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10 resources all military spouses should know about

There are plenty of free resources for military service members and veterans, but many spouses …


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:

The GI Bill

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.

Related: Transferring your GI Bill to your family

Education Assistance Programs: 

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James M. Hodgman

Related: 5 military spouse employment resources every milspouse should use

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.

Armed Services Arts Partnership:

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.  

Relief Programs:

military spouse resources
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel M. Young

Related: How to take advantage of military spouse benefits

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.

Military Spouse Preference program:

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.

Trees for Troops:

military spouse resources
Trees for Troops, just one of many military spouse resources, in action at Fort Drum, 2018 (U.S. Army)

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.

Skillsoft Courses:

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:

Feature image: Oklahoma Air National Guard Master Sgt. C.T. Michael

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