Massachusetts is home to almost half a million veterans. These brave men and women, as well as their families, friends, and communities, deserve quality care and steadfast support. Martha is committed to ensuring that we do not let our veterans down
Helping Veterans Receive the Benefits They Deserve
As Attorney General, Martha worked with other state officials to guarantee that veterans receive the benefits to which they are entitled. She required municipalities to document their compliance with state law requiring full- and part-time veterans service officers, which were at risk of being downsized because of the economic crisis. She also worked closely with the Department of Labor, HUD, MCAD, and other state and federal agencies to ensure our active duty troops and veterans, particularly disabled veterans, had equal access to jobs, housing, and other community resources.
Under Martha's guidance, in 2009, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office launched a website and a resource guide for veterans to shepherd them through the benefits appeals process and provide vital, tailored information about medical care, death benefits, financial assistance, education, housing, and employment rights.
As veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan return home, they and their families need particular support transitioning back into civilian life. In Washington, Martha will work to ensure that our newest veterans have the resources they need.
Martha applauds the passage of the new Post 9-11 G.I. Bill, which is already helping veterans get back to school. That said, like all of us, she is deeply concerned that checks have not been issued on time and that far too many veterans are still waiting for the benefits they were promised.
In Washington, Martha will champion policies that would clear the red tape keeping so many veterans from receiving the help they need. She supports measures that would require and assist the Veterans Administration ("VA") in tracking down veterans who are not collecting their benefits.
Expanding Health Care Services
The incredible sacrifices borne by our veterans and their families often include injuries we cannot readily see. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental health conditions, including PTSD, which are not always adequately screened or diagnosed. Martha supports measures to increase the availability and quality of screening and counseling for mental health conditions. Martha will also support fully funding research on traumatic brain injuries, as well as programs that offer specialized support for the families of veterans suffering from these injuries.
Martha supports regular inspections of military and VA hospitals and facilities to ensure these facilities have quality, up to date equipment for medical procedures. As Senator, Martha will support local, community-based health services that can provide veterans with more personal, one-on-one treatment. In Washington, Martha will also champion efforts to recruit nurses and other health care workers for VA hospitals. Martha strongly supports allowing veterans to access non-VA healthcare at VA expense in cases where the VA cannot provide the veteran with adequate services in his or her community.
Martha is especially committed to the unique issues facing women veterans, over 25,000 of who live in Massachusetts. Recent women veterans have served in unprecedented conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and have unique healthcare needs, while prior generations of women veterans have continued to fight for equal access to care. As Senator, Martha will advocate for targeted, woman-centered health care, help with childcare for those in VA hospitals, specialized sexual assault treatment, improved prenatal and newborn care, and more research into the particular health issues of women who served in the Persian Gulf.
Supporting Military Families
Martha knows that the families of veterans endure some of the most difficult hardships, both while their loved ones are in the service, and after they return home and face unimaginable challenges.
As Senator, Martha will look for ways to ease the burden on military families, including increasing compensation for those in service, offering comprehensive career development support for returning service members, improving housing at military bases, helping families who were especially affected by changes in the housing market, and cracking down on unfair payday loans.
In Washington, Martha will also support the further expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") to enhance medical leave benefits for family members of veterans, providing even more time off from work for those caring for a wounded service member, and allowing more active service members to use FMLA leave time when they are deployed. Martha also supports expediting the VA benefits claims process so that delays do not cause further economic hardship for disabled veterans and their families.
As Attorney General, Martha fought to eliminate the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") in large part because it restricts Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services from serving all married couples. DOMA also prevents same-sex spouses of veterans from receiving the same benefits and service from the VA, even though those veterans have performed comparable military service.
In Washington, Martha will support ending the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, which has caused the discharge of over 12,500 service members to date, the harassment of countless others, and the overall weakening of our armed forces by discharging and stigmatizing so many qualified and patriotic men and women. As Senator, Martha will fight for the right of all Americans to serve their country openly, and the rights of all military families to be treated equally.
AG Indicts Charity Scam Against Veterans
Attorney General's Guide to Appealing a VA Benefits Decision or Denial
State reminds officials of need for veterans' services; March deadline for compliance
Attorney General's Veterans' Resource Guide