Senator Pam Iovino (D – Allegheny & Washington) announced that she will soon be introducing bipartisan legislation to indefinitely extend the Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP), which provides grants of up to $3,500 to Pennsylvania veterans, servicemembers, and their immediate families experiencing hardship. Originally created in 2005, the MFRAP’s sunset date was extended to June 30, 2020 by Act 66 of 2014. Senator Iovino’s legislation would preserve the successful program by eliminating the sunset date. Other prime sponsors of the legislation include Senators Lisa Baker (R – Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne & Wyoming), Bob Mensch (R – Berks, Bucks & Montgomery), and John P. Sabatina, Jr. (D – Philadelphia).
“The majority of veterans are thriving and playing important roles in their community by applying the skills they gained in our armed forces. But veterans can also face unique challenges as a result of their service to our nation, including mental health or physical disabilities,” said Senator Pam Iovino. “If a veteran falls on hard times, possibly because of something related to their service, it is our opportunity to serve them. The Military Family Relief Assistance Program has proven successful in providing temporary financial security to veterans and their families during a time of hardship. The program should be permanently extended.”
The MFRAP is funded by voluntary donations derived largely from Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax refund check-offs. Since the program began, more than $1.9 million has been donated by generous taxpayers filing their Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax returns and through private donations. The program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, presently offers grants to service members and veterans who experienced a sudden loss of income or assets as a result of military service; emergency child care needs; natural or man made disasters resulting in the need for food, shelter and other necessities; the death or critical illness of a parent, spouse, sibling or child; or exigent circumstances beyond the eligible member’s control.