State Benefits

Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services

Below are some of the benefits available to eligible veterans and their families.

Annuity | Bonus | BRAVE ActChapter 115 | Education | Employment | Graves Care | Public Housing | Real Estate Tax | Sales & Excise Tax | SAVE ProgramSoldiers' Homes | SPEED ActVA National Cemetery | Women Veterans | Outreach & Housing | Veterans Resource Guide

PDF download logo Annuity: Effective 11/11/05 there is a $2,000 annuity available for 100% service-connected disabled veterans; or parents of a son or daughter who died as a result of injury sustained or disease contracted during active service in time of war, insurrection, or combat; or spouse whose husband or wife died as a result of injury sustained or disease contracted during active service in time of war, insurrection, or combat.

Bonuses: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides a bonus to veterans who were domiciled in Massachusetts immediately prior to entry in the armed forces. In the 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. You can submit an request to inquire if you have received or are eligible for a Massachusetts Veterans’ Bonus.


Dates of Eligibility

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World War II

9/16/1940 to 7/25/1947




6/25/1950 to 1/31/1955




7/1/1958 to 5/17/1975



Persian Gulf

8/2/1990 to 4/10/1991



Global War on Terror (Post 9/11)

9/11/2001 to present



Deceased Veteran

Varies depending on era served



Armed Forces Expeditionary MedalVaries. Awarded the AFEM for participation in combat operations when no other bonus was available.WebsiteApplication
National Guard COVID Activation3/10/2020 to presentWebsiteApplication

BRAVE Act: In August of 2018, the Acts of 2018, Chapter 218, (Senate 2632) known as the BRAVE Act was passed providing additional support to veterans and their families. Highlights from the BRAVE (Veterans’ Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement) Act include:

  • April 5th shall be designated as Gold Star Wives Day.
  • The last Sunday in September shall be designated as Gold Star Mothers and Families Day.
  • Allows Gold Star license plates to be assigned to commercial vehicles.
  • Provides time off on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day (with or without pay at the discretion of the employer).
  • Increases veterans' local property tax work-off program from $1,000.00 to $1,500.00.
  • Extends the Veterans' Bonus Program administered by the Treasurer's Office
  • Parents or surviving guardians of veterans, who died in service for our country, may receive a real estate tax credit on property beginning January 1, 2019.
  • DVS shall create, publish, and update annually a list of law firms and organization that provide pro-bono legal representation for veterans.
  • The Department of Veterans Services in partnership with the Department of Agricultural Resources shall establish the Massachusetts Veterans and Warriors Agriculture Program.
  • The Treasurer's office shall create a "Payment Appeals Board" to address concerns of veterans whose application for bonuses may have been denied through a hearing process.
  • Municipalities may designate and reserve for veterans a parking space at their city or town hall.

For more information, visit: Massachusetts Veterans Laws and Benefits or Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 218

Chapter 115: The Commonwealth is the only state in the Union that has made generous provisions by state law by providing to veterans in need of financial assistance. Recipients of Chapter 115 benefits are also eligible for certain medical and prescription assistance.

Educational Assistance: Veterans may be eligible to attend state colleges with free or discounted tuition, on a space available basis. Contact the Veterans' Representative at the state college of your choice.

Employment: Veterans are given preference for employment on the eligibility list for civil service positions.

Graves Care: The VSO works with the Veterans’ Graves Officers to ensure that communities are in compliance with Massachusetts General Laws and the policies regarding proper interment and care of veterans’ graves, including the placement of a United States flag on each veteran’s grave on Memorial Day.

Public Housing: Veterans and their families are given preference for state-aided public housing through their local housing authority.

PDF download logoReal Estate Tax:There are a number of exemptions available to certain disabled veterans or their survivors. Contact your local VSO or city/town assessor. Download the application for exemption.

Sales & Excise Tax: Certain disabled veterans are eligible for a motor vehicle sales & excise tax exemptions. Contact the Department of Revenue at (617) 887-6367 for the exemption.

 SAVE Program: 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. SAVE acts as a liaison between veterans and their families and the various agencies within the federal and state governments. The SAVE team works closely, and in collaboration, with the Massachusetts National Guard. Resources offered by the Massachusetts National Guard and their Family Readiness Program are available to all service members and their families, regardless of the branch in which they serve.

 Soldiers' Homes: The Soldiers' Homes provide a variety of services to veterans such as, acute hospital, domiciliary, and long-term care, physical and occupational therapy and more. Please call (413) 532-9475 extension 1136 for Holyoke or (617) 884-5660 extension 210 for Chelsea.

SPEED Act In August of 2022, Chapter 154, known as the SPEED Act, was passed providing additional support to veterans, active military, and their families. Highlights from the SPEED Act (An Act Relative To Military Spouse-Licensure Portability, Education and Enrollment of Dependents) include:

  • Directs DPH, in conjunction with DVS and National Guard, to develop materials on the health impacts of open burn pits during overseas deployments
  • Establishes a Massachusetts National Guard Family Education Program to allow NG members to transfer unused education benefits to dependents
  • Establishes the Medal of Fidelity to be presented to next of kin of service members or veterans who died as a result of service-related PTSD or a service-connected disease, condition, or injury
  • Established a commission to determine a location for a memorial to Deborah Samson, Massachusetts resident who disguised herself as a man in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War
  • Requires funeral directors and their staffs to provide information on burial and funeral benefits for veterans
  • Prohibits a city/town from requesting further documentation from a disabled veteran in subsequent tax years after a veteran has already received an exemption in that town unless the disability rating by the VA is reduced

VA National Cemetery: Massachusetts' National Cemetery is located in Bourne on Cape Cod. The telephone number is (508) 563-7113.

Women Veterans: DVS has a Women Veterans Network Program whose mission is to provide women with information on benefits, expand awareness of the needs of women veterans, identify available health and human resources to meet those needs, and to advocate on behalf of women veterans.

Outreach and Housing: A network of 15 DVS-sponsored Outreach Centers and Housing facilities provide graduated levels of shelter, care, guidance, and counsel.

1. Homeless Prevention/Outreach Centers provide:

Extensive counseling and a network of assistance to veterans and their families who are in danger of becoming homeless.

2. Emergency Shelters provide:

A safe environment, a bed for the night, meals, bathing facilities, basic clothing, medical assessment, assistance with identifying income support, and a variety of counseling.

3. Transitional Housing provides:

Single rooms, shared meals, family-style atmosphere and a variety of services and counseling for up to 24 months. During this time individuals enjoy responsibilities and some structure leading to permanent housing and a return to independence.

4. Permanent Housing provides:

Continued level of support experienced by veterans in more temporary housing. Often people have come so far, it is a top goal to lend strong support to prevent any falling back or relapse of earlier days. There are about 123 units of permanent housing, otherwise known as Graduate Housing, run by veterans.

Contact: The Department of Veterans' Services at (617) 210-5480

Veterans Resource Guide

 Veterans' Resource Guide PDF download logo