Blake’s Veterans Pension Bills Win Senate Approval

HARRISBURG, Dec. 11, 2013 – Legislation introduced by state Sen. John Blake to help veterans who are employed by the City of Scranton more quickly participate in its pension program have won the Senate’s approval.

Senate Bill 703 amends the Scranton Police and Firemen’s Pension Law and Senate Bill 704 changes the Scranton City Employee Pension Law so city employees can buy military service credits and apply them to their retirement benefits without having to wait three years, which is the requirement of current state law. The changes would achieve parity with workers from other cities across Pennsylvania.

A state commission has determined that the proposals will not add to Scranton’s cost for operating the pension system. The reason it does not increase costs for the city is because of the military service credits.

“The women and men who have served to defend our liberties are committed to whatever task that lies before them. When they return from service they should be afforded every opportunity to pursue retirement security for themselves and their families,” Blake said following the Senate vote Tuesday. “These measures pose no additional costs for Scranton.

When an eligible member decides to purchase non-intervening military service credits, he or she erases the city’s expense. That payment is equal to the amount the member would have contributed had he or she been a member of the pension fund during their military service, plus the equivalent of the city’s contributions that otherwise may have occurred during that service.

“As veterans take up public safety positions and public service positions in our community it is good to know that they can have some peace of mind for their future.

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues in the PA House to swiftly get this legislation through their chamber and to the governor for his signature,” Sen. Blake said.