Listed below are resources that may be useful to veterans and their families.
Topics include: Education, Emergency, Employment, Exposures, Financial, Food, General, Health Care, Housing, Mental Health, Military Records, Transition from Military to Civilian, Veterans Organizations, and Additional Resources such as organizations that assist military and veteran families.
Please note that these resources are listed for information purposes only and the neither the Town of Westport nor the Veterans’ Service Office supports, endorses, or recommends these organizations in any way.
- VA Education Benefits - VA education benefits help Veterans, service members, and their qualified family members with needs like paying college tuition, finding the right school or training program, and getting career counseling. Learn how to apply for and manage the education and training benefits you've earned.
- Transcripts for Military Personnel - ACE provides quality assurance and policy guidance for the Joint Services Transcript used by the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. More than 2,300 colleges and universities recognize these transcripts as official documentation of military training and experiences and applicable ACE credit recommendations.
- Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 Press 1) - Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves.
- Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE) - The fundamental principle of the SAVE program is to advocate for veterans who are not able to obtain the benefits they have earned due to institutional or personal barriers. The program's primary mission is prevention of suicide and mental health distress through the identification of issues facing veterans when they return from service and proactively providing them with access to benefits and services that may address these issues and result in positive transitions back to civilian life.
- Westport Police Department - The Westport Police Department has established and maintains a partnership and spirit of cooperation with the commmunity that recognizes a shared responsibility to improve the quality of life and ensure a problem solving philosphy of community policing.
- Westport Fire Department - The mission of the Westport Fire Department is to protect life, property, and the environment from fire, medical emergencies, hazardous materials, natural disasters, and terrorist-related incidents through emergeny mitigation, code enforcement, public education, and training.
- Westport Emergency Management - (774) 264-5155 Recorded message will be updated as necessary during events.
- Federal Veteran Employment Information
- www.fedshirevets.gov - Works across the Federal Government to increase the number of veterans, transitioning military service members, and their families employed and retained in the civil service.
- www.va.gov/careers-employment - We can support you in all stages of your job search—from returning to work with a service-connected disability, to getting more training for new job opportunities, to starting or growing your own business. And we can connect you with Department of Labor resources for more career advice, help building your resume, and access to employers who want to hire Veterans and military spouses. Find out how you can get the help you need to build your career and find the right job or business opportunity for you.
- Massachusetts Veterans Employment and Training - Veterans of Massachusetts may be eligible for any state-supported course in an undergraduate degree program or certificate program offered by a public college or university.
- Veterans & Active Duty Massachusetts Civil Service Make-Up Exam Information - What you need to know about qualifying for and requesting a military makeup exam to become a police officer, firefighter or other public safety employee.
- State of Massachusetts Professional Licensing/Certification of Military - The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) is pleased to offer licensing benefits to active duty members of the military, relocated military spouses, and veterans.
- Veterans Preference when Applying for Federal Jobs - Veterans' Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants. Veterans' preference applies to all new appointments in the competitive service and many in the excepted service.
- VA for VETS - The VAforVets initiative helps Veterans and transitioning military service members find meaningful careers. At VAforVets, job seekers, VA Veteran employees, VA human resources professionals and supervisors can find a multitude of resources to support Veteran hiring. Additionally, Veterans can check out job openings for additional federal employment opportunities.
- Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) - Prepare for your next mission by accessing services you may have earned under the Veterans Opportunity to Work program and other VA training and career assistance programs. Make your move from military to civilian life a success and get the training you need to thrive in your next career. If you’re an employer, consider hiring our Veterans—they’ve got the strength, character, and skills that you’re looking for.
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Expand opportunities to hire and retain veterans, transitioning military service members, and their families who have the experience, skills, and competences the Federal Government needs.
- Federal Employment thru USAJobs - USAJOBS connects job seekers with federal employment opportunities across the United States and around the world. As the Federal Government’s official employment site, USAJOBS provides resources to help the right people find the right jobs.
- New Bedford Career Center - The MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center serves as a hub of activity focused on connecting job seekers and employers, to meet the employment and career advancement needs of individuals and the workforce needs of businesses. We are dedicated to providing high quality services in a professional and welcoming environment, including counseling, education, and technology to support job search, and labor market information and recruitment opportunities for businesses.
Exposures: Veterans may have been exposed to a range of chemical, physical, and environmental hazards during military service.
