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Veterans' Benefits

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed September 2019

American flag imageMassachusetts and the federal government have programs to help veterans. You can also get help from some non-profits and private groups.

Some of the benefits you can get from these programs are:

Money because you served

Money if you are disabled

Money for retirement

Money for education and training

Life insurance

Money for your home­­­

Health Benefits

Burial Benefits

Help for your family

 

Money because you served

Massachusetts gives some veterans money because they served during war time. You can get this money if you are working, not-working, retired or disabled. Find out more about the program, like how much money you can get.

There is also money for veterans in need. You do not have to be disabled to get this money.

Money if you are disabled

If you have a disability that

  • arose during your military service, or
  • military service made it worse or aggravated it, or
  • the VA believes it is related to your military service.

You may qualify for tax-free VA disability money.

If you become permanently and totally disabled and the disability is not related to your military service, the federal government also provides tax-free pension money.

Massachusetts has small cash annuities for those who are disabled.

Money for retirement

If you are a veteran, and you are 65 or older, you can get tax-free federal money.

Money for education and training

The VA pays for education or training programs they have approved for Servicemembers and Veterans who qualify.

Life insurance

The VA offers life insurance benefits for Servicemembers and Veterans.

Money for your home

Some Veterans and Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Service members can get VA home loans. VA loans have good terms, like no down payments and no mortgage insurance costs. The VA also guarantees loans for building, repairing, and improving homes. MassHousing also offers a special mortgage for active military members.

You may also be eligible for a property tax exemption.

Massachusetts can also give money for some emergency repairs to your home.

Habitat for Humanity also has a program to help veterans with home repairs.

If you need to move, the State will cover some moving expensesfor moves within Massachusetts. Sometimes they help you move out of state.

If you are homeless you can get help. The VA has a housing assistance program. The New England Center and Home for Veterans may also help.

Health Benefits

The federal government offers a number of health care services like:

  • Veterans Crisis Line: If you or a veteran you know is having an emotional crisis, call 1-800-273-8255 and push 1 to get help right away.
  • Hospital, outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy, and prosthetic services,
  • Nursing home and community-based residential care,
  • Treatment related to Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and  Homeless Veteran programs,
  • Alcohol and drug dependency treatment,
  • Medical evaluation for disorders related to Gulf War service or environmental hazards,
  • Specialized health care for women,
  • Counselors who provide individual, group, and family "Readjustment counseling"  readjustment counseling to help you with the transition to civilian life, treat post-traumatic stress disorder, and help you with any other military related problems.

Massachusetts gives veterans who need it medical coverage like MassHealth. And they provide transportation to medical services if you cannot get any other transportation.

Burial Benefits

The federal government has burial and memorial services to honor most deceased Veterans like:

  • giving an inscribed headstone or marker at a cemetery, or
  • money to reimburse those paying for a veteran’s burial and funeral some of the costs.  This is only for some veterans.
  • An American flag to drape the casket of a Veteran.
  • Burial in a VA national cemetery.

Help for your family

Veteran’s dependents and survivors can get:

  • money paid monthly to a surviving spouse of a Servicemember who died
    •  during active military service or
    • from a service-connected disability, or
    • and was rated totally disabled at the time of their death.
  • Reimbursement for most medical expenses.
  • Money to get a degree or other eligible education and training.
  • A pension paid monthly to your spouse and children if they have a low income and you served during wartime.

The VA supports caregivers who care for Veterans who are

  • seriously injured,
  • chronically ill,
  • disabled, or
  • getting older and no longer able to care for themselves adequately.

If a you die because of a combat or war related injury, Massachusetts will give cash assistance to some of your relatives.

Who to contact and more information

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VA) runs the federal VA programs.

The Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services runs programs for the state of Massachusetts.

By some estimates there are 45,000 non-profits in the United States that serve the military and veterans. It is hard to know which organizations to trust. Check the rating of different non-profits here.

See the Citizens Information Service Booklet of Veterans’ Laws and Benefits for more information about Massachusetts benefits for Veterans.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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