Massachusetts Veteran Benefits in 2022
Massachusetts veteran benefits (including disabled veteran benefits) are available to augment the federal benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These additional benefits and exemptions support veterans and their families in their return to civilian life.
More than 383,000 veterans live in the Bay State (about 5.5% of the population) and Massachusetts is proud to honor the sacrifice of those who served.
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits in 2022
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits: Your Overview
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits Include Tax Exemptions
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Property Tax
- Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Include Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Exemption (includes POWs)
- Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Include Vehicle Sales Tax Exemption
- No Tax On Massachusetts Veteran Benefits For Retirement
- Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Excluded from Gross Income
- Financial Benefits for Massachusetts Veterans
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Education
- Veterans Upward Bound Program: UMass Boston and Suffolk University
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Employment
- Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Driver and Vehicle Licenses
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Hunting, Fishing, and State Parks
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Housing
- Massachusetts Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Are there property tax exemptions available as Massachusetts veteran benefits?
- Do Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits provide additional tax exemptions?
- What is the purpose of the Chapter 115 Massachusetts Safety Net Program?
- What is the Massachusetts veteran bonus program, and how much does it pay?
- Is it true that Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits include $2,000 annuities paid annually?
- Do Massachusetts veteran benefits include a tuition waiver for higher education?
- Do women veterans receive special recognition in Massachusetts?
- Do Massachusetts veteran benefits help with housing?
- MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
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Massachusetts Veteran Benefits: Your Overview
Veteran benefits are generous in the Bay State. Massachusetts veteran benefits include (but are not limited to):
- property tax exemptions
- a bonus reward and annuities for service
- state programs for education and employment
- hiring preferences for state employment
- training and tuition assistance
- organizations focused on women veterans
- distinctive vehicle license plates
- special privileges for hunting and fishing licenses
- housing assistance, and
- the Chapter 115 Massachusetts Safety Net Program
Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and veteran disability status.
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services administers many of the Massachusetts veteran benefits. This can be a valuable resource to learn more about state and federal benefits or obtain applications.
Department of Veterans’ Services
600 Washington St., 7th floor
Boston, Mass. 02111
Email: [email protected]
Your local Massachusetts Veterans’ Service Officer can often answer questions and help point you in the right direction.
Of course, VA Claims Insider stands ready to support veterans in getting a higher rating faster by filling the gaps in your claim and providing encouragement as well as education and insider tips. We’ve helped over 15,000 veterans stop fighting and start winning. Learn more about a Free VA Claim Discovery Call or our ELITE program.
Read on for our ultimate guide to Massachusetts veteran benefits!
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits Include Tax Exemptions
Massachusetts veteran benefits include exemptions for residential properties, vehicle sales, and retirement income.
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Property Tax
Massachusetts veteran benefits feature property tax exemptions ranging from $400 to $1,500.
To qualify, veterans (or their families) must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Be legal residents of Massachusetts
- Live at the property on July 1 in the year of application
- Have lived in Massachusetts for at least six months before entering service, (or have lived in Massachusetts for five consecutive years immediately before filing for a property tax exemption)
A $400 tax exemption is available to Massachusetts veterans (or their families) who are one of the following:
- 10% (or more) service-connected disabled
- A Purple Heart recipient
- Gold Star mothers and fathers
- Spouses or surviving spouses
A $750 exemption provides Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits to those who meet one of the following:
- Lost the use of a hand, foot, or eye
- Have received the Medal of Honor
- Have received the Distinguished Service Cross
- Have received a Navy Cross or Air Force Cross
- Are a spouse or surviving spouse
Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits include a $1,000 tax exemption for those rated 100% disabled by the VA.
A $1,250 exemption is granted to Massachusetts disabled veterans who meet one of the following:
- Lost the use of both hands (or both feet)
- Lost the use of one hand and one foot
- Lost the use of both eyes (blind)
- The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran
A $1,500 tax exemption is granted to veterans rated by the VA as permanently and totally disabled and living in specially adapted housing.
Massachusetts disabled veterans who have paraplegia or have a 100% disability for service-connected blindness, as well as their spouses or surviving spouses, are entitled to the full $1,500 exemption.
