Thursday, January 31, 2013

Annual Report 2012: Veterans' Services

The Veterans’ Services Officer’s job is to council, advise and assist Veterans and their dependents in whatever way he can. Duties encompass, but are not limited to dispensing state-sponsored Veterans Benefits under M.G.L. Chapter 115, and assisting Veterans and their dependents or survivors in obtaining Federal Benefits or entitlements for which they may be eligible.

The current Veteran population in Franklin is 1343. Of this total, 899 are seniors over 60.

Veteran Appointments FY 2012
Under 60 135
Over 60 210
Veteran’s widows over 60 64
Total 409

Senior Center - Veteran's Watch 2
Feb 2011, Statues at Franklin Senior Center

Mass. Veterans Benefits vary according to need and income. They have been described as “Benefit of last resort”, because the Veteran/Widow can have no more than $1,600 in assets (savings, checking amount, etc.). Amount of Benefits varies, but it can add an estimated $5,000 - $10,000 annually to income, since it usually includes payments of health insurance and other medical costs.

In Fiscal Year 2011, there were 33 Franklin residents who received Mass. General Law chapter 115 Veteran’s benefits; 16 of these were veterans’ widows. Monthly payments ranged from $130 – 995, and included reimbursement of all medical costs for health insurance and prescription copays. This is a significant benefit to those eligible in maintaining an adequate lifestyle. The Town of Franklin is reimbursed 75% by the state for the cost of this program.

Applications for VA benefits continued to increase. Benefits requested included; service-connected disability compensation (a significant number of these applications were from Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, who now suffer from various illnesses related to this exposure), widows pensions, burial benefits, aid and attendance for wartime veterans and their widows, who require assistance with activities or daily living, such as, bathing and dressing. This benefit can provide a VA payment of up to $1,704 monthly to be used for personal care services. All VA claims must be submitted on designated forms. This can be done through my office. Average time for decision on claim is 6 months.

It is significant to note that the Dept. of Defense predicts that 30% of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans will suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries. This office has already filed 6 VA claims related to these conditions for Franklin’s veterans who served in these areas.

Veterans’ Services would like to thank these True Friends of Veterans’.

  • The Franklin Garden Club for the care and maintenance of the Veterans’ Memorial site on the Franklin common.
  • Franklin Lodge of Elks 2135 for their continued sponsorship of the Veterans’ Memorial Day breakfast, the Free Fuel Program for needy veterans and their widows, and all their good work on behalf of our veterans, especially those who are hospitalized.
  • Franklin VFW Post 3402, always ready to assist Franklin Veterans Services with whatever the need, especially placement of the Memorial Day flags on the graves of our deceased veterans, and their annual visit to the Franklin Nursing Home on 12/13/10 to remember residents, who are veterans, at Christmas.
  • The Friends of Franklin Elders for their ongoing sponsorship of the Veteran’s Day breakfast at the Senior Center. 
  • Veterans Services Volunteer Assistant, Dale L. Kurtz, for his extensive efforts on behalf of this office.
  • Outreach volunteer, John Hogan, for his extensive work with Fuel Assistance applications, and other Senior Benefit Programs.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bob Fahey,
Veterans’ Service Officer

Additional information on the Police Dept can be found on the Franklin webpage

Published by the Town Clerk, this comes from the 2012 Annual Report

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