- Army Emergency Relief (AER) Overview
Army Emergency Relief is the U.S. Army's own nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating financial distress on the force. AER provides grants and zero-interest loans to Active Duty and Retired Soldiers and their Families. Over 4 million Soldiers supported since 1942. AER officers are conveniently located at installations around the world. Visit ArmyEmergencyRelief.org to learn more.
AER’s Education Program is a secondary mission to help Army Families with the costs of education. The three separate scholarship programs are:
Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program
• Applicant must be the Spouse or widow(er) of an active duty or retired Soldier and reside in the United States.
• Stateside applicants must be full time students.
• First undergraduate degrees only.
• Active duty military personnel are not eligible.
Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program Major General James Ursano Scholarship Fund for Dependent Children.
Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program
• Applicants must be a Spouse of an active duty Soldier assigned in Europe, Korea, Japan, or Okinawa.
• Applicants must physically reside with the Soldier at the assigned location.
• First undergraduate degrees only.
• Off post students are not eligible.
• Spouses may be part time or full time students.
Major General James Ursano Scholarship Fund for Dependant Children
• Dependent children, stepchildren, or legally adopted children of Army Soldiers on active duty, retired or deceased while in active duty or retired status.
The children of Grey Area Reservists/National Guard are eligible as well.
Scholarship awards will be awarded up to half the cost of tuition. Scholarship awards are based on financial need, as evidenced by income, assets, Family size, and special circumstances.
Applications and instructions are available for all the scholarships on the AER website at https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org/resources/
- AER Resources and Forms
- Army Emergency Relief 80th Anniversary
Celebrating 80 years helping the U.S. Army take care of it's own.
- AER 80th Anniversary (PDF)
Contributing to Army Emergency Relief is the most direct way to help Soldiers.
- Army Family Action Plan (AFAP)
Army Family Action Plan (AFAP)
AFAP allows every sector of our blended military community to have a voice. Active-duty military members (all branches), Reserve and National Guard, Family members, retirees, surviving spouses, Department of Army Civilians and partner commands identify issues, prioritize, and elevate concerns important to maintaining quality standards of living in their military community to recommend change.
An AFAP issue is any issue or concern that affects the readiness and well-being of the community and can be submitted at any time. It is a process that allows community members to say what works, what does not work and how things can be changed to improve the quality of life within the military community. AFAP focus groups review, monitor, and track every issue until a resolution is found. Issues that can be resolved locally are sent to the appropriate directorate for resolution, resulting in ongoing community improvements, while other issues are directed to higher command level. AFAP issues alert commanders and Army leaders to areas of concern needing their attention and gives them the opportunity to quickly put plans into place to work toward resolving the issues.
Because of your voice, AFAP has contributed to significant accomplishments and changes in regulations and laws:
- Audio/Visual Surveillance in Childcare Centers
- Creation of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) Program.
- Established Military Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
- Federal Employment Military Spouse Preference of PCSing Spouses, Spouses of 100% Disabled Service Members, or Surviving Spouses
- In-State College Tuition
- Paternity Leave for Soldiers
- Service member’s Group Life Insurance increased from $50,000 to $400,000.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Rehabilitation Program
- Transferability of Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Benefits to Dependents
Have your voice heard! Anyone may submit an AFAP issue at any time. Log onto the AFAP Issue Management System (IMS) and submit a new issue. This process will allow for review, submission, escalation and tracking of issues.
Contact your local Army Community Service for questions or assistance with the AFAP Issue Management System.
- Learn About Army Life
Army Family Team Building (AFTB) includes classes that cover topics such Army life, self-development, and leadership skills. AFTB level modules feature:
- Level K: Learn about Army life and how to maneuver through daily challenges by discovering how to decipher Army acronyms, utilize Community Resources, attain better financial readiness and understand the goal and impact of the Army mission on daily life.
- Level G: Grow personally through self-development modules. The modules teach participants how to improve their communication skills, personal relationships, and stress management. Participants discover team dynamics, how to solve problems and how to resolve personal conflict.
- Level L: Expand leadership skills, effective communication techniques and mentorship skills by taking the training modules. Learn about different leadership styles, how to run an effective meeting, how to manage group conflict and how to coach and mentor others. The Enlisted Spouses Course Series prepares enlisted spouses to assume additional responsibilities as their Soldiers progress through their positions as drill sergeants, recruiters, and first sergeants.
