Benefits Of An Army Wife – Mrs. Haven Crites, wife of the Grand Master. James Crates, 9th Operations Group Superintendent (right), is presented with the Husband’s Medal during his husband’s retirement ceremony. (Photo: US Air Force photo/Airman Sgt. Bobby Cummings.)
As a wife, you spend months waiting for your service member to come home from a long deployment or deployment, all while taking care of your home and family. You’ve handled career challenges for yourself, planning disasters, moving out of the country, and anything else Murphy’s Law can throw at you.
Benefits Of An Army Wife
But aside from a long break from life’s challenges, what’s in it for you in retirement? Even though your service member is the one wearing the uniform every day, retirement is not without benefits for spouses or ways you can still benefit from the community.
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And even though all the benefits available to you are due to your spouse’s service, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take full advantage.
Health and dental care. After retirement, you are eligible to continue using Tricare, the health care system. If you are close to the base, you can see a treatment center or hospital if that is your choice. You can also enroll in a retiree dental plan.
Commissions and trading privileges. Now that you’re no longer part of the active workforce, you may find that your living expenses increase. But as a retired woman, you still have access to recall and exchange systems. While how much you’ll save at these stores over civilian markets is often a hotly debated topic, everyone agrees that there are some benefits to shopping.
Accommodation and entertainment. As a retiree, you still have access to living and recreational facilities. While there are some rules that limit who can stay and live abroad, most of them allow for retirement. Maybe now is the time to take that bachelorette or bachelorette vacation you’ve been dreaming of for the past 10 years.
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The GI Bill and education benefits. If your service member issued your 9/11 GI Bill while he was still on active duty, you can use it to go back to school. This will give you a monthly housing allowance, an annual stipend for books and, depending on where you go to school, cover all tuition and fees. The GI Bill must be received while the service member is on active duty for it to be available.
If you don’t have the GI Bill and your service member dies, you may be eligible for survivor and dependent education benefits.
Survivor Benefit Plan. If your service member has a survivor benefit plan, an insurance policy, at the time of retirement, you will have access to that money after his or her death. This plan can be complex and confusing, so go here for a full explanation.
VA benefits after your service member dies. Even though a service member’s pension checks end when he or she dies, you still have access to dependent and disability compensation and a veteran’s death pension.
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Before my husband went on his second deployment to Iraq, he and I were going through a particularly difficult window in our relationship and were virtually always at war. We argued about stupid things, things that didn’t matter, but somehow neither of us wanted to let anything go. I remember telling this to another woman in the past and being amazed at how much harder the build seemed to be than when she first visited. I felt like I was out of my mind and worried about being employed in this position.
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She just smiled and said, “Let me give you a piece of advice, my dear. If you want to marry a sailor and stay that way, you need to know how big you are in life.” You can’t decide. It took him six weeks before he returned. If you do, I’ll drive you crazy because you’re both sane now.”
It was the best advice I ever received, and honestly one of the biggest reasons my husband and I are still (happily) together. It got me thinking about how many other pearls of wisdom are floating around in our women’s community just waiting to be discovered. So we took the opportunity to speak to a few women and pick their dirty brains about their best advice.
As for the tips
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