Benefits in my Backyard: Pennsylvania

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:15 pm

Dreamstime

Categories: 

One of only three Commonwealth’s in the Union, Pennsylvania is home to the fourth largest number of veterans. It’s also home to some of the strangest and unique things in the country too. The most haunted house in America was the Congelier House in Pittsburgh,  the first baseball stadium was built in Pittsburgh and the world’s first computer was used in Philadelphia in 1946. Its home to some interesting laws too, one law forbids singing in the bathtub and another makes it illegal to sweep dirt underneath a rug.   

Taxes

Pennsylvania doesn’t tax military retirement pay.

  • Real Estate Tax Exemption.Contact the County Director of Veterans Affairs of the county where you reside to apply for this program. Full exemption from payment of all taxes levied on the building and up to five acres of land if:
  1. Resident of Pennsylvania
  2. Honorable discharge
  3. Must be blind or paraplegic or sustained loss of two or more limbs or has VA rated 100 percent service-connected disability
  4. Dwelling is owned and occupied by veteran
  5. Financial need has been demonstrated
  6. On the death of qualified veteran, exemption may pass to unmarried surviving spouse.

Cases that have been granted a tax exemption are reviewed about every five years to determine continued need for exemption. 

Education

Up to $500 per term/semester for up to eight semesters is available for children of honorable discharged veterans. Contact the County Director of Veterans Affairs in the county you reside or see an accredited representative of a Veterans Service Organization to apply for this program.  Requirements are:

  • Veteran died in service during a period of war or armed conflict or
  • Honorable discharge
  • Veteran served during established war service dates
  • Veteran must have a 100 percent permanent and total, VA rated, service-connected disability
  • Child must be between the ages of 16 and 23, a resident of at least five years prior to application
  • Must demonstrate a financial need

Documentation needed to apply: a copy of last military service DD14 or Military Death Certificate of the sponsoring veteran, a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate, proof of identification and proof of Pennsylvania residency for last five years.

Employment

  • Veterans, with an honorable discharge, receiving a passing score on a Pennsylvania Civil Service exam are given an additional 10 points on the initial appointment only. Widows of veterans and spouses of disabled service-connected veterans are extended the same rating.For info contact the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, PO Box 596, Harrisburg, PA 1708 or call (717) 738-3058.
  • Veterans Hiring. Veteran employment representatives are located throughout the state. These reps can help veterans with job counseling and placement information. For information contact your local PA CareerLink office.

Family

Eligibility:  Pennsylvania resident, serving on 30 or more consecutive days of active duty with Pennsylvania Army or Air National guard or Reserve Components of the Armed Forces or are serving on 30 or more consecutive days of state active duty for emergencies and former members of the Armed Forces of the United States, eligible relatives of qualified eligible service-members in limited circumstances

Entertainment

  • Free Fishing Licenses.  Disabled veterans are eligible for a free fishing license if they are a Pennsylvania resident who is disabled due to a war injury consisting of loss of use of one or more limbs, total blindness or VA certified 100 percent disability. You can get the license at the county treasurer’s office or contact Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for more information at (717) 705-7800.  Items to bring with you: VA Certification, discharge papers and proof of wartime service. Physician’s certificate of disability is not acceptable.
  • Free Hunting Licenses.  Disabled veterans are eligible for a free fishing license if they are a Pennsylvania resident who is disabled due to a war injury consisting of loss of use of one or more limbs, total blindness or VA certified 100 percent disability. You can get the license at the county treasurer’s office or contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission for more information at (717) 787-4250.  Items to bring with you: VA Certification, discharge papers and proof of wartime service. Physician’s certificate of disability is not acceptable.

 Housing

  • State Veterans’ Homes.  There are six extended care facilities in the state for eligible veterans or surviving spouses. You must have an honorable discharge, served in the US or PA Armed Forces and be a resident at time of entry or a current resident of Pennsylvania. 

Cemetery and Burial

  • Pennsylvania has three open national veterans’ cemeteries. Burial benefits are available to eligible veterans. Family members should contact a funeral director or their county director of veteran’s affairs to learn about burial at one of these cemeteries.
  • Eligibility Determination Form.  Pre-needs determination is intended to simplify and assist the veteran’s next-of-kin at the time of death.  This does not reserve a plot or niche at the cemetery.  There is no cost for this.
  • Information on the Burial Honors Program is here.

Links or Resources