Dear Ms. Vicki,
I am a boatswain's mate third class in the U.S. Coast Guard. My girlfriend and I are tired of waiting to get married. We have been together six years.
She currently lives in Florida, and I am stationed in Massachusetts. She graduates from college in December.
After serious research, we have discovered that in order for her to become licensed as a teacher in Massachusetts, it could take nearly a year, maybe more.
This being said, we understand that until I get advanced and transferred or become tour-complete at my current state and get transferred, that it may be futile to try and get her up here with me. We will just be leaving again shortly thereafter.
The question really is why shouldn’t we get married? I want her to be able to use her spousal benefits because she has put the time in like any other spouse, just without the paperwork to back her up.
I have tried to look up how that would work, but to no avail. Will she be able to use health benefits while living so far from my station? Will I still get Basic Allowance for Housing with dependents even though she doesn’t live with me?
I still feel entitled to it because we would be paying for two households versus one. It wouldn’t cover us even if I did, but the extra few hundred would be very helpful.
I appreciate your advice.
You can marry your girlfriend now and she will be eligible for health benefits and have access to commissaries and PXs etc.
There are many military couples who live separately for reasons such as school or employment.
Sometimes, spouses choose not to PCS because they like where they are so much that they don’t want to move. In any case, a spouse is still entitled to all of their benefits.
If you marry your fiancée now and she stays in Florida, she would still get Tricare coverage. She should call Tricare for advice on which plan to use: Select (previously known as Tricare Standard) or Prime, depending on whether she lives near a military hospital.
You would receive BAH with dependents. I hope this is not too confusing.
You can always call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and Tricare and ask questions.
Lastly, check with your unit's administration section for more information. They should know exactly how to help you.
-- Ms. Vicki