Pennsylvania

Benefits of Pennsylvania VA Loans for Veterans.

If you are a veteran or active duty service member and a resident of the state of Pennsylvania, the first step is to determine if you are eligible for VA home loan benefits. If you have served in the military and received an honorable discharge, you will likely be eligible to buy a home using your VA loan benefits.


Financial Benefits

Does the State of Pennsylvania offer Property Tax Exemption for Veterans?

Tax Exemption

Yes. Veteran residents of the State of Pennsylvania with a 100% service-connected disability as a result of wartime service and a financial need as determined by the State Veterans' Commissions are exempt from the payment of real estate taxes on their principal dwelling. Such dwelling must be owned by the Veteran solely or jointly with their spouse. Upon the death of a qualified Veteran, the exemption shall pass to their unmarried spouse if a financial need is determined.

What is the Blind Veterans Pension provided by the State of Pennsylvania?

The State of Pennsylvania provides a monthly pension of $150 to eligible blind Veterans who were residents of the state of Pennsylvania upon entering military service and who were honorably discharged at the time they left military service. For more information and to apply contact your County Director of Veterans Affairs.

What is the Paralyzed Veterans Pension offered by the State of Pennsylvania?

Honorably discharged Veterans who were residents of the state of Pennsylvania upon entering the military and sustained a service-connected injure or disease that resulted in the loss or loss of use of two or more extremities is eligible to received a monthly pension of $150. For more information and to apply contact your County Director of Veterans Affairs.

What Emergency Assistance does the State of Pennsylvania provide Veterans?

Honorably discharged Veterans who are residents of the State of Pennsylvania and served during a period of war who have a financial need and are not on Public Assistance are eligible to received Emergency Assistance on a temporary basis. Eligible Veterans and their dependents may received food, dairy, shelter, fuel and clothing for a period not to exceed three months in a 12-month period. The spouse and orphaned children of a Veteran are eligible to apply if the Veteran was eligible for assistance prior to their death. Assistance rates vary by County. Contact your local County Director of Veterans Affairs for more information and to apply for benefits in your area.

What is the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans' Bonus Program offered by the State of Pennsylvania?

The State of Pennsylvania offers a Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans' Bonus for eligible Pennsylvania Veterans of the Persian Gulf Conflict or their eligible beneficiaries. Compensation is as follows:

  • A one-time benefit of $75 per month for each month of active service in the Persian Gulf Conflict Theater of Operation from August 2, 1990 to August 31, 1991 for a maximum compensation of $525.
  • If the service member died while on active service or as a result of injuries sustained during such actives while serving in the Persian Gulf Theater from August 2, 1990 to August 31, 1991 the Veteran’s beneficiaries are eligible to receive an additional one-time benefit of $5,000.
  • Service members who were declared prisoners of war (POWs) while on active service in the Persian Gulf Conflict from August 2, 1990 to August 31, 1991 are also eligible for the additional one-time benefit of $5,000.

 

The application deadline for this program is August 31, 2015. For more information and to apply, see the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus Program Brochure.

Employment Benefits

Does the State of Pennsylvania offer a Civil Service Preference for Veterans applying for State Employment?

Yes. Honorably discharged Veterans and their eligible widows or widowers, or spouses where the Veteran has a service-connected disability, are eligible to receive an additional 10 points on their passing score of a state Civil Service examination for initial appointments only. For more information, call (717) 787-6039 or TTY (717) 772-2685.

Does the State of Pennsylvania allow Veterans to use their Active Duty time towards Retirement after they become a State Employee?

Yes. Honorably discharged Veterans with at least three years of employment with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may purchase credit for active duty time to be used towards retirement. The Veteran cannot have received, be receiving or receive in the future benefits for such service under another retirement system administered by a government agency or private employer. However, a Veteran who is or will be receiving a federal pension may purchase active military credit if they are otherwise eligible. For more information and to determine eligibility, contact a State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) Counselor at (800) 633-5461.

Does the State of Pennsylvania offer assistance to Veterans in finding and securing Employment?

Yes. The State of Pennsylvania provides job counseling and placement information especially for Veterans through their Veterans Employment Representatives located throughout the state at its many PA CareerLink® offices. Services provided include job development, referrals to training and referrals to government and community Veteran services agencies. A special emphasis is placed on helping disabled Veterans secure suitable employment opportunities. To find your nearest Veteran Employment Representative, visit the PA CareerLink® website.

What is the Transition Assistance Program offered to Veterans?

The Transition Assistance Program, located at Carlisle Barracks, assists Veterans who are leaving the military be more prepared in transitioning and entering the labor market. Workshops are provided that teach attendees how to prepare resumes and cover letters, conduct job searches and participate in mock interviews. Attendees also learn about the current labor market and their projected employability relative to the labor market. For more information and to register for a workshop, visit the Carlisle Barracks Garrison Transition Center website.

Education Benefits

Does the State of Pennsylvania offer Education Benefits to Veterans?

The State of Pennsylvania does not offer Education Benefits to Veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Education Benefits offered through the state of Pennsylvania are specific to members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and their dependents.

Does the State of Pennsylvania offer Education Benefits to Dependents or Survivors of Veterans?

