40. Do I have to apply for Veterans' Services benefits?

The EAEDC rules require you to apply for state-funded Veterans' Services benefits if you appear to be eligible for these benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 702.720. If you have never served in the military or if you have a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge, you will not be eligible for Veterans' Services and DTA should not require you to apply.

If you do apply for Veterans' Services benefits, the local Veterans' Services Officer (VSO) needs to give you a denial notice before DTA decides on your EAEDC application. However, DTA should not refuse to take an EAEDC application while you are waiting for a Veterans’ Services decision since your EAEDC benefits are retroactive to the date of your application.

Advocacy Reminders:
  • Veterans' Services benefits are state- and locally funded entitlement benefits based on financial need. See M.G.L. c. 115 and 108 C.M.R. § 2.00 et seq. The benefits are provided to eligible veterans and their dependents. The dependents include the spouses of veterans (but not if divorced), children under age 23, and the parents of veterans.
  • Veterans' Services benefits are administered by local Veterans' Services Officers in each city and town in Massachusetts. These benefits are often higher than EAEDC benefits and include full medical care similar to MassHealth.
  • Some legal services programs provide legal advice and/or representation to veterans including Veterans Legal Services in Greater Boston, http://veteranslegalservices.org/  They handle Veterans Services cases as well as federal VA benefits cases and discharge upgrades.