January 7, 2016

Senate Republicans Propose Expansion Of Military Family Relief Fund

INDIANAPOLIS -- Senate Republicans propose expanding the Military Family Relief Fund to include combat veterans who served before 9-11.

The General Assembly created Indiana’s Military Family Relief Fund in 2006 to help post-9-11 combat veterans and their immediate families who are struggling financially. The fund subsidizes food, housing, utility, transportation and medical bills.  And this session, Columbia City Republican Sen. Jim Banks wants to expand it to cover all veterans who’ve seen combat – which he says will particularly help Vietnam vets.

“The veterans who often deserve and need the most help," Banks said. "They’re all mostly senior citizens at this point.”

The fund currently has about a $1.5 million balance.  But this might not cover an increase in demand. To cover that, Buck Creek Republican Sen. Brandt Hershman says proposed legislation would add a new feature to Hoosiers’ tax forms.

“This would allow a new provision in which you could donate portions of your tax refund to go to support Hoosier veterans and the Military Family Relief Fund,” Hershman said.

The program is now primarily funded through military license plate fees, including the Support Our Troops plate.

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