Pennsylvania Military and Veteran Benefits

State Taxes 
Education Benefits
Employment Benefits
Unemployment Compensation
Department of Transportation Benefits
Health and Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
Miscellaneous Benefits
Pennsylvania Military Resource Locator
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities
Resources

Summary of Pennsylvania Military and Veterans Benefits: Pennsylvania offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans. Some of these benefits are, Veterans Emergency Assistance, Disabled Veterans' Real Estate Exemption, Educational Gratuity, Veterans Employment assistance, Blind Veterans Pension, Paralyzed Veterans' Pension, Civil Service Preference, Special Vehicle License Plates, as well as Hunting and Fishing licenses. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status.

Pennsylvania State Military and Veteran Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

 

What are my Pennsylvania Military and Veteran State Tax Benefits?

Pennsylvania Retirement Income Taxes: Generally, you should not include the amount of income you received from a commonly recognized retirement plan that was sponsored by your employer's Pennsylvania qualifying retirement or old age benefit program or disability retirement program.

Your retirement is NOT taxable for Pennsylvania income tax if you retired AFTER meeting the eligibility requirements for separation from service by retirement based on old age, infirmity, long-continued service, or a combination of old age and infirmity and long continued years of service.

A qualified plan has four characteristics:

  • The plan is reduced to writing and has been communicated to the participants.

  • The plan establishes eligibility requirements for separation of service or a combination of old age or infirmity, and long-continued service.

  • The plan provides for payments to be made at regularly recurring intervals after their separation from service by retirement which continues at least until death. An option for a lump sum payment or payments does not disqualify the retirement nature of the plan as long as the other provisions are provided.

  • The plan does not permit the distribution of program benefits to any employee until termination of employment except for incidental disability benefits or the return of the employee’s previously taxed contributions and income or gains if the employee is required to contribute to the pension plan.


If the pension program is a SEP, a Keogh, a federally qualified tax-sheltered annuity program or a tax deferred custodial account, an additional provision must be included in the written provisions to be a qualified pension program.
Program benefits cannot be paid before retirement, death, disability, separation from service unforeseeable emergency or attaining the age of 59 ½ without a substantial penalty for early withdrawal.
Pennsylvania Qualified Pension Program Characteristics

Learn more about Pennsylvania Retirement Income Taxes

Pennsylvania Retired Military Pay Taxes: As long as you retire from the military with either years’ service, because of a service incurred disability or age, your retirement income is not taxable.

Learn more about Pennsylvania Retired Military Pay Taxes

Military Pay for Federal Service outside Pennsylvania is not Subject to Pennsylvania State Income Taxes: Military pay for Pennsylvania National Guard and Army Reserve members who perform Federal funded active duty service outside Pennsylvania is exempt from Pennsylvania personal income tax. Military pay for those on active duty outside Pennsylvania is not taxed.

Learn more about Military Pay for Federal Service outside Pennsylvania is not Subject to Pennsylvania State Income Taxes

Pennsylvania State Income Tax Benefits for Differential Pay for Reserve Component Service Members: Pennsylvania taxes the difference between military pay and regular wages when an employer compensates a Service member. However, differential pay is not subject to Pennsylvania personal income tax for Service members on active duty in combat zones or hazardous duty zones.

Learn more about Pennsylvania State Income Tax Benefits for Differential Pay for Reserve Component Service Members

Pennsylvania State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay: Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the armed forces should not be included in taxable income if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You were entitled to receive a disability payment before September 25, 1975;

  • You were a member of the military (active or reserves) or were under a binding written commitment to become a member on September 24, 1975;

  • You receive disability payments for a combat-related injury. This is a personal injury or sickness that:

    • Resulted directly from armed conflict,

    • Took place while you were engaged in extra-hazardous service,

    • Took place under conditions simulating, including training exercises such as maneuvers, or

    • Was caused by an instrumentality of war.

  • You would be entitled to receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if you filed an application for it (the exclusion under this condition equals the amount you would be entitled to from the VA).

Learn more about Pennsylvania State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay

Pennsylvania State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

Learn more about State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Pennsylvania State Tax Benefits: There is no state income tax on survivor benefits.

