Military life can be an exciting adventure for spouses as long as you're prepared. Being prepared includes knowing your military spouse benefits – and where to find them – as you navigate your way through the military community.
Be familiar with your entitlements
If you’re new to military life, there’s lots of information to take in. Here’s what you’ll need to know to access your benefits:
- Obtain a copy of your marriage certificate, get a military identification card from the ID card facility and memorize your spouse’s social security number.
- Learn to read your spouse’s leave and earnings statement. Visit Department of Defense Military Compensation or Defense Finance and Accounting Service to learn more.
- Visit your Military and Family Support Center and ask about the new spouse orientation program.
Employee benefits from a military spouse perspective
- Visit the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities website to learn about your potential employee benefits.
Know your MWR program
- Check out your local Morale, Welfare and Recreation program to get tickets to amusement parks and other attractions, participate in fitness and sports programs, enroll in skills-development programs, discover online libraries and find fun activities.
Get proper healthcare
- Make sure you register in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System to be eligible for TRICARE. This is required to receive medical and other benefits.
- Learn more about the three options available for medical benefits, and be sure to ask your spouse for enrollment information.
Dependents Education Assistance Program
- The VA’s Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans. There are eligibility and other factors to consider before applying for veteran spouse benefits.
What to consider when a relationship needs strengthening or is in trouble
- Military OneSource provides non-medical counseling services and specialty consultations and a host of other resources for strengthening your relationship with your spouse or other family members.
- The Military and Family Life Counseling Program offers services for everyday military life situations, such as coping with deployments.
- If your relationship is in trouble and you are considering divorce, there may be unique legal issues to navigate during a divorce due to military service. You can learn more about the divorce process by contacting your legal assistance center.
- Each service branch has policies that require service members to support family members upon separation if there’s no agreement or court order:
- Army – Army Regulation 608-99, "Family Support, Child Custody and Paternity"
- Marine Corps – Chapter 15 of Marine Corps Order P5800.16A, "Marine Corps Manual for Legal Administration"
- Navy – Chapter 15 of Naval Military Personnel Manual 1754-030, "Support of Family Members"
- Air Force – Air Force Instruction 36-2906, "Personal Financial Responsibility"
Surviving military spouses will always have a place in the military community
- As a survivor, you’ll always be a part of the military community, just as your spouse’s service to our country will never be forgotten. You can always reach out to the community for assistance with survivor benefits, financial counseling, connecting to support networks and locating community resources. Learn more here:
- Social Security benefits are also available to surviving families in the form of lump-sum and monthly payments.
- Educational assistance is provided surviving military spouses, as well as their children ages 18 to 26 under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program or the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship. Contact your local VA office for more on how to apply.
- Grief counseling is always available through Military OneSource, the VA and TRICARE.
Make sure you get the benefits you’re entitled to as a military spouse. Call or visit Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 if you have questions.