Corbett signs bills for veteran license change

Two new state laws will give disabled Pennsylvania veterans deep discounts on hunting and fishing licenses.

Veterans who are 60 to 90 percent disabled and served during war time will only have to pay $1 for a hunting or furtaking license and $1 for a fishing license.

The savings on all three licenses would be about $60.

Adult resident hunting and furtaker licenses are $20.70 each. An adult resident fishing license is $22.70.

The laws take effect on Aug. 28.

The bills do not mention the trout/salmon and Lake Erie stamps for fishing licenses nor additional hunting tags including antlerless licenses.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 1102 (fishing) into law on June 26 and Senate Bill 1090 (hunting and furtaking) into law on July 2.

Veterans who present proof that their disabilities are permanent will receive lifetime licenses at the $1 rate.

The fishing law includes veterans who were prisoners of war.

The laws refer to disability ratings “between 60 percent and 99 percent.” However, according to Burris, disability percentages are rounded. “The VA does everything in 10 perent increments,” he said. A 99-percent disabled veteran would qualify as 100 percent disabled. At 94 percent, the disability is rounded down to 90 percent.

“This came about because veterans who were rated 100 percent due to unemployability were not being recognized as totally disabled in every county,” County Veterans Affairs Director Ed Burris said.

Both laws include language about 100 percent disabled veterans and those who have lost or lost the use of one or more limbs. Those veterans can receive hunting and fishing licenses at no cost.

“The people who are rated unemployable are, a lot of times, worse off than those who are rated 100 percent disabled,” Burris said. “I think all 100 percent rated veterans should be entitled to the same programs. I called Sen. Lisa Baker, who was chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee.”

Veterans must be prepared to show proof of wartime service and disability to the county treasurer at time of application.

“It’s nice to see the state recognizing that service,” Burris said. “It’s a good thing.”