Maine Revised Statutes

§505. Aid to veterans and their dependents

1. Financial assistance.
[ 2001, c. 439, Pt. QQ, §1 (RP) .]
1-A. Financial assistance.  Financial assistance may be granted as follows.
A. The bureau may provide a grant of temporary assistance not to exceed $600 to a veteran currently a resident of this State who has filed a valid claim for a veteran's pension, pending notification of the award of such a pension, if that veteran is not incarcerated or a permanent resident of a nursing home and requests such assistance. For purposes of this paragraph, "claim for a veteran's pension" means a claim filed with the federal Veterans' Administration pursuant to 38 United States Code, Chapter 15. [2009, c. 415, Pt. A, §24 (RPR).]
B. The bureau may provide a grant of emergency assistance not to exceed $500 to a veteran currently a resident of this State who demonstrates to the bureau's satisfaction a financial need and suffers an emergency, such as damage to that veteran's home due to fire, flood or hurricane, that is not fully compensable by insurance; illness or the illness of an immediate family member; or a similar emergency. In the case of a veteran with terminal illness or catastrophic injury, the director may provide a grant of up to $1,000. No more than $1,000 in emergency assistance may be provided to a veteran in any 12-month period. For the purposes of this paragraph, "veteran" has the same meaning as "eligible veteran" in section 504, subsection 4, paragraph A-1. Grants may not be issued for fuel assistance or due to loss of income due to unemployment while the veteran is receiving other unemployment benefits. [2009, c. 415, Pt. A, §25 (RPR).]
C. A veteran who requests either temporary assistance under paragraph A or emergency assistance under paragraph B and is denied such assistance may request a reconsideration and review of this decision. Requests for reconsideration of a claim must be reviewed by the director and the commissioner or the commissioner's designee, and the decision after the reconsideration is final and may not be appealed to a court. [2007, c. 678, §1 (AMD).]
D. The department may adopt rules to implement this subsection. Rules adopted pursuant to this paragraph are major substantive rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A. [2007, c. 521, §2 (AMD); 2007, c. 678, §1 (AMD).]
[ 2009, c. 415, Pt. A, §§24, 25 (AMD) .]
2. Educational benefits.  Educational benefits are granted as follows.
A. As used in this subsection, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
(1) "Child" means a natural child whose mother or father is or was a veteran or a child who was adopted prior to turning 18 years of age and whose adoptive mother or father is or was a veteran and who:
(a) Is at least 16 years of age;
(b) Has graduated from high school; and
(c) Enrolled in a degree program and was awarded benefits under this subsection prior to the child's 22nd birthday. If the child is unable to enroll in a degree program prior to turning 22 years of age due to service in the United States Armed Forces, then the child may apply to begin this benefit until reaching 26 years of age. Other requirements must be met as described in paragraph F.
"Child" also means a stepchild who is a member of a veteran's household either at the time of application or, in the event of the veteran's death, at the time of death, and who continues as a member of the household after the death of the veteran. At least 5 years must have elapsed since the veteran married the parent of the stepchild before the stepchild is eligible for educational benefits, and the biological parent of the stepchild must reside in the veteran's household while the stepchild receives educational benefits.
(2) "Spouse" means the person currently legally married to a living veteran or the unremarried widow or widower of a deceased veteran, not previously divorced from that veteran.
Awards under the educational benefits program are authorized to provide benefits to only one spouse per veteran.
(3) "Veteran" means any person who served in the military or naval forces of the United States and entered the service from this State or has been a resident of this State for 5 years immediately preceding application for aid and, if living, continues to reside in this State throughout the duration of benefits administered under the educational benefits program and who:
(a) Has a total permanent disability resulting from a service-connected disability as a result of service;
(b) Was killed in action;
(c) Died from a service-connected disability as a result of service;
(d) At the time of death was totally and permanently disabled due to service-connected disability, but whose death was not related to the service-connected disability; or
(e) Is a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has been listed for more than 90 days as missing in action, captured or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.
