Military Relief Societies Can Help

Each branch of the military has its own relief society.  While they have different visions, rules, and programs, they each exist to provide assistance to military members facing financial challenges.  All the military relief societies offer assistance to both currently serving and retired servicemembers.  With all the currently uncertainty, this would be a great time to make sure you understand what programs are available to you.

Keep in mind that the relief agencies all have reciprocal agreements, and they also work with the American Red Cross.  If you are not near an office of your branch’s relief society, you can obtain assistance from other service’s relief societies or you can contact the American Red Cross.

Army Emergency Relief

Army Emergency Relief (AER) is dedicated to “Helping The Army Take Care Of Its Own.”  AER services are available to soldiers, active and retired, active duty dependents, and survivors.  AER can offer interest-free loans, grants that do no require repayment, and combinations.  These loans or grants can be used to pay for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, food, baby supplies or may help to cover one-time expenses such as vehicle repair, emergency travel, medical or dental expenses, or replacement or repair of major appliances.  AER loans are also your best option if you are in non-reciept of pay for an administrative error or other government issue. Effective 1 October 2013, Sergeants First Class and above may request assistance directly from AER without working through their chain of command first.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) provides a wide variety of classes, counseling and financial assistance to active or retired sailors or Marines, dependents, surviving spouses, and activated Reservists. Financial counseling may help you figure out the best way to make some short-term changes to give your finances a kick-start.  Loans or grants (or combinations) can help with basic living expenses, emergency situations or non-reciept of pay.  NMCRS never requires command involvement and all information is completely confidential.  As a former NMCRS volunteer, I can tell you that the caseworkers are smart, helpful and sympathetic. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offices remain open during the government shutdown.

Air Force Aid Society

The Air Force Aid Society offers grants and loans for basic living expenses, unexpected bills such as car repair or medical issues, and non-reciept of pay.  Financial assistance is available to active duty airmen, retirees, family members, and survivors.

Air Force Aid assistance is usually administered through the Airman and Family Readiness Centers, many of which are closed due to the government shutdown.  If you are not able to access an Air Force Aid Society office, you can contact a Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society office, an Army Emergency Relief Society office, or the American Red Cross.

I hope that you have found this useful.  If you have more information to add, please put in the comments.

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.
  • LaRue Fisher

    I think this is a very needed program for some of our military personal.I do not need it now but I might at some time. LaRue Fisher (Richard C. Fisher CSM., Deceased.

  • Capt Yepsen

    Although some activities have been curtailed at the Airman and Family Readiness Centers during the government shutdown, most bases continue to provide Airmen with Air Force Aid assistance. Airmen in need of emergency financial assistance should contact their First Sergeant or the Force Support Squadron. If Airmen are still unable to receive assistance, they can contact the American Red Cross-Services for Armed Forces directly at 1-877-272-7337 for help with emergency travel and privation. – Capt Erika Yepsen, Air Force Press Desk

  • Keith Bailey

    Here is what I know. I served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. I have been out of work for more than 3 years, my wife more than two. My well went dry and burned out my pump. I put in a new pump and it burned out as well, this is how we figured out that the well was dry.. I have no water in my home. Who would help me on this 5,000 dollar project and possibly more ? Anyone want to help ? We would take it..

    • KateKashman

      Mr. Bailey, I do not know if Army Emergency Relief can help in your specific situation. However, you are eligible for their services. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to check into it. I wish I knew of some more resources. Readers, do you have any ideas?

      • Therese

        Check with Operation Homefront and see if they can help

  • judy lehrmann

    Hi. Im a retired army. Been out for awhile. Many cuts have majorly impactred my family for past 3 year n my case. I did my 20 years then waas a postal worker for 16 years.then the cuts came. Included me. Now I work at walmart and they cut down there days.prior to this my wife is an R.N. for over 20.rsising our 2 children and still our oldest granfson. My wife has a multitude of disc issue. Metal in her neck. Chronic pain. .she is very limited and is SSDI .after years of this we dont have any savings. Like most peopls.then on august 4 2013 I had a heart attack.actually coded. 100% occluded.i didn’t have any heart history. My granson saved my life. I realize bad things are happening all over. We dont have anyone that helps us nor to we have money to pay… painting trim outside trim garage door hasnt opend in years.inside wall to paint.leaky roof. My wifes small pool 18ft where she does therapy all summer.the liner has and currently leaking.cant find the source.a new liner needed. The deck is a mess.. the house was built in 95. We take care of our things. Have respect. Due to lack rather no money .and now lack of ability even if we had the money.of course we vould pay somebody.we are good honest caring people as our careers show. But we hit rock bottom. We even have to go to a food bank.. military operation homefront in st louis.which now is closed due to the government shutdown!!! Wete trying to keep the faith. .. also my grandson will be 10 on the 10th oct 2013….need just som basics. Jean size 14 gym shoessize 6. And a nice warm winter coat….and incidentals. …IF ANYONE CAN HELP WE’D GREATLY APPRECIATE IT

  • Withheld

    Can’t speak to the others, but can absolutely speak to NMCRS. If you’re a Reservist that depends on a now-canceled October drill check to meet the mortgage or other bills, they can’t help you. Matter of fact, if you’re in THAT spot, you would be well off to just not take up any time with any of the “military assistance” organizations; generally they will only support active duty troops (including mobilized Reservists) or disabled Veterans.

  • Diane

    I rent a cottage to a young man who is leaving before his lease is up to move south and join NCIS. He just told us that there is some military relief plan that will get him excused from paying his rent until the end of the lease. Does anyone have information about that? From this string it seems like there is some aid to struggling military people as there should be, however this guy is making it sound like a way to get out of paying contracted obligations, and he has never even served in the military!