Military Relief Societies Offer Financial Help

Fort Jackson Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Cesar Duran signs the ceremonial Army Emergency Relief donation check. (U.S. Army/Alexandra Shea)

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 service members. The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance program is also open to Coast Guard civilian employees.

The military aid programs raise their money through fundraising, primarily from currently-serving personnel.

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." About 200 AER offices on 70 Army installations worldwide have given help to more than four million Army families with more than $2 million in assistance. AER provides loans, grants, scholarships and assistance with supplies such as infant car seats.

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, activated reservists and even qualifying divorced spouses. 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-receipt of pay. NMCRS never requires command involvement and all information is completely confidential.

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-receipt of pay. Air Force Aid assistance is available to active duty airmen, retirees, family members and survivors as well as Space Force guardians and families. Like the other aid societies, they also offer scholarships.

Air Force Aid assistance is usually administered through the Airman and Family Readiness Centers.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance program helps Coast Guard members and their families. Like the other aid societies, the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance gives grants, loans and scholarships to qualifying users. It's open to active-duty Coast Guard members and their families; Coast Guard retirees and their families; surviving family members; Coast Guard Auxiliary members; Public Health Service officers and chaplains; Coast Guard reservists; and Coast Guard civilian employees.

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