For Immediate Release - May 25, 2012

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES MASS VETS ADVISOR – NEW CUTTING-EDGE WEB PORTAL FOR VETERANS

New portal launched Memorial Day Weekend, offers easier access to resources for Veterans

BOSTON – Friday, May 25, 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today launched www.MassVetsAdvisor.org – a cutting-edge web portal that offers enhanced access to services and support for veterans living in the Commonwealth. The new site will help veterans and their family members access more than 200 state and federal benefits in one location, including programs for education, counseling, employment, health care and other services.

Veterans gathered at Bunker Hill Community College today to browse the portal for the first time with Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) Secretary Coleman Nee, members of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and other public officials.

“Massachusetts veterans have bravely served our country, and we need to ensure these men and women have access to the benefits they have rightfully earned,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray, chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services.  “We thank the Obama Administration and our congressional delegation for their support as we launch this new web portal to help veterans across the Commonwealth more easily access the benefits they deserve.”

“Returning to civilian life is challenging,” said Kyle Toto, a U.S. Army veteran who worked with Massachusetts Broadband Institute on the project. “When I came home from Afghanistan I wanted to spend time with friends and family and not have to search endlessly for my benefits. MassVetsAdvisor allows veterans and their families to search for their benefits from the comfort of their homes and on their own time.”

“I’m proud of this project, which will help veterans navigate a sometimes confusing maze of services with ease,” said Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health and Human Services. “This will help veterans and their families gain access to educational and employment opportunities, as well as programs that promote health and wellness. I want to thank the Mass Broadband Institute and all of our partners who have made this incredibly rich online resource for veterans a reality.”

“Massachusetts is the national leader when it comes to providing benefits and services to our veterans,” said Secretary Nee. “MassVetsAdvisor is a one-stop resource to help veterans and their families access the finest benefits and services available to them -- all in one convenient location.”

“This new web portal is a great resource for veterans and their families to ensure that they know about all the benefits they are entitled to under the law,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “Our office is committed to supporting our veterans who gave so much to this country and identifying new ways to reach those in need of assistance.”

MassVetsAdvisor streamlines comprehensive data from state and federal resources and lists only the benefits and services each veteran is qualified for, including an "action plan" to apply for the benefits. Veterans will be able to print, email, save or forward the action plan to their Veterans Services Officer for additional one-on-one assistance.

“After all our veterans have done for our country, we must ensure they have timely and predictable access to the benefits they have earned," said United States Senator Scott Brown. "This is especially important as more and more servicemen and women return from combat with both visible and invisible wounds. It’s initiatives like this that let our heroes know we are grateful for their service and sacrifices.”

“I am pleased that these ARRA funds have been put to such good use,” said Congressman John Olver. “My sincere hope is that by streamlining this information into a single portal, veterans can quickly find the information they need and spend more time reconnecting with friends and family.”

"We have a responsibility to make sure that those who have served our country get the benefits that they have earned," said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. "MassVetsAdvisor.org is one way to do that. I give credit to Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Murray and Secretary Coleman Nee for their efforts.”   

“I’m thankful for the Patrick-Murray Administration’s efforts to keep Massachusetts at the national forefront of veterans services,” said Representative James Vallee, Chair of the House Veterans Committee and Army veteran. “As a member of our Commonwealth’s military community, I know how much this new resource will improve access and availability of services for our fellow veterans.”

Among the many services accessible through the portal:

  • The Welcome Home Bonus, which enables eligible veterans to receive $1,000, $500, or $250 upon return from duty, depending on their deployment or stateside service.
  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill, a new education benefit program for service members and veterans who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001.
  • The Veterans’ Employment and Training Services program, which provides career assistance for Veterans at One-Stop Career Centers throughout the Commonwealth at no charge.
  • Veterans’ License Plate Designation, which is offered to any Massachusetts veteran for use on a car or motorcycle. Proceeds from the veterans plates benefit the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke.

Massachusetts received $1 million in federal funding supported through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to promote broadband adoption and usage for veterans.

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute, a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services and the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, to develop the website as an easy-to-use resource for Veterans and their family members.

“We’re pleased to facilitate a website that will effectively streamline benefits and connect our veterans and their family members to vital services,” said Pamela Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “We thank the Patrick-Murray Administration for their strong effort to support veterans throughout the Commonwealth.”

“Providing one online destination will make it easier for our veterans to access important benefits,” said Judith Dumont, Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. “Veterans of all ages will be able to quickly connect with programs and services thereby making their online experience more rewarding.”

“We were honored to work with Secretary Nee and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to create MassVetsAdvisor to improve access to our state’s comprehensive services for veterans,” said Michael Allard, COO of the Red Sox Foundation and Home Base Program. “As a provider of clinical care for veterans and families affected by combat stress and traumatic brain injury -- 'the invisible wounds of war' -- nothing is more important than helping individuals get accurate information quickly from a trusted source.”

“Bunker Hill Community College is honored to host the launch of the MassVetsAdvisor web site,” said BHCC President Mary Fifield. “We know how important it is for veterans to have quick and easy access to the benefits they have earned, and we applaud the efforts of everyone who contributed to making the new web site a reality.”
 

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