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.