Well, we are now six days into my first semester using the Career Advancement Account (CAA) offered to military spouses by the Department of Defense. It has been an interesting process. It has not been hard but it has been frustrating at times.
I was registered to take a class during my college’s two week winter term, then a bunch of classes in the spring semester. Filling out the initial paperwork wasn’t too hard and the payment was received by the college in a very timely manner.
As it turned out, I had to travel out of town during the two week winter term and so I moved that class to the spring semester. The college promptly sent a refund to the CAA account and I needed to get payment for the same class in the spring semester. I went to the website to make the necessary changes and couldn’t figure out how to do it myself, so I sent a message through the CAA system.
When the spring semester began, I realized that I was a little ambitious about how much I could truly handle while also being a wife and mom, welcoming my husband home from deployment, preparing for an overseas move, and writing this blog. In the seven days since the semester has begun, I have talked myself out of three of my five classes. (There’s a whole other post in that, but perhaps later.) I’ve withdrawn from the through the college, but I can’t figure out how to withdraw from them via the CAA website. Again, the college has processed the refund and sent it to the CAA account. I sent another message, about two weeks after the first one.
I received response to both messages on the same day. One indicated that I would need to call the 800 number to get this sorted out, and the other gave me instructions on how to make the changes online. The online instructions didn’t work at all, so I tried calling. It seems that the number I was provided was the main MilitaryOneSource number. After taking a lot of information, I was told that all the CAA counselors were busy and that they would call me back later.
While I think that the CAA program is wonderful and a most generous benefit, the system seems rather inefficient and the website is not so great (navigation isn’t totally clear, and you can’t do some of the most common things that you need to do). It does seem like they are making it a lot more work for themselves, answering all these emails and telephone calls. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.