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Can I get chapter 115 benefits?

Produced by Veterans Legal Clinic Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
Created August 2018

There are three requirements to get these benefits. You must:

  1. Be a veteran or a dependent of a veteran;
  2. Have financial need; and
  3. Live in Massachusetts.

Be a veteran or a dependent of a veteran.

A veteran is someone who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, or full-time National Guard duty
  • Last discharge was “under honorable conditions” (you may be eligible even if you do not have an Honorable discharge)
  • Meets at least one of the following requirements:
    • Served at least 180 days; or
    • Served at least 90 days with at least 1 day in war time; or
    • Had a service-connected disability after 1 day of active service in war time; or
    • Was awarded the Purple Heart; or
    • Died in service

A dependent is one of the following people:

  • A veteran’s spouse or widow(er)
  • A veteran’s child aged 18 or younger
  • A veteran’s child aged 19 to 23 years old who is in high school or college
  • A veteran’s child aged 19 or older who is totally disabled and was disabled before turning 19
  • A veteran’s parent

Have financial need

You must have low income and assets.

Income includes wages, salary, VA compensation and pension, SSI/SSDI, government benefits, dividends, and other payments to you. The income limits are:

Household Size Monthly Income Limit
Individual $2,023
2-Person Household $2,743
3-Person Household $3,463
4-Person Household $4,183
5-Person Household $4,903

If you have more family members living in your household, the income limits are higher.

Even if your income is higher than these amounts, you may still qualify for reimbursement of medical expenses. 

Assets include money in bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and other property. Your VSO will only count assets that are liquid (can easily be turned into cash). For example, the VSO usually doesn’t count assets like your home or car. The asset limits are:  

Household Size Asset Limit
Individual $5,000
Couple $9,800

You must live in Massachusetts

You need to live in Massachusetts for at least one day. If you are homeless, you are still eligible.

Use the Mass Vet Benefit Calculator to find out if you qualify.

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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