Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions received from Veterans in our Community. Please contact us for answers to your questions if they are not answered below. We will do our best to provide timely and relevant answers for you.
You may be eligible for VA health care benefits if you served in the active military, naval, or air service and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge.
If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, you must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty, unless any of the descriptions below are true for you.This minimum duty requirement may not apply if any of these are true. You:
Were discharged for a disability that was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, or
Were discharged for a hardship or “early out,” or
Served prior to September 7, 1980
If you’re a current or former member of the Reserves or National Guard, you must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. If you had or have active-duty status for training purposes only, you don’t qualify for VA health care.
At least one of these must be true. You:
Receive financial compensation (payments) from VA for a service-connected disability
Were discharged for a disability resulting from something that happened to you in the line of duty
Were discharged for a disability that got worse in the line of duty
Served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
Served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
Served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
If none of the above apply to you, you may still qualify for care based on your income. Learn more about how the amount of money your family makes can affect whether you qualify for VA benefits. Learn more about income limits
Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Rd, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329-1647
You may use ANY of the following to request assistance:
• Ask VA to help you fill out the form by calling us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
• Access the VA website at http://www.va.gov and select “Contact Us” at the top right.
• Contact the Enrollment Coordinator at your local VA health care facility. (See above list of local VA facilities)
• Contact a National or State Veterans Service Organization, including your local VSO from your Massachusetts City or Town.
M.G.L. ch.4, s.7, clause 43 (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 4, Section 7, Clause 43)
To be a “veteran” under Massachusetts law a person is required to have either:
180 days of active duty service and be discharged or released under honorable conditions – OR –
90 days of active duty service, one day of which is during “wartime” per the chart which follows, and be discharged or released under honorable conditions, except for Vietnam I, which requires 180 days of active duty service (see chart below).
For Guard Members to qualify they must have either:
180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code and have been discharged or released under honorable conditions or;
Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 33, section 38, 40, and 41 must have served 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the chart located on page 3. The members’ last discharge or release must be under honorable conditions.
For Reservists to qualify, they must have been called to regular active duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined by the chart below.
Minimum service exception (for death or disability)
It is not necessary that an applicant has completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign if s/he served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per the discharge certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
Training duty exception
Active service in the armed forces, as used in this clause, shall not include active duty for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the armed forces of the United States.
Any Merchant Marine who served for a period of 90 days in armed conflict between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, and who received an honorable discharge from the Army, Navy, or Coast Guard of the United States.
The following categories of persons may qualify as dependents eligible to receive veterans’ benefits:
Spouse of the veteran;
Widow or widower of the veteran;
Dependent parent of the veteran;
Any person who acted as a parent to the veteran for five years immediately preceding the commencement of the veteran’s wartime service;
Child of the veteran until his or her 19th birthday;
Child of the veteran between 19 years and 24 years of age while the child is attending high school, an institution of higher learning or some other accredited educational institution;
Child of the veteran 19 years of age or older who is mentally or physically unable to support him/herself and was affected by the disability prior to his/her 18th birthday;
Legally adopted children of the veteran.
Who is not eligible?
None of the following shall be deemed to be a veteran:
Any person, who at the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States, had as his/her intention to become a subject or citizen of the United States and withdrew his/her intention under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918;
Any person who was discharged from said armed forces on his/her own application or solicitation by reason of his/her being an enemy alien;
Any person who has been proven guilty of willful desertion;
Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his/her service as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary or as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve, or both;
Any person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable or other than honorable.
* Naval and Marine DD Form 214 must indicate Expeditionary Medal. All DD Form 214’s must specify campaign: Lebanon, Granada, or Panama.
For GUARD MEMBERS to qualify they must have 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code -OR- Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 33, sections 38, 40, and 41 must have 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the above chart.
For RESERVISTS to qualify, they must have been called to regular active duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined by the above chart.
Minimum Service Exception (for Death or Disability): It is not necessary that an applicant have completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign if s/he served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per the Discharge Certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
Training Duty Exception:Active duty service in the armed forces shall not include active duty for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
The Veterans Administration operates over 100 National Cemeteries around the country, and provides no cost burial for eligible persons. Burial benefits available include a grave site in any cemetery with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances.
Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains. Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran, perpetual care, with the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death inscribed on the veteran’s headstone. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.