Proposed Property Tax Break for Disabled Veterans

Apr 17, 2014

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would allow disabled veterans to receive a real estate tax exemption regardless of the severity of their disability.

Currently, Pennsylvania offers an “all-or-nothing” program, where veterans who are 100 percent disabled receive a complete property tax exemption and those who are 80 or 90 percent disabled get nothing.

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said the tax exemption should be proportional to the percentage of disability.

“If you have a 90 percent disability, you would get a 90 percent exemption on your property tax,” he said. “If you have a 20 percent [disability], you have a 20 percent exemption, and so forth.”

Leach’s legislation, Senate Bill 1335, would also expand the program to all disabled veterans, not just those injured in a wartime effort.

“Many of our veterans are disabled in the line of duty, but not in what has been designated as a time of war,” Leach said. “If you were injured in Grenada, in Panama, in Afghanistan, you are not eligible for any exemption.”

Under the current law, the last recognized “Period of War” was the Gulf War in the early 90’s.

Leach said his bill is a small way to give back to those who have sacrificed their well-being for our security, regardless of a declaration of war.

“This is a bill to help our veterans who have done so much for us and protecting us and fighting for freedom that we all enjoy,” he said. “This is about helping them make ends meet in tough times.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 953,644 military veterans living in Pennsylvania--the fourth highest number in the country behind California, Texas and Florida.  About one in ten of Pennsylvania's veterans receives monthly disability benefits.