Q. What are Veteran's Services?
A. By law, each Town and City in the Commonwealth has to have a Veterans’
Service Officer/ Veterans’ Agent to serve the veterans of that city or town.
There are both benefits and services provided to veterans. Benefits related to food, clothing, shelter and medical care for veterans of all wars and their dependents. Services relate to processing claims for veterans and their dependents. These include compensation, V.A. pensions (service and non-service connected) rehabilitation, counseling relative to employment, Social Security, Supplementary Security Income and a variety of other areas.
Q. What is the difference between Veteran's Services and Veteran's Affairs (VA)?
A. The Veteran's Services Department administers benefits for Becket veterans which are separate and distinct from those provided by the Veteran's Affairs (VA), a program of the Federal Government. The Town’s Veteran's Services Department works closely with the VA in searching out any additional aid available to the veteran. The Veterans’ Service Officer can help in filling out and submitting VA forms.
Q. Who is eligible for Benefits?
A. Veterans, dependents of Veterans, and survivors of Veterans may be eligible to receive benefits and/or services provided by Federal or State statutes.
Q. What are the exceptions to military service?
A. Exceptions include:
For GUARD MEMBERS to qualify they must have 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code 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.
For RESERVISTS to qualify, they must have been called to regular active duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined.
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.
It is not necessary that an applicant have completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign if he/she 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.
Q. Who is NOT eligible for Benefits?
A. None of the following shall be deemed to be a veteran:
Any person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces was dishonorable.
Any person, who at the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States, had declared 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 the said armed forces on his/her own application or solicitation by reason of his/her being an enemy alien.
Any person who has been proved 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.
Q. How are eligible dependents defined?
A. Eligible dependents are defined as the following:
Spouse of the veteran
Widow/Widower of the deceased veteran
Dependant parent of veteran, or 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 veteran through 19 years of age Child of a veteran between 19 years of age and 23 years of age while the child is attending high school or an institute of higher learning, or some other accredited educational institution provided that the applicant is in receipt of benefits under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 115.
Child of veteran over 18 years of age who is mentally or physically unable to support himself or herself and was affected by the disability prior to his or her 18th birthday legally adopted children of the veteran.
Q. Who may apply?
A. Any person with proof that he or she is a veteran or a dependent of a veteran is entitled to file an application.
Q. Where can I get a copy of my discharge papers?
A. If the Veteran was a Massachusetts residence at the time of entrance into the service and he/ she returned to Massachusetts after discharge, the War Records Department may have a copy, or check with your towns Veterans Services. If she/ he were from another state, check with the local Veterans Services and one can be applied for at the Nation Archives in St. Louis MO. They can also order one online at www.vetrecs.archives.gov/
Q. What does it take to qualify for benefits?
A. Veteran's Services and Benefits is a selective program based on certain conditions established by law.
The principal requirements are:
Active Duty 180 days or 90 days Active Duty with War time service with discharge or Separation under honorable conditions.
Legal residence in the Town of Becket
Q. Where may I file an application?
A. The Becket Veteran's Services Department is located on in the Airoldi Building in Lee (across the parking lot from the Lee Post Office). Office hours are every Monday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (except for holiday’s). You may call 243-5519 and make an appointment for other times (please, leave message with name, phone number, and short description of your need). Or, you can email to LeeVetsAgent@wmconnect.com.
Q. Where does the money come from for Veteran's Services?
A. Both the Town and State share in the funding of this program. Each year Becket budgets several thousand dollars for veteran's benefits and is reimbursed 75% of the cost of this aid to veterans by the Commonwealth.