lebanon, Granada, or Panama.
For GUARD MEMBERS to qualify
they must have 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code -OR-
Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 33, sections
38, 40, and 41 must have 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the above chart.
RESERVISTS to qualify, they must have been called to regular active
duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined by the above chart.Training Duty Exception Active duty service in the armed forces shall not include active duty
for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the Armed Forces of the United
Service Exception (for Death or Disability)
It is not necessary that an applicant have completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign
if he/she served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per
the Discharge Certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
The following categories of
persons may qualify as dependents eligible to receive veterans’ benefits. Spouse of the veteran.
Widow or widower of the veteran. Dependent parent of
the 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 23 years of age while the
child is attending high school, an institution of higher learning or some other accredited educational institution provided
that the applicant is in receipt of benefits under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 115. Child
of the veteran 19 years of age or older who is mentally or physically unable to support himself or herself and was affected
by the disability prior to his or her 18th birthday. Legally adopted children of the veteran.
is NOT eligible?
None of the following shall be deemed to be a veteran: Any person, who at
the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States, had declared his/her intention to become a subject or citizen
of the United States and withdrew his/her intention under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918. Any person who was discharged from the said armed forces on his/her own application or solicitation by reason of
his/her being an enemy alien. Any person who has been proved guilty of willful desertion. Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his/her service as a member of
the Coast Guard auxiliary or as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve, or both. Any
person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable.
How To Apply
Applications for Chapter 115 Public Assistance
benefits can be filed with the veteran's local Veterans Agent who works out of your city or town hall. Call your local city/town hall and ask for Veterans' Services. Or, call the Department of Veterans’ Services, 617-210-5480 and ask for your Veterans’ Agent
name and contact information. Examples of documents needed for application (speak to your Veterans’
Agent for a full list of documents required)
(a) DD214 or other discharge certificate
(b) Income verification (pay stubs, award letters or other documents showing monthly income)
(c) Shelter verification (rent receipt or mortgage payment)
To Establish Relationship as a Veteran's Dependent
certificate (for spouse or widow/widower of a veteran)
(f) Birth certificate
or adoption record with name of eligible veteran as parent (for child of a veteran)
(g) Death certificate (for widow/widower of a veteran, child of deceased veteran)
(h) Birth certificate of veteran with name of parent (for parent of a veteran)
(i) Public record or statements from the veteran or other knowledgeable people, showing that the applicant
stood in place of a parent to the veteran for five years immediately preceding the veteran's wartime service (for person in
place of a parent to a veteran).
All Massachusetts veterans with a 100% disability are entitled to a $1,000.00 annuity
issued twice a year to provide further fiscal assistance.
Chapter 115 Update
The head of the state Department of Veterans' Services
has ordered all towns and cities to fall in line with its own interpretation of a benefit payment law that had been the subject
of disagreement between local agencies.
The directive issued by Secretary Coleman Nee reiterates the policy that a veteran's family is
treated as a single unit, rather than separately, which will increase future monthly payments for those who were held to a
MassLive.com reported on December 9, 2015 that several communities were interpreting a state law called Chapter 115 in a way the department
disagreed with, and it was affecting payments.
Chapter 115 Section 5 states that a veteran has to establish residency in a town for 24 hours before applying
for taxpayer-funded benefits at the local agency, but any dependents must have lived in Massachusetts for at least three years.
Most local agencies ignored the three-year rule at the state's direction, while others enforced it and paid certain veterans
with families at an individual rate.
Welcome Home Bonus
The Welcome Home Bonus package is due to most discharged veterans. The Veterans' Bonus is a division
of the Community and Veterans’ Services Department in Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg's Administration.
It is for veterans who are engaged in or have completed qualified active service since September 11, 2001.
All bonus payments are subject to applicants meeting eligibility requirements, which include a six-month domicile in
Massachusetts immediately prior to entry into the armed service and an honorable discharge. The treasury
administers the World War II Bonus, Korean Bonus, and Vietnam Bonus, as well as the Welcome Home Bonus.
Call Leo Fuller at 781-353-5559 to learn more about the bonus programs.
New Massachusetts Bill
Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, has announced Senate passage of legislation
that supports those who have served in the military as they transition to civilian life after deployment.
act relative to housing, operations, military service and enrichment grants veterans protections against employment discrimination
and expands access to public housing by giving eligible veterans a preference in elderly and disabled housing in all communities,
regardless of residency. It also requires housing authorities to exclude a disabled veteran's federal disability compensation
more than $1,800 from their income level used to calculate eligibility for public housing.
The bill also
establishes a public service scholarship program to provide scholarships to children and widowed spouses of Massachusetts
police officers, firefighters and correction officers, who are killed or died from injuries received while in the performance
of their duties, including authorized training duty; children of prisoners of war or military or service persons missing in
action whose wartime service is credited to the commonwealth; and children of veterans whose service was credited to the commonwealth
and who were killed in action or otherwise died as a result of such service.
HOME Bill Passed
Housing, Operations, Military Service and Enrichment
(HOME), is an omnibus bill based around State Rep. James Arciero’s proposal to give greater access to housing for
100 percent service-connected disabled veterans in the Commonwealth. It will build on the successes of the Valor Act I of
2012 and Valor Act II passed in 2014, which helped Massachusetts become the number one state in the nation for providing for
veterans services. To increase access to housing for veterans, the bill grants veterans
preference in admission for scattered site housing units where no low-income family housing has been developed. The bill also
requires housing authorities to exclude amounts of disability compensation paid by the federal government when computing rent
for a disabled veteran. In addition, the bill gives eligible veterans a preference in elderly and disabled housing in all
communities, not solely the community in which the veteran resides.
Paid Leave for Veterans
Massachusetts Governor signs Act granting paid leave to all veterans
participating in Veterans Day activities and adds “veteran status” as a protected class. The
HOME Act amends the law to require employers with 50 or more employees to grant leave of absence on Veterans Day with pay,
provided that the employee provides “reasonable notice” for leave. As written, the HOME Act does not require employers to grant paid leave on Memorial Day. Veteran is now a Protected Class. The HOME Act amends the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices
Act by adding “veteran status” as a protected category. Previously, active military personnel were protected by
the Fair Employment Practices Act, but veterans were not. M.G.L. 151 §4. Employers must now treat “veteran status”
as a protected class, much like race, ancestry, color, religion, etc.