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You Married Into the Military. Now What?

If you weren't a military brat or you weren't previously in the military, you might not know about all the steps to becoming a spouse in the eyes of the military. It is a common saying that fiancées and girlfriends aren't recognized by the military.

Well, here is how to start getting information and find a community that can help you in the best and worst moments as a military spouse.

Here are the basics. Your installation might have a more detailed plan or instructions for new military spouses.

Step 1: Get a Military identification card. This gets you on the base or post and is your first step to any benefits given a spouse. You can go here for information on military identification cards. Make sure your military member has updated your information into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) before stopping by the ID office to request your card. Hold onto your ID; this is your lifeline to the military.

Step 2: Learn more about the TRICARE and TRICARE Prime healthcare programs. Military.com can help you with information, and your installation should provide some information. Many have welcome information for new spouses on healthcare.

Step 3: More money! OK, well your spouse gets an additional amount in his paycheck for a dependent. Make sure the military member changes his records so he can start collecting this benefit.

Step 4: Decide where you want to live. If you and your spouse are PCSing (going to a new permanent change-of-station), this is a great time to see if you would like to live off base or use your BAH (Basic Housing Allowance) to buy or rent a house. Your spouse may also be able to get a Veterans Home Loan.

Step 5: Find support groups. Ask your military spouse or sponsor, as the military likes to call them, if your installation has a Family Readiness Group (FRG) or other spouse group. They can provide a wealth of knowledge on where to go and who to ask for at the military offices you will start to visit. Also, check out our online offerings where the spouse community can offer you tips.

The best advice comes from those who have lived through and flourished in this sometimes challenging new position. The most important step is to find another spouse and take notes. They can be your best emotional support. Those who know and have been there are able to give you advice or commiserate like no one else. If your spouse is not on a normal installation let the Spouse Channel on Military.com be your online support. Find your community here!

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