Annuity – MA Benefit for 100% Disabled and Gold Star
100% service-connected disabled and Gold Star spouses are entitled to a biannual annuity paid by the Commonwealth..
If a veteran’s compensation claim is denied or is granted at a lower level than seems appropriate or if a VA Pension is denied, the vet may appeal the decision.
Bonuses for MA Wartime Veterans
Massachusetts provides a war bonus for veterans who entered the service from Massachusetts and served during wartime. There is no moratorium on applying for wartime bonuses and World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans who have not previously applied for their bonus are still eligible.
Burial in National Cemetery/State Veteran Cemetery
Veterans may be buried without cost in the Bourne National Cemetery or the State veterans’ cemeteries in Agawam and Winchendon. Arrangements have been greatly simplified for burial and for provision of a flag.
Burial for Indigent Veterans (MA)
Veterans who die without family or provisions for funeral expenses can be guaranteed a respectful funeral and burial under Massachusetts law.
Medical coverage for spouses and dependent children of veterans with a service-connected rating of 100%, total and permanent.
CRSC / CRDP – Removing Compensation Offsets for Retirees
In January 2004, military retirees benefited from two new offset-removal plans, CRSC and CRDP, which are designed to eliminate or phase out reductions in military retirement pensions due to service-connected disability compensation.
The VA will pay a small funeral/burial benefit for veterans who had a service-connected disability or who died in a VA facility. The VA will pay a larger benefit for veterans who died of a service-connected disability.
Available to all 100% disabled, veterans within one year of discharge, patients in a VA Rehab program or a VA hospital when the need for care occurs and veterans with a service-connected dental injury.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of a military service member who died while on active duty, or whose eventual death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, or who was rated 100% disabled for at least 10 years immediately before death.
Disability Compensation Claims
For veterans who were injured on active duty or during a drill period. The injury, condition, effects or scarring must continue to exist and be a problem. Pre-existing conditions (those which existed before the veteran began active duty) may be claimed if the veteran can show that the condition was worsened by active duty or by drill periods. If a service-connected rating has been previously granted and the condition has worsened, the veteran may file for an increase.
Discharges – Obtaining Copies
Honorable discharges are required for a host of purposes including all benefit filings, retirement programs, SSA, veterans’ preference and burials. Our office can assist you in obtaining military discharges or other military records including medical records.
Discharge - Upgrades and Corrections
Application may be made to upgrade discharges with a designation which is anything other than fully honorable. Additionally, application can be made for clerical corrections such as SSN, unit information, awards and medals.
Education – Dependents of 100% SCD’s or KIA’s
Pays for college for the spouse or children of a veteran who is 100% SCD (total and permanent) or who died in service or died from other causes but with 100%SCD or who is detained by a foreign power (POW).
Education – GI Bill
This benefit requires $1,200 buy-in while on active duty and three years of active duty and pays for the veteran to attend college for 36 months. Eligibility expires 10 years after discharge.
Eyeglasses/ Hearing aids
Available to anyone enrolled in VA Medical or who has a 10% SCD or higher.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), usually called fuel assistance, helps low-income households in Massachusetts pay their heating bills. LIHEAP eligibility is based on gross household income. Chapter 115 recipients are automatically eligible. Both homeowners and renters in Massachusetts may apply for this low-income energy assistance program.
VA markers can now be obtained in bronze or stone for a private cemetery plot even if the grave is already marked with a family marker.
Hearing Loss Claims/Hearing Aids
Prior to November 2004, all veterans who needed them were entitled to free hearing aids and free maintenance. In 2004 the VA changed the rules; veterans who are not enrolled in the VA healthcare system are now required to file for and be granted a service-connected disability for hearing loss in order to qualify for the free hearing aids.
Home Loan Guaranty
The VA Loan Guaranty is not a loan. It is a process whereby the VA will “guarantee” a mortgage made by a bank or mortgage company. This means that the veteran must qualify financially for the loan just as anyone else would. The Guaranty simply allows him to purchase the home without having to make the minimum 20% down-payment required by most banks.
Income Subsistence (MGL Chapter 115)
Certain veterans and widows can be assisted with income supplements and medical assistance under Massachusetts law provided that they meet income and asset limitations.
Insurance - Life Insurance - SGLI, VGLI, NSLI
These life insurance policies were usually offered while the veteran was on active duty. After discharge, options for retaining the policy were offered.
Insurance - Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance
A veteran can apply for S-DVI within two years of being awarded a new service-connected disability (even if only 0%).
A veteran may NOT apply for S-DVI based on an increase in an existing disability.
Many plates are available from the Registry. Some are free and some require a fee. Available plates include: Veteran, Legion of Valor, EX-POW, Purple Heart, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Gold Star Family, Disabled Veteran.
Veterans or family members of a deceased veteran may apply for lost medals or medals that were never given to the veteran but are noted on his honorable discharge.
Available to all veterans who were granted an other-than-dishonorable discharge, provided that they meet financial criteria or have a service-connected disability. Also available for all Global War on Terrorism veterans who have been discharged during the past five years.
Motor Vehicle Exemptions
A number of exemptions exist related to motor vehicles depending on type of veterans disability or award. They include: Motor vehicle registration exemption for disabled veterans and ex-prisoners of war, Sales tax exemption for disabled veterans, Excise tax exemption for ex-prisoners of war and disabled veterans
Nursing Homes / Long-Term Care
Long-term care is available to veterans with combined service-connected disabilities of 70% SCD or greater. Other veterans may qualify for excellent care in one of the state’s two Soldiers’ Homes.
Pension - Non – Service Connected Disability
Pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans who have limited and assets or no income, and who are age 65 or older, or, if under age 65, who are permanently and totally disabled, not due to their own willful misconduct.
Pension - Widow’s
Death Pension is a needs based benefit paid to an unremarried surviving spouse, or an unmarried child of a deceased wartime veteran. The recipient must be unable to work and have limited income and assets.
Pension with Aid and Attendance/Housebound
Low income veterans or widows with limited assets who are more seriously disabled may qualify for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. These are benefits that are paid in addition to the basic pension rate and are intended to defray the cost of home health care aides or visiting nurses.
Property Tax Exemptions
This exemption is a discharge from the obligation to pay all or a portion of the veteran’s or widow’s property tax. The amount of the exemption will vary depending on criteria. Criteria may include partial disability, full disability, Purple Heart, Gold Star, Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross or Air Force Cross.
Low Retiree issues – DFAS / Pensions / SBP
Issues pertaining to the veteran’s retirement package or for dependents’ DFAS/SBP benefits in the event of the death of a military retiree.
Health coverage for regular and reserve/NG retirees and their families.
Please visit www.massvetsadvisor.org for additional helpful information.