In the second major policy initiative in less than a year, Army Emergency Relief (AER) rolled out a brand new website which allows Soldiers and Families to apply for assistance “on-line.”
AER is continually striving to streamline the assistance process and anticipate Soldier and Family needs. This explains the addition of multiple new categories added over the last four years, the policy change allowing direct access for all Soldiers last September, and now “on-line” assistance, on a new website!
AER has always provided no-interest loans, grants and scholarships…with NO hidden fees. We’re now providing access 24/7 from any location, on any device!
Unforeseen things do happen to good Soldiers, active and retired. If you find yourself in the middle of a financial emergency, come to AER first. As a Retired Soldier, you are eligible for AER assistance, just as if you were still on active duty.
Current categories eligible for assistance include: rent/mortgage, auto repair, emergency travel expenses, utilities, funeral expenses, food, non-receipt of pay, re-location travel, dependant dental, medical expenses, repair/replacement of HVAC, replacement vehicle, loss of funds, replacement/initial furniture, rental vehicles, repair/replacement of appliances, cranial helmets and car seats. Items not listed can still be approved as an exception to policy on a “case-by-case” basis.
If you’re no longer near an Army installation, you can still apply for assistance at a local Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance office through reciprocal agreements that AER has with the other service aid societies, or via the American Red Cross military assistance line at 1-877-272-7337.
AER has just concluded its annual campaign. We won’t know the final results, but over the last three years, donations have been down nearly 30%. Most Retired Soldiers received a solicitation letter from AER in late March. Hopefully, many of you answered the call…or are at least still considering making a donation. Your donations will allow us to continue helping Soldiers, both active and retired, and their families. In 2015, more than 8,206 Retired Soldiers received more than $14 million in assistance from AER.
AER also recently announced its scholarship awards, totaling $7.9 million, for the 2016 – 2017 academic year. This year AER awarded 3,094 scholarships to the Children of Soldiers under the MG James Ursano Scholarship Program and 1,055 scholarships under the Spouse Education Assistance Program. Of those who completed the application process and provided the required documentation, 83% were awarded scholarships.
For more information, and to find your nearest AER office, check out the AER website at: www.aerhq.org and to receive regular personal financial tips and updates, check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AERHQ .
By: Guy Shields