Massachusetts Veterans & Disabled Veterans Benefits
The following are the Massachusetts veterans’ benefits programs for education, employment, housing and healthcare.
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 states.
Massachusetts Tuition Waivers
A tuition waiver is available for all Massachusetts veterans to all state colleges and universities.
Veterans of Massachusetts can be eligible for a tuition waiver at any state-supported course in an undergraduate degree program offered by a public college or university. Veterans will be eligible on a space-available basis for a waiver of full or partial tuition.
> Find colleges and universities in Massachusetts with our School Finder.
Massachusetts Tuition and Fee Waivers for Guard Members
The Massachusetts National Guard Education Assistance Program provides a 100% tuition and fee waiver for Massachusetts National Guard soldiers attending a state college, university, or community college program.
Generally, these state-supported programs are offered during the day as part of a degree program.
Your assistance can continue as long as you are in good standing academically and until you have reached 130 semester hours.
Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund
The Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund (MSLF) has been established to specifically help the children of Massachusetts servicemen and women who have died while deployed on Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
The MSLF is specifically designed to grant funds for current and future college/university students whose parents “home of record” at the Department of Defense was Massachusetts and were killed on deployment during Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom.
There is no selection process. If the student is a child of a serviceman or woman whose service is credited to Massachusetts and gave his/her life in Operation Enduring or Iraqi Freedom, that student qualifies for funds.
Prior to each school year, the trustees will distribute equal grant shares to those students who qualify.
The only requirement for recipients will be that they have filed applications establishing that they are qualified, and that they remain enrolled in the undergraduate or postgraduate program at the college or university.
> Find colleges and universities in Massachusetts with our School Finder.
Housing Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans
Property Tax Exemption
Disabled veterans in Massachusetts may receive a property tax exemption on his or her residence. To qualify, veterans must be at least 10 % disabled, must have lived in Massachusetts for six months prior to enlisting, and have lived in the state for five consecutive years. An exemption of $400 may be received if the veteran is 10% or more disabled, a Purple Heart Recipient, or a Gold Star Parent. They can receive a $750 exemption if they lost the use of one hand, one foot or one eye. They can receive a $1,250 exemption if they lost use of both of their hands, both feet or a combination of the two or if the veteran is blind in both eyes as a result of service. They can receive a $1,500 exemption if 100% disabled as a result of service.
Health Care Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans
Massachusetts has two Soldiers’ Homes, one in Holyoke and one in Chelsea. To qualify, a veteran will need to have served in the armed forces for 90 consecutive days, one of which was during a time of war, and received an honorable military discharge. In certain circumstances, they may have served 180 days of regular active service and will then be able to qualify for services from the home in Holyoke.
Employment Benefits for Massachusetts’ Veterans
Veterans’ Employment Representatives
Veterans’ Employment Representatives will be able to help veterans organize their job search, work to help design a personal employment plan, assist with writing a resume, and help them develop job leads. VERs are state employees that are located in the state’s One-Stop Career Centers.
Civil Service for Veterans
Veterans are given preference on eligibility lists of civil service positions in the following order: disabled veterans, veterans, and spouses or single parents of veterans who were killed in action or who have died from a service-connected disability incurred during wartime services, as long as the spouse or parent has not remarried.
All veterans will have two points added to their overall score and are not placed at the top of the list. Civil service uses a system of absolute veteran’s preference in which someone qualifying as a veteran who passes the open competitive exam is placed higher on the resulting eligible list except in respect to residency preference on Firefighter and police officer lists.
For labor service, there is no exam required but the veteran must submit an application and required documentation that they are a veteran. All veterans, disabled or non disabled are placed at the top of the specific labor service eligibility list for state agencies and the city of Boston. Spouses and single parents of veterans are placed below veterans but above other applicants.
Massachusetts does not tax military retirement pay.
Other Veterans’ Benefits Programs for Massachusetts’ Veterans
Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE)
The SAVE program is there to help advocate for veterans who are not able to obtain the benefits they have earned because of institutional or personal barriers. They want to prevent suicide and mental health distress through the identification of issues facing veterans when they return from service and transition back to civilian life. SAVE will act as a liaison between veterans and their families and the various agencies within the federal and state government. They also work closely with the Massachusetts National Guard. The resources offered by them, including their Family Readiness Program are available to all service members and their families, regardless of the branch that they serve.
Disabled Veteran Fee and Tax Exemptions
Registration Fee-Disabled veterans do not need to pay a registration fee for one passenger vehicle or a pick-up truck. The vehicle must be owned by the veteran and used for a non-commercial purposes. Registration fees will need to be paid for additional vehicles. The veteran can choose one set of DV plates or one set of passenger plates.
Driver’s Licence Fee– Disabled veterans do not need to pay fees for driver’s licence transactions as long as they have been approved for DV plates, regardless of if they use them or not.
Excise Tax– Disabled veterans do not need to pay excise tax for one passenger vehicle or a pick-up truck. It will need to be owned by the veteran and used for non-commercial purposes. The veteran will need to have been approved for DV plates, regardless of it they use them or not. Excise tax must be paid on additional vehicles and the veteran must apply and be approved for this.
Sales Tax– Disabled veterans do not need to pay sales tax for one passenger vehicle or pick-up truck. It must be owned by the veteran and used for non-commercial purposes. The veteran will need to obtain DV plates for the vehicle. Sales tax will need to be paid on additional vehicles.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its Department of Veterans’ Services provide an annuity of $2,000, to be paid biannually on August 1st and February 1st of $1,000 each. This annuity is given in recognition of 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. Veterans must have an honorable discharge, meet one of the service time requirements, be a resident of Massachusetts at the time of applying for the annuity and continue to be a resident, and meet the requirements for blindness, paraplegia, double amputation or other disability that qualifies and is certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For a parent or spouse, the death of the veteran must be service-connected, they must reside in Massachusetts, and continue to reside there, and the spouse must not be remarried.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will provide a bonus to veterans who were domiciled in Massachusetts immediately prior to entry in the Armed Forces. If the veteran has died, the spouse and children, mother or father, brother or sister, or other dependents of the veteran are eligible for a bonus, in that order. There are bonuses for World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Welcome Home Bonus.
World War II: Veterans can receive $100 if they served in active duty from one day to six months, $200 for veterans who performed stateside for six or more months, and $300 for those who performed foreign service.
Korean War: Veterans can receive $100 for serving 90 days stateside, $200 for veterans who performed six months or more and $300 for any service member serving one or more days outside of the continental US.
Vietnam War: Veterans can receive $200 if they have performed active duty between July 1st, 1958 and May 16th, 1975, and served at least six months or more. Those who served on duty in Vietnam will receive $300.
Persian Gulf War: Service members that served between August 2nd, 1990 and April 10th, 1991 for 30 days or more are able to receive the bonus. Those who were called to duty in areas other than the Persian Gulf will receive $300, and those called to duty and served in the Persian Gulf who have received the Southwest Asia Service Medal will receive $500.
Welcome Home Bonus: This bonus is for veterans who have resided in Massachusetts for at least six months prior to joining the Armed Forces beginning on September 11, 2001. Those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan will receive $1,000. Those who have served stateside or outside the continental limits of the US for six months or more of active duty will receive $500.
Applications for the bonus are available online through the Treasurer’s website.
For more information regarding Massachusetts veterans’ benefits, please go here.
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