FREE Military Credit Counseling for Veterans

An active military person talking to a person giving free credit counseling.

Understanding Military Financial Challenges

Unique Financial Pressures in Military Life

For our armed forces, it’s not always easy to achieve financial security. Military personnel face special challenges that others don’t. Military life makes it difficult for spouses to pick up outside employment, and veterans may find it difficult to convince private-sector employers that their military service is applicable in other job fields.

We hope all current and former military service members will take advantage of the professional services available to help them establish and improve their credit, become homeowners, and balance their household budgets.

Getting military and veteran credit counseling

Navigating Credit Solutions for Armed Forces and Veterans

Current members and veterans of our military are a treasured resource, and our nation’s gratitude toward our veterans is celebrated every November 11th – as well as the rest of the year. It’s very important to us that both veterans and active military members know that there are many options available to them for help with their debts, credit, and personal finances:

  • Free Credit Counseling for Veterans– Working with a credit counselor can help service members and veterans pay off debt and manage personal finances. Free credit counseling includes advice on credit and debt management, as well as a personalized financial action plan.
  • Financial Counseling– Professional financial counseling is available for credit, debt, homeownership, and more (like bankruptcy help and foreclosure prevention help).
  • VA – The Veterans Benefits Administration offers special programs for veterans and their beneficiaries. They also offer home loans, life insurance, education, and access to health benefits for veterans.
  • GI Bill– The VA-administered GI Bill offers benefits for eligible service members seeking education and training assistance.
  • Military Saves– Our friends at America Saves sponsor Military Saves, designed to motivate and support military families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
  • Military OneSource – Military OneSource is funded by the Department of Defense to help members of military families get tax services, employment help, and assistance with relocation and deployment.

Budgeting and Financial Planning for Military Families

Creating a Military-Friendly Budget

Creating a budget for military families requires special considerations due to unique aspects of military life. Income variability from deployments and base transfers must be factored in, along with allowances like BAH. Deployments can change household expenses, requiring adjustments in budgeting. Emergency funds are crucial, given the unpredictability of military life.

Using resources such as military credit counseling and veterans' financial assistance is crucial for effective financial planning. These services help in managing debts, savings, and investments, considering military-specific challenges. Long-term planning, including retirement through the Thrift Savings Plan and other savings vehicles, and managing child care and education costs, are also essential. A dynamic, well-planned budget is key to navigating the financial complexities of military life.

Exploring Additional Support For Military Families

Charities and other sources of aid:

  • Red Cross – The American Red Cross offers financial assistance for military families, which can include funds for emergency travel, burial expenses, emergency food & shelter, and more.
  • American Legion – The American Legion offers Temporary Financial Assistance for military families in need.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars – The VFW offers financial grants through their Unmet Needs program, designed to help America’s military families who have run into unexpected financial difficulties.
  • Operation First Response – Since 2004, Operation First Response has helped almost 23,689 families of wounded and disabled veterans with emergency financial needs.
  • Operation Home Front – Operation Home Front offers help to military families with financial assistance, housing programs, and caregiver support
  • DAV (Disabled American Veterans) – DAV helps veterans get the benefits they’re entitled to. They help over a million vets and their families every year.
  • USA Cares – USA Cares is a veteran and family support system, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and military families facing hardships related to their military service.
  • Hope for the Warriors – Hope for the Warriors offers “a full cycle of care to restore self, family, and hope” to service members and family members, as well as families of service members we have lost.
  • Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes – The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes serves to help the wounded veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn, as well as their families.
  • Air Force Aid Society – AFAS offers emergency assistance to Air Force families and service members through no-interest loans and grants.
  • Army Emergency Relief – AER provides assistance to soldiers and families with scholarships, grants, and interest-free loans.
  • Navy-Marine Corp Relief Society – The NMCRS offers assistance for urgent financial needs through financial counseling, grants, and interest-free loans to active-duty or retired sailors and marines, eligible family members, surviving spouses, and reservists on active duty.
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance – CGMA helps members of the Coast Guard and their families, including active-duty and retired personnel, civilian employees, Reservists, Auxiliarists, and commissioned officers of the Public Health Service.
  • Local programs – Your city, county, or state might have local aid programs for current and former military personnel. For example, in our home base of Southern California, we have STEP, or Support The Enlisted Project. The Red Cross, Military Onesource, or your local military aid society might be able to help you connect with programs near you.

Concluding Thoughts: Financial Empowerment for Military Families

We are committed to helping every veteran and military service member achieve healthy credit and a debt-free life. It's crucial to seek professional help and use the many resources available for financial freedom. Our goal is to empower military personnel and their families with the tools they need for financial stability. There's a wealth of support through programs, benefits, and charities, including VA benefits and Military Saves. We encourage you to use these resources and remember, assistance is always available, both online and in person, to help guide you to a secure financial future.

If you’re not ready to reach out directly, here are some free financial education and other resources that are available right here online. Personal help is only a call away at (800) 431 – 8157.

Article written by
Melinda Opperman
Melinda Opperman is an exceptional educator who lives and breathes the creation and implementation of innovative ways to motivate and educate community members and students about financial literacy. Melinda joined in 2003 and has over two decades of experience in the industry.

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