Rep. Goodman’s legislation to protect veterans’ access to prescription drug assistance programs passes state House

HARRISBURG, May 14 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed state Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s bill that would allow Pennsylvania veterans to participate in state prescription drug assistance programs if a state veterans’ benefit or federal disability payment puts them over the income limit.

“A veteran should not lose access to these important programs because they receive a small stipend for their service and sacrifice to our country,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “I am thankful that my colleagues in the House recognized the importance of protecting veterans’ access to PACE and PACENET, and I hope the Senate does the same.”

Some of the state veteran benefit programs addressed by H.B. 375 include the Blind Veterans Pension and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension, both of which provide a maximum of $1,800 to a veteran per year. About 100 veterans receive the Blind Veteran Pension and about another 1,900 receive the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension.

In addition, about 100,000 veterans in Pennsylvania receive federal VA disability payments.

Goodman noted that his legislation would put into law current practices by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging not to remove veterans from the PACE and PACENET programs because of a service-related stipend. He said the legislation is necessary to prevent veterans from losing benefits in the future.

In 2017, similar legislation that Goodman sponsored to ensure Pennsylvania veterans are not shut out of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the governor as Act 117.

PACE and PACENET provide prescription assistance to Pennsylvanians 65 or older.

The income limits for PACE eligibility are $14,500 for a single person and $17,700 for a married couple. PACENET income limits are slightly higher. For a single person, total income can be between $14,500 and $27,500. For a married couple, combined total income can be between $17,700 and $35,500.

Goodman’s bill passed the state House during the past two legislative sessions, but it did not receive a vote by the state Senate.