Active and retired United States Army personnel and their families may be eligible for an interest-free loan from Army Emergency Relief, or AER, a non-profit organization that receives no government assistance or taxpayer funds. AER also works with Army commanders to help active personnel experiencing financial difficulties, although those of a certain rank may be able to contact AER directly rather than go through their commanding officers. As of publication, there are 78 AER offices around the world on Army installations, or you can apply through the AER website.
Who is Eligible
Retired and active duty personnel, spouses and children are eligible for AER assistance. This includes reservists with 30 or more consecutive days of active duty. Your spouse can apply while you are deployed as long as she has power of attorney and a military identification card. You and your family are also eligible if you are at least 60 years old and retired from active or qualifying reserve duty, or obtained a military retirement. Widows, widowers and orphans of any qualifying Army member are also eligible.
Apply for an AER loan for any emergency, including food, housing, utilities, vehicle repairs and medical expenses. The list is long, so prove you have a need and provide documentation such as repair estimates or receipts with your application. You cannot get AER help for vacations or non-emergency leave, or for legal fees, fines or debts. AER will also not help with home purchases or improvements.
Amounts and Repayment
There is no ceiling on the amount AER can give but granting the entire amount is discretionary. Repayment extensions may be granted if necessary. Some applicants may be eligible for a grant that doesn’t need to be repaid.