Public Act 92-886
"My heart is ever at your service."
View the Governor’s Office Press Release of Quinn Encouraging Support for Illinois Military Family Relief Fund .
View the Governor’s Office Press Release of Quinn Signing Legislation to Expand the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.
On February 7, 2003, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the Illinois Military Family Relief Act (Public Act 92-886) to provide financial help to the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists who were called to active duty after the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, thousands of Illinois National Guard members and reservists were called to active duty in the Global War on Terror. The families of many Illinois citizen-soldiers faced a serious decline in household income, since their military pay was often much less than their civilian salary.
Mary Beth Beiersdorf -- a suburban mother of three -- contacted Pat Quinn who had launched Operation Homefront to help servicemembers know their financial rights. Beiersdorf’s husband Will -- a Gulf War veteran -- was called to active duty several days after September 11. His employer opted not to pay Will’s salary while he was deployed. The family faced a 70% drop in income. Mary Beth knew that other military families faced similar hardships.
The idea was born of a fund to help these military families with expenses such as groceries, utility bills, car loans, prescriptions, mortgage payments, and rent. Other military spouses came forward to share their stories, such as Oak Park police officer Brenda Robinzine, whose husband was also deployed days after September 11.
On Veterans Day 2001, the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund and Check-off Act was unveiled. It would amend the state Income Tax Act to add the new voluntary check-off box on income tax forms and give the Illinois Department of Military Affairs the authority to disburse funds that were voluntarily contributed by the people of Illinois.
Legislation was introduced with bipartisan sponsorship in 2002 by Sen. Evelyn Bowles, a decorated WWII Coast Guard veteran. A model resolution endorsing the idea was adopted by counties and municipalities, including the City of Chicago.
At the end of 2002, the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund and Check-off Act was approved by the General Assembly. The State of Illinois authorized $5 million to start-up the Military Family Relief Trust Fund and a law was passed to allow individuals and corporations to make voluntary donations to the fund.
More than 28,840 Illinois military families have benefitted from the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, which has disbursed more than $15.4 million to Illinois National Guard members and reservists who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.