Granholm Approves Rules Allowing More Families to Qualify for Military Relief Fund

Contact: Heidi Watson 517-335-6397

December 20, 2005

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced she has approved emergency administrative rules that will allow the Michigan Family Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to families of Michigan servicemen and servicewomen more quickly and in a broader range of circumstances.
The rule change is a response to situations such as a house fire, furnace failure, or a rural water well replacement in which the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has been unable to assist.

“Our servicemen and servicewomen are true heroes who have put themselves in harms way for the protection and safety of those of us back home,” Granholm said.  “While they are away keeping us safe, it is only right that we do all we can to assure that their families are taken care of in their absence.”
Because financial issues often develop on an emergency basis, the new rule will improve the process by which the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) distributes monies from the fund.  Under the new rule, a member of the soldier’s family must incur a significant increase in the necessities of daily living, such as a loss of pay, or a significant emergency that warrants financial assistance.  Previously, the administrative rules required that a service member’s household income be reduced by 10 percent before the service member or their family could benefit from the fund. 
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs submitted updated rules to the Governor after seeing an immediate need to modify the rules in order to make the Military Family Relief Fund more accessible to qualified individuals.

The fund enables the DMVA to provide grants of up to $2,000 in a calendar year to qualifying military families of Michigan’s active duty Army National Guard, Air National Guard and military reserve members. The funds can be spent on clothing, housing, medical services, utilities, or any other related necessities of daily living.  The need must occur while a family member is on active duty or be the result of a line-of-duty related injury or illness.

The fund was created in October 2004 when Granholm signed Public Act 363 of 2004 and Public Act 364 of 2004.  The funding is provided by generous contributions of Michigan taxpayers using a check off box on state income tax forms.