Learn more about Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Pennsylvania State Tax Benefits

Pennsylvania Disabled Veterans' Real Estate Tax Exemption: A Veteran will be exempt from the payment of all real estate taxes levied upon any building, including the land upon which it stands, occupied by him/her as their principal dwelling.
Who is eligible for a Pennsylvania Disabled Veterans' Real Estate Tax Exemption?

  • Served in the military honorably

  • Served during established war service dates (DOC) as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. **The following decorations can also be used to establish wartime service: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or Navy Expeditionary Medal.

  • Must have a total or 100% permanent service-connected disability rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or as the result of military service the Veteran is blind or paraplegic or has sustained the loss of two or more limbs

    • Blind: Visual acuity of three-sixtieths or ten two-hundredths, or less normal Vision

    • Paraplegic: The bilateral paralysis of the upper or lower extremities of the body

  • Must be a resident of the Commonwealth

  • Must occupy the real estate as his/her principal dwelling

  • Dwelling is owned solely by the Veteran or as an estate in the entirety

Must prove financial need:

  • Veteran must prove financial need according to the criteria established by the State Veterans Commission if their annual income exceeds $92,594 effective Jan 1, 2019

  • Applicants with an annual income of $92,594 or less are given a rebuttable presumption to have a need for the exemption

  • Upon the death of a qualified Veteran, tax exemption may pass on to the unmarried Surviving Spouse if financial need can be shown.

An applicant whose gross annual income exceeds $92,594 will be considered to have a financial need for the exemption when the applicant's allowable expenses exceed the applicant's household income. The applicant's monthly household expenses will be calculated to include a cost of living allowance and dependent's allowance.

To apply contact the County Director of Veterans Affairs in the county you reside to apply for this program.
County Director of Veterans Affairs Directory

Learn more about Pennsylvania Disabled Veterans' Real Estate Tax Exemption

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What are my Pennsylvania Military and Veteran Education Benefits?

Pennsylvania “Operation Recognition” Diplomas for Wartime Veterans: "Operation Recognition" is a state law that authorizes school districts to grant a high school diploma to any honorably discharged Veteran who served in the United States military in World War II the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.

Who is eligible for Pennsylvania “Operation Recognition” Diplomas for Wartime Veterans? In order to recognize and honor Veterans who left high school prior to graduation to serve in World War II, Korea or Vietnam, the Board shall grant a diploma to a Veteran who meets the following requirements:

  • Was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States of America

  • Served in the United States military between September 16,1940 and December 31, 1946 during WWII or between June 27, 1950 to January 30, 1955 during the Korean Conflict or between Feb. 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975during the Vietnam War

  • Attended high school between 1937 and 1946 during WWII or between 1947 and 1955 during the Korean Conflict and 1961 through 1975 for Vietnam War but did not graduate due to entry into military service

  • Would have been a member of a graduation class during 1941 through 1950 for WWII or 1951 through 1957 for Korean Conflict and 1961 through 1975 for Vietnam War but did not graduate due to entry into military service.

  • Is a current resident of this district or attended high school in this district or a predecessor of this district. This requirement is optional, based on school district policies.

Eligible applicants should contact their local school district for an application and documentation of service requirements. The Board may also award a diploma posthumously to a Veteran who meets the stated requirements. The Superintendent shall submit to the Board for its approval the name of Veterans eligible for a high school diploma.
Pennsylvania School District Directory

Learn more about Pennsylvania “Operation Recognition” Diplomas for Wartime Veterans

Pennsylvania Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program: This program honors individuals who lost their lives protecting the citizens of Pennsylvania by helping their Children fund their education.

The Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program (PEGP) provides a waiver for tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board costs charged by public postsecondary institutions. This waiver applies only to charges that remain after all other grants (federal, state, and outside scholarships) have been applied to the student’s account.
Who is eligible for Pennsylvania Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program? To be considered for a PEGP waiver, you must:

  • Be a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

  • Be a Child by birth or adoption of a deceased active National Guard member who died after January 1, 1976, as a direct result of performing his or her official duties

  • Be a Child by birth or adoption of a deceased National Guard member or certain other individual who was on federal or state active military duty who died since September 11, 2001, as a direct result of performing his or her official duties

  • Be 25 years of age or younger at the time of application for the program

  • Complete a 2019-20 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and a 2019-20 Pennsylvania State Grant Application Be enrolled at a Pennsylvania community college, state-owned institution, or state-related institution as a full-time student pursuing undergraduate studies that will lead to an associate or baccalaureate degree.

