More Hoosier veterans are now able to get support from the state’s Military Family Relief Fund.
The fund provides up to $2,500 to veterans and their families who are struggling with financial issues – anything from utilities and rent to medical bills to emergency car repairs.
Prior to July 1, only veterans who served on active duty for more than one year – in war time – were eligible for the fund. Those two requirements have been eliminated.
Veterans will also no longer have to connect their financial hardship to their military service. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, which manages the program, said that requirement was subjective and unnecessary.
The most controversial change involves discharges from the military. Before now, only veterans who left the service under honorable conditions could get access to the funds. Now, that list is expanded to include those who received what’s known as an “other than honorable” discharge.
State officials said that brings the program more in line with the federal government’s eligibility requirements for many veteran benefits.