Massachusetts Veteran Service Officers
In addition to the employment requirements contained in M.G.L. Ch. 115 and C.M.R. 108, the Committee recommends that any district proposal contain a full job description for their Veteran Service Officer(s) (VSO) that reflects the following elements:
· The functions of a VSO are to deliver essential services to the veterans and dependents residing within the municipality.
· The VSO should provide outreach services by providing referrals and assistance to, veterans and their dependents regarding available benefits and services, including G.I. Bill benefits; educational assistance; home purchases; tax exemptions; pensions; reemployment rights; civil service; burials and hospitalizations; and adjudication of claims against the government. The VSO should establish outreach programs that include working with federal, state and local governments and other agencies as needed, including accessing VA benefits and employment assistance through MA Career Centers and US Dept. of Labor workforce training programs.
· The VSO takes applications for M.G.L. C. 115 benefits and make initial determination of eligibility; forward requests for authorization for reimbursement to the Secretary of Veterans’ Services; pay benefits and prepare and submit monthly returns of veterans’ benefits paid by the respective member community.
· The VSO should conduct public information campaigns to ensure that the eligible client population is aware of current laws. The VSO should keep current with changes in the laws which affect veteran benefits and services by attending professional development programs and by communicating with the Department of Veterans’ Services.
· Coordinates and supervises the observance of Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day in District communities in conjunction with the member communities’ veterans councils.
· The VSO should work with the member communities’ Veterans’ Graves Officers to ensure that member communities are in compliance with the Massachusetts General Laws and the policies regarding proper interment and the care of veterans’ graves. The VSO should coordinate with member communities’ graves officers who are responsible for the maintenance of veterans’ graves, including the placement of a United States flag on each veteran’s grave on Memorial Day.
· The VSO is accountable for the proper interment of the body of any veteran or adult dependent of a veteran in accordance with current regulations. The VSO prepares and submits veterans and dependents burial expenses documents for partial reimbursement of said expenses.
· The VSO arranges for the lowering of all District flags on occasions of public mourning and upon orders from the District, member communities, the Massachusetts Governor and/or the President of the United States. The VSO works with the District communities and the Department of Defense to honor a fallen veteran and/or a veteran lost in the line of duty in cooperation with the veteran’s family.
· The VSO maintains a depository in the appropriate member community of military service records and discharges for veterans living in the District and makes and forwards copies as appropriate.