ANNVILLE – Individuals filing their 2019 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.
“Pennsylvanians are known for their strong support of our military and are always generous when it comes to contributing to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program to help our service members and their families in need,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “All it takes to help a military family that is facing an unforeseen financial crisis is checking the block for MFRAP on your tax form.”
Examples of how the grants helped service members in 2018-19 include:
— A service member and her five children had flooding in their basement and the situation led to mold problems. The estimates for repair exceeded $5,400. She was in financial ruin due to already investing over $5,000 trying to fix the problems herself before receiving a $3,500 grant.
— A service member needed to have a new gas boiler installed in the home. The unexpected expense was over $7,000, which created a financial crisis for the single parent. The service member received a grant for $3,500.
— A service member was in the process of medical retirement and was faced with a $2,200 per month loss of income. In addition to the income loss, the service member had moving costs and a car repair estimate that they were unable to afford to pay.
The service member received a grant for $3,500.Since the program began in 2006, more than $1.9 million has been donated by individuals filing their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and through private donations.
“The MFRAP program exists specifically to take care of our service members and families, so qualifying service members should not hesitate to apply for assistance,” said Carrelli. “For anyone needing assistance, the DMVA is always ready and 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.