Resources for Veterans and Service Members

Resources for Veterans and Service Members

There are nearly 800,000 veterans in Pennsylvania, and approximately 18,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The commonwealth owes our service members and their families a tremendous amount of gratitude. This guide is intended to be a place where they can find a multitude of resources and services, all in one place.

Our military has earned these benefits, and we want them to be able to find them and access them with ease

Take Action

Veterans Registry

Veterans can qualify for a variety of benefits, services, and programs in Pennsylvania.

Fill out a simple form to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs  and let us help connect you with services.

While registering, you can opt-in to receive timely communications, including newsletters, press releases, and program updates.

Education & Employment

A female member of the National Guard holds a smiling boy.

National Guard Education Assistance

Student members of the Pennsylvania National Guard can receive help paying for higher education.

Eligibility

  • Enlist with the Pennsylvania National Guard for a period of six years
  • Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program with an approved Pennsylvania institution

Details

Find out more about how much help you can receive on the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) website .

Apply

  • Members of the National Guard: Connect with your unit’s readiness noncommissioned officer.
  • Non-members of the National Guard: Go to the Pennsylvania National Guard website for more information.

Contact: PHEAA, 800-692-7392.

Pennsylvania GI Bill

The PA GI Bill pays for higher education for National Guard families.

To further support Pennsylvanians who re-enlist in the National Guard, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a first-in-the-nation benefit that pays for post-secondary schooling for their family members.

Eligibility

  • Be a member or former member of the Pennsylvania National Guard
  • Re-enlist for six additional years after completing original, six-year service commitment
  • Family member benefiting is service member’s spouse or child(ren) up to age 26
  • Benefit must be used at a PHEAA-approved institution

Details

All National Guard members re-enlisting July 2019 and beyond are eligible for this program.

Spouses can use the benefit up to six years after the service member’s separation from the National Guard. Children can use the benefit up until they reach age 26.

See a list of frequently asked questions about the Pennsylvania GI Bill on the Pennsylvania National Guard’s website.

Apply

Inquire with your unit supervisor/commander about signing up for this benefit.

Contact: Pennsylvania National Guard Education Services Office, 717-861-2434.

Federal GI Bill Benefits

There are several programs inside the federal GI Bill, and each is administered differently, depending on eligibility and duty status.

Learn about your options and find the benefits that are right for you on the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Contact: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 888-442-4551.

Career Counseling

PA CareerLink

Pennsylvania CareerLink provides a full range of employment services for veterans .

Services include:

  • Referrals
  • Job development
  • Job skill matching

Find a CareerLink near you .

Contact: Connect with veterans’ employment representatives at your local CareerLink or call 866-858-2753.

 

Veterans Affairs Education and Career Counseling

Get personalized career counseling and support through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Qualified service members and veterans can apply through their eBenefits account .

Learn more about federal education and career counseling benefits .

CDL Test Waiver

Pennsylvania waives the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test fee for:

  • Active-duty military
  • Reserve-duty military
  • Recent, honorably discharged veterans
  • Applicants must have at least two years’ experience operating a commercial motor vehicle as part of their military job requirements

Learn more about getting a CDL on the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) website .

Contact: PennDOT, 717-412-5300.

Troops to Teachers

The Troops to Teachers program is a way for veterans to bring their knowledge and skills to Pennsylvania classrooms. Under Troops to Teachers, veterans can receive:

  • Help with education requirements and programs
  • Guidance through the teacher certification process
  • Referrals to employment opportunities
  • Bonuses when they choose to teach in high-needs schools

Learn more about Troops to Teachers on the Department of Education website.

Contact: Jamal K. Wakeem, Department of Education, 717-772-3566, or email jwakeem@pa.gov.

Starting a Business

Pennsylvania veterans and reserve service members are exempt from certain fees for business start-ups and professional licensure.

See a list of exempted business fees via the Department of State.

Visit Pennsylvania’s Business One-Stop Shop to learn more about doing business in the commonwealth.

Health Care

A young girl hugs a National Guard service member

Federal Health Care Programs

Health care programs for the National Guard and military veterans are administered by the federal government. Pennsylvanians 65+ also can qualify for Medicare.

TRICARE

Run by the federal government, TRICARE is for:

Find more information about eligibility and coverage on the TRICARE website .

