CHICAGO – November 21, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to allow Illinois’ activeduty servicemembers who are injured due to hostile action to receive $5,000 from the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.
“It is our duty to honor all servicemembers, especially those who are injured while serving our country and fighting for democracy,” said Governor Quinn. “This bill helps ensure that every injured hero can focus on recovery by easing some of their financial burdens during a critical time.”
Senate Bill 2148 allows active duty servicemembers, who are Illinois residents, to apply for casualty-based grants from the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, a donation-supported fund created in 2003.
To qualify for grants, the active duty member must have been deployed in support of operations as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks and sustained an injury as a result of hostile action. Each grant recipient is awarded a minimum of $5,000 and may only receive one casualty-based grant for each engagement or incident in which injuries were sustained. The Illinois Department of Military Affairs will oversee the program and make grant determinations.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) and Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and is effective immediately.
The Illinois Department of Military Affairs has had a program for casualty-based grants for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers prior to this legislation. Senate Bill 2148 increases the grant amount from $2,000 to a minimum of $5,000 and includes active duty servicemembers.
The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund legislation was drafted by then-Lt. Governor Quinn, passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law in 2003. It established a check-off box on the Illinois income tax return that allowed residents to make tax-deductible donations directly to the fund. More than 35 states have passed legislation modeled after the Illinois fund.
Thanks to many generous donations by Illinois residents, businesses and organizations, the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund has distributed more than $10.4 million to more than 19,000 military members and families to date. Donations to the fund can be made by visiting OperationHomefront.org. Checks can be made payable to the Illinois Military Family Relief and mailed to: The Illinois Department of Military Affairs, ATTN: IMFRF, 1301 N. MacArthur Boulevard, Springfield, Illinois 62702-2399.