When preparing for a deployment, service members must train to ready themselves for the military mission, while at the same time making arrangements to take care of their loved ones while they're gone. But military missions can be unpredictable. Dates sometimes change, causing service members and families to readjust their personal preparations. During this time of uncertainty, tackling things one at time might make everything feel more manageable and help you focus on the most critical things first. Remember that your installation, and National Guard and reserve military and family support programs are there also to help you through this process. Many military and family support programs have additional information and resources based upon a large scale deployment being postponed that may assist you. For contact information, you can visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
As you and your family planned for your deployment, you may have made some agonizing decisions about your family moving from your permanent duty station. Even though the deployment is postponed, you may still feel like moving is the best option for your family. If the deployment postponement has you rethinking those decisions, you may want to:
- Check with your installation housing office or your landlord as soon as possible to find out about the possibility of remaining in your home. The information they provide will help you and your family think through what to do next in light of the deployment postponement.
- Contact the post office if you have already submitted a change of address form. You should be able to cancel the form and resubmit another one at a later date.
- Contact schools or medical offices. If you transferred school and medical records to a new location in preparation for a move, you may want to have those records sent back to the original locations.
Financial and legal issues
Many of the financial and legal arrangements you've made for your family have been timed to coincide with your expected deployment dates. If your deployment has been delayed for a short time - a week or so - you'll probably want to keep everything in place. For a longer postponement, you may want to take a look at the following:
- Power of attorney. A power of attorney allows someone to act on your behalf for legal or financial issues for a specified period of time. If your deployment has been postponed, you may want to terminate the power of attorney and create a new one when you have a new deployment date. If you already have a new deployment date, you may decide to amend the power of attorney to include the new dates. Either way, your installation's legal assistance office can help you make the necessary changes.
- Pre-authorization for emergency financial assistance. If you have completed the paperwork authorizing your family to receive emergency financial assistance through your service's emergency relief organization, you may want to contact that organization to either revoke or change the dates to reflect your new deployment.
- Family budget. You may have put together a family budget that reflects the additional incentive pay, special pay and tax savings associated with your deployment. With the postponement, you may need to make adjustments to that budget.
- Allotments. If you have authorized an allotment to help cover expenses or pay bills while you are deployed, you can update or discontinue those allotments by completing Department of Defense Form 2558 or through your MyPay account.
- Your Family Care Plan. A Family Care Plan outlines the logistical, financial, medical, educational and legal documentation necessary to ensure your family members are cared for during a deployment. With the postponement, you may want to revisit or update the Family Care Plan.
- Financial and legal protections under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act. The SCRA is intended to help protect the legal rights of service members called to active duty. The SCRA frequently makes certain rights available conditional upon whether your ability to meet certain obligations is "materially affected" by military service. Whether you are "materially affected" can mean different things in different situations. If you were expecting a postponement of court or administrative proceedings due to your deployment, for example, you may want to contact your installation's legal assistance office for information on how your deployment postponement will affect those proceedings.
- Other financial and legal issues. If you've made other changes in preparation for deployment, such as changes to your will, life insurance or a living will, now might be a good time to take a second look.
Special considerations for National Guard and reserve members
A postponement can be uniquely challenging for National Guard and reserve service members, especially those who have already notified their employer of the upcoming deployment. If your deployment has been postponed, you will need to let your employer know within the timeframe specified under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. If the new deployment dates are indefinite or in the distant future, you may need to contact your employer and return to work.
As a Guard or reserve member, you are still covered by USERRA for the time you spent on active duty preparing for deployment. While the protections afforded by USERRA do not change, the deadlines for reporting back to work or applying for reemployment vary depending on the amount of time you were away on military duty. You can receive more information on the protections and provisions of USERRA through your local legal assistance office.
Where to get help
A deployment postponement can leave you and your family feeling uncertain about the future. Know that there are resources available to help you. Reach out to your installation military and family support programs for information and resources related to relocation assistance, non-medical individual and family counseling, personal and family life education, personal financial readiness, information and referral services, spouse education and career opportunities, deployment assistance and exceptional family member services. Legal assistance offices can help you address your legal and administrative affairs. Military OneSource can also help you manage all of the details of your deployment postponement. Consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone at 800-342-9647, online or via email.