AER Offering $1,500 For Childcare Costs
$1,500 For Childcare Costs From Army Emergency Relief
Childcare costs can be a huge drain on your budget. In some cases, the cost of childcare can mean a spouse decides not to pursue their own career. Luckily, a new AER program can help with this.
As of February 1, 2020, AER or Army Emergency Relief started providing up to $1,500 to help cover the costs of childcare for soldiers and families. They will be offering $500 per month for three consecutive months in a no-interest loan, grant, or a combination of both based on financial need.
This program is intended to offset the cost when a family has to use more expensive civilian services when there isn’t availability at on-post childcare facilities. On-post facilities are usually more affordable than those you find beyond the military installation.
The Army Fee Assistance Program does already give soldiers up to $1,500 per month per child for childcare but sometimes even that isn’t enough.
Lt. Gen. Ray Mason, the director of AER has stated that, “Right now the capacity for the on-post childcare facilities isn’t able to meet the demand,” he said. “The Army is looking at that, trying to figure out how they can expand. It’s not something where you can just snap your fingers. You have to build more capacity and then you have to hire more childcare providers.”
The Army is aware that there is an issue with having enough on-post childcare available and working to change that. Hopefully, this new program can help bridge that gap until things can change on-post.
In order to qualify for this AER program, soldiers must be active-duty or in the Active Guard Reserve and have permanent change of station orders (PCS orders) to a location in the continental US. They must also provide proof of their out-of-pocket childcare expenses and show their financial need every month at their local AER office. They also need to submit their initial request within the first 120 days after the family arrived to their new duty station.
While this program is only for the Army, there are other programs out there to help with childcare for all branches. Childcare Aware of America offers programs through the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marine Corps. They have partnered with the US Military and the Department of Defense to serve and support military and DoD families.
They offer Fee Assistance and Respite childcare, which is very helpful for special needs families. They have created a network of more than 10,000 licensed childcare providers.
With creations like this new AER program, more and more military spouses will be able to follow their own career paths. This is not only good for the military family but can also help with military retention rates, and create a stronger military overall.