Bills Assisting Disabled Veterans, At-Risk Youth Pass House, Boback Says

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming) announced the House passage of bills that would help support disabled veterans and at-risk youth in the Commonwealth.

The bills were previously approved by the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, which Boback chairs.

“One piece of legislation will prevent veterans’ compensation benefits from being counted as income for state programs with income thresholds,” said Boback. “It seeks to offer help to those who have fought for and defended us, which is why I felt it was necessary to reintroduce and push for its passage. I am grateful for the continued support this legislation sees and am eager for its passage in the Senate.”

“I was also proud to promote Rep. Tim O’Neal’s (R-Washington) bill which aims to secure steady funding for the Keystone State Challenge Academy Account for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. This program provides structured educational opportunities for at-risk youth across the Commonwealth. As an educator, I am fully aware of the value programs like this offer our youth. I will continue to look for ways that will offer help to our veterans and our Pennsylvania National Guard,” Boback added.  

House Bill 491 amends Title 51 to exclude veterans’ compensation benefits from income calculations for Commonwealth programs. It provides that 100% of a veteran’s disability compensation/pension may not be included as income for any state program. It also extends the exclusion to an unmarried surviving spouse.

House Bill 803 establishes the Keystone State Challenge Academy Account as a restricted receipts account within the General Fund, which may include all monies deposited into the account from appropriations/transfers from the General Fund, private donations and federal funds and appropriated to the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs on a continuing basis.

Boback Reminds 100% Service-Connected Disabled Veterans of Real Estate Tax Exemption

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, would like to remind veterans who are 100% permanently disabled due to service that they are eligible for an exemption on their real estate tax.

This program provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) offers real estate tax exemption for any honorably discharged veteran who is 100% disabled, has a financial need and is a resident of the Commonwealth.

Veterans may apply for the exemption by contacting the Veterans Affairs director in their county of residence:  

Lackawanna County – Director David Eisele – 570-963-6778 –

Luzerne County – Director Jim Spagnola – 570-706-3960 –

Wyoming County – Director Jack Hubert – 570-996-2258 –

Veteran’s eligibility criteria:

  • Served in the military honorably.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 exemption for the financial need can be considered 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.

After the DMVA certifies the financial need for an exemption and the eligibility criteria is verified, the county board of assessment and revision of taxes will grant the tax exemption. Cases that have been granted tax exemption will be reviewed periodically to determine continued need for exemption from certain real estate property taxes.

For more information on the real estate tax exemption program or any other state programs and services supporting veterans, visit