AFTB classes are offered online (in English and Spanish) at https://olms.armyfamilywebportal.com/
- Army Volunteer Corps Coordinator (AVCC)
Army Volunteer Corps
Volunteers make a meaningful difference in the lives of Soldiers and their Families every day. Army Volunteer Corps (AVC) is designed to help you find local volunteering opportunities with organizations that benefit the Army community.
The AVC has redefined volunteering within the Army. We embrace existing volunteer programs, unite all volunteers who support Soldiers and Families, including the Active Force, National Guard and Army Reserve, and formalize the Army’s commitment to volunteerism.
No matter where people volunteer in the Army community, they usually want to contribute to Soldiers and their Family members. We recognize this common goal and want to help you find the right opportunity for you.
Volunteering helps your community and helps you as well. When you participate with AVC, you will:
- Gain a sense of satisfaction and achievement by meeting challenges
- Learn about the Army, our sister services, and the community
- Acquire new skills and/or expand old ones
- Obtain work experience
- Build new friendships and become a cohesive part of the community
Contact your local Army Volunteer Coordinator within your Army Community Service Center to register or visit https://vmis.armyfamilywebportal.com to learn about volunteer opportunities across the Army.
To schedule an appointment or to sign up for a class, please call +1(301)677-5590 or send an email to email@example.com
- Employment Readiness Program (ERP)
To schedule an Employment Readiness appointment or to sign up for a class, please call +1(301)677-5590 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Employment Readiness Program (ERP) offers resources to help with your career plan and job search. Whether you’re a military spouse or Family member who just moved to a new installation, retiree, DoD Civilian looking for new opportunities, active-duty military, active Reserve, National Guard member, or Wounded Warrior, we’re here to help.
Our services include:
- Up-to-date information on local, national, and international employment opportunities, job market trends and education, and volunteer resources
- Classes and seminars on self-assessment and career exploration, resume writing, interviewing techniques, dressing for success, networking, and entrepreneurship
- Résumé critiques
- Career counseling and individual career assessments
- Job fairs and other hiring events
- Teen/youth employment information
- Computers with Internet access, résumé-writing software, and typing tutorials
- Virtual Career Library access
- Education, scholarship and volunteer referral information
- Unemployment and licensure transfer information
Spouse Employment Information
Supporting the employment and development of spouses ultimately contributes to improving quality of life and workforce readiness. One of the objectives of improving spouse employment is promoting the awareness and use of the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship to eligible military spouses. MyCAA is a workforce development program (through the Department of Defense (DoD) that provides up to $4,000 of tuition assistance to eligible military spouses. The scholarship assists military spouses in pursuing licenses, certifications or associate degrees necessary to gain employment in an occupation or career field." More information and resources can be found at: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/search/?s=Spouse+employment
ACS Discovery Center/Computer Lab
- Use of computer (CAC accessible), Wi-fi and printers
- Use of scanner and fax for job related activities
- Job board with a variety of job announcements
Contact your Employment Readiness Program manager (ERPM) for more information.
- To request to receive periodic employment listings, click on "Email Us" link on top of this page and type "Hot Jobs" in the Message Box.
- Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is a mandatory enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical, and personnel services to Families with special needs. Soldiers on active duty enroll in the program when they have a Family member with a physical, emotional, developmental, or intellectual disorder requiring specialized services so their needs can be considered in the military personnel assignment process.
Family members must be screened and enrolled, if eligible, when the Soldier is on assignment instructions to an OCONUS area for which command sponsorship/Family member travel is authorized, and the Soldier elects to serve the accompanied tour. This screening consists of medical records review for all Family members, and developmental screening for all children 72 months of age and younger.
Soldiers are responsible for keeping their EFMP enrollment current as exceptional Family member (EFM) conditions change or at least every three years, whichever comes first.
The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides an all-inclusive approach for community, educational, medical, housing and personnel services for Families with special needs. An exceptional Family member may be a child or an adult with any physical, emotional, developmental or intellectual disorder that limits the individual's capacity to engage in pursuits with peers or that requires:
- Special treatment
PCS Resources: https://home.army.mil/meade/index.php/my-fort/pcs-resources
Enrollment and Screening Information US Army Medical Department: Exceptional Family Member Program
- Financial Readiness Program (FRP)
Financial Readiness Program (FRP)
- Providing education, client advocacy and advice on consumer and financial matters
- Promoting financial self-sufficiency to prevent financial issues before they arise
- Advocating to resolve consumer complaints, fraud and scams
To schedule a Financial Readiness appointment, sign up for Credit Score Clinic, or to sign up for a class, please call +1(301)677-5590 or send an email to email@example.com
- Budget Development
- Financial Planning
- Personal Financial Management
- Debt Management Assistance
- Consumer Advocacy
- Credit Report Review
- Annual Military Saves Campaign
- Saving and Investing Education
- Emergency Food Assistance Program - Short-term food assistance
Counseling services are available for service members, DoD Civilians, retirees and their Family members in areas such as budget development and financial planning, developing a spending plan, managing personal finances, evaluating assets and liabilities, and debt management.
