SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Gov. Pat Quinn has approved an expansion of a program that assists military families in Illinois during conflicts or wars.
The Chicago Democrat on Thursday signed the measure to include future military conflicts -- not just those arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The 2003 program was designed because military families were taking a salary cut after National Guard members and reservists were deployed. It provides funds to pay for groceries, rent or utility bills. It has doled out about $15.4 million to support almost 29,000 families. An income tax check-off allows residents to donate to the fund.
Quinn says Illinois' military members shouldn't have to worry their families are struggling financially back home during service.