ANNVILLE, PA — Individuals filing their 2020 Pennsylvania personal income taxes can help Pennsylvania’s military personnel and their families by donating any amount 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 members of the armed forces and their families who are residents of Pennsylvania and have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The tax form includes instructions on how to donate.
“Many Pennsylvanians traditionally support our military and their families at tax time by generously contributing to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program, and that is greatly appreciated,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s acting adjutant general and acting head of DMVA. “The simple act of checking the block for MFRAP on your tax form will help to improve the quality of life for a military family facing financial difficulties. During the pandemic, MFRAP contributions are more important now than ever before.”
Examples of how MFRAP grants helped service members in 2020-2021 include:
- The spouse of a Pennsylvania National Guard (PNG) soldier deployed overseas was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her unemployment compensation expired, and she was unable to find new employment to help support their family. Unexpected home and car repairs compounded the financial strain. She was awarded a grant of $3,500 to address the needed repairs and other household expenses while she continued her job search.
- A U.S. Navy Reserve petty officer with recent active duty service was experiencing financial hardship from expenses related to a family emergency. The member needed to purchase tires for her vehicle and needed other assistance with travel expenses to make a cross-country trip because of the death of her mother. The petty officer was approved for a grant of $2,000.
- A Pennsylvania Air National Guard sergeant was unaware that his civilian medical insurance had expired while he was serving on active duty orders. His family unknowingly accrued over $8,000 in medical bills after the coverage was discontinued. The sergeant was approved for a grant of $3,500 to assist with the payment of uninsured medical expenses.
Since the program began in 2006, more than $1.94 million has been generously donated by individuals filing their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and through private donations.
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 state Personal Income Tax form, contributions can be made directly by sending a check to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program, c/o PA 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.
For more information about the DMVA, visit us online at www.dmva.pa.gov.
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