Debt Management Programs
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware, Inc. (CCCS)
(Doing Business as Guidewell Financial Solutions)
InCharge Debt Solutions
DoD Free App for Financial Readiness
Sen$e is a free Department of Defense app, full of personal finance information for Military service members and their families. Whether you’re currently serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard; are planning for retirement, or just thinking about joining the military, you will find helpful tips and content. This personal financial learning tool will assist you with reaching and maintaining a sense of financial well-being as you navigate through life’s major events. Providing factual, unbiased financial material, Sen$e is the only official DoD personal finance tool focused on the unique demands of military life. The tool will help you make sense of the financial decisions you and your family will face throughout and beyond your military career.
Sen$e does not collect your personally identifiable information, share your data, nor recommend/offer any private financial products for sale, and is ad-free.
*No federal endorsement implied.
- Information, Referral, and Follow-Up
Information, Referral, and Follow-Up
This program assists commanders, Soldiers and Family members by providing information counseling to determine customer needs and refers them to the appropriate ACS service or other resource. It provides assistance with individual, Family and community concerns, resources available at the lowest cost and follow-up to ensure that ACS customers receive quality services.
Contact us if you are faced with issues such as:
- Transitional Adjustments
We can provide you with the resources and referrals you need! For more information, please call +1(301)677-5590
- Mobilization, Deployment and Stability Support Operations
The Mobilization, Deployment, and Stability Support Operations (MD&SSO) helps support community readiness during deployments and emergencies. We help make sure installation programs align with unit deployment cycles, provide pre- and post-deployment support, and help unit commanders with their Family readiness plans and deployment support services for service members and their Families. We're responsible for operating an Emergency Family Assistance Center in the case of an all-hazards event, and supporting service members and Families during Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) and repatriation. We also act as a case manager for all requests for assistance through the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS).
Some of our resources include:
- Pre- and Post-Deployment Support
Help prepare Soldiers and Families for deployments and reintegration by providing trainings and resources throughout the deployment cycle in a variety of settings.
- Soldier and Family Readiness Groups (SFRGs)
Designed to make sure Soldiers and Families have information you need and develop a military support group while the Soldier is deployed. Virtual Soldier and Family Readiness Groups also provide secure environments in which the commander can communicate directly with Soldiers and Families 24 hours a day no matter where you are.
- Emergency Family Assistance
Your link to continuous support and assistance as well as authoritative and accurate information in a sensitive, timely, and effective manner.
- Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS)
Ensures all Army personnel and their dependents are accounted for during emergency situations.
We help the State Department help those who have been displaced after national emergencies and disasters.
For more information on Mobilization, Deployment, and Support Stability Operations support in your community, contact your local Army Community Service office and ask for the Mobilization and Deployment program manager.
Other Helpful Links:
- Military OneSource (https://www.militaryonesource.mil/)
This resourceful website provides information about deployment, reunion, finances, Family, children's workbooks and SFRGs. The download center allows you to research and download information that is important for you.
Soldier and Family Readiness Groups (SFRGs)
A Soldier and Family Readiness Group is a command sponsored organization of Soldiers, Family members, civilian employees, and volunteers belonging to a unit, that together provide an avenue of mutual support and assistance and a network of communications among the Family members, the chain of command, chain of concern, and community resources.
SFRG Regulations and Training Resources
The SFRG is a commander's program executed in accordance with Army Directive 2019-17 and AR 600-20. Anyone looking for guidance or answers to FRG-related matters should consult these regulations, your commander or ethics counselor.
Readiness Essentials for Army Leaders (R.E.A.L) is designed for targeted positions within the SFRGs with six different modules:
- R.E.A.L Foundations
Designed to be a foundational course on Family Readiness and SFRGs. The 1.5-hour course covers the Department of Defense definition of Family Readiness and how the Army SFRG can assist commanders in meeting their mission of executing a unit Family Readiness program. The training provides basic information on the different roles within the SFRG from the command team to the different volunteer positions. Foundations is a required module for all other SFRG training, but it can act as a standalone module for troop training and desk side briefings for commanders needing an overview on Family Readiness and SFRGs.
