INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislation authored by Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) that extends the eligibility window for deployed soldiers and their families to receive grants from the Military Family Relief Fund passed out of the House Friday with a unanimous vote.
House Bill 1059 would extend the application deadline from one to three years for the Military Family Relief Fund. The extension gives a larger window of time for active military to evaluate if they are in need of the funding.
"If you have been in combat, it takes a while to adjust to civilian life," Rep. Baird said. "When active military return to their families, it may take longer than a year to adjust to life at home. This legislation allows that cushion of adjustment time."
The fund is completely funded through sales of 'Hoosier Veteran' license plates, 'POW-MIA' license plates and 'Support Our Troops' license plates.
"I want these funds to be accessible to those who are truly in need of it and this legislation provides an opportunity for us to help returning military," Rep. Baird said, himself a decorated Vietnam veteran. "We are trying to do everything we can to support our active troops and their families. This is one more way to give them the support they deserve."
Currently the Military Family Relief Fund is only offered within the year an active duty military member returns home. The grant is worth up to $5,000 per year through the fund.
Because the end date for receiving benefits is extended from one year to three years under the new legislation, the grants will still be up to $5,000 per year but military and their families could receive up to $15,000 if they receive the grant for three years.
Rep. Baird represents District 44, which includes all of Putnam County and parts of Clay, Parke and Vigo counties. He is a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.