- Agent Orange - Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide used by the U.S. military from 1962 to 1975. Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange include Veterans who were in Vietnam, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, on Thai Air Force bases, and who flew on or worked on C-123 aircraft. VA offers eligible Veterans a free Agent Orange Registry health exam for possible long-term health problems related to exposure. VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.
- Blue Water - A recently signed Blue Water Navy law affects Veterans who served on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia. Veterans who state they meet the criteria of this law are eligible for the Agent Orange Registry.
- Burn Pits - Burn pits were a common way to get rid of waste at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. VA's Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry allows eligible Veterans and service members to document their exposures and report health concerns through an online questionnaire. Eligible Veterans and service members include those who served in: Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn, Djibouti, Africa on or after September 11, 2001, Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990.
- Camp Lejeune - VA provides health and disability benefits for Veterans, Reservists, National Guard members, and family members who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base in North Carolina, between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, for at least 30 days. VA is offering these benefits because the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals, possibly leading to various health conditions. VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply.
- Gulf War - Certain illnesses are associated with Gulf War service in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations from August 2, 1990 to present. Medically unexplained illnesses (also commonly referred to as Gulf War illness or Chronic Multi-symptom illness) are a significant concern for some Veterans who served during the Gulf War. VA offers eligible Veterans a free Gulf War Registry health exam to find possible long-term health problems related to Gulf War service.
- Compensation - You may be able to get disability compensation if you have a current illness or injury (known as a condition) that affects your body or mind and you meet certain requirements.
- Pension - VA pension benefits provide tax-free monthly payments to wartime Veterans with limited or no income who meet certain age or disability requirements. Survivors of wartime Veterans may also qualify for a VA pension. Find out how to apply for and manage the pension benefits you've earned.
- Massachusetts Service-Connected Annuities - This annuity is given in recognition of the service of our distinguished 100% service-connected disabled veterans and to the parents of distinguished veterans (Gold Star Parents) and the unmarried spouses (Gold Star Wives or Husbands) of distinguished veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country during wartime. This annuity is paid bi-annually on February 1 and August 1 in installments of $1,000 each. Please note that there are deadlines to apply.
- Massachusetts Welcome Home Bonuses - The Veterans’ Bonus Division is proud to provide bonus payments for Veterans, Service members, and their families for qualified service in the United States Military. These bonuses are for eligible active duty, discharged, and deceased Massachusetts veterans who served during various conflicts in single or multiple deployments.
- VA Life Insurance - VA life insurance can offer financial security and support for Veterans and service members as well as their spouses and dependent children.
- Food Pantries - Directory of food banks, soup kitchens, and non-profit organizations committed to fighting hunger.
- Department of Transitional Assistance
- https://www.mass.gov/news/massachusetts-departments-of-transitional-assistance-and-veterans-services-partner-to-reduce - Joint commitment between DTA and DVS to reduce veterans’ food insecurity in Massachusetts
- https://www.mass.gov/snap-benefits-formerly-food-stamps - SNAP provides a monthly benefit to buy nutritious foods. To get SNAP, you must be low-income and be a U.S. citizen or legal noncitizen (restrictions apply). Eligibility for SNAP benefits depends on financial and nonfinancial criteria.
- Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services - The mission of the Department of Veterans’ Services is to advocate on behalf of all the Commonwealth’s veterans and provide them with quality support services and to direct an emergency financial assistance program for those veterans and their dependents who are in need.
- Resource Guide for Veterans and Service members - Information about Veterans' and Service members' rights and protections compiled from the Department of Veteran Services, Secretary of State's Office, the Attorney General’s Office, and other state and federal resources.
- Massachusetts Veterans Advisor - MassVetsAdvisor.org is an easy-to-use online resource created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that strives to serve the nearly half-million Veterans living in Massachusetts, and their families, as a bridge to the many benefits that they have earned in defense of our nation. By combining state and federal benefits, as well as non-profit resources into one tailored online search, Veterans and their families now have access to one stop shopping for all of their needs. Access to financial, education, and housing benefits that once took hours to research, resulting in dozens of phone calls, meetings, and frustration, are now just one click away on MassVetsAdvisor.org.
- Massachusetts Veterans Laws and Benefits - The Secretary of State's Citizen Information Service and the Department of Veterans' Services collaboration guide called Veterans' Laws and Benefits.
