For Immediate Release - July 17, 2013

AG Coakley’s Office Celebrates First Annual Military Consumer Protection Day

Office to Hold Consumer Protection Informational Events for Veterans

BOSTON – In a continuing effort to provide veterans and their families with important consumer information and resources, Attorney General Martha Coakley has joined government agencies, advocacy organizations and private sector groups to celebrate today’s first annual Military Consumer Protection Day.

Military Consumer Protection Day (MCPD) was created as an initiative to empower active duty and retired service members, military families, veterans and civilians in the military community with free consumer resources. The coalition shares tips and information about a range of consumer topics such as managing money, dealing with credit and debt, building savings, protecting personal information, recognizing identity theft and avoiding fraud.

“We are pleased to participate in this day dedicated to educating our honorable military personnel and their families on issues such as consumer protection, health care, foreclosure prevention, and employment,” AG Coakley said. “This initiative only strengthens our longstanding efforts to better serve veterans and inform them of their rights, protections, and available benefits.”

"Massachusetts is the national leader in providing comprehensive veterans' services for many reasons, but none more so than the strong collaborations we have made to maximize our resources and provide world-class, comprehensive benefits to our veterans, service members and their families," said Department of Veterans' Services Secretary Coleman Nee. “Military Consumer Protection Day is the perfect example of our federal, state, and local resources coming together to ensure the well-being of the men and women that are serving or have served our nation. I thank the Attorney General and her staff for their support and continued dedication to ensuring the Commonwealth's veterans and service members have access to the programs and information they need.”

The AG’s Office will also make staff available to answer questions and provide helpful consumer information to veterans at two events this week.  Today, staff from the AG’s Office will be available at the VA Hospital, 1400 Veterans of Foreign Wars Pkwy in West Roxbury from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Saturday, the AG’s Office will also join the Massachusetts National Guard and Coast Guard for a Yellow Ribbon event at the Marriott Hotel located at 1000 Marriott Drive in Quincy from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Recognizing the unique needs of service members and veterans, AG Coakley created an office-wide Veteran’s Task Force in 2011 to help ensure that Massachusetts veterans and their families have access to the full range of benefits and services offered to them. The task force is committed to furthering AG Coakley’s role as a consumer advocate by recognizing the needs of veterans through casework, policy, community outreach, and programming.

The AG's Office also recently updated its Veterans’ Resource Guide to include information from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services,  the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and other state and federal agencies and organizations about resources available to veterans, military service members, and their families. The guide offers comprehensive information regarding healthcare, education, employment, and housing benefits. Items include:

  • Financial Guidance/Assistance
  • Housing Resources
  • Medical Care/Death Benefit Information
  • Service-Related Information
  • Education Benefits & Scholarships
  • Motor Vehicle-Related Information
  • Legal Assistance
  • Discrimination Against Veterans
  • Employment Rights & Resources
  • Information & Resources for Family Members
  • Support Groups & Services

In May, the AG’s Office awarded $500,000 in grants to help provide access to quality mental health services to Massachusetts veterans and their families, designed to support AG Coakley’s advocacy to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality healthcare, including mental health services. The grant program will allow qualified non-profit organizations to provide or expand services that offer access to basic care, treatment for trauma-related mental health conditions and suicide prevention programs.

In April 2012, the AG’s Office launched the HomeCorps program that provides direct services to distressed Massachusetts borrowers through loan modification advocacy, legal representation, and social services referrals. HomeCorps currently has an active military expert who acts as a liaison to loan servicers to ensure access to reference documents explaining programs specifically geared toward active military families. Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage or facing foreclosure should reach out directly to the AG’s HomeCorps hotline at 617-573-5333.

For free resources, tip sheets and blog posts from national consumer protection experts, visit military.ncpw.gov. For more information on the Veterans Resource Guide, please contact the Attorney General’s Office at (617) 727-2200, or visit mass.gov/ago/veterans.

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