Applications for property tax exemptions must be made annually. To apply, contact the assessor’s office in your community or:
Department of Revenue
Division of Local Services Bureau of Municipal Finance Laws
100 Cambridge St. (no walk-in service)
Boston, Mass. 02210
Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Include Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Exemption (includes POWs)
Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits include a motor vehicle excise tax exemption; the same benefit is available to former prisoners of war (and extends to surviving spouses).
- Permanent loss of the use of one or both feet or one or both arms, or
- Permanent visual impairments (as determined by VA), or
- Being deemed permanently disabled by the Registry of Motor Vehicles
This excise tax exemption applies only to one motor vehicle owned and registered for personal, noncommercial use.
Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Include Vehicle Sales Tax Exemption
Eligible veterans are exempt from paying sales tax when purchasing a vehicle. These benefits apply only to one motor vehicle owned and registered for personal, noncommercial use.
Eligibility requires one of the following:
- Permanent loss of the use of both legs or both arms, or one leg and one arm, or
- VA-rated permanent disability verified with the issuance of a disabled veteran number plate
Vehicle sales tax exemption for Massachusetts disabled veterans
No Tax On Massachusetts Veteran Benefits For Retirement
Massachusetts does not tax retired military pay. It’s as simple as that!
Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Excluded from Gross Income
In Massachusetts, VA disability benefits are excluded from state gross income. Payments that are considered disability benefits include:
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to veterans (or their families)
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
- Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or their use of limbs, or
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
If you receive veteran disability benefits from the VA, see page 16 of IRS Publication 525 for more information.
Financial Benefits for Massachusetts Veterans
Chapter 115 Massachusetts Benefits: Safety Net Program
Massachusetts veteran benefits have been added during the COVID-19 pandemic to help those who face financial difficulties. Eligible dependents of deceased veterans receive the same benefits as they would if the veteran were still living.
These Massachusetts veteran benefits include financial aid for:
- Daily living expenses
- Medical costs
- Rent assistance
- Support of dependents
- Prevention of homelessness
Since March 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services has directed Veterans Service Officers to expedite the application and approval process. These directives will remain in effect until the conclusion of the public health crisis.
Consult your local Veterans Service Officer to discuss and apply for these benefits. You’ll find the telephone number and email address with the Mass Vet Benefit Calculator.
If you cannot reach your local Veterans Service Officer, contact the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services at (617) 210-5480.
Bonus for Wartime Service
Massachusetts veteran benefits include a one-time bonus for wartime veterans and their families. Bonus payments range from $200 to $1,000, based on operation and length of service. While deceased veterans may already have received this bonus, families are encouraged to inquire about eligibility.
Service rewarded with a bonus includes:
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM)
- Vietnam conflict (active July 1, 1958, to May 17, 1975)
- Korean War (active June 25, 1950, to January 31, 1955
- World War II (active September 16, 1940, to July 25, 1947)
Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits Provide $2,000 Annuities
Massachusetts veterans with a 100% VA disability rating may be eligible for a $2,000 annuity. Payments of $1,000 are made on August 1 and February 1 of each year.
These Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits extend to Gold Star parents and surviving spouses.
Submit the application, IRS W-9 form, and electronic funds transfer sign-up sheet to:
Department of Veterans’ Services
600 Washington St., 7th floor
Boston, Mass. 02111
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Education
The Bay State offers multiple educational programs, including tuition waivers and services to assist veterans and their families pursuing education.
Tuition Waiver for Higher Education
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a tuition waiver to all veterans and active duty service members who are permanent and legal residents of Massachusetts. The waiver can be used at any state or community college or university.
To apply for the waiver, you’ll need to present documentation (usually separation papers or a copy of orders). Contact your school of choice for more information, or call the Office of Student Financial Assistance at (617)-391-6070.
Veterans Upward Bound Program: UMass Boston and Suffolk University
Massachusetts veteran benefits include the UMass Boston Veterans Upward Bound Program and the Suffolk University Veterans Upward Bound Program. These are free pre-college programs for veterans to gain college and career awareness and the academic skills required for higher education.
