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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 78: Payment to persons who served in armed forces in active service as part of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle, Inherent Resolve or Freedom Sentinel or successor or related operations

  Section 78. (a) As used in this section, "active service in the armed forces'' shall not include active duty for training in the Army National Guard or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a reservist in the armed forces of the United States.

  As used in this section, the term "armed forces'' shall mean the United States Army, Army of the United States, Army Reserves, United States Navy, United States Naval Reserve, United States Marine Corps, United States Marine Corps Reserve, United States Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard Reserve, Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps, United States Air Force, United States Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and Army National Guard and including women's branches of said armed forces.

[ Paragraph (1), subsection (b) effective until July 24, 2020. For text effective July 24, 2020, see below.]

  (b)(1) Upon application, as provided in this section, there shall be allowed and paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth, without appropriation, the sums specified in this section to each person who has served in the armed forces of the United States in active service as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom Sentinel or any successor or related operation and who was discharged or released under honorable conditions for such service; provided, however, that the domicile of a person on account of whose service the application is filed shall have been in the commonwealth for a period of not less than 6 months before the time of the person's entry into the service.

[ Paragraph (1), subsection (b) as amended by 2020, 124, Sec. 5 effective July 24, 2020. For text effective until July 24, 2020, see above.]

  (b)(1) Upon application, as provided in this section, there shall be allowed and paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth, without appropriation, the sums specified in this section to each person who has served in the armed forces of the United States in active service as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom Sentinel or any successor or related operation; provided, however, that the domicile of a person on account of whose service the application is filed shall have been in the commonwealth for a period of not less than 6 months before the time of the person's entry into the service.

  (2) One thousand dollars shall be allowed and paid out to each such veteran who performed active service outside of the continental limits of the United States for which the veteran qualified for hostile fire or imminent danger pay as determined by the United States Department of Defense.

  (3) Five hundred dollars shall be allowed and paid out to each such veteran who performed active duty within the continental limits of the United States or outside the continental limits of the United States but did not qualify for hostile fire or imminent danger pay as determined by the United States Department of Defense for a period of not less than 6 months.

  (4) Thereafter, upon return from each subsequent deployment defined under this section, there shall be allowed and paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth, subject to appropriation, 50 per cent of the sums specified in paragraphs (2) and (3) to each such veteran.

[ Paragraph (5), subsection (b) inserted by 2020, 124, Sec. 6 effective July 24, 2020.]

  (5) Upon application, as provided in this section, there shall be allowed and paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth, without appropriation, the amount of $300 to each person who has served in the armed forces of the United States outside of the continental limits of the United states and who is in receipt of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service during a period where no other state wartime bonus is available; provided, however, that the person shall have served in the armed forces of the United states for a period of not less than 90 days, unless conditions of physical incapacity prevented the completion of such service; and provided further, that the domicile of a person on account of whose service the application is filed shall have been in the commonwealth for a period of not less than 6 months immediately before the time of the person's entry into service. If a person died while in active service, a sum of $1,000 shall be paid in the manner provided by subsection (c) in addition to any unpaid amount the person would have been eligible to receive pursuant to this subsection.

  (c) If a person who is deceased would, if alive, be entitled to the benefits of this section, the sum named in this section shall be paid to the decedent's heirs-at-law; provided, however, that if there is more than 1 heir-at-law, payments shall, in either case, be made in such proportions as the state treasurer shall determine; provided further, that the state treasurer, in determining the order of precedence, shall, so far as practicable, observe the following order: (i) spouse and children; (i) mother or father; (iii) brother or sister and (iv) other dependents. A right or payment under this section shall not be subject to the claims of creditors, capable of assignment, regarded as assets, legal or equitable of the estate of the deceased or made the basis for administration thereof.

  (d) If a person died while in active service, a sum of $1,000 shall be paid in the manner provided by subsection (c) in addition to any unpaid amount the person would have been eligible to receive pursuant to subsection (b).

  (e) Applications under this section shall be filed with the state treasurer, upon forms to be furnished by state treasurer. The state treasurer may accept the written statement of the clerk of a city or town that a person claiming pay or on whose account pay is claimed by a dependent or heir-at-law, under this section, was domiciled therein on the first day of January, in any year, as prima facie evidence of the fact of such domicile and may accept such other evidence of domicile as the state treasurer may consider adequate or necessary. The clerk of a city or town shall, at the request of the state treasurer, immediately furnish such information relative to such domicile as the clerk's records may disclose. The state treasurer may require and accept such additional evidence as the state treasurer may consider necessary to establish the fact of domicile within the commonwealth as provided under paragraph (1) of subsection (b). The adjutant general shall certify to the state treasurer the dates of service and any other military information necessary to carry out this section. The state treasurer shall furnish to the adjutant general a copy of a DD-214 form or equivalent documentation as determined by the adjutant general for the permanent records of the military division of the commonwealth.

  Whoever knowingly makes a false statement, oral or written, relating to a material fact in supporting a claim under this section, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000, by imprisonment for not more than 3 years or both such fine and imprisonment. An offense under this section may be prosecuted by the attorney general, or under the attorney general's direction, in any court within the commonwealth, and all fines collected thereunder shall be paid to the treasury of the commonwealth.

  The state treasurer shall section upon all applications made under this section, and may expend for clerical assistance and for such other expenses sums necessary in carrying out this section, not exceeding the sums appropriated for this purpose.

  There shall be a payments appeal board. The board shall consist of: a member of the department of the state treasurer to be designated by the state treasurer; an assistant attorney general to be designed by the attorney general; and the adjutant general or a designee. A person aggrieved by a decision of the state treasurer in the matter of payments provided for by this section may appeal to the board and shall be entitled to a hearing, after due notice, upon such appeal. The decision of the board shall be final.

  (f) The state treasurer may establish, and from time to time revise, such rules and regulations as may be necessary or desirable to carry out this section.

[ Subsection (g) added by 2020, 124, Sec. 7 effective July 24, 2020.]

  (g) A sum under this section shall only be allowed or paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth to a veteran whose final enlistment is characterized as discharged or released under honorable conditions for such service.