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Staying Financially Fit With Financial Assistance, Counseling and Resources

Your military member is trained to stay focused on the mission at hand. But personal worries can make that hard to do. Financial hardship is one common stressor that is on the rise.

If your service member has seen a drop in family income due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, is struggling with managing a paycheck for the first time, or is facing money troubles for other reasons, help is available. Free resources such as financial counseling and emergency financial assistance are available to service members and their immediate family.

Emergency relief for service members

When money is already tight, a job loss, costly car repair or other unexpected expense can increase debt quickly. Service members who are having trouble paying rent or utilities may qualify for short-term help.

Each branch of the service has an emergency relief organization. Depending on the circumstances, these organizations provide interest-free loans, grants or a combination of both:

Financial counseling can help now and for the future

Free financial counseling is available virtually through Military OneSource, and in person through installation programs. Financial counselors are experts in money management and familiar with the issues that service members face. A financial counselor can help your service member:  

  • Come up with a plan to pay back debt.

  • Take steps to resolve credit problems through referrals to appropriate military and civilian resources.

  • Create a budget and control spending.

  • Save for short- and long-term goals, such as buying a car or home, or saving for college.

Learn more about free financial management counseling options on Military OneSource.

Your service member can schedule one-on-one financial counseling through:

Free financial education builds knowledge   

Military OneSource and installations offer free financial management classes, seminars, online tools and more. Your service member can check the installation’s Financial Readiness Management Programs to see what’s available. There are virtual options, too, including:

  • Money Matter courses. These 45-minute courses were developed by financial experts who understand military life. Topics cover car-buying strategies, consumer credit, developing a spending plan, investing in your future and moving in the military.

  • Consumer, business and financial publications are free for your service member through the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library. Publications include Consumer Reports, Business Plan Builder, Entrepreneurship, Morningstar Investment Research Center and Weiss Financial Ratings.

Financial protections for service members

Your service member makes many sacrifices to serve our country. Financial hardships due to active duty or unethical lenders should not be among them. That’s why the federal government has added a layer of financial protection specifically for military members.

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides service members with financial and legal protections for financial hardships brought on by the demands of active duty. These range from interest rate reductions to eviction protection.

  • The Military Lending Act protects service members and their families from predatory lenders who charge high interest rates and fees.

Help your service member stay mission ready and financially fit with the help of these free resources. Your service member can find more financial tools, information and resources, including military pay charts and calculators on Military OneSource’s Personal Finances in the Military page.