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Tax Time Offers Opportunity to Help Pennsylvania’s Military Families
2019-02-21

            Individuals filing their 2018 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 (MFRAP).

            The program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), 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.

            "Generous Pennsylvanians have continually answered the call for help to assist our needy commonwealth service members and families by contributing to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program," said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general and head of the DMVA. "The selfless act of checking this block on your tax form can provide significant relief for a military family facing unforeseen financial crisis."

            Examples of how the grants helped service members in 2017-18 include: A service member's basement flooded from a broken sewer line, and the line needed to be replaced. The repairs from these damages cost $7,200. The service member has a spouse and six children to provide for, and this unexpected expense created a financial crisis for the family. The service member was awarded a grant for $3,500 to help with repairs;

            A service member had severe flood damages to the family's home, and the insurance had denied the claim. The repairs from this flooding were $3,507, which created a financial setback for the family. The service member received a grant for $3,500; and

            A service member needed to travel to another state due to the death of a family member and was unable to afford the costs of this travel. Costs were covered with a grant for $1,121.

Since the program began in 2006, more than $1.85 million has been donated by individuals filing their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and through private donations.

"Qualifying service members should not hesitate to apply for the MFRAP program. It exists specifically to take care of our service members and families as a 'thank you' for their service and sacrifice," said Carrelli. "For anyone needing assistance, the DMVA is available to assist with the application process."

            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.


 

 

 

 

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