VA Health Care

Pennsylvanians who served in the active military, naval, or air service and did not receive a dishonorable discharge may be eligible for federal VA health care benefits .

Apply
  • Health Eligibility Center
  • 2957 Clairmont Road, Suite 200
  • Atlanta, GA 30329
You’ll need:
  • Your most recent tax return
  • Social Security numbers for you and qualified dependents
  • Account numbers for any current health insurance

See a list of more health programs for veterans .

Mental Health Services

Veterans Housing

Emergency Housing Help

  • Talk privately with a trained veterans affairs counselor at the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: 877-424-3838.
  • Talk with a veterans affairs social worker by contacting your nearest medical center .

Veterans Homes

Veterans and surviving spouses are provided personal care, skilled nursing care, and dementia care through Pennsylvania’s six veterans homes.

Eligibility

  • Served in the U.S. or Pennsylvania armed forces
  • Honorably discharged
  • Resident at time of military entry or current resident of Pennsylvania

Two veterans play pool at a PA veterans home

Schedule a Tour

Learn more about each veterans home in Pennsylvania and find out which one works best for you on the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website.

Contact the home of your choice directly or call the Bureau of Veterans Homes at 717-861-8906 to schedule a tour or learn more.

Apply for Residence

Download, complete, sign, and mail the application for admission to a Pennsylvania state veterans home (PDF) to:

    • Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
    • Bureau of Veterans Homes
    • Attn: Admissions Office
    • Bldg. S-0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap
    • Annville, PA 17003-5002

Need Help?

Contact the Bureau of Veterans Homes by calling 717-861-8906 or email RA-MVVA-HOMES@pa.gov.

For Veterans with Disabilities


Pennsylvania offers special services for veterans with disabilities.

Learn more about these services below. You also can download the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ most popular brochure: Benefits and Services for Veterans and their Beneficiaries in Pennsylvania (PDF) .

Temporary Financial Assistance

What it does

Provides financial aid to veterans for necessities like food, shelter, fuel, clothing, and medical expenses.

Eligibility

  • Must be a Pennsylvania resident
  • Must have been honorably discharged
  • Must have a service-connected disability
  • Must demonstrate financial need
  • Must show either a loss of income or increase in expenses that Indicates a temporary inability to pay for living expenses

Surviving Dependents

Upon the recent death of a veteran, their spouse is eligible for temporary financial assistance if the veteran would have qualified prior to passing away. Applicants must provide:

  • Death certificate for veteran
  • Marriage certificate for veteran and spouse
  • Birth certificates of child(ren)
  • Birth certificates of veteran’s parents

How to Apply

Contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Blind Veterans Pension

What it Does

Provides $150 a month for veterans who qualify.

Eligibility

  • Was resident of Pennsylvania upon entering the military
  • Served honorably
  • Suffered service-related injury or was diagnosed with a disease that resulted in loss of vision
    • Vision with the best correcting lens at 3/60
    • Or vision is 10/200 or equivalent

How to Apply

Contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension

What it Does

Provides $150 a month for veterans who qualify.

Eligibility

  • Was resident of Pennsylvania upon entering the military
  • Served honorably
  • Suffered a service-connected injury or disease resulting in the loss of two or more extremities
  • Has at least 40% disability compensation rating or higher in each limb

How to Apply

Contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Education Assistance for Children of Disabled Veterans

What it Does

Pays up to $500 per term, per semester, for up to eight semesters of post-secondary education. This benefit is for children of veterans who:

  • Died in service during a period of armed conflict
    or
  • Were honorably discharged and
    • Served during established war service dates
    • Have a 100% permanent and total service-disability rating

Child Eligibility

  • Between the ages of 16 and 23
  • Living in Pennsylvania within five years prior to applying
  • Attending an approved school within the state
  • Demonstrates a financial need

How to Apply

Contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Real Estate Tax Exemption

What it Does

Exempts honorably discharged veterans with disabilities from real estate taxes on any building, including up to five acres of land.

Eligibility

  • Must be a Pennsylvania resident
  • Must have served during war service dates as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Must have been honorably discharged
  • Must be blind or paraplegic (or sustained the loss of two or more limbs) or have a service-connected disability declared to be a total or 100% permanent disability
  • Dwelling must be owned solely by the veteran and must be the veteran’s principal residence
  • Veteran must demonstrate financial need

How to Apply

Contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Other Benefits

Emergency Financial Assistance

The Military Family Relief Assistance Program provides emergency financial assistance to eligible service members and their family members.

