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Lawmaker Wants Senate To Act Now As Veterans Benefit Is Set To Expire

State Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) is urging the Senate to take action before a program that provides a financial benefit to Gulf War veterans expires at the end of August.

State legislature isn’t scheduled to officially reconvene until Sept. 21. 

“[I’m] asking the Senate to come back prior to Aug. 31 and pass this no-brainer of a bill so that the veterans don’t have a lapse in benefits,” Sabatina said.

The Persian Gulf Veterans Bonus Program provides a one-time cash payment to eligible Pennsylvania veterans of the Persian Gulf War. Those who served from Aug. 2, 1990 to Aug. 31, 1991 in the Army, Reserves or the Pennsylvania National Guard are eligible.

Sabatina, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said an extension was making its way to the governor’s desk when the legislature took their summer recess. Abill extending benefits for three years passed the House in June. 

Lawmakers have been working to increase awareness of the program. To date, more than 11,000 applications have been submitted; of those 8,863 have been awarded a bonus worth a combined $3.6 million.