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What You Need to Know About the Proposed MA Hero Act

The MA HERO Act, recently unveiled by Governor Maura Healey, is a significant legislative proposal set to redefine Massachusetts veteran benefits and support services. This groundbreaking initiative, introduced in commemoration of Veterans Day 2023, marks a pivotal moment for veterans in the Commonwealth. Let’s delve into the key features of this proposed law and what it means for Massachusetts veterans.

Expanding Veteran Benefits and Services

Enhanced Behavioral Health Access

A cornerstone of the MA HERO Act is its commitment to improving mental health services for veterans. The proposed legislation seeks to reimburse veterans for outpatient behavioral health visits. The goal is to address the critical need for accessible mental health care. This move signifies a substantial enhancement of Massachusetts veteran benefits, acknowledging the importance of mental well-being alongside physical health.

Modernizing Employment Support

The HERO Act proposes to increase the Vet-Hire Tax Credit to $2,500. This subsidy incentivizes small businesses to employ chronically unemployed or low-income veterans. This initiative is not only an employment booster but also a means to ensure that Massachusetts veteran benefits extend into meaningful career opportunities. By focusing on veterans who might face barriers to employment, including those with service-connected disabilities, the law aims to foster an inclusive job market for all veterans.

Inclusivity in Veteran Support

Addressing the diverse needs of the veteran community, the HERO Act expands the scope of the Veterans Equality Review Board. This expansion includes consideration of discharges related to Military Sexual Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, mental health conditions, or HIV. Additionally, the Act proposes a pilot program to reimburse same-sex couples denied fertility treatment coverage, reflecting a broader, more inclusive approach to Massachusetts veteran benefits.

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Revolutionizing Health Care Options

Codifying Essential Medical Benefits

The HERO Act seeks to codify medical and dental assistance benefits for veterans. One feature ensures consistent and reliable access to these critical healthcare services. This legislative move is vital in guaranteeing that Massachusetts veteran benefits comprehensively cover the health care needs of those who have served.

Exploring Alternative Therapies

Recognizing the complexity of mental health challenges, the HERO Act introduces a study to explore the benefits of alternative therapies, such as psilocybin, for treating mental health disorders in veterans. This innovative approach could open new avenues for treating conditions that disproportionately affect veterans, further strengthening Massachusetts veteran benefits.

Promoting Veteran Financial Security

Increased Annuities and Tax Benefits

The HERO Act proposes an increase in the annual annuity for veterans with a 100% service-connected disability. It offers protections against cost-of-living increases that could impact veteran stipends under Chapter 115. Furthermore, it aims to provide more flexibility for veterans in property tax exemptions, a move that could significantly aid veterans’ financial stability and security.

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Key Takeaways

The MA HERO Act is a bold step forward in enhancing Massachusetts veteran benefits. It showcases a comprehensive approach to addressing the varied needs of the veteran community. By focusing on health care, employment, inclusivity, and financial security, this proposed legislation promises to improve the lives of veterans in Massachusetts significantly. As we await the future of the law, it’s clear that the Commonwealth is committed to those who have bravely served our nation.

About MassVeteran

Easterseals Massachusetts Military & Veteran programs strive to ensure that our military and veteran community members adjust to our communities after service. We created our website as a resource for Veterans to find information on various benefits, connect to resources in Massachusetts, register for activities and events, and explore other ways to participate in military veteran outreach.

To get involved, check out our MassVeteran Play and Learning Opportunities. Surrounding yourself with positive people, learning from peers’ experiences, sharing your knowledge and experiences with others, and engaging with the community are critical to reintegration. Contact us today to learn more, or click here to apply for a medical equipment loan!

About Easterseals

Easterseals seeks to change the way the world defines disabilities by making positive, profound differences in veterans’ lives. For nearly 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for people and families challenged by disability.

MassVeteran is proud to collaborate with Easterseals, a national nonprofit organization committed to supporting individuals with disabilities, including veterans. Easterseals offers various services, including mental health support, counseling, employment assistance, and community integration programs. Their well-established longevity as a foundation supports the MassVeteran Foundation as a reputable nonprofit. The local Easterseals MA division provides additional resources and opportunities for veterans to access mental health services.