REP. HAMILTON: The Heroes Act, A Necessary Ode to Vets Across The State

By: State Rep. Ryan Hamilton – 6/24

Last week, I proudly voted to pass a comprehensive Bill to enhance veterans’ benefits.

The Massachusetts Legislature has gone forward with Bill H.4661, comprehensive legislation aimed at bolstering benefits and support for veterans across the state. This bill encompasses many changes, from increasing tax credits for businesses hiring veterans to expanding property tax abatements and introducing new medical, behavioral health, and dental assistance benefits.

One of the significant highlights of the bill is the proposal to increase tax credits for partnerships, LLCs, and corporations that employ veterans. Under the new provisions, eligible businesses with fewer than 100 employees could receive up to $2,500 in tax credits for hiring and retaining veterans for a second year. Additionally, annuity payments for blind, paraplegic, or disabled veterans would see an increase from $2,000 to $2,500 annually.

Municipalities would gain more flexibility in providing property tax abatements for veterans, with adjustments pegged to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Furthermore, the bill allows additional property tax abatements for veterans who already qualify for existing benefits, with the maximum possible amount equal to their current abatement.

In addition to enhancing existing benefits, the bill simplifies the process for veterans to claim their entitlements. It mandates retirement boards to notify veterans of their eligibility to claim credit for active service towards retirement benefits. Veterans would also have up to one year after vesting to contribute to the annuity savings fund to claim military service for such benefits.

Furthermore, the bill safeguards veterans from losing state benefits due to a cost-of-living adjustment to social security, ensuring they remain eligible for assistance. It also protects veterans who have received a discharge other than honorable based on identity or mental health issues.

Recognizing the importance of veterans’ mental health, the bill proposes updates to the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) to raise awareness about Extreme Risk Protection Orders. It directs the Department of Public Health to conduct campaigns focusing on suicide prevention among veterans.

The legislation modernizes language and organization within the Executive Office of Veterans’ Services, ensuring gender-neutral terminology and expanding services to all state-operated veterans’ homes.

Lastly, the bill includes provisions to honor and recognize veterans, such as issuing an annual Memorial Day proclamation and expanding eligibility for special license plates to include Purple Heart recipients.

Overall, Bill H.4661 represents a significant step forward in providing comprehensive support and recognition for veterans in Massachusetts, addressing various aspects of their well-being and ensuring they receive the benefits they deserve.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any ideas, concerns, or questions at or 617-722-2090. ◊