Benefits in my Backyard: Massachusetts

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:32 pm

Dreamstime

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The Bay State is home to more than 350,000 veterans.  There are nine military bases in the state: four Air Force, two Army and three Coast Guard. 

A lot of firsts come from Massachusetts.  The first computer that operated in real-time was invented at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The first subway system in the U.S. was in Boston.  The first public park in America is Boston Common.  The first Dunkin Donuts opened in Quincy; Fig Newtons come from (you guessed it) Newton.  Volleyball was invented in Holyoke in 1895, and in 1891 in Springfield, basketball was played for the first time ever.

If you’re looking for something strange to pass some time, you can go to Watertown and check out Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s paintings that are on display at the Armenian Library and Museum.  You can spend a relaxing night in Fall River in the same house where Lizzie Borden axed two people to death because it's now a bed and breakfast.  Maybe the shovel museum in Easton is more your speed... I’ve heard that no two shovels are alike!

There are a few head-scratchers still active on the law books in Massachusetts.  If you are at a wake, mourners may only eat three sandwiches.  If you snore, make sure all bedroom windows are shut and locked tight, because you can be fined.  It’s illegal to have a gorilla in the back seat of any car (but it looks like they can ride shotgun).  In Boston,  kissing in front of churches is banned.  And Marlborough says you can't detonate any nuclear devices in the city.  

Taxes

Massachusetts does not tax military retirement pay.

  • Property Tax Exemptions.  There are several tax exemptions available for veterans.  To qualify for any of these, you must be a legal resident of the Commonwealth, live in the property by July 1, have lived in the state for at least six months before joining the military and five consecutive years before filing an exemption.  The surviving spouse receives the exemption if the veteran received it before they passed away.  To apply for any of these, contact the assessor’s office in your community.  Applications must be made annually.
    • Clause 22 exemption is for $400. In addition to the above requirements, you must have at least 10 percent service connected disability, be a Purple Heart recipient, Gold Star parents, surviving spouses who don’t remarry.
    • Clause 22A exemption is for $750. For veterans who lost the use of either a hand, foot or eye or have received one of the following medals: the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy or Air Force Cross.
    • Clause 22B exemption is for $1,250. For vets who lost, or loss use of, both hands, both feet or both eyes.
    • Clause 22C exemption is for $1,500. Can be used by vets with a permanent and total disability rating from VA and have specially adapted housing.
    • Clause 22D is specifically for surviving spouses, as long as they don’t remarry, and is a total exemption. The veteran’s death must be as a result of combat or of injuries sustained in a combat zone.

Education

  • Tuition waiver for all Massachusetts veterans.  On a space available basis, veterans may receive a full or partial tuition waiver.  You must be a legal resident of Massachusetts and not be in default of any federal student loans.  Contact the Veterans’ Representative at the college or university for details. 
  • Tuition and Fee Waivers for Guard Members. For members of the Massachusetts National Guard as long as you’re in good standing and until you reach 130 semester hours. Contact the Veterans’ Representative at the college or university for details.
  • Scholarships for Veterans

Career

Family

Entertainment

  • Fishing/Hunting licenses.  Active duty non-resident military personnel in Massachusetts can purchase hunting and fishing licenses at the resident rate.
  • State Park Parking Fees. Day use parking fees are waived for vehicles with a disabled veteran license plate from any state. This does not apply to camping fees.

Housing

Cemetery and Burial

  • Veterans residing in the state are eligible to receive certain end of life benefits.  There are two state veterans’ cemeteries where eligible veterans can be buried at no cost. There is a small fee for the burial of spouses and eligible dependents.
  • Eligibility Determination Form.  Pre-needs determination is intended to simplify and assist the veteran’s next-of-kin at the time of death.  This does not reserve a plot or niche at the cemetery.  There is no cost for this.

Links or Resources