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Veterans’ Disability Benefits FAQ

Who is a veteran?

For Massachusetts’ benefits, you are a “veteran” if you served for at least 90 days of regular active duty one day of which was during wartime, or you served for 180 days during peacetime, and you received a discharge under honorable conditions. This does not include active duty for training days in the Guard or Reserve.

For Guard members to qualify they must have either:

  • 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code and a last discharge or release 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 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime and a last discharge or release under honorable conditions.

What are your rights as a veteran?

  • File an application for benefits at any time
  • Receive assistance from local veterans agent
  • Receive an explanation of services and benefits
  • Receive explanation of approval or denial of benefits application

What are the advantages of having an attorney assist me?

An attorney may assist you with much more than just the VA application, such as making sure that all of your assets are in order to help prevent a denial of your claim and with other paperwork that might be needed to help prove your claim. An attorney must be certified through the VA and as such, can represent you before the VA if your claim is denied or if the award is incorrect.

Who is considered a dependent?

  • Spouse of veteran.
  • Widow or widower of the veteran.
  • Dependent parent of veteran.
  • Child of veteran if less than 19 years old.
  • Child of veteran between 19 and 24 years old if enrolled high school or college.
  • Child of veteran older than 19 years old if mentally or physically unable to support himself or herself and was affected by the disability prior to his or her 18th birthday.

Should I be living in an assisted living community before I apply?

No, it is not necessary to be living in assisted living in order to apply for VA benefits. However, if you are in need of personal assistance, the entire cost of assisted living helps to qualify you for benefits, but you must be a current resident to submit these expenses as a deduction off income.

How long does it take to find out if I am eligible?

An attorney should be able to give you an idea of your qualification within thirty minutes; however, in order to be absolutely certain that you qualify for benefits, the attorney would need to review all of you financial, personal, military, and medical records.

How long does it take for me to get my first check?

Once an application is turned in to the VA, it can take anywhere from five to eight months on average to get your check if you are approved for benefits. If you have dementia or other memory loss issues, the VA will insist on meeting you and your representative before sending you a check, so your award may be delayed another four to six months on average.