Military life is.. complicated. And navigating the various benefits that you and your spouse qualify for can be much the same. I’ve rounded up the key benefits, from discounts to services, that help us make the most of it.
If you’re looking to buy a home, explore the options of a VA loan versus a regular home owner’s loan. VA loans often save you money in the long run, and help you to avoid the large down payment that’s usually required. If you’re a home buyer, they also ensure that any home you choose meets their qualifications and standards prior to the final sale. This helps to protect buyers from ending up in a home that may need costly repairs shortly after move in. See if you qualify for a VA loan, and learn more about the benefits here!
If you’re a military family, you know how small the window of opportunity is for a vacation. You have to run around and get everything scheduled, and worry that plans could change at the last minute. And on top of that: it’s expensive.
Luckily, there are multiple airlines, hotels, and vacation attractions that offer major discounts to service members through online and over-the-phone booking! USAA offers travel discounts if you’re a member, along with Amtrak, TripAdvisor, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, and Southwest Airlines (over the phone only). These discounts can be incredibly helpful whether it’s just the two of you, or the whole family.
Major airlines will also offer free checked baggage for active duty personnel and their spouses. We utilized this on our last vacation and were able to check 4 bags completely free, saving us over $120!
Any active duty service member can receive counseling through their military branch, whether it’s assistance with their education, finances, or mental health. There are a variety of free services and organizations that have been constructed with the primary goal to better the lives of the military community.
Many spouses and dependents don’t realize that these services are also obtainable for them. Counseling of any kind is offered in both individual and group based settings, allowing members to develop close ties to those in their situation. For more information on these services, check out Military One Source.
This has been a tricky subject when it comes to military personnel’s benefits, especially when it seems to be changing every few years. This article by AmeriForce strives to help us all understand the GI Bill post 9/11, and the ways it can assist in providing an education for service members and their dependents.
There are also multiple scholarships that are completely separate from the GI Bill that can assist in paying for an education. These scholarships can be specific to military spouses and children that are within the requirements. They even have certain scholarships for specific degrees and licensing schools. You can find more info about the MYCAA Scholarship for military spouses here. For info about transferring these benefits, go to your installation’s Education Office and the office of Veteran’s Affairs.
Although the military provides a lot of the clothing and equipment that your service member needs, they can’t provide all of it. I can’t even imagine how many tan tee shirts, running shoes, and combat boots that we have purchased. And those things add up over time, making it difficult for many families to provide the items that are needed. It would be different if these were just things that they wanted. These are things that can make a very difficult job just a little bit easier.
Luckily, there are many retail stores that help ease that burden by providing discounts for service members. Stores such as Under Armor, Oakley, and Cabela’s often have the clothing and shoes that are necessary in order for them to do their job, and the discounts help significantly with the more expensive items. You can find a list of discounts here.
What are some benefits that have greatly helped your family?