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The 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.
Getting the help you’re entitled to
- If you’re new to military life, there’s lots of information to take in. It’s important to know what benefits you’re entitled to. From healthcare options to properly registering your vehicle, following these tips can help make your life easier along the way:
- Obtain a copy of your marriage certificate.
- Get a military identification card from the ID card facility.
- 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
- Employee benefits can really add up when you look beyond the paycheck. As a military spouse, some benefits might be extremely attractive, and some might be useful for negotiating a little more. Visit the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities website for help navigating the world of employee benefits.
Know your MWR program
- No matter what season it is, it’s always time to check out your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program. Get tickets to an amusement park, participate in a fitness program or check out one of the libraries. Those are just a few benefits of MWR. There are lots of ways to relax, have fun and connect with others:
- Fitness, aquatics and sports programs
- Boating programs, bowling centers and golf courses
- Individual skills development programs
- Information, Tickets and Travel
- Outdoor recreation programs
- For information about your local MWR program, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
Get the 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 different TRICARE plan 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 your relationship might be in trouble
- While divorce is largely governed by state law and local procedures, there may be unique legal issues to navigate during a divorce due to military service. You can ease the time, expense and emotional strain of divorce by learning what to consider as you move through this process.
- Be sure to contact your legal assistance center for more information on your specific circumstances.
- Family law defines abandonment as the act of deliberately leaving one’s spouse without consent (or notification, in many cases) with no intent of returning. If your service member spouse has left you, know that you have rights and are entitled to support with the following:
- Housing or a housing allowance
- Military ID card
- Medical benefits
- Installation support services
- Chain of command
- 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”
Widowed military spouses will always have a place in the military community
- As a military widow or widower, you’ll always be a part of the military network, 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.
- Information provided through the online survivor benefits report can be invaluable for a family’s financial planning. Family members can access these reports 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To log in and view personal reports, select the appropriate branch of service below. Then follow instructions on the site:
- Social Security benefits are also available to deceased service members’ families in the form of lump-sum and monthly payments.
- Educational assistance is provided to spouses of deceased service members 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.
See something you want to know more about or are curious about something not listed? Speak to a Military OneSource consultant by calling 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.