To apply, contact the Veterans Upward Bound office at UMass Boston or Suffolk University for an application. Be sure to have your form DD214 when you apply.
100 Morrissey Blvd.
McCormack Hall, 3rd floor, Room 704
Boston, Mass. 02125
email: [email protected]
73 Tremont, Suite 7025
Boston, Mass. 02108
email: [email protected]
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits of the Soldiers Legacy Fund (MSLF)
The Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund is a charitable trust that provides educational funds for current and future college students whose parents were killed during Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom deployment.
email: [email protected]
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Employment
Massachusetts is committed to helping veterans find gainful employment, and assisting with transitions and career advancement.
The MassHire Department of Career Services provides employment and training services to veterans and their families. Dedicated staff throughout the state help smooth the transition to civilian jobs. Veterans and their eligible spouses receive priority of service for the full array of services at the Career Center system.
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Employment Through MVPVets
MVPvets is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit endeavor connecting medical device, pharma, and life-science companies with veterans ready to bring their exceptional work ethic, skills, and focus in achieving business goals.
Operation Money Wise
Operation Money Wise helps veterans and their families overcome personal everyday financial challenges by providing financial education designed specifically for veterans and their families.
Benefits for Civil Service Employment
Massachusetts veteran benefits extend preferences for open competitive civil service exams. Veterans, spouses and Gold Star parents receive extra points for promotional exams and those eligible are placed at the top of the registry for labor service.
Among the multiple Massachusetts veteran benefits in labor and hiring preferences:
- Veterans who score 70 points or above on an open-competitive exam (including police and firefighter exams) immediately move to the head of the eligibility list.
- Veterans move to the top of the eligibility list for labor service positions (no exam required).
- Veterans who apply for civil service jobs without exams receive preference.
- Veterans who hold state non-civil service positions for more than three years cannot be involuntarily separated for lack of work or money when similar offices or positions exist (unless veterans already hold those positions, in which case separation is according to seniority).
- The state gives qualified veterans preference for state, county, town, authority, and district public works construction projects. Each county, town, district, contractor, or subcontractor grants preference to Massachusetts veterans and disabled veterans who live in their jurisdiction.
- Spouses and single parents of veterans are placed below veterans but above all other applicants.
Veteran Employment Representatives
Many Massachusetts veteran benefits flow through veterans’ employment representatives (VERs), state employees located in the state’s One-Stop Career Centers. The VERs can:
- Help you organize your job search
- Work with you to design your personal employment plan
- Assist with writing your resume
- Help you develop job leads
- Supervise services to veterans, including counseling, testing, and identifying training and employment opportunities
- Monitor federal job listings to see that eligible veterans get priority referrals
- Promote participation in federally funded employment and training programs
- Work with the VA to identify veterans who need work-specific prosthetic devices, sensory aids, or other special equipment
- Contact community leaders, employers, unions, training programs, and veterans service organizations to secure Massachusetts veteran benefits
Green Jobs and Training Grants
The Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) grant is a federal grant program that in Massachusetts created The Green TEAM (Training and Employment Access for Massachusetts) veterans’ initiative. This program assists eligible Massachusetts veterans who live in the Boston Metropolitan area with “green job” training, certification and licensure, and employment opportunities.
Green training and green jobs are a priority in this program; however, traditional training and career paths are also included.
This program is administered through Veterans Northeast Outreach Center with staff in Haverhill, Wellesley, South Shore, and Boston.
Green Jobs for Vets
Bedford VA Hospital Complex
204 Springs Road, Building 5, Suite 200
Bedford, Mass. 01730-1163
Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network
The Department of Veterans’ Services created the Women Veterans’ Network to find and inform women who served in the military, recognizing that women veterans may have different needs and concerns than their male counterparts.
The WVN is the central resource for women Massachusetts veteran benefits. Its mission is to:
- Provide women Massachusetts veteran benefits information at federal, state, and local levels
- Expand awareness of the needs of women veterans and identify available health and human resources to meet those needs
- Advocate on behalf of women Massachusetts veteran benefits
The WVN maintains a confidential database of women veterans in Massachusetts and offers a biannual newsletter, which provides information on women Massachusetts veteran benefits, programs, and events.
