Director of Veterans' Services - Michael BurkeTown Offices - 36 Bartlet Street
Phone: (978) 623-8218
Fax: (978) 623-8221
Office Hours: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Thursday
Friday - Emergency Services Only
Mission StatementThe Veterans' Services Office is responsible for administering or coordinating all financial, logistical, medical and administrative support for the Town's over 3,000 veterans and their families.
Definition of "Veteran"
- Federal Definition - Under Federal Law a "Veteran" is any person who served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. (Discharges marked General and Under Honorable Conditions qualify also).
- State Definition - Under State Law a "Veteran" is any person who served in the armed forces of the United States for either 180 days of regular active duty service, and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions; or, 90 days of active duty service, one (1) day of which is during "wartime" per the following chart, and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions. Service Chart
Local/State Services/Benefits Available to Veterans
- 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 OfficeGenerally any Federal 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.
- Burial at Sea - eligible Navy and Coast Guard veterans can be buried at sea. Veterans of other services can sometimes be so buried also.
- 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.
- G.I. Life Insurance - all claims for payment under G.I. life insurance can be initially processed and forwarded from the local veterans services office
- 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.
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.
- Internet Websites - the local office maintains listings of websites of general interest to veterans.
- Ship & Unit Histories - the office has considerable reference materials on hand and can provide further access through the internet.
- 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.
- Reunions/Locating Buddies - the office has access to large databases for unit reunions and through the internet can attempt to put local veterans in touch with former comrades.
- Transportation - the office will in emergency situations arrange for transportation for veterans to medical or hospital appointments.
- General Information - the office can usually answer any and all questions pertaining to military affairs, military history or any inquiry related to veterans.
Frequently Asked Questions Not Covered Above
- VA Toll Free Hotline (800) 827-1000 - This number will put callers in direct contact with VA officials who are fully knowledgeable in ALL areas of Federal benefits and services.
- VA Website - This site has a wealth of information and forms related to VA benefits and services.
- State Department of Veterans Services (617) 727-3578 - Switchboard number for all services at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services
Ancillary DutiesThe office also serves as the Town of Andover Claims Office and also maintains the Town Fuel Assistance program and administers two (2) small trust funds for emergency help to indigent citizens, veterans or non-veteran alike.
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