As an active-duty soldier or service member, you have the aptitude, intelligence and temperament to effectively handle stressful situations that most people will never encounter, let alone solve. But if you're in the midst of a financial crisis, you may feel like the dilemma is beyond your paygrade to figure out all on your own.
An Army Emergency Relief (AER) Loan may be able to help. But you likely have a number of questions, like what is an AER Loan? Do you have to actually be in this branch of the service to qualify for one? How does an Army Emergency Relief Loan work? What can the funds of such a loan go toward? What does not qualify as a financial emergency?
Let's get to the bottom of what AER Loans are all about; it may very well be a good choice for financial assistance as an active-duty member of the military or spouse of one.
What is an AER Loan?
Since 1942, when the non-profit organization Army Emergency Relief was originally founded (by then Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall), AER loans have served as a helping hand to millions of soldiers and service members in need of financial assistance. Indeed, since Sept. 11, 2001, over $1 billion has been given to active-duty service members and their families from all around the world. Back in the early 1940s, in the midst of World War II, both Marshall and Stimson were alarmed by the dire financial straits many of those involved in the Japanese and European theaters were in. As a result, the AER was born, which has supplied at least 4 million soldiers with over $2 billion in interest-free financial assistance in the intervening years.
How does an AER Loan work?
At its core, an AER Loan is designed to provide soldiers and service members, as well as their immediate family members (i.e. spouse) with financial assistance for urgent situations. There are three general ways to apply. You can talk to your chain of command, visit your local AER officer or call the American Red Cross.
If a soldier or service member is not available, a spouse can also apply for AER assistance, but they may need a special power of attorney if they're requesting the assistance on behalf of their service member spouse, an account allotment and authorization form (i.e. AER Form 55) as well as an email from the active duty soldier. However, the email must come from their ".mil" account, which corroborates that they are, in fact, a member of the military.
The content of the email should state their acknowledgement and agreement with the amount of funds requested in the original application.
Do you have to be in the Army to qualify for an Army Emergency Relief Loan?
Generally speaking, yes. In accordance with Army Regulation 930-4, a prerequisite is that applicants must be soldiers who are on active duty. But you can also be in the National Guard and activated on Title 10 orders for 30 days or longer. Those who are widowed, retired from the service or who are orphans of a mother or father who died in battle are eligible for AER assistance as well.
At Omni Financial, we understand every situation is different, so we treat each application individually. We are here to help every step of the way. Plus, our application process is straightforward and quick. It takes you little time to complete. Additionally, they're not confined to those in the Army. Whether you're part of the Marines, Navy, Coast Guard or Air Force, a military loan is available to you, either active duty or career-retired.
What can the proceeds from an AER Loan be used for?
One of the greatest aspects of AER assistance is the funds can go toward a plethora of expenses, some of which you may not necessarily classify as extremely "emergency" in nature. These include bills, late car payments, temporary lodging, utilities and repairs. Some of the more common situations in which service members apply for funds include issues like medical bills, funeral expenses due to an untimely death, emergency travel, food and natural disasters.
At the same time, though, AER funds do have their limits. You can see a list at the non-profit organization's website, but some of the things that do not qualify as emergencies include:
- Ordinary leave or vacation
- Business ventures
- Luxury purchases
- Consolidation of outstanding debts
- Education expenses
This is another reason why you may want to choose Omni Financial. While we do have eligibility requirements, you have more flexibility for what and how you use the proceeds. We provide loans for any needs you may have any life events including emergencies – which some people call emergency loans. We also have debt consolidation loans to help you repay existing debts and rebuild your financial standing. We work with you to find the best solution for your financial needs.
What is the interest rate for AER assistance?
This may be the best aspect of Army Emergency Relief Loan; they're 100% interest-free. This means that while you do have to pay the money back, interest doesn't accrue, so you're only responsible for the dollar amount that you take out. How you pay the money back is up to you, but it's generally done in installments over a set number of months — most commonly, $1,500 over 15 months.
While Army emergency relief provides service members options, you have even more choices by selecting Omni Financial. Regardless of your military branch or what you'd like to use the funds for, you can do more with a military loan from us at Omni Financial, including your needs for an emergency military loan. Contact Omni Financial today and get the money you need fast.
The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.