Bill to Help More Military Families
– The House on Monday unanimously approved a bill sponsored by state Senator
Lisa Baker (R-20) that will help a greater number of military families who have
fallen on hard times. The Senate approved the bill in December 48-0. It now
heads to the desk of Governor Tom Corbett to be signed into law.
who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee,
said Senate Bill 923 will expand the eligibility guidelines for grants from the
state’s Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP) to include more service
members and their families in need.
current program guidelines were so narrowly drawn that too often those in need
were walking away empty-handed,” Baker said. “The MFRAP has a healthy fund
balance of more than $1 million thanks to the generosity of so many
Pennsylvanians who recognized this program as a patriotic way to help this
commonwealth’s bravest men and women when they find themselves in need.”
program is funded through a voluntary check-off on the Pennsylvania Personal
Income Tax refund. Grants are awarded in amounts up to $3,500 for service
members and their families.
provide additional flexibility, the bill will allow service members to receive
aid for any pressing financial need beyond their control, not just those needs
directly resulting from military service. It also extends the time limit during
which service members can apply, from one year to three years after release
from active duty for reservists and for former members of the armed forces, its
reserve, or the National Guard. It extends the time limit from two years to
four years if the member was injured in the line of duty and received a medical
often, many of our active-duty military are coming home from combat to face new
battles, many having to do with finances,” Baker said. “By expanding the
eligibility requirements for the program, I’m hopeful more service members will
be aided by these funds.”
the time the grant program began in 2005 through fiscal year 2012 (the most
recent information available), $340,760.37 has been awarded.