Patrick-Murray Administration Reminds Veterans about Benefits and Services During the Holiday Season
"We value the service of our military men and women and their families," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services. "We encourage them now and throughout the year to learn of the available resources and how to access benefits and services they have earned."
The Patrick-Murray Administration encourages veterans and their families to contact the Department of Veterans' Services about the services below by calling (888) 844 2838 or visiting www.mass.gov/veterans. Veterans are also encouraged to visit their local Veterans Service Officer in their city or town.
Mental Health and Support Services
The Statewide Advocacy for Veterans Empowerment (SAVE) Program is a suicide prevention initiative that focuses on community advocacy, outreach, mental health awareness, and referrals to the appropriate services. The SAVE team is comprised of recently returned Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans and family members of veterans. SAVE Outreach Coordinators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and prepared to meet with veterans in the field.
The Women Veterans' Network (WVN) is the central resource for women veterans in the Commonwealth. The Network provides women veterans with information about federal, state, and local benefits; expands awareness of the needs of women veterans; identifies available resources to meet those needs; and advocates on behalf of women veterans in Massachusetts.
DVS also contracts with non-profit organizations and supports Outreach Centers to assist veterans and their families with a range of services. Services vary by location and can include: assistance and referrals to obtain federal and state veterans' benefits; counseling services; food pantry and clothing closets; transportation services; and community activities.
Under Chapter 115 of Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L. Ch. 115), the Commonwealth provides a uniform program of financial and medical assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents. Qualifying veterans and their dependents receive financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, housing supplies, and medical care based on income and the number of dependants. Applications for Chapter 115 benefits are available at the offices of local Veterans' Service Officers (VSO). Every city and town in the Commonwealth employs a VSO, located in the City or Town Hall, who is knowledgeable about federal, state, and local benefits to which veterans and dependents may be entitled.
"I encourage Veterans and Military families to reach out to their local VSOs or contact my staff at the Department of Veterans' Services to access any benefits and services they may need, said Secretary of Veterans' Services Tom Kelley. "We want to ensure all of our veterans and their families have a safe, happy holiday season."
DVS contracts with a range of non-profit organizations, which provide housing services to eligible veterans. Housing Services range from Emergency Homeless Shelters, group residences, to Single Room Occupancy (SRO) quarters. All require that residents maintain a sober and drug-free environment. Services are available to both male and female veterans.
Massachusetts was recently the recipient of $1 million in workforce grants for veterans from the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service under the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program. DVS was awarded two Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) Grants and one Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) Grant.
The HVRP Urban grant serves thirty cities and towns in Central Massachusetts through the Department of Veterans' Services partnership with Veterans, Inc. (MVI) in Worcester. The HVRP Non-Urban Grant serves cities and towns in the South Shore area through DVS' collaboration with Father Bills & MainSpring (FBMS).The HVRP program focuses solely on the employment of homeless veterans. These grants will be used to fund programs that involve emergency shelter, job counseling and referrals, and employment assistance.
The VWIP Grant awarded to DVS provides funds to assist veterans in obtaining "green" jobs. DVS has partnered with the Veterans' Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC) in Haverhill to assist eligible veterans along the I-495 corridor. Through this program, veterans receive skills assessments; individual job counseling; labor market information; classroom or on-the-job training; skills upgrading and retraining; and placement assistance and follow-up services.
In addition to state benefits, there are many additional benefits and services offered to veterans and families including federal, local, and private/non-profit programs. Veterans are encouraged to contact DVS for additional information: www.mass.gov/veterans; 888-844-2838 or visit their local VSO in their city or town.
# # #