To add your name to the database, call, fax, write or email the WVN. Provide your:
- Full name
- Mailing address
- Branch of service and years of service (optional)
The WVN committee has also compiled a booklet answering the 36 most frequently asked questions regarding Massachusetts veteran benefits for women. The booklet is free; call or email to request a copy:
Women Veterans’ Network
600 Washington St., 7th floor
Boston, Mass. 02111
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Driver and Vehicle Licenses
Massachusetts offers a veteran indicator on driver licenses or state ID cards, special veteran and branch-of-service license plates, and tax exemptions for qualified veterans.
Driver Licenses and State ID Cards
Massachusetts veteran benefits include having the word veteran printed on your driver’s license or ID card. This can be done when you apply for, renew, or duplicate your learner’s permit, driver’s license, or ID card.
All honorably discharged Massachusetts veterans are eligible.
Even if your license or ID card is not up for renewal, you can get a duplicate with the veteran indicator for free (but you must pay the renewal fee).
Complete this transaction in person at a Massachusetts RMV service center or one of the select AAA locations. You must present a completed license and ID application and one of the following:
- DD214 indicating honorable discharge; only the long form (full page) is acceptable
- DD215 indicating honorable discharge
- Honorable discharge form
Massachusetts veterans are eligible for special license plates honoring your service. The Commonwealth offers 21 distinctive plates for your car, truck, or motorcycle, including:
- Veteran (branch of service and wartime decals available)
- Bronze Star
- Silver Star
- Purple Heart
- Medal of Honor
- Legion of Valor
- Pearl Harbor Survivor
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- National Guard
- Disabled Veteran
- Gold Star Family
Visit an RMV office or branch and present a completed application, a photocopy of your current vehicle registration, and one of the following:
- Photocopy of your DD214 (long form only) to verify honorable discharge
- Photocopy of a DD215 amending your DD214
- Photocopy of an honorable discharge form (WWII and Korea)
Massachusetts Disabled Veteran Benefits for Parking
To apply for a disability plate or placard, you must complete an application for disabled parking. Your health care provider will have to fill out a section to verify your disability status. Retain a copy of your two-sided placard application.
There is no fee for the plates or placards.
If applying for a disabled veteran (DV) plate, you will also need a DV plate letter (RMV35A) from VA. You may call (800) 827-1000 to request the letter.
These plates must be renewed every two years.
Fee and Tax Exemptions for Massachusetts Disabled Veterans
Disabled veterans are exempt from the following fees and taxes:
- Registration: disabled veterans pay no fee for one passenger vehicle or pickup truck. The vehicle must be owned by the disabled veteran and used for noncommercial purposes.
- Driver license: disabled veterans pay no fees for driver license transactions. Must be approved for DV plates.
- Excise tax: see Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Exemption (above)
- Sales tax: See Vehicle Sales Tax Exemption (above)
Commercial Driver License (CDL) Skills Test Waiver
The Commercial Driver License (CDL) skills test waiver form allows veterans currently licensed or employed within the past year to operate a military motor vehicle equivalent to the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) to apply for a CDL without skills testing. (CDL knowledge tests cannot be waived; school bus (S) and passenger (P) endorsements are not transferable.)
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Hunting, Fishing, and State Parks
Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits for outdoor recreational resources include reduced-fee licenses and reduced state park fees.
Free Fishing and Hunting Licenses for Massachusetts Disabled Veterans
Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits include a free freshwater fishing license and a free hunting license.
First-time applicants must submit an application and a letter from their physician directly to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (Boston office).
Free Parking at State Parks for Massachusetts Disabled Veterans and Purple Heart Recipients
Day-use parking fees are waived for vehicles bearing a Massachusetts disabled veteran license plate/placard or a Purple Heart Recipient license plate.
Subject to available parking, the waiver does not apply to camping fees. The ParksPass is not valid at Quabbin Reservoir boat launch areas, Squantum Point, North Point, or Draw Seven Commuter lots.
