To be a “Veteran” under Massachusetts law a person is required to have either:
- 180 days of active duty service and be discharged or released under honorable conditions - OR -
- 90 days of active duty service, one day of which is during “wartime” and be discharged or released under honorable conditions, except for Vietnam I, which requires 180 days of active duty service.
For Guard Members to qualify they must have either:
- 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code and have been discharged or released under honorable conditions - OR -
- Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 33, sections 38, 40, and 41 must have served 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the chart located on page 3. The members’ last discharge or release must be under honorable conditions.
For Reservists to qualify, they must have been called to regular active duty.
Minimum service exception (for death or disability)
It is not necessary that an applicant have completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign if s/he served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per the discharge certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
Training duty exception
Active service in the armed forces, as used in this clause, shall not include active duty for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the armed forces of the United States.
Any Merchant Marine who served for a period of 90 days in armed conflict between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946, and who received an honorable discharge from the Army, Navy, or Coast Guard of the United States.
The following categories of persons may qualify as dependents eligible to receive veterans’ benefits:
- Spouse of the Veteran;
- Widow or widower of the Veteran;
- Dependent parent of the Veteran;
- Any person who acted as a parent to the Veteran for five years immediately preceding the commencement of the Veteran’s wartime service;
- Child of the Veteran until his or her 19th birthday;
- Child of the Veteran between 19 years and 24 years of age while the child is attending high school, an institution of higher learning or some other accredited educational institution;
- Child of the Veteran 19 years of age or older who is mentally or physically unable to support him/herself and was affected by the disability prior to his/her 18th birthday;
- Legally adopted children of the Veteran.
Who is not eligible?
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 as his/her intention to become a subject or citizen of the United States and withdrew his/her intention under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918;
- Any person who was discharged from said armed forces on his/her own application or solicitation by reason of his/her being an enemy alien;
- Any person who has been proven guilty of willful desertion;
- Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his/her service as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary or as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve, or both;
- Any person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable or other than honorable.