Direct Financial Aid - Chapter 115 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth provides a system of financial benefits for veterans, their families, and in some cases their survivors who are in need and who meet the appropriate criteria. This aid is dispensed by the Veterans' Services Office from Town funds and is reimbursed by the Commonwealth at a rate of 75%. This aid is paid by check directly to the recipient and must be repaid if circumstances permit.
Hospital/Medical/Fuel - Eligible veterans and their families can have their hospital, medical and fuel bills paid by the Town with a 75% reimbursement from the Commonwealth.
Burial - All deceased veterans receive a casket flag and an aluminum grave marker. Honor guards are also available. Financial aid is available for indigent veterans' burial if there is no source of family or other funds to pay for burial. Some of these funds are reimbursed to the Town from the Commonwealth.
Federal Benefits Coordinated by the Veterans' Services Office
Entitlement for an eligible veteran will start from the Veterans' Services Office by way of application filled out either by the Director or with his help. Information and assistance is readily available for every Federal veterans benefit. Typical federal benefits coordinated by this office are:
Bronze Grave Markers - Every honorably discharged veteran upon his death is entitled at government expense to a flat bronze marker commemorating his military service.
Burial in a National or State Veterans Cemetery - Any eligible veteran may be buried (if space is available) at any Federal Veterans Cemetery or in one of the two(2) new State Veterans Cemeteries at Agawam or Winchendon.
Disability - Veterans seeking either a service-connected or non-service-connected disability rating or an increase in either rating can do so starting with local assistance.
Discharges - World War II discharges or post-WWII DD Form 214s can be obtained, corrected or upgraded starting locally.
Widow's Pension - This program starts with a local application.
VA Home Loans - Applications for certification of eligibility are available and expedited handling can be arranged.
VA GI Bill – Applications for education benefits are available and can be started locally.
Other Services Available
Medals/Awards/Decorations - Veterans can obtain or replace medals awards or decorations they are entitled to either from government or commercial sources or they can apply for decorations for which they are qualified but which they did not officially receive at time of discharge.
Bonuses - There is no time limit on payment of WWII, Korea, Vietnam or Gulf War state bonuses. They can be obtained by applying locally.
License Plates - Veterans can apply through the local office for distinctive license plates issued by the Commonwealth such as POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, etc.
General Information - The office can usually answer most questions pertaining to military affairs, military history or any inquiry related to veterans