Sen. Iovino speaks at an event promoting the PA GI Bill for Pennsylvania National Guard members at the Southwestern Veterans Center (Nov 2019)
Harrisburg, PA – October 20, 2020 – Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to indefinitely extend the Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP), which was created in 2005 to provide grants of up to $3,500 to Pennsylvania veterans, servicemembers, and their immediate families experiencing hardship. In 2014, the MFRAP’s sunset date was extended to June 30, 2020. The legislation passed today, Senate Bill 1076, would preserve the successful program by eliminating the sunset date and reauthorizing it indefinitely. Today’s unanimous passage in the House follows the Senate’s unanimous passage in May. The legislation will now go to Governor Wolf’s desk for his signature.
The bill was introduced by Senator Pam Iovino, a 23-year Navy veteran, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and current Minority Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
“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 service-connected mental health or physical disabilities,” said Senator Iovino (D – Allegheny & Washington). “The Military Family Relief Assistance Program has proven successful in providing temporary financial security to veterans and their families during a time of hardship. I thank my colleagues for their unanimous support to indefinitely extend this important program.”
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, offers grants to servicemembers and veterans who experienced a sudden loss of income or assets as a result of military service; emergency child care needs; natural or manmade 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.