COVID-19 Department Operations
Please be advised that due to COVID-19 and per order of the Select Board, all Town offices, including the Veterans' office, are closed to the public until June 1, 2020. After June 1, 2020, individuals requesting to meet with the Veterans' Service Officer must call to schedule an appointment and appointments will only be made for services that cannot be done by other means, i.e., mail, email, text, phone call, virtual meeting, etc. All members of the public will be required to wear a face covering while in the building. We ask that you bring your own pen to sign documents, take notes, etc.
The contact information is:
(Office) 508-636-1028 | (Fax) 774-264-5168 (faxes are received via email) | (Email) [email protected] | (Cell) 508-542-4467 (texting capable)
Unemployed Veterans/Spouses/Surviving Spouses: If you are not working due to COVID-19, please contact the VSO to see if you are eligible for financial assistance through Massachusetts Chapter 115 or for assistance in applying for unemployment benefits.
Chapter 115 applications: Westport Veterans and surviving spouses of Veterans looking to apply for Chapter 115 financial assistance can visit https://massvetben.org/ to complete the online calculator to determine if they MIGHT be eligible for financial assistance through the Chapter 115 benefits program. Please note that completing the online calculator is NOT an application for benefits, but it is a good indicator of your eligibility and will inform you of the paperwork you will need to provide with your application. If you are a Westport Veteran or surviving spouse you can also call or email the office and let me know that you want to complete an application for Chapter 115 benefits. Visit the Chapter 115 page of this website to learn more about Chapter 115 benefits. A fillable PDF of the Chapter 115 application can be downloaded here.
Federal VA Claims: If you need to file a claim with the VA, please contact the VA at 800-827-1000 and tell them you want to put in an Intent to File for the benefit you are going to claim, such as Compensation, Pension, or Survivor Benefits. The Intent to File will essentially hold your date of claim and give you ONE YEAR to file the claim with the VA. If you are a Westport Veteran or surviving spouse you can also call or email the office and let me know that you have a claim to file and you will be scheduled for an appointment to complete the claim once the office reopens. Visit the Federal Benefits page of this website for more information on Federal VA benefits.
Memorial Day: Due to COVID-19 and Governor Baker's ban on large gatherings, the Westport Select Board voted to cancel all live Memorial Day activities, including wreath-laying ceremonies on Saturday, May 23, and the parade and ceremony on Monday, May 25.
The VSO will still be laying wreaths at places of military importance throughout Westport sometime in the next few weeks. However, in order to maintain social distancing, attendance will be limited to a few select people with a role in the ceremony.
In addition, we will be pre-recording an abbreviated Memorial Day ceremony to air on Westport Cable TV throughout Memorial Day weekend.
We regret that these measures are necessary, and hope that all Westport residents will watch the ceremony and honor America's fallen heroes.
Mission of the Westport Veterans' Service Office: The mission of the Westport Veterans' Services Office is to provide eligible veterans and their families, who are residents of Westport, with financial and medical assistance in accordance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115 and 108 CMR, and to be an advocate for Westport’s veterans and their dependents.
For more than 100 years a Veterans' Services Officer (VSO) has been available in every Massachusetts city and town to provide an array of services to America's veterans and their dependents. VSOs help Veterans navigate the many federal, state, and local resources and benefits available to them. Whether it’s a specific question or the need to identify programs and benefits for which a Veteran may be eligible, Veteran Service Officers stand by to help. They are liaisons for all Veteran issues. VSOs are trained and accredited by the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide assistance to Veterans, their dependents, and survivors. This includes not only applying for federal and state benefits but also providing resources related to the following:
The eligibility to receive entitlements from DVS and/or the VA must be determined and proven. The Town of Westport’s Veterans’ Services Officer is committed to serving all eligible veterans and/or their families. Please call 508-636-1028 if you need assistance.
The Town of Westport, through the Board of Selectmen’s appointment of a Veterans’ Services Officer, continues to demonstrate its concern and compassion for Veterans of the United States Armed Forces and their families.
Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services Mission: The mission of the Department of Veterans' Services is to advocate on behalf of all Veterans and to provide quality service and benefits to those Veterans and their dependents in need of emergency financial and/or medical assistance.
Since 1861, from its first commitments to Civil War veterans, their spouses and their dependents, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has demonstrated solid concern and compassion for those men and women who have displayed sacrifice, valor, and duty when their state and nation called upon them. DVS supports a network of services and benefits to ensure that none of the veterans in Massachusetts today, who served in time of war, nor their dependents will go hungry, be homeless, or be medically deprived.
Following WW II, the Legislature redrafted M.G.L., Chapter 115 establishing the position of Commissioner of Veterans' Services, who has the responsibility for the proper administration of M.G.L., Chapter 115. This program provides the necessary support for veterans with the dignity and the sensitivity to which they are entitled, in view of the sacrifices they have made for their country. The dependents of deceased veterans are also provided with the same benefits.
It is the VSO to whom the unemployed, indigent, disabled, ill, or veterans otherwise in need, first apply for assistance. Appointed by the mayors or selectmen of the cities and towns of Massachusetts, the VSO interviews the applicants, determines their eligibility, and files requests for assistance with the Commissioner of Veterans' services. VSOs are available to anyone seeking information or assistance in the area of veterans' benefits and services.
The support that the Commonwealth gives to a deserving segment of our population through the locally based veterans' assistance programs is unlike that of any other in the nation and the envy of other states.
Email the Veterans' Services Officer.
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Sign up for the Westport Vets newsletter.
Find a Veterans’ Services Officer in Massachusetts at massvetsadvisor.org.
|Carol Freitas||Veterans' Services Officer||508-636-1028|