The very popular MyCAA accounts will be reopened to a limited group of military spouses, beginning October 25, 2010. The revamped program has several major changes that will limit the number of people who are eligible and will also lower the amount of money that each person will receive.
First, the new MyCAA will be available only to spouses of E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2 active duty members. Total payments will amount to $4,000, with a maximum of $2,000 per year and only three years to use the total benefit. Eligible programs will include associates degrees, licensing or certification programs.
I’ve got lots of mixed feelings about the MyCAA program as a whole and these new changes in particular. On one hand, it was clearly an overly generous benefit to offer in the first place and there was no way that they could sustain it as originally offered. I think it shows a huge lack of forethought on the part of the Department of Defense that they couldn’t see that it was going to be wildly successful and that they were going to run out of money. It makes me fear for the future of this also wildly successful Post 9/11 GI Bill.
These changes may help to keep MyCAA running a little while longer, but I can’t see how it is going to survive long-term. Lots of people are going to be angry about these changes and I’m sure the internet is going to be bubbling with the shouts of “Unfair!” I almost feel like it would have been better to admit that they made a mistake in the first place and cancel the whole program rather than make it more restrictive. I hope that I am wrong and lots of military spouses can still benefit from this program.
What do you think?