Bill to extend Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program passes Pa. House

HARRISBURG, June 2 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would extend the Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program for three more years passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday.

 

The program, which provides a small, one-time stipend to veterans of the first Gulf War, is set to expire on Aug. 31.

 

“More than 200 veterans applied to the program last month, and we need to extend it to ensure no eligible veteran is turned away,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “This is a small thank you to the brave Pennsylvanians who risked their lives in the first Gulf War.”

 

Goodman said he is hopeful the Senate will pass H.B. 175 this summer and send it to the governor for his signature.

 

Goodman wrote the law that led to a November 2006 referendum asking Pennsylvania if the state should create the program. The referendum was overwhelmingly approved.

 

The maximum bonus is $525. Since the enactment of the law, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has processed more than 11,000 claims totaling $3.7 million.

 

About $2 million remains in the fund from the last bond sale – more than enough to cover the program extension without the need for additional money.

 

The program is open to veterans of the Armed Forces, the reserves or the Pennsylvania National Guard who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations between Aug. 2, 1990 and Aug. 31, 1991. Recipients of the bonus must have been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations and honorably discharged.

 

The program also is open to spouses, children and parents of deceased veterans who would have been eligible for the program.

 

To apply for the bonus, visit www.persiangulfbonus.state.pa.us.