Military spouses face many challenges, so it’s nice to have benefits to balance the scale. Spouses can find many advantages ranging from educational benefits to employment opportunities. Many programs are provided automatically upon entrance to military service or marriage to a service member. Listed below are 5 top benefits not provided automatically, but available to military spouses to utilize.
1. Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA):
One of the most advantageous programs offered to military spouses is the MyCAA Scholarship. This program offers up to $4,000 in financial assistance to military spouses who are pursuing any of the following offered by an institute aligned with the MyCAA Program:
- A License
- A Certification
- An Associates Degree
Spouses of active duty, guard, and reserve members holding the ranks of E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2 are eligible, and must be able to begin and complete their program while the military member is on Title 10 military orders.
2. Family Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI):
Military spouses are eligible to receive up to $100,000 in life insurance coverage. Military members can elect to enroll their family members in this program for coverage of $10,000 to $100,000. Spouse and dependent coverage may not exceed the coverage held by the service member, and children are restricted to $10,000. Contact your Military Personnel Office for enrollment information.
3. Patriot Express:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established this small business loan program for veterans and spouses. Its purpose is to assist with the initial costs in establishing a small business, or costs related to expanding a small business. Low interest rates are assigned to the loans, typically ranging from 2.25%-4.75%. The SBA guarantees up to 85% of the total loan, with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.
4. Transferred GI Bill® Benefits:
Education benefits can be transferred from service members to their spouses and children. Once the military member has reached the required time in service, he or she may elect to assign a portion or all of their GI Bill benefits to a family member. Benefits may be used while the military member is still serving in the Armed Forces. Spouses are able to use the benefits for up to 15 years after the military member separates from the Armed Forces, and children may use the benefits until they reach 26 years of age. Children may also be eligible for additional benefits, such as monthly housing allowances. Your installation’s Education Office and the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) office can provide additional details.
5. Military Spouse Preference (MSP) Program:
With military spouse unemployment remaining high, any advantage that can assist in securing a desired position is helpful. Under the MSP, military spouses are given preferential employment placement in vacant Department of Defense (DoD) civilian positions. These vacancies may fall under either civil service or Appropriated/Non-Appropriates Funds. Please contact you local Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) or Human Resources Office (HRO) for current vacancies.