The families of military members face challenges of their own during the service members’ time of service. While dealing with deployments, relocation and other aspects of military life can be stressful, the military family benefits can make life easier for service members and their families.
The federal government provides benefits to family members, as do several companies and organizations that recognize the hard work that goes into being part of a military family.
All immediate military family members have access to the superior health care the military provides. Family members may choose to enroll in Tricare Prime or Tricare Select (previously known as Tricare Standard). With Tricare Prime, military family members receive care through primary care managers (PCMs). Family members of active-duty service members generally pay no out-of-pocket fees. Through Tricare Select, family members will pay an annual deductible, depending on the military sponsor’s status. They can choose from a wide selection of Tricare-authorized health care providers without a referral from a PCM. Retired military families can also receive Tricare, although they would use a different Tricare plan. Even non-active-duty service members and their families can access health benefits. For an additional cost, military families can also access dental and vision.
All military members receive life insurance policies as part of their pay and benefits packages. These policies help family members in the event of a casualty during active duty. In addition, military members may purchase life insurance policies through the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. Through this program, spouses of military members can get up to $100,000 in life insurance, and dependents can get up to $10,000. Coverage for dependent children is free, while each $10,000 increment of spousal insurance costs between 45 cents and $4.50 a month.
Goods and Services
Families of military members can access the base commissaries and exchange stores with their military IDs. These military stores offer discounts on groceries and other household goods. Military families can also access Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) activities, including libraries, bowling alleys, movie theaters and other recreation facilities. These facilities offer free and reduced-price activities for service members and their families.
Through the Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs, military family members can receive education and job support. Military spouses can receive up to $4,000 to help with training or the costs of a degree program related to a portable career field. In addition, service members can transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouses or dependents.
Several scholarship organizations also offer scholarships and programs designed for military spouses and dependents. While not promoted by the Department of Defense, these programs can help cover college tuition and other education expenses for military families.
Many private organizations offer special discounts and services for military members and their families. When eating out, shopping or seeking professional services, military families should inquire about military discounts. Some organizations limit the discounts to a special day or a single item, while others offer consistent 5% or 10% discounts. Businesses often require a valid military ID to take advantage of the discounts.