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H.R. 2835

Massachusetts State Veteran's Benefits

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The state of Massachusetts provides several veteran benefits. This section offers a brief description of each of the following benefits.

Massachusetts Veteran Housing Programs

Soldiers' Homes
The state of Massachusetts maintains soldiers' homes in Holyoke and Chelsea. Both offer residential and long-term care.

DVS-Supported Permanent Housing
The state of Massachusetts maintains permanent housing units for veterans in Bedford, Boston, Gardner (2 locations), New Bedford, and, Worcester. These locations offer affordable rental housing for honorably disabled veterans in private rooms.

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Massachusetts Financial Assistance Benefits

Tax Exemptions
Property Tax: Eligible veterans, spouses, and parents. To qualify, all veterans (and spouses where applicable) must: 

  • be at least 10% disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • be legal residents of Massachusetts
  • be occupying the property as his/her domicile on July 1 in the year of application
  • have lived in Massachusetts for at least six months prior to entering the service (spouses exempted) or
  • have lived in Massachusetts for five consecutive years immediately prior to filing for a property tax exemption.

Motor Vehicle Tax:
Disabled veterans who by reason of service in the U.S. armed forces have suffered the loss of, or permanent loss of the use of, one or both feet or one or both hands or the loss of sight in one eye or who have permanent impairment of vision of both eyes (see statute for details) and are certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for motor vehicle excise exemption (applicable only to one motor vehicle owned and registered for personal, non-commercial use).

Sales Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans:

Disabled veterans who by reason of service in the U.S. armed forces have suffered the loss of, or permanent loss of the use of, both legs or both arms or one leg and one arm are eligible for a motor vehicle sales tax exemption (applicable only to one motor vehicle owned and registered for personal, non-commercial use).

Annuities
An annuity in the amount of $2,000, which is payable biannually on August 1st and February 1st in two installments of $1,000 each is available for certain veterans and their spouses, as well as Gold Star Parents. This benefit is provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through the Department of Veterans' Services.

Bonuses
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides a bonus to veterans who were domiciled in Massachusetts immediately prior to entry in the armed forces. In case of the death of a veteran, the spouse and children, mother or father, brother or sister or other dependents of the deceased veteran (in that order) are eligible for a bonus.

  • World War II Bonus
  • Korean War Bonus
  • Vietnam War Bonus
  • Persian Gulf War Bonus
  • Welcome Home Bonus

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Massachusetts Education Benefits

Education Financial Assistance
Tuition Waivers: A Tuition waiver 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. To be eligible, a veteran must also be a legal resident of Massachusetts and he/she must not be in default of any federal student loans.

Veterans will be eligible on a space-available basis for a waiver of full or partial tuition based on proper documentation of the eligibility of the veteran. Space availability shall be determined in accordance with normal practices and procedures as published by each institution, i.e., the individual college or university.

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.

Cyber Forensics for Veterans
A special program offered in partnership with the Massachusetts Attorney General. In 18 months you can complete the Course Work in Cyber Forensics and gain hands-on experience with an internship in a certified Law Enforcement Cyber Forensics Lab that is partnered with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

Courses towards an Associate’s Degree/Workforce Certificate/Career Certificate in Cyber Forensics are offered at the following campuses:

  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • Bristol Community College
  • Middlesex Community College

Massachusetts Public Service Grant Program:
The Massachusetts Public Service Grant Program was established in recognition of the hardship that a family experiences upon the loss of a parent and or spouse who is killed or missing in the line of public service duty in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This grant program was established to provide educational opportunity to the remaining family members. The Public Service Grant Program is the only scholarship program not based on demonstrated financial need, but rather entitlement.

Operation Recognition
The Welcome Home Bill (signed November 11, 2005) allows high schools to award diplomas to World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans who left school for good upon being drafted or enlisting in the military.

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Other Massachusetts State Veteran Benefits

Civil Service and Veterans' Preference
If you are a Massachusetts veteran, as defined in the Introduction above, you are entitled to veterans' preference in civil service exams. If you attain a score of 70% or higher, you are entitled to go to the top of the exam list, with disabled veterans having top priority. If you apply for a promotional exam, you get two points added to your score. If you apply for a civil service job for which there is no exam, you are entitled to veterans' preference in a "provisional appointment." If you apply for a position in the labor force, you are not required to take an exam and you go to the top of the list.

Motor Vehicles Benefits
Veteran series license plates, excise tax exemptions, and vehicle registration exemptions are benefits offered to veterans in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Disabled veterans who by reason of service in the U.S. armed forces have suffered the loss of, or permanent loss of, the use of one or both hands or feet, or who have permanent impairment of vision in both eyes, or any other disability or handicap of such veterans that may be determined by the Medical Affairs Branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles are eligible to receive, free of charge, disabled veterans motor vehicle registration plates and are exempt from the biannual registration renewal fee.

All veterans of any war or military action who, in the course of duty, have been captured and incarcerated by an enemy of the U.S. during an armed conflict are eligible to receive, free of charge, ex-prisoner of war motor vehicle registration plates and are exempt from the biannual registration renewal fee. Presentation of satisfactory evidence of such prisoner of war status is required. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until he/she remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration, but an annual fee would then be required.

State Veterans' Cemeteries
There are two state veterans' cemeteries in Massachusetts (Agawam and Winchendon) where eligible veterans can be buried at no cost. There will be a nominal fee for the burial of spouses and eligible dependents.

Visit the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services website for more details on any of these programs.

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