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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 26, 2014 02:40 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Real Estate Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses
Please join me in co-sponsoring a bill to extend Pennsylvania’s real estate property tax exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans to their income-eligible surviving spouses, in the event the disabled veteran passes away before the disability is formally declared.

At present, if a disabled veteran is not formally declared disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs before his or her death, his widow or widower is ineligible for the real estate tax exemption even when the service-connected disability is found to be the cause of death.

This denial of benefit occurred to a young widow in my district whose husband died of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) while on active duty, after serving in Afghanistan. Because the soldier did not receive his disability certification from the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) before he died, his wife cannot qualify for the real estate tax exemption.

This legislation clarifies existing law to make it clear that the surviving spouse of veterans who die from a service-connected disability can qualify for the real estate tax exemption. As you know, the backlog in processing claims at the VA is deplorably long, and has the tragic consequence of unfairly penalizing someone who is disabled and then dies while waiting to receive approval for benefits. The veteran’s grieving family members suffer as well.

Please help us to fix this loophole in the law. Thank you for your consideration and support.

Introduced as SB1343