Sunday, February 28, 2010

In a Money Bind? Consider Army Emergency Relief

I love to read about programs the directly impact Soldiers and their Families in a positive way. It's often too easy to see only the struggles that come along with being an Army Family, so encountering programs that make life easier is always welcomed.

One such program is the Army Emergency Relief fund. Wow; what a great idea! This program uses it's funds to help Soldiers in need. Simple concept, but a true lifesaver for anyone who finds themselves in need.

In a recent Army News Service article, the program announced that it's 2010 campaign begins this week.

From the AER Website:
AER is a private nonprofit organization incorporated in 1942 by the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff. AER's sole mission is to help soldiers and their dependents.

AER is the Army's own emergency financial assistance organization and is dedicated to "Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own". AER provides commanders a valuable asset in accomplishing their basic command responsibility for the morale and welfare of soldiers.

AER funds are made available to commanders having AER Sections to provide emergency financial assistance to soldiers - active & retired - and their dependents when there is a valid need.

AER funds made available to commanders are not limited and are constrained only by the requirement of valid need.

For these reasons, the AER assistance program is conducted within the Army structure by major commanders and their installation/organization commanders through AER sections and other related organizations.

Typically, it seems that AER loans (which are always interest free!) have been under $1,000 and granted for terms between 12 and 24 months.

Some information from Andrew H. Cohen, AER deputy director for finance, found in the online article:

"Not only are extensions possible, but if repaying a loan creates an undue hardship, a Soldier can convert the loan to a grant," Cohen said. "There's no boiler plate solution to take care of a Soldier and his Family."

Cohen said the loan process has become easier for requests under $1,000 due to the command referral program whereby company commanders and first sergeants have the authority to approve a loan. Local installation AER sections can approve cases up to $3,500. For more than $3,500 in emergency funds, the local AER will forward the case to AER headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

It's not uncommon for an emergency fund request to be dropped off at the local base AER office in the morning, then return at lunch to pick up their assistance checks. Cohen said it's much quicker and easier than going outside the gate and having to pay a huge interest rate.

Read the full article and get the details here:

Army Emergency Relief Campaign Begins March 1

During the Army Emergency Relief campaign this year, AER officials want to promote awareness to Soldiers and their Families that donations generate interest-free loans to fellow Soldiers and Families in times of need.

Founded in 1942, the AER has provided more than $1.2 billion in assistance, and in the last five years alone has distributed nearly $300 million to more than 280,000 Soldiers and Families for unforeseen cash flow problems.

For more information, visit Army Well-Being: Your Financial Life

Also, participate in our Quick Poll: Where is your family financially?


Leader2Leader said...

Thanks for sharing this! We'll share this with our FRG Leaders so they can get the word out to Soldiers and their Families, too.

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