If your spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Services, you may be wondering what benefits are available for you. There are certainly benefits for your soldier, but are you covered at all? In order to take a deeper look into your benefits, you must first ask yourself a series of questions about his or her service.
Am I Enrolled in DEERS?
First thing’s first: You won’t receive any benefits at all if you and your spouse aren’t enrolled in DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System). Essentially, DEERS is the database that houses all of the information of those qualified to receive treatment in military facilities. There are a number of other technicalities to trudge through as you make sure you’re eligible to receive benefits, but this is step number one. One last note on this: it’s up to your spouse (the enlisted troop) to enroll you.
Is He/She Active Duty?
Benefits vary based on what type of duty your soldier is serving. Active duty military spouses (regardless of the branch of service) receive benefits through the VA healthcare system called Tricare.
In addition to healthcare, a housing allowance is given as a part of their pay, as are shopping benefits, education benefits, childcare benefits, and recreational benefits.
Is He/She Non-Active Reserves?
Benefits for those in the Reserves are slightly different and vary based on each individual situation. Tricare is still the healthcare option for you, but you may be on a carefully selected program based on your spouses service.
Non-active duty soldiers typically don’t receive a housing allowance or childcare allowance, since both members of the household are able to support the household full time. They do, however, still enjoy shopping discounts and recreational discounts.
Is He/She National Guard or Active Guard Reserve?
The last factor to consider is the segment of military that your spouse works in – is it any subset of the National Guard? This is important because members of the National Guard assume the federally granted benefits (like Tricare), but they also have the added benefit of state support. State mandated benefits vary individually and differ across the board. For example, in some states, a benefit for the National Guard may include a full tuition reimbursement at any state school for family of a disabled veteran.
In order to fully understand your benefits as a military spouse, especially if your spouse is a member of the National Guard, you must do your research online to determine benefits by state in addition to the federally given benefits for all.