There are plenty of free resources for military service members and veterans, but many spouses don’t realize that there are also programs that can benefit them (and save them a lot of money). Here are ten to check out:
A lot of military families think this is only for service members to use, but they can actually grant the benefits to a spouse or child, as long as the request is completed while the service member is on active duty.
Education Assistance Programs:
The CGMA Supplemental Education Grant Program, The NMCRS Education Assistance Program, and The Army’s Spouse Education Assistance Program all offer assistance for military spouses seeking college degrees. If you’re looking to pursue a graduate degree, the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program, sponsored by the National Military Family Association, gives grants of $500 to $1,000 to military spouses.
PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program:
The Foundation invests in military/veteran business owners, as well as military/veteran spouse business owners. They host a Masters Program for these groups as well, a one year intensive program to prepare growth-stage, veteran-owned startups to raise investor funds and scale their companies. Two cohorts are held per year with 10 companies per cohort.
The ASAP offers comedy and creative writing classes for service members, veterans, and their spouses (and caregivers). Classes are completely free and many are held virtually. This is such a great outlet for military spouses who feel like they need a creative outlet.
Every branch of service has relief programs: Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. These organizations give emergency financial relief (in the form of no-interest loans). Small loans can be granted within minutes, and larger loans require a bit more paperwork. I volunteered at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society on base for several years, and I found that even though the service member must apply himself or herself in person, it was typically the spouse who found out about the program first. If you’re a spouse, considering volunteering here – it was a great experience.
If you’re looking for a job, consider Department of Defense civilian jobs. You are eligible for certain preferences when you apply for these jobs. Also check out the Priority Placement Program for military spouses.
This program gives thousands of free Christmas trees to military bases every year, sponsored by the Christmas Spirit Foundation. The pre-cut trees can be picked up on base.
USPS Military Care Package Kit:
If your spouse is deployed, you can order free packing supplies from USPS here. It comes with address labels, customs forms, Priority Mail tape, and six boxes.
Build-a-Sign offers signs and banners to military members for free to welcome their service member home (I’ve ordered one for every deployment, and they are great). You only pay for shipping. Visit the Build-a-Sign Troops website to design your custom banner and upload a photo.
The USO, in a partnership with Skillsoft, is offering active-duty members, spouses, and veterans free unlimited access to an entire library of training and certification tools. Check out the catalog here and register here.
Here’s one last tip: Most programs and resources that are offered to veterans are also offered to spouses. If you don’t see this on an organization’s website, just ask!
Read more from Sandboxx News:
- Military spouse preference: What is it and how does it help?
- MilSpouse Money Mission: Empowering military spouses financially
- Military spouse employment crash course
- This year’s best conferences and events for military spouses
- 5 remote jobs for military spouses you may not have thought of
Feature image: Oklahoma Air National Guard Master Sgt. C.T. Michael