To be eligible for veterans’ benefits in Massachusetts an individual must be a “veteran” or a dependent of a “veteran” under M.G.L. c. 4, sec. 7, cl. 43rd as amended by the Acts of 2005, ch. 130. See below for service requirements and exceptions. The following chart was compiled by the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services.
Era of ServiceDatesRequirement for Veteran Status
WWIApril 6, 1917, to November 11, 191890 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
PEACETIMENovember 12, 1918, to September 15, 1940180 days of regular active duty service and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
WWIISeptember 16, 1940, to July 25, 1947
(Merchant Marine: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946)
90 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
PEACETIMEJuly 26, 1947 to June 24, 1950180 days of regular active duty service and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
KOREAJune 25, 1950, to January 31, 195590 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
Korean Defense Service MedalJuly 28, 1954 (to be determined later)90 days of active duty service, last discharge under honorable conditions and the Korean Defense Service Medal.
VIETNAM IFebruary 1, 1955, to August 4, 1964180 days of regular active duty service and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
VIETNAM IIAugust 5, 1964, to May 7, 197590 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
PEACETIMEMay 8, 1975, to August 1, 1990180 days of regular active duty service and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
Lebanon Campaign*August 25, 1982 (to be determined later)90 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
Grenada Campaign*October 25, 1983, to December 15, 198390 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.
Panama Campaign*December 20, 1989, to January 31, 199090 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions
PERSIAN GULFAugust 2, 1990 (to be determined later)90 days of active duty service, one (1) day during “wartime” and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.

*Naval and Marine DD214 must indicate Expeditionary Medal. All DD214’s must specify campaign: Lebanon, Granada, or Panama.

For GUARD MEMBERS to qualify they must have 180 days of active duty service 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 of active duty service, 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.

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.

Minimum Active Service Exception (Purple Heart or Service-Connected Disability or Death)

Wartime Service

If his or her last discharge or release from wartime service was under honorable conditions, then a person who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States under Title 10 of the United States Code during 1 day of wartime service or a person on full time Massachusetts National Guard duty under Title 32 of the United States Code during at least 1 day of wartime service or a person on full time Massachusetts National Guard duty under sections 38, 40 and 41 of chapter 33 of the general laws during at least 1 day of wartime service, who sustained a service-connected disability during such wartime service or was awarded the Purple Heart during such wartime service or who died during such wartime service under conditions other than dishonorable, is excused from completing the 90-day active service requirement during such wartime service.

Peacetime Service

If his or her last discharge or release from active service was under honorable conditions, then a person who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States under Title 10 of the United States Code during peacetime, who sustained a service-connected disability while on active duty during peacetime or who died on active duty during peacetime under conditions other than dishonorable, is excused from completing the 180-day active service requirement during peacetime.