The Military Family Relief Fund was created by an act of legislation in 2006 and became effective in 2007. Since the creation of the fund., more than 8,000 applications have been submitted. Since 2007, the Military Family Relief Fund has seen six significant changes to the code governing the fund, most of which have addressed eligibility concerns. The changes in the eligibility requirements have changed with each piece of legislation and the impact of the change has been fiscally impactful.
The original language for the establishment of the Military Family Relief Fund was to provide assistance to National Guard and Reserve servicemembers who found their selves in a financial hardship as a result of their military service overseas in support of OPeration Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During this period, the Indiana National Guard was considered a "rapid-deploy" unit that had the ability, equipment, and personnel to deploy and redeploy within months.
Legislative Changes to the Fund
The Military Family Relief Fund had a change to the code to reflect "childcare assistance" as an approved service for use of the program's funds.
The Indiana Code was changed to reflect that the service member must apply within one year of the end of the qualified servicemember's active duty, or the cessation of the national conflict or war.
The timeframe of one year from separation of the qualified servicemember's active duty was changed to three years from separation.
The language requiring the qualified servicemember to apply within three years of separation was repealed. The fund was opened up all Post-9/11 veterans. This period saw an increase of approximately ten times (10x) the amount of applications for the fund.
The Post-9/11 provision for a qualified servicemember was repealed. The was opened up to all qualified veterans that served at least twelve months on active duty during a period of war or conflict. The applications into the fund more than doubled (2x) from the previous year.
Added language that requires an employee of the Indiana Department of Veterans' Affairs who is otherwise eligible to receive assistance from the fund must submit their application directly to the Indiana Veterans' Affairs Commission.
The language requiring the servicemember connect his military service has been repealed. The language requiring a servicemember to have a least served twelve months has been repealed. The fund opened up to allow for people discharged with other than honorable veterans to be able to apply. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs commission must adopt a list of discharge codes that are allowable, and disallowable set by the the Indiana code. The Indiana Code states that the disallowed code follows discharge by court martial, an offense against the security of the United States, presentiment misconduct including desertion, and any sexual or violet offense. As well as the department may use no more than 10% of the license plate revenue deposited it the fund for marketing and promotion of the fund.