There are multiple resources for military families, but unfortunately many of them go unused.
Unless you grew up as a military brat or you’re a veteran yourself, the military world is full of unknowns.
Where do I go to get this? Who do I talk to for that? Am I eligible for this?
If you’re looking to have your military-related questions answered, then there are a number of reputable resources for military families to take advantage of.
Valuable resources for all military branches
Some of the most sought out military resources are for education. Unfortunately, there are an overwhelming number of scams that drown out the factual information.
First and foremost, check with the educational center on your local base for help signing up for classes and determining what scholarships, aid, programs that will work for you. Service members and their families are eligible for benefits like MYCAA and the GI Bill, but you have to be careful when it comes to using them. There have been multiple spouses that have discovered, in the midst of their programs, that the college they’re attending has SCAMMED them out of their MYCAA benefits! What do I mean by that? Not all colleges are accredited for the programs they offer. You need to do your research!
Check into scholarship opportunities that are available through military and educational non profits like Gold Star Scholars.
Military One Source is my second recommendation for confirming resources for military families.
Entertainment/ Community resources
You may be surprised at all your military base has to offer.
For example, Hunter Army Airfield has a Facebook page that they often use to broadcast events that are going to take place on base. Hunter is a relatively small instillation, so most events take place on a larger neighboring base. If you’re stationed at a small base as well, then check the Facebook pages of nearby bases.
Facebook is a good resource for connecting with your community, especially if you don’t live on base! Another online resource is the Milsomuster App. There are military news articles, support chats, and much more.
A second option for staying in the loop for upcoming entertainment is to join your FRG. If you’re clueless as to what that may be, then you really need to check out my post explaining what all a Family Readiness Group is.
Volunteering is an incredible way to support others within your military community.
While many non profits are wonderful organizations, you also have to be careful about who you are investing your time in. You don’t want to find out down the road that the non profit that you have volunteered for is participating in under the table activities. Just because the non profit associates themselves with the military DOES NOT put them in the clear! I put a list together of things to look out for when you’re considering volunteering or donating to a military non-profit.
Volunteering puts you at the top of the list for hearing about events in your area. These organizations hold events like runs, dinners, concerts, and silent auctions that are always a ton of fun.
Pin point where your legal office is on base as soon as you move. Google maps is not always accurate when it comes to mapping out military instillations, so make sure to double check with a second source before you trust your navigation!
The JAG office offers free counseling on subjects like power of attorney, negotiating with other parties, wills, divorces and general legal advice. JAG, which is the legal office, was given its name because Military Lawyers are referred to as Judge Advocates General. The attorneys that work within JAG offices are both licensed and accredited to preform their job.
Before you run to the chain store nearby, consider other options for obtaining all of the gear or memorabilia that you need.
When you need gear, check in your area for surplus stores. If your whole platoon is looking for the same gear, then it is likely that the store on base will be sold out. Don’t let the PX fool you, they aren’t always the best bang for your buck. According to Military.com, the government was recently confronted for hiking the prices at the commissary amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
I strongly support shopping with military small businesses, and I do all that I can to promote their importance. Chain stores are often much more expensive, and everyone has the same items. When you shop with a veteran owned business like Savage Tactical, you’re getting items like custom designed coin holders that are so stunning they’ll blow your mind.
Choosing to bank with USAA or Navy Federal can save you a substantial amount of money. Both companies offer steep discounts for military members and their families. Institutions that cater specifically to veterans are capable of offering promotions like refunding ATM fees. If you’re traveling with the military and need to withdrawal cash you could face an ATM fee that is anywhere from $2-5 depending on where you are.
The military doesn’t pay a lot, so don’t go giving your money away!
If you want to build credit, then check into the Military Star Card. It can only be used on base, but there are a number of benefits. There is not an annual fee for being a cardholder. Using the Star Card at the gas station on base gives you a couple cents off of the price.
Take advantage of the opportunities available to you as a service member.
If you have Prime insurance through Tricare, then you are already seen on base and you may know about these resources. Even if you have Select insurance, you can pick up your medicine for free at the pharmacy on base.
Recently at the pharmacy I have seen signs about how the military pharmacies are now working with Express Scripts so you can get your medicine right to your door.. The signs are misleading. If you have your medicine delivered you will be charged similarly to picking it up from a pharmacy off base. It is completely possible for you to pick up multiple months (up to 90 days) of your prescription. All you need to do is have your doctor write the RX to say that you are eligible.
The pharmacy on base also offers bags that are known as ‘Cold Packs’. You can describe your symptoms to the pharmacist and they will give you over the counter cold and flu medicine and cough drops. You do not have to see your doctor for this.
One medical resource that often goes overlooked is the Patient Advocate. The Hunter Army Airfield PA is located in the same building as the doctors office and pharmacy. If you are having problems with your doctor, then you absolutely need to talk to the Patient Advocate. Complaining about your experience on Facebook is not enough to fix the problem! There has to be a paper trail for the military to take action on doctors.
If you’re aware of a resource outside of what I have listed here, then please leave a comment below and fill me in!
I will absolutely update this article as new military resources arise, so check back often.