Pennsylvania Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program Application

Learn more about Pennsylvania Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program

Pennsylvania Educational Gratuity: The Pennsylvania Educational Gratuity provides financial assistance to Children of honorably discharged Veterans who have service-connected disabilities and served during established war service dates or armed conflict or Children of Veterans who die or died in service during a period of war or armed conflict.

Payment will not exceed $500.00 per term or semester per qualified Child to each approved educational institution upon submission by that approved educational institution of proof of matriculation of the applicant. Educational gratuity payments are paid directly to the Educational Institution and may not be made for longer than 4 scholastic years.
Who is eligible for the Pennsylvania Educational Gratuity? Veteran's eligibility criteria:

  • Died in service during a period of war or armed conflict or,

  • A Veteran who has an honorable discharge from the U.S. military

  • Served during established war service dates as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (The following decorations can also be used to establish wartime service: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or Navy Expeditionary Medal)

  • Veteran must have a 100% permanent and total service-connected disability rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Child's eligibility criteria:

  • Must be between the ages of 16 and 23, living within the Commonwealth five years prior to application and must attend a school within the Commonwealth.

  • Applicant must have a financial need.

Applicants must contact the County Veterans Affairs Director in the county in which they reside to begin the application process.
County Director of Veterans Affairs Directory

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Educational Gratuity

 Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP): Together with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PHEAA administers the Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP) for students who enter into a service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard for six years.
Who is eligible for Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP)? To be considered for EAP, the applicant must:

  • Be a bona fide resident of Pennsylvania

  • Be enrolled in a degree-or certificate-granting program of study at an approved Pennsylvania institution

The breakdown of tuition paid by the Pennsylvania EAP is as follows:

Full-Time Attendance

Part-Time Attendance

Undergraduates

The lesser of:

  • 100% of the tuition at the institution where you are enrolled

OR

  • The flat full-time tuition charged to a Pennsylvania resident at a state-owned university

The lesser of:

  • 100% of the tuition for a part-time course of study

OR

  • Two-thirds of the flat full-time tuition charged to a Pennsylvania resident at a state-owned university

Graduate degree candidates or those who already hold a bachelor's degree

Eligible for only part-time funding

The lesser of:

  • 50% of the tuition charged for a part-time course of study

OR

  • One-third of the flat full-time tuition charged to a Pennsylvania resident at a state-owned university

If the Service member fails to honor the service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard, he/she must repay the total EAP award amount, plus interest.

To apply, the Service member must contact the Readiness NCO at their unit of assignment.

Learn more about the Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP)

Pennsylvania State Grant Program: The Pennsylvania State Grant Program has helped Veterans finance a post-secondary education. The program considers all Veterans without regard to the financial status of their Family. The amount of money applicants can expect to receive is based on individual financial situation as well as the type of school attended in Pennsylvania.

Who is eligible for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program? Applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Are a high school graduate as stipulated in the Pennsylvania State Grant law

  • Attend a postsecondary school approved by PHEAA for Pennsylvania State Grant purposes

  • Are enrolled at least half-time (defined as at least six semester credits but less than 12 semester credits per semester, or the equivalent)

  • Be unconditionally admitted and enrolled in an approved program of study of at least 2 academic years in length

  • Are enrolled in a program of study where at least 50% of the total credit or clock hours needed for completion of the program are earned through classroom instruction:

    • The program itself must be structured to allow you to complete at least 50% of your credits or clock hours in the classroom.

    • Your enrollment pattern by term must also consist of at least 50% classroom instruction (unless you have a documented disability that prevents the applicant from fulfilling this requirement) Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodation Request Form .

  • Have made satisfactory academic progress (as defined by PHEAA)

  • Not have already earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent

  • Are a Pennsylvania resident, as stipulated in the Pennsylvania State Grant law

  • Are of satisfactory character (for example, not be incarcerated)

  • Not have received the maximum number of Pennsylvania State Grants permitted

  • Not be in default or pending default on an educational loan. This also applies to any program where the award has been converted to a loan and the loan is in a default status.

  • File and complete the application process by Pennsylvania State Grant Deadlines

For more details read the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, Rights and Responsibilities Certification Document .

The amount of money you can expect to receive is based on your financial situation, as well as the type of school you choose to attend in Pennsylvania.

Learn more about the Pennsylvania State Grant Program

Pennsylvania Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by: