HARRISBURG, Pa., March 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Individuals filing their 2015 Pennsylvania personal income taxes can help Pennsylvania's military personnel and their families by donating part or all of their refund to the state's Military Family Relief Assistance Program.
"The Military Family Relief Assistance Program is an easy and convenient way for the citizens of Pennsylvania to support their service members simply by checking off a box when completing their income tax return," said Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, acting adjutant general for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "Since service members and their families sacrifice so much, it's gratifying to be able to lend them financial assistance when they need it most."
The program provides grants of up to $3,500 to Pennsylvania members of the armed forces and their families who have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The tax form includes instructions on how to donate.
"Each emergency situation is unique, but the one thing they all have in common is that these funds are put to good use," Carrelli added.
Examples of how the grants helped service members in 2015 include:
- A service member from Montgomery County was injured in a vehicle accident and required surgery and physical therapy. The applicant would not be able to work for several weeks. There were some unexpected delays with the applicant's Incapacitation Pay, causing the family to fall behind on their mortgage and household bills. The service member received a $3,500.00 grant.
- A service member from Berks County was unable to work due to necessary treatment for severe PTSD resulting from several deployments and injuries. As a result, the family suffered a financial setback and was facing the possibility of losing their home. The service member received a $3,500.00 grant.
- A spouse of a recently deceased service member from Dauphin County was currently not working due to the unexpected loss of her spouse and had two children to provide for. There were now funeral expenses and household bills to pay until the applicant could recuperate from this tragedy and return to work to support the family. The spouse received a grant for $3,500.00.
- A service member from Allegheny County was experiencing temporary financial difficulties as a result of major vehicle repairs and a spouse that was temporarily unable to work due to medical complications. Assistance was needed to help the family until they could return to financial stability. The service member received a grant for $2,518.73.
Since the program began in 2006, more than $1.6 million has been donated by individuals filing their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and through private donations.
"If you need assistance and think you qualify for a grant, you really should apply for this valuable benefit. I also encourage others to help us spread the word," said Carrelli.
Members of the armed forces who are residents of Pennsylvania are eligible to apply for assistance while they are serving on active duty for 30 or more consecutive days with the Army, Army Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, or the Pennsylvania Army or Air National Guard.
All members of the armed forces who were discharged for medical reasons are also eligible to apply for assistance for up to four years after a medical discharge.
In addition, reserve component service members (including Pennsylvania National Guard members) and their families may be eligible for a grant for a period of up to three years after release from a qualifying active duty tour.
The program also applies to certain family members of eligible service members who are Pennsylvania residents. Applicants must show that they have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control.
In addition to the check-off box on the Personal Income Tax form, contributions can be made directly by sending a check to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program, c/o Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Bldg. 0-47 Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003.
Donations are tax deductible to the extent authorized by federal law.
To learn more about this program, visit www.mfrap.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joan Z. Nissley, 717-861-8720
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs