Being married to a member of the military is a special kind of honor, and despite its understandable challenges, a military marriage benefits spouse, service member, and the rest of their family in several ways. Military spouse benefits go beyond the simple pride of witnessing their loved ones serve the nation.
This financial assistance comes as part of an active-duty servicemember's bi-weekly check and is intended to cover upwards of 97 percent of housing costs (excluding renters' insurance). These rates are recalculated every year and based on where a service member is stationed.
This financial compensation for military members and their families helps reduce expenses associated with basic room and board. The rate is adjusted on an annual basis to reflect current food prices.
The military's version of healthcare is known as Tricare. Through Tricare, active-duty service members and their families receive medical and dental care and get help paying medical bills. Military retiree and non-active guard/reserve members (and their families) can use certain components of Tricare, as well.
Active-duty military families can receive excellent discounts on everyday items. This is thanks to the "non-monetary compensation" they receive in forms of tax exemptions on products like furniture and electronics, assuming these are purchased at on-base department stores (called exchanges).
Most bases also have commissaries where groceries are sold at cost, saving military families hundreds to thousands of dollars every year on household necessities.
If you and your active-duty spouse have children, you may be eligible for affordable childcare, as well. If a waiting list for an on-base daycare center is too long or if you don't live on base, the government can give you money toward tuition at approved off-site daycare facilities (subsidized childcare). Eligibility depends on largely on total household income and servicemember pay grades.
Lastly, if you live on base, you can likely participate in activities and programs offered through Military Welfare and Recreation (MWR). These activities—including everything from gyms and swimming pools to golf courses and horseback riding facilities—are subsidized by the government, making them far more affordable. Your family may even be eligible for discounted rates at select worldwide vacation resorts!
Some spouses of military members may be eligible for various scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and higher education programs. This a fantastic opportunity for loved ones of active-duty members to advance their own career opportunities and education.
The MyCAA scholarship, for instance, is a workforce development program providing as much as $4,000 of tuition assistance to a qualified military spouse. Spouses can use this scholarship at any MyCAA-approved academic institution to help them achieve certifications, licenses, and associate degrees to gain lucrative employment and career advancement opportunities.
Among the approved academic institutions toward which MyCAA scholarships can be applied, MedCerts is an ideal program for the military lifestyle and a consistently valued option for loved ones living with servicemembers. MedCerts programs feature 100% portable online training (for easy access from anywhere) toward nationally-recognized certifications in a variety of high-demand industries including information technology (IT) and healthcare.
Here is another article that goes over these scholarships and military spouse benefits in more detail.
To take advantage of the many benefits you may be eligible for as a military spouse, it'll be helpful to know a few things about your loved one's service. For instance, you may need to know his or her servicemember ranks and servicemember pay grades when filling out applications for services like subsidized childcare. If you're not sure what your servicemember pay grades and ranks are, you can try resources like the online Military Pay Calculator or look through their Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
Before all else, you'll need to ensure that you register with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). This is the military's personnel system and allows you (and your military spouse's child or children) to get a military ID card. Registering with DEERS is required for your eligibility for the different military spouse benefits.
As for military spouses who may be eligible for the MyCAA scholarship, the potential scholarship recipient must be:
If you are a military spouse or your training is provided through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), you may be eligible for financial assistance to cover all or some of your tuition.
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