Section 2 of chapter 115 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the second paragraph the following paragraph:-
The secretary shall promulgate regulations to ensure local veteran service officers and agents, appointed under section 3, are trained and certified, including but not limited to, assessing penalties against any municipality, district or veterans service officer or agent not in compliance with this section or regulations promulgated hereto. Veteran service officers and agents shall be trained and certified within 12 months of appointment pursuant to section 3. Veterans service officers and agents currently appointed pursuant to said section 3 shall be shall be certified within 12 months of the date said regulations are promulgated. Certification must be renewed every 5 years. To be eligible for certification as a veterans service officer or agent, the candidate shall: (1) be appointed locally pursuant to this section; (2) pass a test established by the secretary which shall demonstrate the skills necessary to effectively represent veterans which shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas of knowledge: the chapter 115 program, federal and local benefits, including employment, education, health care, retirement and other veterans’ benefits; and alternative resources, including those which are partially or wholly subsidized by the federal government, such as Medicaid, supplemental security income and social security disability benefits, as well as federal pension and compensation entitlements. The secretary shall collaborate with the Massachusetts Veterans Service Officers Association in formulating said training and certification. The secretary shall make this testing available no less than two times per calendar year. The Commonwealth shall consider those who complete the requirements in this paragraph a certified veteran service officer or agent.
The secretary shall establish standards for the training and support of veteran service officers and agents consistent with the requirements of this paragraph. During the period of employment, a person holding a veterans service officer or agent certificate pursuant to this section shall be under the direct supervision of the mayor, town manager, board of selectmen, or regional district board or others who shall regularly observe and evaluate the performance of assigned duties by veterans service officer or agent.
At the request of any municipality or district, the secretary shall offer such training and testing to any person who works directly for a certified veterans service officer or agent.
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