When your spouse joins the military, there are all kinds of new things to learn. One of them is what benefits your family and you are entitled to. Here are a few you can expect to hear about and use – whether your spouse has a four year enlistment or goes till retirement:
- Tricare: I love our military insurance, and after dealing with years of civilian insurance I am grateful for it. There are several different options with Tricare, but the two that are the most commonly chosen are Standard and Prime. Standard allows you to see providers off base (and on, but at a lower priority). This means you can choose your own doctor. Standard also has a deductible that must be met each year. Prime is for those who receive care at the military clinics and hospitals. The only way to see someone off base is in an emergency or with a referral. Tricare Prime means all costs are covered.
- School Benefits for Spouses: Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) offers up to $4,000 of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing degree programs, licenses, or credentials leading to employment in certain careers.
- School Benefits for Children: the Post 9-11 GI Bill allows military service members to transfer their education benefits to immediate family members. Only the unused portion of benefits can be transferred. There are time requirements for the person transferring to be able to – usually 10 years in service.
- On Post Daycare: Posts offer childcare at varying hours and rates. Each facility is kept up to par with military and federal guidelines, and children must be registered with immunization records prior to being able to use the facility. Looking for in home or off post resources? Sittercity.com offers free, full memberships to families with a military member.
- High Interest Savings Account: The DoD Savings Deposit Program (SDP) offers a 10% return on money deposited (up to $10,000) while a military service member is deployed in a combat zone. The interest is compounded quarterly and no penalties are charged upon withdrawal. You must set this up after deploying, and must be receiving Hostile Fire Pay. In a world where 10% interest is almost unheard of, this is a great way to save up extra money.
- Adoption Reimbursement: the military offers up to $2,000 per eligible adoption/ up to $5,000 for multiple children. Adopts must be legal, through a authorized agency or source approved by federal law.
- Pay for Separation: no one likes to think about not being able to be with their loved one, but if your other half deploys, there is a way the military tries to ease some of the financial burden from extra daycare expenses, losing the assistance of another set of hands, and other monetary issues that come up. Family Separation Allowance is a $250 monthly payment that is given to service members who are gone for 30 or more consecutive days away from family – and the separation is not by choice.
- Taking Care of a Loved One: taking care of a secondary dependent (father, mother, disabled children over 21, etc) can cause financial and medical strain on a military family. The military offers a way to help with these with pay and relocation options based on the needs the secondary family member has.
Have you researched what benefits the military has for you and your family? Does your base offer unique ones or are there some you’d like to see be implemented?
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