State House passes Goodman’s bill to protect veterans’ access to prescription drug assistance programs

HARRISBURG, May 24 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously 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.

“I am thankful my colleagues in the House supported my legislation, and I am hopeful the Senate will soon take up my bill to protect veterans’ access to PACE and PACENET,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “A stipend or bonus veterans receive because of their service should not disqualify them from these important programs."

Some of the veteran benefit programs addressed by H.B. 673 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. In addition, about 95,000 veterans in Pennsylvania receive federal VA disability payments.

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 $23,500. For a married couple, combined total income can be between $17,700 and $31,500.

Goodman’s legislation passed the state House unanimously last year, but did not receive a vote in the state Senate before the end of the 2015-16 legislative session.

Last year, similar legislation 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.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is limited to those with maximum income of $35,000 per year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for those who rent. Half of Social Security, Supplemental Security or federal Railroad Retirement Tier I income is excluded.