Eligibility

  • Must be a Pennsylvania resident
  • Served 30 or more consecutive days of active duty
  • Are a service member or former service member in good standing

Apply

Call 1-866-292-7201, or contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Details

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website .

Driver’s License Designation

Military designation is an American flag with VETERAN under it.

Pennsylvania veterans can add a veterans designation  to their driver’s license. See if you qualify .

Contact: PennDOT, 717-412-5300.

Military Registration Plates

military license plates have a variety of designs and options

PennDOT offers several military license plate options. To get one for your vehicle, fill out the form that corresponds with the design you would like to request </a.

Contact: PennDOT, 800-932-4600.

Hunting License

The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers reduced-price hunting licenses for members of the military . Veterans who are disabled are eligible for free, lifetime hunting licenses.

Contact: Pennsylvania Game Commission, 717-787-4250.

Fishing License

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission offers free and reduced-price fishing licenses for veterans who are disabled.

Additionally, certain active-duty military personnel are exempt from Pennsylvania’s fishing license requirement. To be eligible for the military waiver, you must:

  • Be a Pennsylvania resident
  • Be on active duty
  • Be stationed outside Pennsylvania
  • Be in Pennsylvania on authorized leave

Learn more and apply for a fishing license on the Fish & Boat Commission’s website.

Contact: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, 717-705-7800.

Banking Assistance

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities provides veterans and members of our military with financial information to set them up for success.

Burial Honors

Veterans are eligible to receive military burial honors at their funerals. For details, contact your county director of veterans affairs .

Mobile Outreach


The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is happy to come to your event to help veterans with benefits.

  • Request a veterans outreach van for your event. Here’s how:
    • Fill out and submit this request form (PDF) 45 days to six months before your event
    • Requests with less than a 30-day turnaround are handled on an as-available basis
    • You’ll be notified as soon as possible if your request has been granted

An area of 40 feet x 15 feet is required for parking

Electrical service is required

Contact: Call 717-861-8905 or email ra-mvoutreach@pa.gov.

Support Veterans

There are several ways the public can support Pennsylvania’s veterans:

Veterans’ Trust Fund

The Veterans’ Trust Fund gives money to statewide charitable organizations that help veterans in need of shelter and other living necessities. There is more than one way to donate:

Memorial Maintenance

The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery honors commonwealth veterans of all eras, from the Revolutionary War forward. It is the largest veterans memorial in all of the 133 national cemeteries operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ways to help

  • Donate: You can donate to the upkeep of the veterans memorial online, or by sending a check or money order payable to “Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial Trust Fund” to:
        • DMVA Office for Veterans Affairs
        • Building 0-47 Fort Indiantown Gap
          Annville, PA 17003-5002

 

Help Veterans Homes

Pennsylvania’s six veterans homes need volunteers to help with tasks like:

  • Visiting with residents
  • Providing musical entertainment
  • Helping with arts and crafts
  • Distributing mail
  • Helping at mealtime

Find volunteer opportunities by location on the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website.

Donate: Make an online, tax-deductible donation to the veterans home of your choice.

Help Military Families

The Military Family Relief Assistance Program helps military families with direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control. These circumstances can include:

  • Emergency need for child care
  • Natural and man-made disasters
  • Death or critical illness of a child, spouse, parent, or sibling

Donate: Make an online, tax-deductible donation to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program.

Honor Their Service

The U.S. has a time-honored tradition of recognizing our service members. You can search and view those who have been honored with prestigious military awards for heroic service online.

See awards given to members of our military for their heroic service.

Homegrown by Heroes

While shopping for food in Pennsylvania, keep an eye out for PA Preferred® products with the Homegrown by Heroes seal.

The seal is added to verify that your product purchase will support a veteran-owned business.

 

Contact Information

Pennsylvania Air National Guard

Phone: 800-864-6264

Website: GoANG.com/PA

 

Pennsylvania Army National Guard

Phone: 800-464-8273

Website: nationalguard.com/select-your-state/PA

Veterans Affairs Field Offices

Call a Pennsylvania field office to speak with an accredited service officer. Get help with your benefits and more.

County Directors of Veterans Affairs

Get help with applying for county, state, and federal benefits. Contact your county director of veterans affairs.

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