COVID-19 has impacted the finances of millions of people, including the military community. If you’re looking for financial help, you’re not alone.
Travel bans, quarantines, stop-loss orders, and closures have made it challenging to keep personal finances — and business — as usual.
Luckily, there is COVID-19 financial help is available for military families.
Branch-specific nonprofits and local organizations have long given back to military members and their families. Now, in dire times, they continue to do so by offering special grants and loans just for military service members.
Need a little extra financial help this month? Read on to learn more about your options.
Financial Help is Available to Service Members
If you’re struggling to pay your bills or your spouse has been laid off, it may be time to consider looking into some financial relief.
Most organizations look at eligibility on a case-by-case basis, so keep this in mind when you apply. Here we rounded up several different ways you can apply for financial help, including grants and loans specific to military members.
Below, you’ll also find details on other unique resources like the stimulus check and financial counseling opportunities.
Here are five options that can help you out of a financial crunch this month:
1. Army Emergency Relief
The Army Emergency Relief program is here for Army families during their time of need. As of April 16, more than $171,000 has been dispersed to Army families for COVID-19 financial relief.
A few of the ways the Army Emergency Relief can help:
- Emergency Travel
- Natural Disaster (preparation & evacuation)
- Mortgage, Rent, Initial Deposit
- Temporary Lodging
- Vehicle Costs
- Funeral Expenses
- Healthcare (not covered by Tricare)
Aside from the above categories, specific COVID-19-related assistance is also available. If you need financial help due to the DoD travel ban/PCS stop movement, AER closure, quarantine restrictions, or have non-title 10 Army Reserve or National Guard orders, you may qualify for special assistance. Learn more here.
2. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides financial assistance to members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. This includes widows, family members, and survivors.
During the COVID-19 crisis, you can get help with:
- Quick Assist Loans – Active-duty Navy and Marine Corps members may receive an interest-free loan for any amount up to $500.
- Repayment Deferrals Available – Current clients impacted by the crisis can discuss and adjust their current repayment plan. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Traditional Financial Assistance – Need more than $500? You might be eligible for traditional financial assistance. This includes free budget counseling and a customized repayment plan.
With confidential services, you can secure an interest-free loan or grant to help with your urgent household needs — like food, utility, and mortgage payments. A caseworker will review your paperwork and offer guidance and resources to help. Learn where you can get assistance here.
3. Air Force Aid Society
The Air Force Aid Society has been around since 1942. The society provides aid relief in a variety of ways and provided nearly $14.4 million last year alone. Currently, for every $1 donated, the Air Force Aid Society donates $3 to an Airman in need.
The society offers help with:
- Educational support
- Community programs
- Emergency financial assistance
For COVID-19 financial relief, Airmen may want to request standard assistance which comes in the form of a grant or no-interest loan. You’ll have to maintain a budget and show a receipt for services paid with the money like a check to your landlord or a paid water bill, for example.
Reach out to the Air Force Aid Society here if you need help with your finances.
4. Incoming Stimulus Check
This week, stimulus checks started hitting bank accounts. This is a part of the Congress-approved bill known as Coronavirus Tax Relief. It’s intended to help Americans who have been laid off or are financially struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus stimulus payments include:
- $1,200 maximum cap per adult
- Up to $2,400 for couples (who made up to $75k last year)
- An additional $500 per each child (16 or younger)
You can find updated information on the IRS webpage here. If you still haven’t received your stimulus check, don’t call the IRS office. Check the website for more details on timelines and FAQs.
5. Check Out Local Military Family Relief Funds
As happens in most disaster cases, local communities are stepping up to assist military families in their times of need.
Check with local organizations for financial relief programs you may be eligible for, if needed. Nonprofits like Rotary and Lions Clubs often provide unique programming and financial relief during times of crisis for community members.
Be sure to call your local Department of Veterans Affairs office, too. Some grants and financial assistance are specific to vets, but some are open to current service members as well.
Other COVID-19 Financial Relief Resources to Consider
While it’s an uncertain time for the military community, it’s important to know you aren’t alone. There are available resources for financial help for military families to get the support they need. Reach out if you need assistance now. It will be much easier to catch up on bills if you tackle it early on.
A few other resources to consider during this time:
- Free financial counseling – Not sure which bills to pay first or how to ask for a payment to be put on hold? Reach out for in-person, phone, or video financial counseling by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Even if you’re overseas, you can still receive financial counseling.
- Talk to your lenders – If you aren’t able to make a car payment, mortgage payment, or even a credit card payment, call up your lenders to see what relief they can offer. Some lenders are delaying payments. Find out what they can do to ease your financial burden at the moment.
- Remember the SCRA – Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), you and your family have a lot of protection. For any financial obligations you made prior to entering active duty (loans, credit cards, etc.), your interest rate is capped at 6% during your military contract. You may also have protections that prevent eviction and allow you to break a lease, if necessary. Learn more here about your rights under SCRA.
When in doubt, talk to your command and other service members about COVID-19 financial relief offerings. There’s no need to struggle alone when so many resources are made for military members to get help.
For important Coronavirus updates for the military community, stayed tuned here for official government news.
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