- Command Team SFRG Training
Targeted towards commanders and first sergeants outlines the roles and responsibilities of the command team regarding how to leverage the SFRG to execute the Family Readiness mission. Topics include: Family Readiness; Mission Essential Tasks for SFRGs; SFRG elements and Operations; Communications: Volunteer Management; SFRG Funding; and Resources.
- SFRG Informal Fund Custodian Training
Dedicated to specific volunteer giving tips and techniques for executing the role of informal funds custodian as well as practical exercises and role-playing scenarios in order to help volunteers better understand their role in the SFRG.
- SFRG Key Contact Training
Dedicated to specific volunteer giving tips and techniques for executing the role of Key Contact as well as practical exercises and role playing scenarios in order to help volunteers better understand their role in the SFRG.
- SFRG Leader Training
Provides the volunteer SFRG leader with an understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the SFRG and how they can execute the commander's vision. Provide knowledge needed to begin implementing the mission essential tasks associated with the SFRG.
- Family Readiness Liaison (FRL) Training
Provides the assigned unit FRL with an understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the SFRG and how they can execute the commander's vision. Provide knowledge needed to begin implementing the mission essential tasks associated with the SFRG.
Casualty Response (CARE) Team
The Casualty Response (CARE) Team is a group of volunteers who provide practical assistance and emotional support to a Family on a short-term basis so the Family can continue to function while dealing with a traumatic event. The actual support provided depends on Family needs and command guidance, but can include call support, home care assistance, childcare support, meal support, transportation, assistance to visiting family and other family support.
- If you know someone who is possibly in need of CARE Team: contact the unit commander, unit chaplain, or other unit designee.
- To schedule CARE Team Training for your unit: have your battalion/bridage Family Readiness POC contact us at +1(301)677-5590
- Pre- and Post-Deployment Support
- Relocation Assistance
Relocation Readiness Program (RRP)
Moving is a part of life for Soldiers, civilian government employees and their Families. The Army Community Service Relocation Readiness Program is here to help with a comprehensive support system, whether it’s your first move or the last of many. We have all kinds of information and resources to help you and your family navigate your next military move.
Your first stop should be your local Army Community Service Family center to meet with a Relocation Readiness Program Manager who can get you started.
To schedule a Relocation Readiness appointment, please call +1(301)677-5590 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Relocation Counseling
- Sponsorship Training
- Citizenship & Immigration Services Liaison
- Services to Multicultural Families
- Lending Closet (no child specific items such as car seats, cribs, etc.)
- Newcomers Orientation
- Levy Briefing
- Provide Welcome Packets
Online Tools and Resources to Plan Your Move
Military Installations provide addresses, telephone numbers, directions, installation overviews, local weather for programs, services and facilities on more the 250 military installations worldwide.
Take control of your move with Plan My Move. Use our customizable calendar tool to create a unique personal moving plan. The calendar contains to-do lists, checklists, phone lists, and links to critical moving information from budget planners to choosing a school.
- Survivor Outreach Services (SOS)
Our Fallen Soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Their Families deserve our respect, our gratitude, and the very best we can provide. If you’re a surviving Family member, Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) offers you access to support, information, and services, closest to where you live, when you need it and for as long as you need it.
Survivor Outreach Services is part of the Army Casualty Continuum of Care. It’s designed to provide long-term support to surviving Families of Fallen Soldiers. Our goal is to reassure Survivors that they remain valued members of the Army Family.
Survivor Outreach Services helps in many ways:
- Support Coordinators. The loss of a loved one often results in tremendous grief, which can be overwhelming. When faced with a tragedy, you may be wondering what direction to take. Your SOS Coordinator is your link to finding the resources and answers that will work best for you. Your local Support Coordinator is available to meet with you as you journey through this difficult transition by providing direct services as well as information, referrals, and recommendations. He or she can also connect you with support groups, spiritual resources, and bereavement and financial counselors. Your SOS Coordinator can also help you request and obtain copies of documents, navigate local, state, and federal agencies, and direct you to additional Survivor resources.
- Financial Counselors. In times of emotional distress, figuring out what to do about finances can create a heavy burden. Survivor Outreach Services Financial Counselors provide professional financial information and services in areas such as investing, estate planning, tax issues, and basic budgeting. Our Financial Counselors are committed to helping you create financial security. They also help ensure you get the information you need to make sound financial decisions.
