Friday, August 13, 1999
Veterans have helpful voice nearby
Veterans in Carlisle may not be aware of the new laws that benefit them and their dependents, but Ken Buffum told the selectmen on August 3 that it is his mission to get the word out. Buffum, director of veterans' services for the region that includes Carlisle, is dedicated to identifying and helping all those eligible for service-related awards.
In his update to the selectmen, Buffum summarized the new laws affecting veterans. First, the real estate tax abatement for those with service-related disabilities was increased to $250the first increase in 40 years. Second, the legislature voted to increase to $1,500 the annuity for each parent of service men or women who lost their lives in the line of duty. Buffum reported that a bill is currently pending that would also allow this annuity for the widow or widower, correcting an oversight in the new law. Third, a $1,500 annuity was allowed for those with a 100 percent service-related disability, the blind and paraplegics. Under a new law, the state will also reimburse the town 75 percent of the cost for flags placed on the graves of veterans. For some benefits, such as medical or financial assistance, there is an income eligibility requirement. But under the recent laws, there is no income requirement.
Buffum, whose office is in Billerica, noted that there is no veterans' post in Carlisle. There are five active cases in Carlisle for the veterans' agent but Buffum said that he does not know how many other veterans or survivors live in Carlisle. At the suggestion of the selectmen, Buffum intends to set up a connection with the Council on Aging.
Buffum has office hours at the Carlisle Town Hall on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month and can be reached at any time through town clerk Sarah Andreassen. He is also willing to meet in people's homes to answer questions or help fill out paperwork. Buffum can be contacted at the Billerica Town Hall, 365 Boston Road, Billerica, MA 01821, 978-671-0969.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito