Military support organizations have distributed thousands of dollars in financial assistance to service members and their families impacted by COVID-19, with services available for living expenses, emergencies, education and more. The application process, eligibility requirements and availability of funds vary by organization. Below is a breakdown of information provided by officials from each organization:
AIR FORCE AID SOCIETY
The Air Force Aid Society has distributed $20,414 in assistance for financial needs attributed to COVID-19.
Services available: Emergency assistance through no-interest loans and grants; need-based educational grants, merit-based scholarships; and on-base community programs.
How to apply: Our central point for seeking assistance is the local base Airman & Family Readiness Center. They have all been declared mission-essential by local commanders. All of them can and do take applications online and any contact is minimized. For members not near a base, we have reciprocal with our fellow relief societies. They will render assistance and we will reimburse them (see the list below). This mutual support extends to our partners at the American Red Cross, particularly for those not near any military installation. Airmen can call the dedicated American Red Cross Military Service line and be assisted.
For airmen not near a base, the Air Force Aid Society has reciprocal agreements that allow you to receive assistance through these other agencies:
- Army Emergency Relief (located at Army installations, worldwide)
- Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (located at Coast Guard installations, worldwide)
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (located at Navy installations, worldwide)
- American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces: call 877-272-7337
Visit https://afas.org to learn more about the Air Force Aid Society.
ARMY EMERGENCY RELIEF
Army Emergency Relief has supported 128 soldiers with $232,000 disbursed in grants and zero-interest loans related to COVID-19, as of the beginning of May, according to AER officials.
Services available: Active-duty soldiers and their families are eligible for the full range of 30+ AER benefit categories if they were impacted by the DOD travel ban or PCS stop movement order. They can apply online here.
Additionally, in March, AER extended travel ban/stop movement benefits to non-Title 10 reserve and National Guard soldiers who had been impacted. More recently, AER also turned on new benefits for Title 10 and Title 32 soldiers who have been activated for any length of time by the president or their state’s governor to help with the COVID-19 response. The new Title 10/Title 32 benefits are active whenever the activation begins and for 30 days past the end of their activation. Any soldiers who are Title 10/Title 32 can apply for help with basic living expenses and/or personal transportation costs.
How to apply: Recognizing that face-to-face meetings to apply for assistance may be limited or not advisable, AER has arranged a new process to allow for soldiers to electronically submit requests for assistance. Soldiers can go to the AER website to determine the easiest way to get benefits. Soldiers who cannot get in touch with a local AER office for whatever reason can also submit a request 1) by contacting one of the other military aid societies and/or 2) through the American Red Cross by calling 1-877-272-7337 and selecting option 1 for financial assistance.
Visit https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org/covid19/ to learn more about Army Emergency Relief.
NAVY-MARINE CORPS RELIEF SOCIETY
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provided COVID-19-related relief to 502 clients with over $413,000 in interest-free loans and grants, as of this month.
Services available: The services we provide are to assist with the financial needs that arise from the current pandemic, whether that is assistance with paying bills, rent etc. We currently offer a COVID-19 Rapid Response for up to $1200; no lengthy application and no need for financial counseling. We also have our traditional loan services available for greater needs
How to apply: Processes for applying vary by location, visit www.nmcrs.org/locations to find out more.
Visit https://www.nmcrs.org to learn more about Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
COAST GUARD MUTUAL ASSISTANCE*
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance serves the entire Coast Guard community. To date, it has worked with 438 clients and distributed $512,034.97, according to its website.
Services available: Varying rates of assistance are available to those with lost wages, members in medically-induced quarantine, and travel fee reimbursement. Additional assistance exists for childcare and education assistance, and medical assistance. The full list can be viewed here.
How to apply: Find a local CGMA representative at https://www.cgmahq.org/locations.html.
Visit https://www.cgmahq.org to learn more about Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.
*Information obtained from its website