- Gold Star Advocates provide support and address complaints about casualty assistance or receipt of benefits.
- Gold Star Installation Access Card
The Department of the Army has developed and is implementing a Gold Star Installation Access Card which is provided to you with the utmost gratitude for your sacrifice and that of your loved one who died in the service of our Nation. If you do not have a Department of Defense Identification Card, the use of this Gold Star Installation Access Card should make it much easier to gain entrance to Army Installations by eliminating the requirement to obtain a visitor/temporary vehicle pass whenever you come on post.
The Gold Star Installation Access Card will be issue to Family Members who are entitled to receive the Gold Star Lapel Button or the Gold Star Next Of Kin Lapel Button.
Currently the Department of Defense (DoD) Physical Access Control Policy requires everyone seeking entrance to a military Installation to stop at the gate and present a government issued photo identification. Your Gold Star Installation Access Card will serve as your local access credential in accordance with DoD Security Standards. It is intended solely for recognition and access purposes - it does not grant additional entitlements or privileges (such as Post Exchange or Commissary) that you are not already authorized. The card also cannot be used for the Trusted Traveler Program. The Gold Star Installation Access Card is for use on Army Installations and may not be accepted at Navy, Marine, or Air Force bases.
The Department of Defense uses Force Protection Conditions (FPCONS) to identify and recommend preventive actions and responses to threats against personnel and facilities. For your safety, if the FPCON is elevated to a higher threat level for any reason, you will not be allowed onto the Installation.
The Installation Access Card is valid for three years from the date of issue. Upon expiration, you may reapply for the Installation Access Card by completing a new application and background check. You will need to call and schedule an appointment with the Survivor Outreach Services staff to come in and complete the Access Card application process, which also includes a back ground check. Once this is completed the card will be issued. We are located at 830 Chisholm Avenue, Fort Meade, MD 20755. You will need to bring two (2) valid forms of ID (i.e., state issued driver's license, passport, etc.)
Please feel free to contact us at +1(301)677-5590 or send an email to "email@example.com" if you are interested in obtaining your Access Card, to make an appointment or just want your questions answered.
For more information about Army Survivor Outreach Services, or to locate your nearest SOS Coordinator, call toll-free +1 (855)707-2769.
Contact your local SOS Coordinator at +1(301)677-5590.
To learn about the symbols of honor surviving military Families wear, visit www.GoldStarPins.org.
- Family Advocacy Program (FAP)
The U.S. Army Family Advocacy Program (FAP) helps Soldiers and Families recognize and meet the unique challenges of military lifestyles. Our services include seminars, workshops, counseling, and intervention to help strengthen Army Families, enhance resiliency and relationship skills, and improve quality of life.
We are also dedicated to helping Soldiers and Families with the complex challenges related to domestic abuse, child abuse, and neglect. We focus on prevention, education, prompt reporting, investigation, intervention, and treatment.
If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at +1(800)799-7233. You should also contact your installation’s Family Advocacy Program for more information.
There are three additional programs within the Family Advocacy Program that help with specific needs.
Victim Advocacy Program (VAP): Provides comprehensive support to victims of domestic abuse, including crisis intervention, safety planning, and help to secure medical treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings, referral to military and civilian shelters, and other resources. Victim Advocacy services are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
More on Victim Advocacy Program (VAP)
New Parent Support Program (NPSP): Helps to build strong, healthy military Families for Soldiers and Family members who are expecting a child, or have children up to 3 years of age. Through various supportive services, classes, and home visits, we help new parents learn to cope with the everyday demands of parenthood, as well as stress, isolation, and post-deployment reunions.
Contact your installation’s Army Community Service (ACS) Family Advocacy Program for more information. You can also call Military OneSource for more information and referrals CONUS: +1(800)342-9647; OCONUS: 00-800-3429-6477; to call collect with operator assistance OCONUS: +1(484)530-5908.
New Parent Support Program Brochure (PDF)
More on New Parent Support Program (NPSP)
Parent Support and Marriage Enrichment Program
The Parent Support Program offers supportive and educational programs to parents who have children of all ages. Support groups and parenting classes are available to meet a variety of parenting needs. Individual parenting instruction is also provided.
Every volunteer (to include youth) on Fort Meade is required to be registered as a volunteer. For more information go to https://vmis.armyfamilywebportal.com/