"What every Military Spouse should know"

Jul 19, 2004

The Bottom Line The military will not let the member abandon their spouse or children financially so please read on...

I have decided to write a piece on something I have been told I am an expert on. I am writing about “What every Military Spouse should know ”..when separated from the member. Those that have called me the “expert” on this subject are many Military members that I have known over the years and who were amazed at how much information I have acquired on this subject. Some were even shocked that they learned a thing or two from me and many swore to never introduce me to their wives.

Majority were surprised at the extent of my knowledge on dependent entitlements. This is where I must give thanks to my ex husband who was and still is in the Navy. He is the man who brought home a book for me to read that basically detailed and spelled out all that the Navy has to offer a spouse/ or dependent. I think the Navy has burned all books since because in over 10 years I have yet to come across another one or even meet another spouse who has read one.. For this piece all terms are for the Navy and may differ for each branch of the military but the benefits are all the same.

I want to make clear that this is not to take the place of any legal advice from an attorney and this information is basically only good for those married couples that are not legally separated or divorced. The reason being once you are legally separated or divorced any court papers filed will take precedent on any monetary entitlements.

I am sure many are wondering why am I writing this? Well over the years I have seen and heard stories of many spouses (mostly females) with and without children who have been completely cut off from all monies and housing that they were once receiving because they were told they weren’t entitled to anything which is WRONG. Most spouses are under the assumption that the military will only take care of the member and not the member’s family, which is so untrue.

Summary of what I consider the Three most important Benefits

**** One of the most important things that they are entitled to is the BAH ( Basic allowance for Housing). It doesn’t matter how much it is or if you have kids. If the member is collecting the dependent rate it belongs to the dependent not the member.
If the spouse and military member are living in housing… MOVE OUT and the BAH should automatically start.

If the member refuses and the spouse moves out, the spouse can then notify the housing office. After 30 days, the member must vacate unless there are children still residing in the house with them member. I have seen instances where the member actually had to pay more then BAH because there were more children involved.

**** The second most important thing is the military ID. The member cannot take the ID away from their spouse. It isn’t not their property it is the property of the Federal Government. Spouses are entitled to this ID and should notify the member command if it is taken away.

**** Medical is the third. Spouses are entitled to this until your divorce is final. Under certain circumstances you may keep your medical but these apply to couples married for longer periods of time and there are cetain guidelines that fall into place.

I have learned these things from first hand experience and lots of reading through various military manuals over the years. I have also learned that calling a member’s command is the fastest way to get any help if he refuses. I do suggest you talk to anyone that is an E-7 or above… these will get the fastest response for your predicament. I do want point out that the command should only be called as a last resort. Things like this may only hurt the members career which in turn may have an after affect on the spouse.

I am going to end this now before I keep going and going…More things just keep popping into my head. Thanks for reading and I hope this can help some of those who need it most.

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