Indiana Law Expands Financial Assistance to OIF and OEF Veterans

support our troopsIn the past, the Indiana Military Family Relief Fund could provide assistance to OIF and OEF veterans within three years after returning from active duty.  On Thursday, March 13, 2014, Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that expands access to all OIF and OEF veterans regardless of when they left active duty.  The three year limit on eligibility will no longer exist as of July 1.

This will give eligibility to about 26,000 Indiana veterans who were formerly barred from assistance.  The fund holds about $8.5 million.  Proceeds from the sale of “Hoosier Veteran,” “Support Our Troops” and “POW/MIA” license plates supply the fund.  Gov. Pence stated that abolishing the 3 year limit on eligibility will ensure that veterans who served after 9/11 “have access to resources to assist them and their families when they fall on hard times.”

Unemployment rates for veterans are higher than the general population.  Younger veterans (who are the target constituents of this law) struggle with unemployment.  In Indiana, veterans who are 18 to 24 years old have an unemployment rate of 20.4%.  That is a staggering statistic and well above the national average.  In the veteran population as a whole, 16% are homeless.  This is compared to a homeless rate of 10% in the general population.  Lastly, some studies show that around 17% to 25% of veterans struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury, both of which may contributed to difficulties securing employment.

An application for assistance can be found here.

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