As a military spouse, you have more benefits than you realize.
Besides housing allowances and commissary discounts, there are a ton of programs out there to specifically help you. Everything from tuition assistance, to DoD career opportunities — even business loans. Whatever your aspirations are, it’s always good to know you have options.
Here’s a list of benefits you’re entitled to as a military spouse:
Education & Career
–The GI Bill
Education benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill can be transferred from service members to their spouses and children.
Members must have served for at least six years before transferring their benefits; they also must agree to four more years of service. These benefits can be used while the service member is still active, and for up to 15 years after they leave the military. They can be given to one family member or split between multiple.
Children may use the benefits until they’re 26. Children are also eligible for additional benefits, like a monthly housing stipend.
You can get more information from your base’s Education or VA office. Learn more about the transfer process on milConnect.
–Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA)
MyCAA is a program sponsored by the DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program.
Education is within reach using the MyCAA Scholarship. It offers up to $4,000 in financial assistance to military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or associate’s degree with a MyCAA-aligned institute.
Spouses of Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve members who are E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2 are eligible. They must be able to complete their program while the service member is on Title 10 military orders. Get started here.
Employment readiness counseling, employment assistance, and career services are also available through MyCAA.
You can find out more by contacting a SECO Consultant at 1-800-342-9647.
–National Military Family Association
Provides scholarships year-round to spouses. They are $1,000 on average and can be used toward degrees, certifications, licensure, business expenses and more.
Learn more or apply here.
–Military Spouse Preference (MSP) Program
Military spouses are given preferential employment placement through the MSP. It places military spouses in vacant DoD civilian positions. The jobs may fall under civil service or Appropriated/Non-Appropriated Funds.
Contact your local Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) or Human Resources Office (HRO) for information on available positions. Find your installation’s CPO/HRO here.
–Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
Offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans.
You may receive up to 36 months of education benefits. Eligible recipients must be the child or spouse of: a veteran who died due to service, is permanently and totally disabled due to service, or was a POW/MIA.
46 states allow military spouses to claim unemployment benefits (sometimes also called re-employment assistance) when they lose their jobs as a result of a permanent change of station (PCS).
Check to see if your state is on the list, and how to apply here.
–TRICARE Plans That Fit You
Family members of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve members and retirees are eligible for coverage under TRICARE.
Health insurance, dental, vision, and even pharmacy options are available. See what plan or plans you qualify for in our breakdown of TRICARE benefits and costs.
–Family Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
Military spouses can receive up to $100,000 in life insurance coverage.
Service members can enroll their family members in FSGLI for $10,000 to $100,000 in coverage. Spouse and dependent coverage can’t exceed the service member’s coverage, and children are restricted to $10,000.
Contact your Military Personnel Office for enrollment.
—USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union
These are two top insurance companies that are geared toward covering service members and their families. They offer military discounts for better premiums on home and auto insurance.
USAA will lower interest rates to 4% for deployment and PCS without any hassle as soon as military orders are reviewed.
This small business loan program was made by the Small Business Administration (SBA) specifically for veterans and spouses.
It assists with the initial costs in starting or expanding a small business. You will be assigned low-interest rates (2.25% to 4.76%), and are guaranteed up to 85% of the loan, with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.
If you’re strapped for cash, this may be a temporary solution. In as little as three days, you are eligible for a loan to help pay for your mortgage, car repairs, or whatever else you need.
They offer fair rates and terms and understand financial situations unique to military families. Apply for a loan online at any time.
Counseling & Assistance
–Military and Family Life Counseling Program
Having a loved one in the military can bring up tough obstacles, such as separation.
If you’re having issues dealing with military life situations, such as coping with deployment, this program can help you out.
Contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center for more information.
Offers free, non-medical counseling to military families.
After a screening over the phone, OneSource will refer the patient to a local, licensed professional for free. Counseling can be done in person, over the phone or online. There are up to 12 free sessions.
For more information, call 800-342-9647.
–Legal Assistance Center
Your legal assistance has to be tailored to you as a military spouse. To find services near you, go here.
With a military ID, you can receive discounts from all over.
Amusement parks like LEGOLAND, Universal Studios, and Disney all offer military savings. Hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes, restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe, even crafts stores like Michaels.
If you go somewhere and don’t know the discount status, your best bet is to just ask. You might be surprised by your success rate.
You can also check OurMilitary.com’s Business section for businesses in your area that offer discounts to military families.