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Massachusetts Veterans & Disabled Veterans Benefits

massachusetts veterans benefits

The following are Commonwealth of Massachusetts veterans’ benefits programs for education, employment, nursing home benefits, and burial benefits.

Massachusetts Veterans’ Benefits Programs

Education Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans’ benefits programs provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

> Find colleges and universities in Massachusetts with our School Finder.

Massachusetts State Military Tuition Waivers

The Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services official site has, at press time, a section of its official site dedicated to Massachusetts state veteran education benefits, which says that “tuition and/or fee waivers are available to veterans and members of the Massachusetts National Guard” for “all state schools, colleges and universities.”

These waivers may be for the entire amount or may function as a supplemental payment depending on circumstances.

To claim this benefit, you are required to work with the college you wish to apply to; vets and members of the Guard and Reserve are advised to “contact the Veterans’ Representative at the state college/university for eligibility requirements and to apply.” Qualifying veterans are approved for this benefit on a space-available basis.

Massachusetts Tuition and Fee Waivers for Guard Members

The Massachusetts National Guard Education Assistance Program offers a 100% tuition and fee waiver for qualifying members of the Massachusetts National Guard soldier who want to attend a state college, university, or community college program.

Service members must remain “in good standing with their unit” while using this Massachusetts military education benefit. Service members may qualify for up to 130 semester hours of assistance.

> Find colleges and universities in Massachusetts with our School Finder.

Tax Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans

Massachusetts State Income Tax Breaks For Veterans

The State of Massachusetts does not tax combat zone pay, military retirement pay, or military disability retirement pay.

Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption

Veterans, spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star Parents may be eligible for property tax exemptions in Massachusetts. Tax breaks may be offered to those with VA-rated service-connected disabilities at 10% or better, and the amount of these property tax exemptions will vary depending on the applicant.

To qualify, the following general criteria must apply:

  • The applicant is a resident of Massachusetts
  • The veteran received an honorable discharge
  • Applicant must occupy the property as the primary residence
  • Applicant must have lived in Massachusetts for at least six months before military service OR;
  • The applicant lived in Massachusetts for five consecutive years before filing for a property tax exemption

Contact your local tax assessor’s office to learn how to apply.

Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Fee and Tax Exemptions

  • Vehicle Registration Fee and Sales Tax: Disabled veterans may qualify for an exemption of the registration fee and sales tax for one passenger vehicle. The vehicle must be owned by the veteran and cannot be used for commercial purposes.
  • Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Driver’s Licence Fee– Disabled veterans do not pay driver’s license fees when approved for Disabled Veteran plates.
  • Excise Tax– Disabled veterans do not need to pay an excise tax for one passenger vehicle or a pick-up truck owned by the veteran and used for non-commercial purposes. A condition of this tax exemption is that you must be approved for DV plates regardless of whether you choose to use them or not.

Nursing Home Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts operates Soldiers’ Homes in Holyoke and in Chelsea. In spite of the name, veterans from all branches of military service are welcome if they qualify. Admissions requirements include, but may not be limited to:

  • Serving for at least 90 consecutive days
  • At least one day of duty must be wartime service;
  • Honorable discharge

Nursing home options include residential care, social work services, and long-term care. A waiting list may apply; contact the facility in advance to learn what requirements may apply to be placed on the list.

Burial Benefits For Massachusetts Veterans

Massachusettes operates two state veteran cemeteries, one located in Agawam and one in Winchendon. These cemeteries are open to eligible veterans and dependents; qualifying veterans can be buried at no cost, and spouses and dependents can be buried for a nominal fee.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides minimal information about requirements, pre-need arrangements, or other issues. Contact the Massachussettes Department of Veterans Services for more information on burial options in the state.

Employment Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans

Hiring Preference for Veterans

Qualifying veterans and family members are offered preference points for Civil Service examinations. Those who score 70 points or above on an open exam for Massachusetts civil service jobs including police and firefighting “receive absolute Veterans’ preference and are immediately placed at the head of the eligibility list” according to Army.mil.

The preference ranking is as follows:

  • Disabled Veterans
  • All other Veterans
  • Spouses and single parents of a Veteran who died as a result of military service.

For certain positions, there may be no exam. In such cases, the veteran or family member must submit an application and required documentation showing proof of military service.

Other State Benefits for Massachusetts Veterans

Veteran Annuity Payment

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services offer qualifying surviving family members an annual annuity ($2000 in 2022, amounts subject to change year-to-year). This is also offered to “100% service-connected disabled veterans and to the parents and unmarried spouses of those veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country during wartime” according to the official site.

Veterans must have an honorable discharge, meet minimum time-in-service requirements, and the veteran must be a resident of Massachusetts at the time of application.

To qualify as a parent or spouse, the death of the veteran must be service-connected, the applicant must live in Massachusetts, and surviving spouses must not be remarried.

Military Service Bonuses

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers cash bonuses to veterans who were Massachusetts residents when they entered military service. Veterans may qualify for a one-time bonus for military service in World War Two, the Korean War, Vietnam, or the Persian Gulf War. Bonus amounts vary depending on the nature of military duty, the conflict, and other variables. Bonus amounts typically range from $100 to $1000.

For more information regarding Massachusetts veterans’ benefits, please see the Massachusetts Department of Veteran Services.