Because this Guide's intended audience is veterans, the content focuses on the benefits and rights you will enjoy upon discharge or release from active duty. There are some benefits and rights described in this Guide that can only be enjoyed if you took certain steps before you entered active duty. Since some of the audience may have been deployed already, or may be family members of those on deployment, we cover those steps here. We apologize if this seems a bit confusing, but we don't want you to miss out on certain employment and reemployment rights, civil service and veterans' preference opportunities, and financial and civil protections.

Listed below are the steps you should take upon receiving your orders to guarantee certain rights and benefits described in this Guide.

I just received my orders. What should I do now?

  • Notify your employer in writing about your orders, stating the approximate amount of time you'll be gone. Be sure to include a copy of your orders.
  • If you have applied for a civil service position, contact the Civil Service Commission for advice on how to proceed. The phone number is (617) 727-2293.
  • If you work for a government agency that has accepted Chapter 77 of the Acts of 2005, then you may be entitled to the difference, if any, between your base pay as a public employee and your base pay from the military. This applies to members of Reserves or National Guard who were called up after September 11, 2001, and until September 11, 2011.
  • Notify your landlord or mortgage company, and cell phone provider in writing about your orders. If you are activated for more than 90 days, you may be provided certain protections by the law.
  • Notify all your creditors in writing and ask them to drop any interest rates that are in excess of 6%, to 6% for the time you will be activated, and specify that you understand the additional interest will be forgiven. Be prepared to show that your service has materially affected your ability to pay.
  • Request an "extension of time to file your income taxes" from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service, if you've already paid 80% of your taxes.

(Welcome Home, 3rd edition, April 2010)

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