The continuous residency requirement of this subparagraph does not apply to a person who is receiving educational benefits under this chapter on or before January 1, 2006. [2007, c. 521, §3 (AMD).]
E. Spouses of veterans who are attending state-supported postsecondary vocational schools or institutions of collegiate grade must be admitted free of tuition including mandatory fees and lab fees for a certificate program or an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program. Room and board may not be waived. Spouses are entitled to receive up to 120 credit hours of educational benefits and have 10 years from the date of first entrance to complete the program. This paragraph applies to all spouses enrolled in the educational benefits program as of September 1, 2007. [2007, c. 521, §4 (AMD); 2007, c. 521, §6 (AFF).]
F. A child of a veteran who is attending state-supported postsecondary vocational schools or institutions of collegiate grade must be admitted free of tuition including mandatory fees and lab fees for associate's and bachelor's programs. The tuition waiver provided under this paragraph may be reduced by an amount necessary to ensure that the value of this waiver, combined with all other grants and benefits received by the student, does not exceed the total cost of education. Room and board may not be waived. A child of a veteran has 6 academic years from the date of first entrance to complete 120 credit hours. The director may waive the limit of 6 consecutive academic years when the recipient's education has been interrupted by severe medical disability, learning disability, illness or other hardship, making continued attendance impossible, however, the extension may not exceed 2 academic years. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 or "C" grade point average to continue receiving educational benefits. If a student's grade point average falls below 2.0 or a "C," then the student has one semester to bring the grade point average up to at least 2.0 or a "C." If after that semester the student's grade point average is below 2.0 or a "C," the student loses educational benefits under this paragraph until the student achieves a grade point average of at least 2.0 or a "C." [2013, c. 365, §1 (AMD).]
G. In order to be eligible for benefits under this subsection, a student must apply for a Federal Pell Grant under 20 United States Code, Section 1070a. The director shall estimate the number of students anticipated that will use this program and provide the estimate to state institutions upon request. [2013, c. 237, §1 (AMD).]
H. A school that provides tuition assistance pursuant to this subsection shall provide any information, such as enrollment verification, current contact information, semester grade point average, accumulated credit hours and transcripts, to the bureau as necessary for the bureau to properly administer the educational benefits described in this subsection in accordance with current laws. [2009, c. 406, §10 (NEW).]
[ 2013, c. 237, §1 (AMD); 2013, c. 365, §1 (AMD) .]
3. Fraud.  Whoever knowingly makes a false statement, oral or written, relating to a material fact in support of application for aid under this section is guilty of a violation of Title 17-A, section 353.
[ 1983, c. 460, §3 (NEW) .]
4. Vietnam and atomic veterans.
[ 2001, c. 662, §67 (RP) .]
5. Public assistance designation.  Assistance granted to veterans or their dependents pursuant to this section is designated public assistance. The department retains administrative responsibility for assistance granted under this section.
[ 2007, c. 539, Pt. N, §73 (AMD) .]
6. Determination of residency.  The bureau shall verify that a person seeking benefits as provided by this section is a current resident of the State. The forms of identification sufficient to determine residency in accordance with this section are:
A. A valid state driver's license; [2007, c. 521, §5 (NEW).]
B. A valid state-issued identification card; [2007, c. 521, §5 (NEW).]
C. A current state motor vehicle registration form; [2007, c. 521, §5 (NEW).]
D. A current state fishing or hunting license; and [2007, c. 521, §5 (NEW).]
E. Items other than those listed in paragraphs A to D that allow the bureau to reasonably determine residency. [2007, c. 521, §5 (NEW).]
[ 2007, c. 521, §5 (NEW) .]
1983, c. 460, §3 (NEW). 1989, c. 502, §A140 (AMD). 1989, c. 547, §2 (AMD). 1991, c. 555, §1 (AMD). 1991, c. 626, §§16-18 (AMD). 1993, c. 273, §2 (AMD). 1993, c. 427, §9 (AMD). 1993, c. 694, §8 (AMD). 1997, c. 455, §§25-27 (AMD). 2001, c. 439, §§QQ1,2,UU2 (AMD). 2001, c. 662, §§66,67 (AMD). 2005, c. 273, §2 (AMD). 2007, c. 167, §§6-8 (AMD). 2007, c. 521, §§2-5 (AMD). 2007, c. 521, §6 (AFF). 2007, c. 539, Pt. N, §73 (AMD). 2007, c. 678, §1 (AMD). 2009, c. 406, §10 (AMD). 2009, c. 415, Pt. A, §§24, 25 (AMD). 2013, c. 237, §1 (AMD). 2013, c. 365, §1 (AMD).

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