Pennsylvania Commonwealth Veteran Benefits

Pennsylvania Veteran Benefits

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, veteran benefits can enhance every aspect of a service member’s life. From disabled veterans, to active duty service members and their families, there’s a wealth of programs to take advantage of.

However, finding and applying for these benefits can be complicated and daunting. That’s where VetLink Solutions comes in. With this list of Pennsylvania veteran benefits, eligibility requirements and other resources, we want to connect veterans with the services they deserve.

Skilled Nursing for Elderly Pennsylvania Veterans

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs operates six veterans homes for eligible vets and their spouses in:

  • Philadelphia
  • Scranton
  • Hollidaysburg
  • Erie
  • Spring City
  • Pittsburgh

Across these locations, veterans can find memory care, personal care, skilled nursing and domiciliary care. To be eligible, applicants must have been honorably discharged and a resident of Pennsylvania at the start of their service. Payments are determined by the applicant’s income and paid on a monthly basis.

Financial Programs and Assistance

In Pennsylvania, all active duty pay earned out of state is tax-free. This also extends to retirement and Survivor Benefit Plan payments. In addition, active duty, retired and disabled veterans have five assistance programs to use.

Real Estate Tax Exemption for Disabled Vets

Honorably discharged veterans with a 100% VA disability rating who served during wartime can be exempt from real estate taxes. Upon the death of the veteran, this exemption extends to their unmarried spouse. For eligibility requirements, check the DMVA page.

Pensions for Blind and/or Paralyzed Veterans

Honorably discharged veterans who suffered a service-related injury or illness resulting in blindness are entitled to a pension of $150 per month from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth.

Another $150 per month pension is offered to honorably discharged veterans who lost or lost use of two or more extremities. To be eligible for either pension, veterans must have been residents of Pennsylvania at the beginning of their service.

Temporary Financial Assistance for Veterans

This program offers financial assistance to disabled veterans or their surviving, unmarried spouses. Payments through this program may not exceed $1,600 per year. For full eligibility requirements, see the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Pennsylvania website.

Military Family Relief Assistance Program

 MFRAP gives grants to Pennsylvania’s service members and their families. Reasons for receiving this grant of up to $3,500 include:

  • Emergency need for childcare
  • Disasters resulting in the loss of shelter, food, etc.
  • The death or illness of a family member resulting in extra costs

To be eligible, Pennsylvania residents must be in good standing with the active armed forces, Pennsylvania Army, Air National Guard or Reserve Components of the Armed Forces. They must also be serving at least 30 consecutive days of active duty with any of those branches.

For former members of these branches to receive this benefit, they must have served four years and incurred a disability during a 30-day tour of active duty. Relatives of eligible members may receive these benefits in some circumstances.

Educational Programs for Veterans’ Families

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth’s educational benefits extend primarily to veterans’ children and family members.

Military Family Education Program (MFEP)

Under the MFEP, also known as the Pennsylvania GI Bill of 2019, the children and spouses of Pennsylvania National Guard members who sign on for an additional six-year contract are eligible for reduced or totally free college tuition. This covers 10 semesters of classes and must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency-approved institution.

Pennsylvania Veterans Educational Gratuity

Children of honorably discharged veterans with service-related disabilities who served during wartime may receive a $500 per term grant to attend an approved educational institution. Payments can only be received for four scholastic years. The child must be between the ages of 16 and 23 and demonstrate a financial need.

This also extends to children of service members who were killed during a period of war.  

Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program

For Pennsylvania National Guard members who completed an initial service contract and are eligible to re-enlist for a six-year term, the commonwealth offers free tuition to earn a degree, certification or career-specific training.

Children and spouses of eligible Pennsylvania National Guard members may receive this benefit instead.

Employment and Retirement

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth honors veterans by giving them employment opportunities and benefits. Some employment benefits also extend to their spouses or surviving widows.

Preference for State Jobs

State employment in Pennsylvania requires taking a test. Honorably discharged veterans who served active duty roles after August 2, 1990, spouses of disabled veterans and spouses of deceased disabled veterans get 10 extra points added to their scores.

State Retirement Active Duty Credit

Any honorably discharged veteran employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for three years or more may purchase retirement credit based on the length of time they served on active duty.

Recreation Benefits for Veterans

Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Licenses for Disabled Vets

Veterans that served in wartime and suffered 100% disability due to their service are eligible for free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses.

Wartime veterans with a 60% to 99% disability may get these licenses at a reduced rate.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Active Duty Service Members

Any service member on leave from active duty can receive a free fishing license and a hunting license at a reduced rate. To be eligible, service members must be Pennsylvania residents.

Non-residents stationed in Pennsylvania can apply for fishing and hunting licenses at a reduced rate.

Find Help Applying for Pennsylvania Veteran Benefits

Applying for any or all of the veteran benefits offered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reaps great rewards, but it can be a long, difficult process. At VetLink Solutions, we’re a team of veterans connecting other veterans with the resources they need. To get started, fill out an evaluation today. We don’t charge for our services until you get the benefits you deserve.

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Vetlink Solutions is not a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) or law firm and is not affiliated with the U.S. Veterans Administration (“VA”). Vetlink Solutions does not provide legal or medical advice or assist clients with preparing or filing claims for benefits with the VA.

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