Was someone in your family injured in Iraq/Afghanistan? Did you know that your family may be entitledto a state grant based on injuries sustained during deployment toIraq/Afghanistan? It's true. Some states are providing financial grants towounded service members. The money is intended to give assistance to military families and ease some of the financial burdens assumed when a loved one is injured. It's a beautiful gift from the taxpayers of the state - to recognize a need and try to do something to ease the burden.
I was honored to attend a meeting sponsored by the OhioNational Guard last week. One topicduring this meeting was the "Military Injured Relief Fund" in
Ohio. Recently, the
Ohiolegislature passed Ohio House Bill 66. This bill provides grants to eligible service members in the amount of$500 to individuals physically injured while service under Operation EnduringFreedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. Whatamazed me, while doing research for this post, is that
Ohiois not alone in its concern for the wounded families and the hardship theseinjuries place on the family and their financial status. I'd heard about these types of financial grants from the federal government, but this was the first I've heard of states offering financial assistance.
Many states have similar programs - you'd have to check outwhether your state had such a provision for the wounded service members. If they don't - petition them for one! The qualifications are different for eachState and the amount of the grant is different for each state, but each statethat offers this program is recognizing the hardship of the injured service membersand striving to make a difference in their lives. Every website I searched stressed COMPLETELYfilling out the application and having all the required paperwork for thegrant.
When I was at the meeting, I asked one of the representativesfrom the state offices if these grants were contingent on the amount offinancial recompense a service member may have received from the FederalGovernment based on the federal Wounded Warrior Legislation. He said the state grants were completelyseparate. It doesn't matter how much you have been given by the federalgovernment. It doesn't affect the stategrant at all!
I don't have a good feeling for whether or not the injurieshave to be designated as 'combat related'. I read a few articles on the
Ohiobill and it doesn't appear as though this is the case. You have to be serving in OEF/OIF areas, butit doesn't specifically mention the injuries need to be designated as combatrelated. It's a question I would suggestasking before you go through the application process.
I asked Ohio State Representative, Kevin DeWine, from mydistrict, about the program and he said, "Representing and supporting ourveterans is a tremendously important responsibility my colleagues and Ihave. Two years ago we implemented themilitary relief fund allowing taxpayers to assist military families inneed. Today we are working to exemptmilitary pension payments from personal income taxes here in
Ohio. These efforts represent our unwavering commitment to support both ouractive servicemen and women and those who have served in the past."
I'm really fortunate to live in a phenomenally pro-military state. Our State and Local Representatives truly do look out for the interest ofthe military community.
Like Andi said earlier this week - having the information regarding benefits for families of wounded troops or those who give the ultimate sacrifice is incredibly important. We all pray that we won't need to know this information ourselves, but at the very least we may be able to help others in our military family who do need this information.