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 different standard.
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.
An 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.
The bonuses that veterans may be eligible for include the following bonuses: World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War and the Welcome Home Bonus. The following information applies to veterans who served in any of above-mentioned wars, campaigns or conflicts.
- World War II: Veterans who meet the definition of a Massachusetts Veteran (as amended by the Acts of 2005) may be eligible for three separate bonuses. A $100 bonus for veterans who served in active duty from one day to six months, $200 for veterans who performed stateside service for six or more months and $300 for those who performed foreign service.
- Korean War: Veterans who meet the definition of a Massachusetts Veteran (as amended by Acts of 2005) may be eligible for three separate bonuses. A $100 bonus for veterans who performed 90 days stateside, $200 for veterans who performed six months or more and $300 for any veteran serving one or more days outside the continental US.
- Vietnam War: To receive the $200 Vietnam War Veterans Bonus, veterans must have performed active duty between July 1, 1958 and May 16, 1975. This bonus is rewarded to those who served for six months or more. Vietnam veterans who served on duty in Vietnam will receive a $300 bonus.
- Persian Gulf War: Veterans who served between August 2, 1990 and April 10, 1991 for thirty or more days are eligible for the Persian Gulf War Veterans Bonus. Those called to duty in areas other than the Persian Gulf receive $300. Veterans who were called to duty and served in the Persian Gulf (war zone or surrounding waters) who have also received the Southwest Asia Service Medal will receive $500.
Veterans who are not eligible: Veterans who have received a Dishonorable Discharge or those that do not meet the requirements above will not be eligible to receive the specified bonus. If the veteran is ineligible, surviving beneficiaries would also be ineligible.
How To Claim the Veterans Bonus. For veterans or surviving relatives interested in claiming a Massachusetts Veterans Bonus, applications are available online at the Treasurer’s website.
The telephone number to call for the World War II Bonus is 617-367-3900, x308. For the Korean War Bonus or Vietnam War Bonus, call 617-367-3900, x208. Those calling in reference to the Welcome Home Bonus can call 617-367-9333, x350.