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits for Housing
Massachusetts offers veteran preferences in tenant selection and guidance for subsidized housing qualifications, as well as emergency relief to help mitigate homelessness.
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits in State-Aided Public Housing
Massachusetts veteran benefits come into play when applying for state-aided public housing through a local housing authority. Veterans displaced by any low-rent housing project, public slum clearance, or urban renewal project, or who were displaced within three years before applying for low-rent housing, are given preference in tenant selection in the following order:
- Families of disabled veterans (VA-rated, service-connected disability)
- Families of deceased veterans
- Families of all other veterans
These Massachusetts veteran benefits extend to spouses, surviving spouses, dependent parents or children, and divorced spouses who are legal guardians of a veteran’s child.
Gross Income Calculation for Housing Aid
When it comes to state-aided public housing, any amount a veteran receives for paying tuition, fees, or the cost of books cannot be included in calculating the veteran’s gross income. Housing authorities are authorized to exclude disability compensation above $1,800 paid by the VA to totally unemployable disabled veterans.
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits Ensure Continued Occupancy
State-aided, low-rent housing projects cannot deny continued occupancy to veterans who have lived there for the last eight consecutive years. (The unit must have two bedrooms or less, and the rent must not be more than three months behind). This applies to widows or widowers of veterans, and to Gold Star mothers.
Homeless Shelters, Transitional Housing, and Supportive Services
Nonprofit organizations provide veterans with housing services ranging from emergency homeless shelters and group residences to single occupancy (SRO) quarters. All require a sober and drug-free environment. Services are available to both male and female veterans.
Massachusetts Soldiers’ Homes
Soldiers’ Homes provide an array of services to veterans, such as acute hospital care, home care, long-term care, physical and occupational therapy, laboratory and radiology services, an outpatient department, and a social services department.
There are two state Soldiers’ Homes: one in Chelsea, the other in Holyoke. For information on eligibility and admission, contact either:
110 Cherry St.
Holyoke, Mass. 01041
Massachusetts Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are there property tax exemptions available as Massachusetts veteran benefits?
Yes! Massachusetts veteran benefits include property tax exemptions ranging from $400 to $1,500. Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits extend to those veterans as well as their families.
Do Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits provide additional tax exemptions?
Yes! Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits include exemptions from motor-vehicle excise tax and vehicle sales tax. There is no state tax on military retirement pay. Additionally, Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits are not counted as gross income for state taxes.
What is the purpose of the Chapter 115 Massachusetts Safety Net Program?
Chapter 115 has been made available during the COVID-19 pandemic to ease veterans’ financial difficulties by providing funds for essentials such as daily living expenses, medical costs, rent assistance, and support of dependents.
What is the Massachusetts veteran bonus program, and how much does it pay?
Massachusetts veteran benefits include a one-time bonus for wartime veterans and their families. Bonus payments range from $200 to $1,000, depending on operation and length of service. Families of deceased wartime veterans are encouraged to inquire about eligibility.
Is it true that Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits include $2,000 annuities paid annually?
Yes! Massachusetts disabled veteran benefits provide a $2,000 annuity for 100% service-connected disability. Payments of $1,000 are made on August 1 and February 1 of each year. These benefits extend to Gold Star parents and to surviving spouses.
Do Massachusetts veteran benefits include a tuition waiver for higher education?
Yes! A tuition waiver granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can be used at any state or community college or university. Contact the school of your choice for more information.
Do women veterans receive special recognition in Massachusetts?
Yes! The Women Veterans’ Network reaches out to support, inform and educate Massachusetts women who served in the military.
Do Massachusetts veteran benefits help with housing?
Yes! Massachusetts veteran benefits include preferences in tenant selection and guidance for subsidized housing qualifications, along with other supportive services. Massachusetts veteran benefits come into play when applying for state-aided public housing through a local housing authority. The same benefits are available to spouses, surviving spouses, dependent parents or children, and divorced spouses who are legal guardians of a veteran’s child.
For answers to more questions, visit the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services.
MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE
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About the Author
About VA Claims Insider
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.