Military families have a lot of stress in their lives. They must deal with the constant possibility of deployment, moving to new bases, and worrying about their loved ones in harm’s way. On top of all that, they also have to manage their finances.
Military families often live on a tight budget, and unexpected expenses can quickly throw their financial plans into disarray. But there are some things they can do to ease the financial burden. For one thing, you can ensure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
The Bad News
According to an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) research in November 2021, veterans and active duty service members are targeted by fraudsters far more frequently than the general public. Scammers usually target veterans because they know they’re entitled to certain benefits. Some of the common examples of these are:
- The scammers promise to help them with their benefits, but they’ll charge them a fee for their “services.”
- They might also try to get their personal information to commit identity theft.
- They will ask for charges for government forms or access to their service records, which they can get for free in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the National Archives.
Don’t fall for it. The VA and other government agencies will never ask for money in exchange for benefits or services.
The Good News
Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s look at some of the VA’s financial benefits to military families. These benefits can help ease the financial burden and make life easier.
Here are eight of the best financial benefits for military families:
Health Care Benefits
The VA provides free or low-cost health care to eligible veterans, their spouses, and dependents. This involves dental care, prescription drugs, and mental health services. Some of these benefits are only available to certain veterans, so it’s important to check eligibility requirements before assuming you’re not eligible.
The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) provides financial assistance to our nation’s veterans, including mortgage loan application. This is an unbelievable but true statement. The VA home loan can benefit active duty service members, veterans, and other groups connected, such as surviving spouses.
For a conventional mortgage, you’ll typically need to come up with a down payment of at least 5%. But with a VA loan, you can get into a home with no down payment. That means you don’t have to worry about coming up with a large sum of cash upfront or depleting your savings.
Free or Low-Cost Childcare
Many military families struggle to afford quality child care. The good news is that the Department of Defense (DOD) offers many childcare options for military families, including on-base child care, in-home child care, and respite care.
In addition, the DOD offers a subsidy program that can help offset the cost of child care for eligible families. This program is called the Military Child Care Fee Assistance program, and it can help families save up to 85% on child care costs.
The VA offers some education benefits to veterans and their dependents. These benefits can pay for college tuition, trade school, and other educational expenses.
Popular education benefits include the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the Montgomery GI Bill. These benefits can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, and other educational expenses. Sometimes, they can also be used to pay for room and board.
State Tax Breaks
Many states offer special tax breaks for military families. For example, some states exempt service members from paying state income taxes. Other states provide property tax breaks for veterans. Contact your state’s tax agency or the Department of Veterans Affairs to find out what benefits are available in your state.
Discounts on Consumer Goods and Services
Many businesses offer discounts to military families. These discounts can add to big savings on everyday expenses, such as groceries, clothing, and travel.
Some popular discounts include airlines, hotels, rental car companies, and retailers. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or the Department of Veterans Affairs to find out what deals are available in your area.
Life Insurance Benefits
The Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program is a life insurance program offered by the VA. It’s open to veterans who are leaving the military and wish to convert their term life insurance policy into a permanent one. VGLI offers several benefits like keeping your coverage after you leave the military, level premiums, and no medical exam.
VA’s Fiduciary Program
The VA’s Fiduciary Program protects veterans and their dependents from people who might exploit them financially. A fiduciary is a person or organization that manages money or property for another person.
Suppose the VA finds that a veteran cannot manage their financial affairs. In that case, the VA can appoint a fiduciary to help.
To Close Up
For military families, the cost of living can be a real challenge. Between housing, food, and other necessary expenses, it can be tough to make ends meet. VA benefits are just a few ways the VA supports those who have served our country. By taking advantage of their benefits, military families can ease their financial burden and better provide for their loved ones.