Our servicemen and women make tremendous sacrifices for our country. When they leave the military, many need additional support to adjust to civilian life and find employment. To help these Hoosiers, I am working on legislation to meet their needs.
Through the Military Family Relief Fund, veterans can apply for financial assistance for food, housing and utilities. These grants are made possible by revenue from license plate fees, and have a $2,500 lifetime limit per veteran. Currently, the Indiana Department of Veteran Affairs rejects approximately 40 percent of applications for the Military Family Relief Fund due to applicants failing to meet basic qualifications such as serving for 12 months or being honorably discharged.
Legislation I am sponsoring would expand the number of eligible veterans who qualify for grants through the Military Family Relief Fund. Senate Bill 316 would remove the requirements that applicants must face hardships tied to service, served during wartime and have at least 12 months of active duty service. The legislation would also open eligibility to veterans who have been discharged generally, honorably or discharged as other than honorable. Veterans could receive these funds only after they meet all qualifications. To reach more veterans, this bill would also allow the Indiana Department of Veterans' Affairs to use a small portion of annual license plate revenue to reach more veterans and make them aware of the financial assistance available through the Military Family Relief Fund.
Additional resources are available to help veterans transition from military duty and find employment. The Catalyst Program offers a way to shift to a new career after military service. The 7 week program combines civilian recruiting with in-class undergraduate and graduate education, mentoring, networking and job shadowing. After program completion, veterans will have new network connections and relevant skills in their field that will help them get noticed by hiring managers. The next available program starts April 13. Classes are currently offered both in-person and virtually. To find more information and apply for the next cohort, visit TheCatalystProgram.org.
Veterans can also visit in.gov/veterans to find a variety of employment resources provided by the state. Through the Next Level Veterans program, Hoosier veterans can connect with potential employers, access job training and find information on homeownership.
After all our service members do for us, we must support them when they return home. I want to extend my sincerest thank you to all of the brave men and women who have diligently served our nation. My office is always available to you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 317-232-9802.
State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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