Soldiers and their families will be able to get help covering child-care costs when they move to new duty stations. As of Feb. 1, Army Emergency Relief (AER) is offering $500 per month for three consecutive months, through its childcare assistance program. The money would come as a no-interest loan, a grant, or a combination of both – depending upon financial need.
Soldiers already get some help offsetting childcare costs at new duty stations through the Army Fee Assistance Program. Nevertheless, the $1,500 per child per month it offers still leaves it to each soldier to cover an additional average of $275 out of pocket – particularly when base childcare centers are full.
“Right now, the capacity for the on-post childcare facilities isn’t able to meet the demand,” said retired Lt. Gen, Ray Mason, director of AER. “The Army is looking at that, trying to figure out how they can expand.”
Soldiers who are active-duty, National Guard or Reservists can qualify for the program. To do so, they have to have permanent-change-of-station (PCS) orders to a location inside the continental U.S. They also will need to provide AER with proof of their out-of-pocket expenses, as well as monthly validations of their financial situation.
AER also announced a plan to offer as much as $2,500 for spouses, to cover costs of relicensing when they move to another state.
“The employment of spouses is an important goal for the Army, and we want to assist with that,” Mason said.