- eBenefits - eBenefits is a web portal that is the result of a collaboration between the VA and the Department of Defense to serve Veterans, Service members, Wounded Warriors, their family members, and their authorized caregivers.
- Veterans Administration Benefits - A complete listing of VA benefits in alphabetical order.
- Department of Veterans Affairs - Access and manage your VA benefits and health care.
- Federal Benefits Guide - Federal Benefits Guide for Veterans, dependents and survivors.
- VA Welcome Kit - Whether you’re just getting out of the service or you’ve been a civilian for years now, the VA Welcome Kit can help guide you to the benefits and services you’ve earned. Download your VA Welcome Kit in black/white or color.
Health Care & Counseling:
- VA Health Benefits - If you qualify for VA health care, you’ll receive coverage for the services you need to help you get - and stay - healthy.
- VA Boston Healthcare System - The VA Boston Healthcare System has 3 medical centers: Brockon, Jamaica Plain, & West Roxbury & 5 clinics: Causeway, Framingham, Lowell, Plymouth, & Quincy.
- VA Providence Health Care System - The VA Providence Healthcare System has 1 medical center & 3 clinics: Hyannis, Middletown, & New Bedford.
- VA Home Loans - VA helps Service members, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.
- VA housing assistance - VA housing assistance can help Veterans, service members, and their surviving spouses to buy a home or refinance a loan. We also offer benefits and services to help you build, improve, or keep your current home. This includes grants for Veterans with service-connected disabilities who need to adapt their home to live as independently as possible.
- Veterans Transition House - The Veterans Transition House in New Bedford helps homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the Massachusetts South Coast area. We provide shelter and services, with a special focus on healing from substance abuse and learning new life skills.
- Housing Help for Veterans - Get veterans housing assistance, including VA loans for buying or improving your home. Find housing help for veterans who are older, homeless, or who have a disability.
- National Veterans Foundation - National Veterans Foundation offers a toll-free crisis management hotline for Veterans and their families at 1-888-777-4443. The hotline is open seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Pacific Time). It is also a one-stop resource for veterans looking for assistance. Our resource page includes links information and help with crises, navigating VA services, jobs, housing, and more.
- New Bedford Vet Center - Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage, and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief, and transition after trauma.
- National Center for PTSD - The world's leading research and educational center of excellence on PTSD and traumatic stress. PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.
- Mental Health America - Mental Health America respects and appreciates current and former members of the military and provides information to help to break down the stigma of mental health issues among soldiers, veterans, their families, and medical staff to ensure that a greater number of military families receive the prompt and high-quality care they deserve.
- Coming Home Project - Coming Home Project is a non-profit organization devoted to providing expert consultation for community-based organizations that address collective and individual trauma. We also serve communities that promote social, economic, racial and environmental justice, helping participants, employees and leaders with custom-designed, culturally sensitive, integrative training that enhances wellbeing, builds self-care skills, counteracts compassion fatigue and burnout, and promotes collaboration, success, and sustainability. With ten years experience providing leading-edge integrative trauma care, Coming Home Project has broad expertise in post-traumatic stress, wellness, and in cultivating and sustaining communities of healing, learning, and resistance.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) - TAPS offers compassionate care to all those grieving the loss of a loved one who died while serving in our Armed Forces or as a result of his or her service. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24/7 through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones.
- Veterans' Service Records - If you are a veteran and you are looking to request your personnel records, please visit the federal government's military personnel records website through the National Archives.
- Medals and Awards - For information on how to obtain lost medals, please visit the National Archives website.
Transition from Military to Civilian:
- DoD Transistion Assistance Program (DodTAP)- The Transition Assistance Program provides information and training to ensure Service members transitioning from active-duty are prepared for their next step in life - whether pursuing additional education, finding a job in the public or private sector or starting their own business.
- Military to Civilian Transition Support - Military transition is simply the change from military-to-civilian status. Far from simple, this can be a move from active duty to veteran or to retired life but, for many it is the beginning of a whole new experience. We provide checklists and guides to make this changeover as smooth as possible.
- Military Skills Translator - Database that searches for jobs based on Military Occupational Specialty.
