Under Chapter 115 of Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L. ch. 115), the Commonwealth provides a uniform program of
financial and medical assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents. Qualifying veterans and their dependents receive
necessary financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, housing supplies, and medical care in accordance with a formula
which takes into account the number of dependants and income from all sources. Eligible dependents of deceased veterans are
provided with the same benefits as they would were the veteran still living.
To be eligible for veterans' benefits, one must be a "veteran" or a dependent of a "veteran"
under M.G.L. c. 4, sec. 7, cl. 43rd as amended by the Acts of 2005, ch. 130. See below for service requirements and exceptions.
*Naval and Marine DD214 must indicate Expeditionary
Medal. All DD214's must specify campaign: Lebanon, Granada, or Panama.
For GUARD MEMBERS to qualify
they must have 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code -OR-
Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 33, sections
38, 40, and 41 must have 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the above chart.
RESERVISTS to qualify, they must have been called to regular active
duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined by the above chart.Training Duty Exception Active duty service in the armed forces shall not include active duty
for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the Armed Forces of the United
Service Exception (for Death or Disability)
It is not necessary that an applicant have completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign
if he/she served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per
the Discharge Certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
The following categories of
persons may qualify as dependents eligible to receive veterans’ benefits. Spouse of the veteran.
Widow or widower of the veteran. Dependent parent of
the veteran. Any person who acted as a parent to the veteran for five years immediately preceding
the commencement of the veteran’s wartime service. Child of the veteran until his
or her 19th birthday. Child of the veteran between 19 years and 23 years of age while the
child is attending high school, an institution of higher learning or some other accredited educational institution provided
that the applicant is in receipt of benefits under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 115. Child
of the veteran 19 years of age or older who is mentally or physically unable to support himself or herself and was affected
by the disability prior to his or her 18th birthday. Legally adopted children of the veteran.
is NOT eligible?
None of the following shall be deemed to be a veteran: Any person, who at
the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States, had declared his/her intention to become a subject or citizen
of the United States and withdrew his/her intention under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918. Any person who was discharged from the said armed forces on his/her own application or solicitation by reason of
his/her being an enemy alien. Any person who has been proved guilty of willful desertion. Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his/her service as a member of
the Coast Guard auxiliary or as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve, or both. Any
person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable.
How To Apply
Applications for Chapter 115 Public Assistance
benefits can be filed with the veteran's local Veterans Agent who works out of your city or town hall. Call your local city/town hall and ask for Veterans' Services. Or, call the Department of Veterans’ Services, 617-210-5480 and ask for your Veterans’ Agent
name and contact information. Examples of documents needed for application (speak to your Veterans’
Agent for a full list of documents required)
(a) DD214 or other discharge certificate
(b) Income verification (pay stubs, award letters or other documents showing monthly income)
(c) Shelter verification (rent receipt or mortgage payment)
To Establish Relationship as a Veteran's Dependent
certificate (for spouse or widow/widower of a veteran)
(f) Birth certificate
or adoption record with name of eligible veteran as parent (for child of a veteran)
(g) Death certificate (for widow/widower of a veteran, child of deceased veteran)
(h) Birth certificate of veteran with name of parent (for parent of a veteran)
(i) Public record or statements from the veteran or other knowledgeable people, showing that the applicant
stood in place of a parent to the veteran for five years immediately preceding the veteran's wartime service (for person in
place of a parent to a veteran).
All Massachusetts veterans with a 100% disability are entitled to a $1,000.00 annuity
issued twice a year to provide further fiscal assistance.
Chapter 115 Update
The head of the state Department of Veterans' Services has ordered all towns and cities to fall in line with its
own interpretation of a benefit payment law that had been the subject of disagreement between local agencies.
The directive issued by Secretary Coleman Nee reiterates the policy
that a veteran's family is treated as a single unit, rather than separately, which will increase future monthly payments for
those who were held to a different standard.
MassLive.com reported on December 9, 2015 that several communities were interpreting a state law called Chapter
115 in a way the department disagreed with, and it was affecting payments.
Chapter 115 Section 5 states that a veteran has to establish residency in a town for 24
hours before applying for taxpayer-funded benefits at the local agency, but any dependents must have lived in Massachusetts
for at least three years. Most local agencies ignored the three-year rule at the state's direction, while others enforced
it and paid certain veterans with families at an individual rate.