Yes. The State of Pennsylvania offers the Educational Gratuity Program, Post Secondary Educational Program, and State Grant to Children of Soldiers Declared POW or MIA.

Educational Gratuity Program

The Educational Gratuity Program provides a stipend of $500 for every semester an eligible child is enrolled in an approved educational institution for up to four scholastic years. To be eligible, the dependent must be a child of an honorably discharged Veteran who served in a period of war or armed conflict with a 100% permanent and total service-connected disability or be the survivor of a Veteran who died during or as a result of such service. The child must be between the ages of 16 and 23, have lived in the state of Pennsylvania five years prior to application, and must attend a school in the State of Pennsylvania. For more information and to apply for this program, contact your local County Director of Veteran Affairs.

Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program

In 2004, the Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program was amended to provide a waiver for tuition, fees and on-campus room and board costs at public postsecondary institutions for eligible dependent children of members of the United States Armed Forces who died while performing their official duties while serving on active duty after September 11, 2001. The waiver applies only to the remaining charges after all other grants (state, federal, scholarships) have been applied to the student's account. To be eligible, the student must:

  • Be 25 years or younger when applying for the program,
  • Be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania,
  • Be enrolled in a Pennsylvania college or institution or state-related institution as an undergraduate student pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree, and
  • Have applied for all available scholarships, including state and federal grants.

 

To apply, complete the Application for First-Time Applicants and submit it along with a certified copy of your birth certificate and a letter of admission and documentation with proof that you submitted application for financial aid to the postsecondary institution you plan to attend no later than March 31st. Eligible dependents may apply to renew benefits under this program annually. For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) website at www.PHEAA.org or call (800) 692-7392.

Children of POW/MIA Soldiers

Children of any soldier of the United States Armed Forces who served on active duty after January 31, 1955, was a resident of the state of Pennsylvania for at least 12 months prior to serving on active duty, and was declared as a prisoner of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA) are eligible to receive a special state grant not to exceed $1,200. State grants are dependent on state funding each year. To apply, complete and file the POW/MIA and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. The POW/MIA application can be obtained by calling (800) 692-7392. It is recommend that you file your application as early as possible.

What is the State of Pennsylvania's Operation Recognition Program?

The State of Pennsylvania has authorized school districts to grant high school diplomas to honorably discharged Veterans who left high school prior to graduation in order to serve in the United States military during World War II, the Korean Conflict, or the Vietnam War under Operation Recognition. Diplomas may also be awarded posthumously to Veterans who meet requirements once the proper Operation Recognition Recognition Program Application is received.

What is the Commercial Driver's License Skills Test Waiver available to Veterans?

Under Act 133 of 2008, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation allows recently discharged service members with at least 2 years of experience driving commercial motor vehicles as part of their job function while serving in the military to waive the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Skills Test as specified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CRF 383.113 . The service member must pass the written/knowledge portion of the test. For more information and to apply, see the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website.

Other Pennsylvania State Benefits for Veterans

License Plates

The State of Pennsylvania offers a variety of U.S. Military Veteran Registration plates to eligible Veterans of the United States Armed Forces. For a list of available plates and eligibility requirements, see the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation U.S. Military Veteran Registration License Plate Fact Sheet. To apply, contact your local Pennsylvania Department of Transportation office.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Any Pennsylvania Veteran eligible for disability compensation as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs may purchase an annual hunting or fishing license in the State of Pennsylvania for $1. Certain active duty military personnel are also eligible to purchase annual fishing and hunting licenses at a rate of $1 per year. Veterans certified as 100% permanently disabled are eligible to receive lifetime fishing and hunting licenses at no cost.

Burial Benefits

Burial allowances are provided through counties in Pennsylvania if the Veteran or their eligible spouse died in the county or are buried in the county. Application for burial benefits must be made within one year after the date of their death. Veterans with legal residence at the time of their death are also eligible to receive a county headstone or grave marker at no cost. For more information and to apply for burial benefits, contact your local county office.

Veteran Service Officers

The State of Pennsylvania operates its own Veteran Service Organization which provides Veteran Service Officers to Veterans to assist them in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims under laws administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) at no cost to the Veteran. The state service officer program works with the USDVA Regional Offices, Veteran Service Organizations and all Veteran advocates assisting veterans in obtaining all county, state and federal benefits. To find your nearest county or state Veteran Service Officer, contact your County Director of Veterans Affairs.

DD-214/215 Program

The State of Pennsylvania recommends that Veterans record their military discharge DD-214 Form with their County Courthouse so they are able to obtain a free certified copy of their DD-214 Form for the remainder of their life. This is recommended because almost half of the contact the Veterans office receives pertains to locating or obtaining a copy of a Veteran's DD-214 Form. The DD-215 Form is filed when changes are made to a Veteran's DD-214 Form.

Veteran Homes

Pennsylvania offers six extended care facilities throughout the state that provide superior care to qualified Veterans and their spouses. Care provided includes personal care, skilled nursing care, domicilliary care and dementia care. For more information and to locate the Veteran home nearest you, visit the Pennsylvania State Veterans Home System website.

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