Free YMCA for Certain Groups

I’ve reported on this before, but the program is still going on and I want to make sure that everyone knows. The DOD has contracted with YMCAs to offer free memberships to certain military families who might not be near a military fitness facility. These groups include activated National Guard and Reserve families, active duty assigned to independent duty locations, and families who have relocated away from military facilities due to a deployment in excess of six months.  In addition to supporting deployed and remote families, this benefit is also available to wounded warriors (and spouses/children) who are part of a Community Based Warrior Transition Unit.  There’s even a special program for active duty service members (not families, unfortunately) who join a private gym because there are no military facilities or participating YMCAs nearby.

In addition to the fitness memberships, select YMCA child care facilities will offer up to 16 hours of respite child care for eligible families of deployed service members (the same eligibility requirements as the fitness memberships.)

More information can be found at Military OneSource or the YMCA Military Outreach pages.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • LTC Tenonia Cunningh

    I am retired from the US Army.
    I am 75 years old.
    I live in San Antonio, Texas where
    the YMCA is opening a new YMCA
    operation about one mile from
    where I live. It is scheduled
    to open in January 2011, less than
    a month from today. I understand
    that you may provide resources for
    my membership under the
    Need to know what I need to do to
    get this finanial support.

  • Heather

    We do not have a YMCA in our town ~ I go to physcial therapy for balance ~ why will Tricare not help me join Curves for strengthening workouts – i DO NOT NEED Curves for weight managment – I am trying to gain weight not lose it!

  • Ed Flynn

    I am interested in the Silver Sneaker program. I recently had heart surgery, and completed the Cardio Rehab program. Loved it. My time is up, and I have to find an alternative for rehab and cardio exercise. How does one qualify, and where should I go?

  • judith luchte

    What is the answers to the questions regarding silver sneakers. Retirees need an answer, please.

    • joyce

      Have you found out anything about how Tricare users can use the Silver Sneakers program? Or how to get Tricare to start offering the program?

  • KateKashman

    Silver Sneakers is not a benefit of the Tricare for Life program at this time. If you want to try to get it included, you would need to contact Tricare.

    Unfortunately, I am not optimistic that Tricare is going to start adding expensive new benefits at this time.

    If you live near a military facility, you might be able to find similar classes and services on base.

    • Frank

      It seems most private medical insurance programs offer the no cost Silver Sneakers program without any additional costs for seniors. But, it appears that Tricare For Life does not offer this benefit. My question is: why not? Why is the military medical insurance of seniors not up to par with the civilian medical insurance programs? Are the administrators of Tricare For Life not interested in the best benefits for our career, retired military personnel? Are they starting to cheap out on our career veterans??

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  • Priscilla Robertson

    I have all kinds of health problems including cancer twice, and just finished Physical Therapy. They recommend I continue to exercise or I will get to where I am in pain again that is bad enough I sit and don’t exercise. I went back to Curves today for a free week to try it again I did it before I got to hurting so bad. They said check to see if the Silver Sneakers program is payed for for a spouse of a retired navy veteran. I guess from this bunch of questions and answers it isn’t but why not? There are no YWCA’s, or YMCA’s or bases any where with in three hours of us that I know of I would think they would want to encourage us to try to stay healthy and not cost them so much in medical bills????

  • pat caldwell

    it is still not clear about joining silver sneakers you told one person that placed a comment that you have to contact tricare, that is what we are doing !! is the answer yes or no?
    i know people that have it and have not retired from the military, what gives

    pat caldwell.

  • wally diehl

    Has Tricare for Life added the Silver Sneakers program to it’s benefits?

  • Jon Haake

    Are there any discounts for memberships for disabled veteran? I am medially retired due to Crohns disease and my doctor told me weight lifting and mild cardio exercise is best for me. My wife is also interested in membership?

  • Gary

    I, too, would like to see Tricare fund the YMCA Silver Sneakeers health membership. I am facing heart valve surgery and would like to be able to work on my rehab at the YMCA . I feel the retired military of this country should have this benefit.

  • John E. Glaze

    I am a US Army veteran, 80% disabled. Does Tricare allow me to go to the YMCA, also?

  • Norman Ash

    I would think that TriCare would welcome affiliating with a program like Silver Sneakers. Getting seniors fit and encouraging them to exercise regularly would likely have a side benefit of lengthening their lifespans and lessen the recovery time for osteopathic accidents, sprains and household falls. I’d be willing to pay extra on my insurance premiums if I could get a free or subsidized membership at a gym near me.

    • Kate

      I agree that it seems sensible, Mr. Ash. I know that my mother’s insurance offers free gym membership. Have you checked with your primary insurance, or is Tricare your primary?