For individuals and families who struggle to make ends meet, one financial setback or lost paycheck can be devastating: forcing them to choose between essentials like buying food, paying rent, or seeking medical care. As the country and the world faces a global health crisis, many low-income veterans in our community are especially vulnerable.
That’s why Veterans’ Service Officers (VSOs) and organizations in Massachusetts are working hard to make sure that veterans in the Commonwealth are aware of the financial benefits that they have earned and that are available to them RIGHT NOW.
In Massachusetts, low-income veterans have access to Chapter 115 Benefits, a statewide safety-net program that can give these veterans monthly financial assistance. But many don’t know that the program exists.
According to Kevin Hunt, Director of Veteran Services for Newburyport, Merrimac, Amesbury, and Salisbury, many people who could benefit from Chapter 115 aren’t aware that there is monthly cash assistance available to help pay for their day-to-day expenses. Benefits are also available on a one-time basis to help veterans through emergencies or other times of special need.
With the Chapter 115 program, the veterans themselves are not the only ones who can qualify for support. Dependents of veterans, including widows, widowers, or children, can also apply and be eligible for the assistance.
“Many of the people that we get in our office looking for benefits are widows and survivors where their veteran partner has passed and they need help staying afloat,” said Hunt.
Resources like the Massachusetts Veteran Benefit Calculator can tell veterans or the dependent of a veteran if they might be eligible for Chapter 115.
“The calculator saves us time if someone comes in knowing they’re prequalified. We get people who walk in and have no idea that Massachusetts even offers these benefits because no other state in the country does what we do,” said Hunt.
Monthly cash assistance can make all the difference for veterans and their dependents who are struggling to stay afloat during challenging times. They have earned this support, and with greater awareness about these benefits, we can make sure they receive it.