Most military spouses already know the standard benefits that come along with the life style: health insurance, possible military discounts, free resources etc. I certainly don’t expect or believe I’m entitled to any of these, but they are nice to have. I’m a firm believer that the majority of military spouses aren’t looking for a handout, just a hand up.

9 Amazing Military Spouse Benefits

Here are 9 amazing military spouse benefits.

1) Education

The MYCAA Scholarship is available to Spouses of active duty, guard, and reserve members holding the ranks of E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. This program offers up to $4,000 in financial assistance to military spouses to pursue a license, certification, or an associate’s degree. Eligible spouses must be able to start and finish their program of study while the service member is on Title 10 military orders.

2) Hiring Preference

The Military Spouse Hiring Preference is great for career-minded spouses who move to a new duty station. If there are vacancies and the spouse is qualified, military spouses are given preferential employment placement in vacant Department of Defense (DoD) civilian positions.

3) MWR Programs

Depending on your installation, there may be programs that are designated specifically towards military spouses. For example, the Blue Star Card program for the Army at USAG-HI, offers perks and benefits to spouses of deployed Soldiers. I’ve seen “pampering” night for spouses or social get-togethers specifically for spouses only. Check out your local installation’s MWR/MCCS programs for details.

4) Loans

The Patriot Express Program ran by the U.S. Small Business Association assist with the initial costs in establishing a small business, or costs related to expanding a small business to veterans and spouses. There are also low interest rates, typically ranging from 2.25%-4.75%.  The SBA also guarantees up to 85% of the total loan, with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

5) Transferred G.I. benefits

Service members can transfer over their education benefits to their spouse or children. The rules have changed recently, and eligibility depends on your branch. Your installation’s Education Office and the Veteran’s Affairs office can provide additional details.

6) Counseling

From finance to employment and resume services to parenting, there is a variety of counseling services available to service members and their spouses. Best yet, these resources are at little to no cost to military families. Counseling ranges from group settings and classrooms to one-on-one sessions.

7) Unemployment Compensation due to PCS*

Currently, only 37 states offers military spouses unemployment compensation due to their spouse’s transfer (PCS move). If you do happen to be employed in one of these 37 states, get your paperwork in order (PCS orders, page 2, etc.) and contact your state unemployment office.

8)Transfer of License*

Non-military affiliated people usually would have to start over and work on another license if they moved from a different state. As of 2014, 23 states offer military spouses some reprieve. Each of the 23 states has different rules regarding licensure for military spouses. Basically what each of these states offers is two-fold: temporary licensure for those who come to the state fully licensed from another state and/or an expedited process to obtain a license from the new state.

9) Travel
The MWR/MCCS Ticket office offers great deals on event and venue tickets but they also can help you with travel arrangements. There is also military lodging around the world that can save you quite a bit of money. If you are flexible on time and location, you can also look into Space A Travel. Under the Space-Available (Space A) program, eligible passengers can fill open seats on DoD-owned or controlled aircraft once all the space-required (duty) passengers and cargo have been accommodated.

*varies by state