HARRISBURG – Legislation to help Pennsylvania veterans with service-related injuries has passed the House, according to the bill’s co-sponsors, Reps. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) and Nick Pisciottano (D-Allegheny).
House Bill 1220
would increase the monthly pension amounts for blind veterans and veterans who are amputees or paralyzed. If enacted as law, it would affect veterans who suffered service-connected injuries or diseases. They are currently eligible for pensions of $150 per month if those injuries or diseases resulted in loss of vision, paralysis or the loss of two or more extremities.
As amended, the legislation calls for the pension amount to be increased to $250 per month for the Blind Veterans Pension Program and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension Program.
“These veterans’ pensions have not received an increase since 1999. While the state’s contribution to them is on top of their federal benefits from the Veterans Benefits Administration, I feel it is important that we in Pennsylvania demonstrate our gratitude for military service by increasing this amount,” Gregory said.
“Our men and women in uniform make extraordinary sacrifices to protect our freedom, including enduring injuries that can leave a lifelong impact. Although we can never repay them for their sacrifice, we can ensure state services and programs are adequate to meet their needs – and that includes updating the Blind Veterans and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension programs, which have not changed in 20 years, to increase the monthly payment. It’s the least we can do for those who have given so much for the rest of us,” Pisciottano said.
While addressing his colleagues in the House chamber, Gregory highlighted the advocacy of the late John Gority, of Duncansville, who was paralyzed after stepping on a land mine during the Vietnam War. Gority spoke to Gregory several times about the need to increase the monthly pensions. He died in April.
House Bill 1220 goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Representative Jim Gregory
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch