October 25, 2011|By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff
Massachusetts veterans and their dependents appear to be forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual state benefits because some municipal officials who serve veterans are unaware of available aid, not working state-mandated hours, or not trying hard enough to locate retired service members, state officials say.
As a result, officials said, thousands of financially struggling veterans might not be receiving cash payments and medical reimbursements they are entitled to get.
Twenty-three communities have no veterans agent or do not employ a full-time officer, as required by law. A total of 177 cities and towns failed to meet the state’s Sept. 1 deadline to document the status of their veterans agents, according to officials.