Veteran Benefits and Resources in Pennsylvania
For the more than 894,000 veterans living in Pennsylvania and their families, their honorable service to their nation has earned them a long list of benefits and services. If you are just starting to learn about your benefits, or need assistance following up or resubmitting a claim, your local County Director of Veterans Affairs – run by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs – is a great place to start. These trained professionals offer veterans and their families direct assistance to identify, determine eligibility, and assist in the preparation of applications for county, state, and federal veterans benefits and programs. The County Director is also responsible for the payment of any applicable burial allowances, and ensuring grave markers and headstones are properly requested and placed. You can find the contact information for your county’s director through the online county director listing (PDF).
Accessing quality health care is always a primary concern for veterans and their families, and Pennsylvania veterans and their families have a long list of options through the VA Pittsburg Healthcare System, including nine major VA medical centers in Altoona, Butler, Coatesville, Erie, Lebanon, Philadelphia, Pittsburg (two locations), and Wilkes-Barre. These facilities offer a wide range of services ranging from primary care, pharmaceutical, and rehabilitation to specialty care, surgical procedures, and programs designed to help caregivers, returning servicemembers, and female veterans. Additionally, 36 community-based outpatient clinics offer care closer to home throughout the state, and operate in close contact with the larger media centers when referrals are needed. Through the medical centers’ websites, you can check your eligibility, make or change appointments, and learn more about billing procedures.
For veterans facing a financial crisis, the state offers several assistance programs. The Military Family Relief Assistance Program provides emergency financial assistance to eligible PA service members and their eligible family members facing a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control, such as natural and man-made disasters, death or critical illness of spouse or family member, or sudden financial hardships directly related to military service. The amount of a grant is based on documented financial need up to a maximum of $3,500. Additionally, the Veterans’ Temporary Assistance program Provides temporary financial aid to veterans and their beneficiaries who reside in the state for the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, fuel, clothing and medical expenses. If eligible, a veteran or their beneficiary can qualify for up to $1,600 in a 12-month period.
Veterans wanting to enjoy Pennsylvania’s natural resources and recreational activities may be eligible for discounted licenses and admission. For example, veterans with certain disabilities are eligible for free hunting/fishing/fur trapper licenses, as well as discounted antlerless deer licenses.
For senior veterans and eligible spouses looking for extended care and housing, Pennsylvania offers six veterans’ homes located throughout the state. The level of care provided includes personal care, skilled nursing care, domiciliary care, and dementia care. These homes are located in Philadelphia, Scranton, Hollidaysburg, Erie, Spring City, and Pittsburg. The homes provide furnished and cheerful rooms to allow residents the opportunity to personalize their living areas, as well as a safe and therapeutic environment. They offer complete on-site medical and pharmacy services, physical and occupational therapy, and 24-hour nursing care, as well as recreational activities such as crafts, games, billiards, musical entertainment, holiday programs, shopping, fishing, bowling, and attending local sporting events. Residents are expected to contribute to the cost of their care at the home based on their ability to pay, but no applicant is denied admission to a state veterans’ home because of lack of income or assets. To learn more about eligibility requirements and admission, you can call (717) 861-8906.
A veteran’s honorable service to his or her country earns full honors at the time of death at no cost to his or her family, including burial, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Pennsylvania is home to several veteran cemeteries that offer not only a final resting place for veterans but a location for veterans and families to reflect and pay final respects. Pennsylvania serves as home to three open National Veterans’ Cemeteries, with locations in Bridgeville, Annville, and Newton. Your local county director of veterans affairs can give you more information on the process and benefits. Additionally, the cemetery at Annville – the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery – contains the impressive Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial, honoring veterans of all eras, as far back as the Revolutionary War. It is the largest veterans’ memorial located in any of the 133 national cemeteries operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
Pennsylvania Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Pennsylvania senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps Pennsylvania veterans.