Peacetime Veterans Finally Recognized as Veterans in Massachusetts
Effective August 30th, all men and women, who served in the armed forces of the United States for at least 180 days, will now be classified as veterans, regardless of when they served. Chapter 116, Acts of 2004 amended the previous law which says a person must serve 90 days during "wartime" in order to be classified as a veteran. The 90 days for wartime veterans remains in effect.
The new definition of "veteran" by state law recognizes the contributions of peacetime military veterans by making them and their families eligible for the same state benefits as those who served during periods of war.
This long overdue legislation removes any distinctions among the Massachusetts men and women who proudly and honorably served our country. Similar bills extending state benefits to those whose military service was only in peacetime, have been unsuccessfully filed for the past ten years. Peacetime veterans are the men and women who, in fact, won the Cold War, yet for too long were relegated to second-class status among their peers.
Approximately 54,000 Massachusetts veterans and their families, are now eligible for the Commonwealth's unique public financial assistance program; state sponsored housing; employment and education benefits; eligibility for the two Soldiers' Homes; and for certain disabled veterans and spouses, real estate tax exemptions or abatements. There are additional benefits and services that they may be entitled to, see below for contact information.
Under the bill "veterans’ status" is extended to those who served 180 days of regular duty who were honorably discharged from the armed services of the United States between Nov 12, 1918 - Sep 15, 1940; Jan 1, 1947 - Jun 24, 1950 and May 8, 1975 - Aug 1, 1990. Also recognized are: (1) Peacetime veterans with fewer than 180 days active duty who were awarded service-connected disabilities, (2) National Guard and Reserve members with 90 days of regular active service, one day of which is wartime, and (3) American Merchant Marines who served in armed conflict between Dec 7, 1941 and Dec 31, 1946.
Spouses of deceased veterans are also eligible for veterans' benefits and services.
Stephen A. Vesce
Manager of Benefits and Services:
51 Inman St.
Hours of Service
Veteran's Benefit Application
Fill out an application (PDF) to receive Veteran benefits.
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