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HOME Act adds another level of protection for veterans who are entering civilian lifeOn Thursday, July 14, 2016, Governor Baker signed the HOME Act and added another level of protection for veterans who are transitioning to civilian life by establishing laws to prevent veterans from being discriminated against in regard to housing, employment, and military service, as well as provide more allowances for their family. The legislation will not only help current members of the armed services and reserves, but also veterans, gold star families, and the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke.

Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Ureña agrees that this bill continues to “set the tone that Massachusetts leads the nation when it comes to the benefits and services that it provides our veterans.” This act is just another step toward maximizing the life for veterans, service members, and their families—they have served our country for us, now we will serve them for our country, he added.HOME Act adds another level of protection for veterans who are entering civilian life

The bill, also referenced as the HOME Act, amends an earlier bill and introduces its own advances for Commonwealth residents tied to military service. Some of these benefits are as follows:

Section 1 designates the Gold Star Family monument in Fall River as the official Gold Star Family monument in the Commonwealth.

Section 4 extends the Public Service Scholarship to support the children of service members who were held as prisoners of war or were missing in action (of any conflict).

Sections 6–8 extend benefits and pay for employees of the Commonwealth who serve in the National Guard or reserves when they’re called to service during their employment.

Sections 9–10 extend the total city/town real estate tax exemption to cover the surviving spouse of any fallen service member during active duty, and veterans with 100% service-connected blindness.

Section 12 establishes a system for individuals to donate or pledge money to go toward the Municipal Veterans Assistance Fund, which provides support for veterans and their dependents who are in need of assistance with food, transportation, and heating and oil expenses.

Sections 17–20 enable veterans to have preference in publically-supported homes across the state.

Sections 22–24 make veterans a protected class under the law which will prohibit discrimination in employment.

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