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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2020 01:49 PM
From: Senator Mario M. Scavello and Sen. Sharif Street
To: All Senate members
Subject: Extending Veteran Benefits to Pennsylvania Veterans of Allied Countries

In the near future, we will be introducing legislation that will extend Pennsylvania veteran benefits to veterans of allied countries living in the Commonwealth.

Over the decades, many Americans have served honorably for our country, promoting and protecting the ideals of liberty and democracy of the United States as part of our armed forces. Rightfully so, veterans hold a special place in society, and we have extended to them certain benefits as a small thank you for their service. Some of these benefits include exemption of active duty and military retirement pay from income tax, a property tax exemption, access to grants for emergency financial assistance, and temporary financial assistance for “necessities of life.” Educational benefits include tuition assistance for children of deceased or disabled veterans and 10 free semesters of education at a Pennsylvania state school specifically for National Guard veterans. Employment benefits include preference for state government jobs and the opportunity to purchase retirement credit. Recreation benefits include free or reduced-cost licenses for hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Millions of members of armed services from allied countries have served and continue to serve alongside American service members, fighting to preserve the same values of liberty and democracy. But, in Pennsylvania, these allied service members are not able to access the same state benefits, even though they may be eligible for federal veteran benefits.

This legislation would amend sections of Title 51 (Military Affairs) to ensure veteran allies of foreign wars now living in Pennsylvania are extended equivalent benefits. The benefits extended by this legislation include:
  • Voluntary Veterans Preference in Private Employment (Chapter 72)
  • Professional and Occupational Licenses (Chapter 75)
  • Blind Veteran’s Pension (Chapter 77)
  • Amputee and Paralyzed Veteran’s Pension (Chapter 77)
  • Veterans’ Temporary Assistance (Chapter 85)
  • Educational Gratuity Program (Chapter 87)
  • Disabled Veterans’ Real Estate Tax Exemption (Chapter 89)
  • Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (Chapter 96)
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation so that we can ensure American veterans and the veteran allies of foreign wars they fought alongside are extended the same benefits.