Military families with whom you are working or who contact your parent center might find the resources in this article very helpful. Included in this article is a link to a parent-friendly handout with the same resources. Resources focus on national-level services available in every state. There are also resource-finders for some of the most common military family needs, especially as they are entering or leaving a community. Some are military-specific while others are open to civilian and military alike. Read online, or download the article and parent handout.
This information is important because:
- Military families can struggle financially.
- Many factors play a part, but possibly the largest factor is trying to raise a family on a single income.
- Military spouses are often under-employed with frequent Permanent Changes of Station (PCS) as a root cause.
- At the beginning of a service member’s career, lower income tiers may mean that salary, housing and dependent assistance may not meet the cost of living in some locations.
- Some military families even experience food insecurity but may not receive assistance due to the federal/state household income threshold being too high. , 
- Some of the financial stressors that may occur when raising a child or children with disabilities may cause some military families to feel even more distressed. They might find these resources, and the parent handout to be very helpful.
The handout even has space to add your parent center’s logo and contact information, so it is useful for:
- Resource fairs;
- The “military families” section of your website;
- Your e-newsletters;
- As an additional training handout;
- Sharing with your points of contact at local installations for families who are transferring to or from a new duty station (PCS)
- Bringing to meetings to share with colleagues, support groups, schools, trainings and other local events.
Financial assistance is free (not a loan) when it’s directly provided by the organization. Services offered may be free or are considered “affordable” when a family’s financial resources are limited. Resource-finders are free, but families may need to check for themselves if the resources they locate are free or require a fee.
The American Red Cross works with each of the military aid societies (below) in order to provide 24/7 access to emergency financial assistance for eligible applicants.
Military Branch of Service Organizations
Financial assistance on a case-by-case basis for:
- emergency living expenses
- emergency travel
- child care
- necessary medical and dental costs and supplies.
Air Force: http://www.afas.org
Coast Guard: http://cgmahq.org
Navy/Marine Corps: http://www.nmcrs.org
- Emergency Financial Assistance
- Housing Assistance (includes budget training)
- Financial support for combat-wounded veterans post 9/11
- Financial support during transition to civilian employment
Call 2-1-1, or if that call does not go through, get an alternate phone number at http://www.211.org/. 2-1-1 is a national information and referral service that is free, confidential, and can put you in touch with resources in your community. They are a great place to begin any search for programs, services, supports, and financial assistance. They are available 24 hours, seven days a week, and can communicate with you in any language.
Types of programs and resources referred to include:
- Food and nutrition
- Shelter, housing, utilities assistance
- Emergency information and disaster relief
- Veterans and veteran family services
- Mental Health
- Domestic violence response
ARCH National Respite and Resource Center, includes: (1) the National Respite Locator, a service to help caregivers and professionals locate respite (short break) services in their community; (2) the National Respite Coalition–a service that advocates for preserving and promoting respite in policy and programs at the national, state, and local levels; and (3) the Lifespan Respite Technical Assistance Center. Several states are affiliates of national respite funding through the Administration for Community Living in the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Child Care Aware of America links to Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies across the United States). Many military families that have used Child Care Aware to sign up for military-supported child care may not be aware that it can be used to find child care in the civilian sector as well.
NeedyMeds offers far more than prescription assistance. It also links to financial assistance based on an individual’s diagnosis.
Salvation Army is not simply a thrift store, but offers a vast array of programs at local levels based on community needs, often affiliated with community partners. This page has a programs-and-services locator.
United Way links to community programs for family needs.
Goodwill may be helpful for a non-service spouse to find employment, or for a young adult with disabilities looking for a job. They say: “As you’re looking for work and advancing your career, we’re committed to helping you ensure your family has the supports it needs to be successful.” Goodwill organizations provide a wide variety of services, which can include:
- Education programs focused on improving literacy, building English language skills (for non-native speakers), earning your high school diploma or even acquiring the skills to successfully protect and care for your children.
- Other family supports such as financial aid for education and access to transportation to help you get around in your community.
Each Goodwill offers services tailored to the specific needs of its community. Get in touch with your local headquarters today to find out what opportunities are available in your area.” (Note the interactive map. In choice boxes at top of map, select the “headquarters” option for quickest results.)
Easterseals “serves 1.4 million children and adults with disabilities and their families, offering a wide range of services at 73 affiliates nationwide. We change the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day, helping our clients build the skills and access the resources they need to live, learn, work and play.”
- Services may include:Accessibility Resources
- Autism Services
- Camping & Recreation
- Day Care
- Employment & Training
- In-Home Care
- Mental Health Services
- Veteran Reintegration
- Senior Career Employment
- Respite Services
If a family needs financial assistance immediately, the military service organizations are a better bet.
Modest Needs strengths:
- The families can make requests in their own words;
- These organizations have a special affinity for all military families that are active duty, reserve, and veteran;
- Getting funding through Modest Needs means the family receives the benefit of crowdfunding (people responding to your individual situation) without having to set up their own crowdfunding request.