Pielli bill to help veterans’ spouses and dependents passes PA House

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Chris Pielli, D-Chester, announced today that his legislation to help spouses and dependents of veterans has passed the state House of Representatives with unanimous support.

In September of 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Health made a change in policy for family members of Pennsylvania veterans. Spouses and dependents of veterans would be entitled to receive veterans’ preference death certificates even when their spouse predeceases them. However, the Department of Health issued a notice that this tradition was based on a misreading of the law: a veteran’s spouse would only qualify for a veteran’s preference death certificate if the veteran predeceases the spouse.

House Bill 1963 would amend the Vital Statistics Law of 1953 to make it explicit that the spouses and dependents of veterans are entitled to receive veteran’s preference death certificates.

“We should do everything in our power to help our veterans,” Pielli said. “That same attitude should be extended to the families of veterans. That’s why my colleagues, Representative Dan L. Miller and Representative Joe Webster, and I worked to create House Bill 1963. This simple change will make the lives of veterans and their families that much easier after this abrupt and unfortunate change. As a veteran, I’ve come to learn that when our men and women serve our great nation, their family also serves. This legislative consideration is the least we can do for our veterans and their families.”

House Bill 1963 now heads to the state Senate for consideration.