If I had to use one word to describe military life it would be rich. By rich, I mean that we experience a full spectrum of unique experiences while being part of a collective that has so much in common. We face challenges, build resilience, cultivate friendships, encourage and support each other, and we make a lot of sacrifices. We also receive a lot of perks and benefits in exchange for those sacrifices, and it’s important to know where to find them and how they work.
The following are some of my favorite benefits. You may know some of them or all of them. I would also encourage you to always ask if the places you go to or shop at offer a military discount. Many of them do and it never hurts to ask.
- National Parks: Many national parks offer free admission to military personnel. You have to get it in person from a park but it’s still a great deal.
- ID.me: Provides digital identity verification to help government agencies make sure you’re you —and not someone pretending to be you — when you request access to government services online. I like ID.me because many companies offer a military discount, and you can access it while online shopping using an ID.me login. I just ordered a pair of Oofos sandals and got a great discount by verifying my military affiliation through ID.me.
- Child Care: Child Care Aware offers assistance with paying for child care when it isn’t available on post.
- Transferability of the Post-9/11 GI Bill: Current service members and veterans up to 15 years after discharge are eligible for higher education funds, thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, you don’t have to use the benefits exclusively on yourself or at all. Some or all of the funds can be transferred to a spouse or dependent children with approval from the Defense Department.
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance: Should you be permanently disabled as a result of service, your spouse or children may be eligible for tuition assistance. This program may be used for up to 45 months of education in degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship or on-the-job training. Some beneficiaries may be eligible to combine this program with the benefits of the GI Bill, effectively providing 81 months of tuition assistance.
- My Career Advancement Account Scholarship for Military Spouses: If your spouse is looking to further his or her education, the MyCAA Scholarship can provide tuition assistance. It provides up to $4,000 for military spouses seeking a license, certificate, certification or associate degree for high-demand, high-growth portable career fields and occupations. Many careers qualify for the program, including nursing, construction, information technology and legal.
- Military OneSource: An amazing resource for all things military, including:
- Health & Wellness Benefits
- Financial & Legal Benefits
- Moving & Housing Benefits
- Space-A Travel
- MWR Digital Library
- Stress & Mental Health Support
- Survivor Benefits