- Military-Transition.org - The military-to-civilian transition resources on this page are the most comprehensive available to assist Service members and military families with their return to civilian life. This list was complied by a group of independent veterans and is shared to inform and complement the DoD Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Solider for Life (SFL), SFL-TAP, Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP), Transition GPS (T-GPS) and related programs. We support all branches (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) along with military spouses. Our goal is to share information and resources which will show you how to transition from the military. We provide the best and most comprehensive information about jobs after the military and how to start a civilian career after serving.
- Transition and Care Management (formerly OEF/OIF/OND Program) - Listing of benefits VA offers to Post 9/11 Veterans.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) - The VFW of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. (Eligibility requirements)
- The American Legion - The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans. (Eligibility requirements)
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) - The DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. We accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. (Eligibility requirements)
- Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) - VVA’s goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans. (Eligibility requirements)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) - IAVA serves and empowers our post-9/11 veterans community. We believe these dynamic men and women represent America's future - our next greatest generation. They are our true north, and everything we do is designed to focus on them and the positive future they bring to the world.
- Marine Corps League (MCL) - Members of the MCL join in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving traditions, promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps, banding together those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged from that service. (Eligibility requirements)
- Women Marines Association (WMA) - WMA's mission is to preserve and promote the history and traditions of women in the Marine Corps from World War I to the present; to conduct programs for charitable and educational purposes; to promote the welfare and well-being of elderly, disabled, and needy women Marine veterans, as well as women currently serving in the Marine Corps; to provide entertainment, care, and assistance to hospitalized veterans and members of the Armed Forces of the United States; to sponsor or participate in activities of a patriotic nature, particularly those that perpetuate the tradition and esprit de corps of the United States Marine Corps; and to foster the spirit of comradeship of women who have served or who now serve in the United States Marine Corps, regular or reserve components. (Eligibility requirements)
- Air Force Association (AFA) - The mission of AFA is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage. (Eligibiity requirements)
- American Veterans (AmVets) - AmVets mission is to enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services. (Eligibility requirements)
- Association of the United States Army (AUSA) - AUSA is the U.S. Army's professional association, the voice for the Army on Capitol Hill, and offers support for soldiers and their families.(Eligibility requirements)
- Student Veterans of America (SVA) - SVA's mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. (Eligibility requirements)
- Veterans Association of Bristol County - The Fall River Veterans' Center, home of the Veterans' Association of Bristol County, Inc., is an outreach center serving veterans and their families living in Bristol County, MA.
- Heidrea 4 Heroes - Our mission is to provide adaptive housing renovations, qualified home repairs, specialized mobility equipment, vehicle modifications, veteran/family support and workforce readiness programs that will alleviate challenges and make a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families.
- Wounded Warrior Project - Veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001. You are our focus. You are our mission. Here, you’re not a member – you’re an alumnus, a valued part of a community that’s been where you’ve been, and understands what you need. Everything we offer is free because there’s no dollar value to finding recovery and no limit to what you can achieve.
- Homes for our Troops - Our mission is to build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.
- Building Homes for Heroes - Building Homes for Heroes® is strongly committed to rebuilding lives and supporting the brave men and women who were injured while serving the country during the time of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. The organization builds or modifies homes, and gifts them, mortgage-free, to veterans and their families. It’s our honor to support the men and women who have loyally and courageously served our country.
- American Veterans Center - The mission of the American Veterans Center and the World War II Veterans Committee is to preserve and promote the legacy and experiences of America's veterans and active duty service personnel from World War II through today.
- Veterans Families United - Veterans Families United will provide gentle, accessible and holistic healing resources for Veterans.
- Vets4Warriors - The leading national peer support and resource connection network for Veterans, Service members, family members, and caregivers who need answers and understanding from someone who knows what they are going through.
- National Resource Directory - Resource website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support them.
- The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center - Collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
- Veterans Inc. - Veterans Inc.’s mission is to help veterans re-gain control of their lives so we can eliminate homelessness among veterans by striving to remain a leading provider of services that improve the lives of veterans and their families by providing the highest quality services; and continuing to create new opportunities in the areas of health, employment and housing.
- Fisher House - The Fisher House program has provided “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. These homes offer free, temporary lodging to military and veterans’ families, allowing them to be close to their loved one during a medical crisis and focus on what’s important—the healing process.
- Semper Fi Fund - Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to combat wounded, critically ill, and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. We deliver the resources they need during recovery and transition back to their communities, working to ensure no one is left behind.