Marrying into the Navy? Here are five useful tips to make the transition smoother.
Tying the knot is no small venture. However, there is nothing quite like marrying into the military. It is often a new and foreign territory and it can be quite difficult to fig
ure out where to begin. Here, you’ll find a small list of troubleshooting tips to help you get started on your new journey. Ranging from what may seem obvious to the more intricate details of military spousal
benefits, this list will help you in your early days to settle in smoothly and efficiently into your new lifestyle.
1. Keep a copy of your marriage certificate!–This may seem obvious to some, but most people either do not think to keep it on hand, leave it with a relative or old family home, or simply misplace it. However, without an original copy of your marriage certificate, your spouse will not be able to complete the necessary paperwork to enable you to receive military benefits. Save yourself the hassle and keep this thing handy. But worry not, if you need a copy, you can acquire one from the same city or county clerk’s office where the wedding was. This is also true for you and any children’s original birth
certificates. You need these certificates to be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).You, your spouse, and
any children must be registered in DEERS to receive any benefits. You also need these certificate to obtain a military ID card and to be able to be on base to get benefits.
2. Establish whether a Power of Attorney is right for you– Simply put, a Power of Attorney allows someone, the agent, to act on behalf of the
principal. This can be narrowly tailored to be used for a very specific task or constructed broadly giving the spouse discretion on day to day choices. Now, in most cases, the Navy will require the service spouse to create a Power of Attorney before going on deployment. However, it may not be a bad idea to have one already prepared. As mentioned above, they can be constructed to be very broad and can be formed so that the power begins after the occurrence of certain events such as a military deployment. It is important to note that, according to 10 U.S.C. §1044b, all states recognize a Military
Power of Attorney so this can follow you to each location the Navy may send you and will not have to be redone after each move.
3. Learn Your Resources– There are a plethora of new resources for you to use as you adjust to your new world in the military life. With being
a military spouse comes various benefits ranging from access to your local commissary all the way to many of the available family services. It may be quite daunting for you to try learn all of the community benefits you may have, let alone where to find them, but a great place to start is your base’s family services program. Here in Jacksonville, the Fleet and Family
Support Center website has plenty for you to look at. Early on the use of the base directory is quite helpful to navigate your new surroundings. You will also find child and youth resources such as youth activity or child development centers. Also, there are a multitude of support services that range from housing care to the NAS Jax Veterinary Treatment Facility. While the list of resources on the site is not exhaustive of everything available to you, it is surely a great place to start your search for many of your needs.
4.Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)– When deciding on a home for your family, you may decide that living in the designated government provided housing is not ideal. Luckily, 370 SC §403 provides for a basic allowance for housing. This is commonly known as a BAH. Essentially, this government mandated allowance offsets the cost of housing when you choose to not live on a military installation. Oftentimes, you may want your child to stay in a certain school district, have a home closer to your workplace, or simply live in a certain area of town that you like and the BAH assists you
by giving your family financial flexibility. This allowance fluctuates depending on various factors such as the geographic location, pay grade, and whether
there are dependents residing in the home. The BAH rates of each geographical location are published in the Defense Travel Management Office page.
5. Military Spouse Preference Program– Many people might not know this, but the military frequently hires civilians for Department of Defense jobs. Knowing that it may be quite difficult to maintain a steady career as a military spouse, the Military Spouse Preference Program was created. This program gives preference to military spouses applying for certain positions within the Department of Defense. Now, there are a few eligibility requirements to this. According to MililtaryOneSource, to be eligible for this
preference, you must be (1) married to an active-duty service member
(2) move with your spouse to a new duty station (3) be married before your
spouse’s reporting date (4) apply for a position within commuting distance of your spouse’s new duty station and (5) rank among the best-qualified candidates for the position. You are eligible to apply for these federal jobs within 30 days before your spouse’s reporting date.
And there you have it! Now, it is important to note that many of these details were just touched upon. Many, such as the Military Spouse Preference Program or BAH have various caveats that must be carefully navigated. However, with some due diligence, this list should set you on the right path to eliminating various issues that commonly come up in the lives of Military Families.