The Military Family Relief Fund scandal was followed by the resignation of the director of the IDVA last December.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – After state funds for veterans were unfairly awarded to employees of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, lawmakers are moving to put new safeguards in place.
The Indiana Military Family Relief Fund is a grant program aimed at helping military families going through tough times. The program is funded by fees from specialty license plates sold to veterans.
Last year, The Indianapolis Star and RTV 6 published a report about possible abuse of the relief fund. The investigative report found that employees of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs were awarded relief fund grants almost immediately while other veterans waited months to receive payments or, in some cases, were denied any grant money.
Some of the payments awarded to department employees were over the lifetime $2,500 payment limit.
Southeastern Indiana State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) authored a bill to ensure fairness in decision making on the grants. House Bill 1257 would send IDVA employees’ grant requests to the Indiana Veterans Affairs Commission.
Frye’s bill passed the Indiana House on a 95-0 vote Monday. It now crosses the hall to the Indiana Senate.
“This legislation ensures the fund is handled fairly and available to veterans in need of assistance,” Frye said of the legislation after it passed a committee last week.
HB 1257 keeps the $2,500 limit on assistance funds to each applicant, but does allow exceptions to be made in extreme cases.
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