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Veterans Groups Object To State Wanting Admin Fee From Military Family Relief Fund

Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs Director Dennis Wimer discusses the Military Family Relief Fund in a Senate committee hearing. (Screenshot of

Some veterans groups are upset with legislation that would allow the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs to take money from the state’s Military Family Relief Fund for administrative costs. 

The Military Family Relief Fund gets most of its money from specialty license plates. And the state Department of Veterans Affairs wants to take up to 15 percent of that funding to pay for administrative costs in managing the fund. That would be more than $200,000 a year.

IDVA Director Dennis Wimer said it will help the agency make more veterans aware of the relief fund.

“That opportunity is much greater than the dollars we’re taking to be able to make that opportunity,” Wimer said.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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But Lisa Wilken, AMVETS National Women Veterans Committee chair, said the agency shouldn’t need to raid the fund.

“If the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs needs administrative costs to cover the administration of a state benefit, then let’s do that through the budget process,” Wilken said.

The department has sent back an average of $146,000 to the state General Fund in unused money the last few years.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.