Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Pennsylvania offers benefits for over 900,000 veterans.
Pennsylvania Veteran’s Benefits
Pennsylvania Veteran Education Benefits
Educational Gratuity for Dependent Children of Pennsylvania Veterans
Dependent children of honorably discharged war veterans with qualifying disabilities are eligible for this benefit. The parent must have a 100% permanent and total disability VA rating and have served in armed conflict times. The gratuity is also available to the surviving dependents of service members who died while serving during a war or armed conflict. A payment of up to $500 per term or semester for eight semesters is available. Dependents must satisfy the following criteria:
● Must be 16 – 23
● Must prove financial need
● Must be a Pennsylvania resident for five years
● must be attending an approved school in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Veteran Employment Benefits
Veteran Benefits for Employment
The Pennsylvania CareerLink official site provides free career and employment advice and guidance.
Pennsylvania, like other states, offers employment preference points when veterans apply for state Civil Service jobs. These preference points can be transferred to the spouse of a qualifying disabled veterans. Veteran preference points can only be used for initial hires and do not but help with promotions.
Pennsylvania Veteran Housing Benefits
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) offers veteran-friendly home loans featuring lower fees and interest rates. PHFA does not lend the money but uses a network of participating lenders. Participating lenders offer need-based assistance for those interested in an affordable home who meet the program requirements.
PFHFA offers these loan programs:
● HFA Preferred (Lo MI)
● Keystone Home Loan
● The Keystone Government Loan Program (K-Gov)
● Keystone Advantage Assistance Loan Program
Disabled Veteran Real Estate Tax Exemption
Pennsylvania resident veterans who are honorably discharged with qualifying disabilities may be exempt from real estate taxes on the veteran’s principal residence and up to five acres of land where the building stands. Qualifying disabilities include but are not be limited to:
● Blind or paraplegic
● a service-connected disability as declared by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs to be a total of 100% permanent
● has sustained the loss of two extremities
Veterans must file a claim with the Pennsylvania State Veterans Commission because the tax exemption is need-based.
Pennsylvania State Veterans’ Homes
Honorably discharged veterans who were state residents when they entered military service may be admitted to Pennsylvania state veterans’ homes. There six homes:
● Hollidaysburg Veterans’ Home, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
● Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, Erie, Pennsylvania
● Southeastern Veterans’ Center, Spring City, Pennsylvania
● Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania
● Southwestern Veterans’ Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
● Delaware Valley Veterans’ Home, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Veteran Financial Benefits
Veteran Retirement Pay Tax Benefits
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, does not assess state income tax on military retirement benefits if the benefits are paid because the service member met age or service time requirements.
Veteran Tax Breaks for Active Duty Service Out-Of-State
Pennsylvania Department of Revenue dictates that any compensation earned by Pennsylvania residents while serving on active duty outside Pennsylvania is not taxable as compensation in PA. Pennsylvania resident military members who serve within the state must pay taxes on military pay. Non-active military income is always subject to tax.
Veterans Temporary Assistance Program
Veterans who have complete an active duty period and have been honorably discharged veterans may qualify for emergency financial assistance from this state program. VA-certified disabled veterans who meet qualifying circumstances like need-based circumstances, a loss of income, or an increase in expenses can apply for assistance. The program offers financial aid for daily necessities and must not exceed $1,600 over 12 months. Surviving spouses may also qualify.
MFRAP, The Pennsylvania Military Family Relief Assistance Program
Pennsylvania offers need-based grants to Pennsylvania service members and their families for up to $3,500. The funding is available to currently serving military and qualifying veterans.
To qualify currently serving military members:
● Must have served for a minimum of 30 consecutive days on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces or a reserve component
● Must have served for a minimum of 30 consecutive days on active duty or state active duty in the PA Air or Army National Guard
● Be a good standing member of a US military reserve component, including the PA National Guard, for three years after release from active duty.
● Be a good standing member of the PA National Guard for three years after release from active duty of 30 consecutive days or more
Pensions for Paralyzed, Amputee, and Blind Veterans
State pension programs for qualifying disabled veteran residents pay $150 a month each for service-connected injuries, disabilities, or illnesses like:
● vision loss that includes visual acuity if the best correcting lens equals 3/60, or 10/200 or equivalent, or less corrected vision for the better of the two eyes. Vision limitations causing the visual field of the better eye to be limited to an angular distance of no greater than 20 degree
● service-connected injury or disease resulting in the loss, or loss of use of two or more limbs
● Qualifying 40% disability compensation rating or higher in each limb (rated by the Department of Veterans Affairs)
Applicants must have been Pennsylvania residents immediately before entering military service and must have been honorably discharged. Pension benefits are not paid automatically. Veterans must apply with supporting documentation.
Veteran Benefits for State Retirement Pay
Veterans employed by the State of Pennsylvania can purchase retirement service time to increase retirement pay. They can add time only while active, contributing SERS members. Terms and conditions depend on the nature of military service and active duty retirement pay status.
Pennsylvania Additional Veteran Benefits
Veteran Driver’s License and Identification Card Designations
Veterans may apply for a service-related designation on drivers’ licenses or ID cards. Application fees and renewal fees may still apply.
Recreation Benefits for Pennsylvania Veterans
Pennsylvania offers veterans discounts and other perks to help them enjoy the great outdoors. Qualifying disabled veterans may be eligible for free or reduced licenses through the County Treasurer’s office.