New law will extend assistance to military families

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Thursday, March 15, 2012 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE—In an effort to increase support for our servicemen and women, State Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) co-authored legislation allowing Indiana’s military families to draw assistance for a longer period of time.  House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1059 was signed by Gov. Daniels today and will go into effect July 1, 2012.

“This fund helps our military provide for their families,” said Rep. Gutwein. “They’ve provided us with protection and support, so I think we could do more to help them.”

Currently, members of the armed services can apply for assistance from the Military Family Relief Fund (MFRF) during active duty or up to one year from discharge.  HEA 1059 increases the eligibility period to three years, lessening the pressure on soldiers returning home and their families.

“They are worrying about their family when they are away from home,” Rep. Gutwein said. “Hopefully, the extra assistance gives them a little peace of mind.”

The MFRF is primarily funded by the sale of the Support Our Troops, POW/MIA, and Hoosier Veteran license plates issued by the BMV.  Between January and July last year, over 50,000 plates were sold, resulting in approximately $850,000 for the fund.  From the creation of the fund to August 2011, a total of $751,000 have been awarded to 262 military families.  The assistance these families receive helps purchase necessities while giving servicemen and women the opportunity to get back on their feet.

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Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) serves House District 16. He is the Chairman of the Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee and a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development and Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committees. Rep. Gutwein is also a veteran of the US Army.