Veteran Status Criteria

There are 2 different sets of criteria for qualifying as a "veteran":
  • Those defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits under MGL chapter 115
  • Those defined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for determining eligibility for Federal VA benefits
Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information.

Town Administration
The town's Department of Veterans' Services provides guidance and assistance regarding eligibility for federal VA benefits but is only authorized to administer benefits under Massachusetts General Laws.

Definitions
A "veteran" under MGL c. 115 is defined as follows:
  • Any person, (a) whose last discharge or release from wartime service…was under honorable conditions and who (b) served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Air Force of the United States, or on full-time National Guard duty… for not less than 90 days active service, at least 1 day of which was for wartime service
  • Any person who so served in wartime and was awarded a service-connected disability or a Purple Heart, or who died in such service under conditions other than dishonorable if less than 90 days' active service was completed
  • A member of the American Merchant Marine who served in armed conflict between December 7 1941, and December 31, 1946, and who has received honorable discharges from the United States Coast Guard, Army, or Navy
  • Any person who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Air Force of the United States for not less than 180 days active service.
Wartime Service
'Wartime service' shall mean service performed by a:
  • Spanish War veteran:
    • Between February 15, 1898 and July 4, 1902
  • World War I veteran:
    • Between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918,
    • Has been awarded the World War I Victory Medal
    • Performed such service between March 25, 1917, and August 5, 1917, as a Massachusetts National Guardsman
  • World War II veteran:
    • Between September 16, 1940, and July 25, 1947, and was awarded the World War II Victory Medal
  • Korean veteran:
    • Between June 25, 1950, and January 31, 1955
    • Any person who has received the Korea Defense Service Medal
  • Vietnam veteran:
    • Between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975
    • Any person who served at least 180 days of active service in the armed forces of the United States during the period between February 1, 1955, and August 4, 1964
    • Any person who served in the armed forces during this period and was awarded a service-connected disability or a Purple Heart, or who died under conditions other than dishonorable even if 180 days active service were not completed
  • Lebanese Peace-keeping Force veteran:
    • Between August 25, 1982, and ending when the President has withdrawn armed forces from Lebanon
    • Received a campaign medal for such service
  • Grenada Rescue-mission veteran:
    • Between October 25, 1983, and December 15, 1983
    • Received a campaign medal for such service
  • Panamanian Intervention Force veteran:
    • Between December 20, 1989, and January 31, 1990
    • Received a campaign medal for such service
  • Persian Gulf veteran:
    • Between August 2, 1990, and ending on a date to be determined by Presidential proclamation or executive order and concurrent resolution of the Congress of the United States
  • WAAC:
    • Any woman who was discharged and served in any corps or unit of the United States established for the purpose of enabling women to serve with or as auxiliary to the armed forces of the United States.
"Active service" shall not include active duty for training in the Army National Guard or Air National Guard or as a reservist in the armed forces of the United States.

Armed Forces shall include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force.

None of the following shall be deemed to be a "veteran":
  • Any person, who at the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States had declared his intention to become a subject or citizen of the United States and withdrew his intention
  • Any person who was discharged from the armed forces on his own application or solicitation by reason of his being an enemy alien
  • Any person who has been proved guilty of willful desertion
  • Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his service as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary or as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve
  • Any person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable