New Year, New Boost

New Year, New Boost

person holding sparkler under fireworks with the letters 2023 over image

It’s the time of year for new beginnings and making resolutions to become better. If improving your finances is also high on your list, I have some great news to share. This year, military families can look forward to some financial relief thanks to several new or expanded programs.

The new boost to military families’ pocketbooks is a result of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) recent Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families initiative. This initiative aims to help better meet families’ basic needs, expand opportunities for spouse employment and provide more options for affordable child care.

Securing the home front financially

Income boosts: Military families can look for a 4.6% bump in service member’s base pay beginning this month, thanks to the new federal budget. The increase can help with rising prices and provide a little budget relief.

Also starting this month, junior service members’ families might be eligible for a monthly Basic Needs Allowance (BNA).The allowance is intended to raise the household income of lower income service members with large families to 130% [1] of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The amount of BNA will depend on gross household income, household size (member plus dependents) and location. Visit the DoD BNA resource page to learn more about BNA.

Grocery bill relief: I have really been feeling inflation at the grocery store. To provide relief to military families’ grocery bills, the DoD recently boosted funding to commissaries, and military families can save up to 5% more on average each grocery run, or at least 25% compared to civilian food stores. As a mother of two hungry teenagers, I can attest every bit helps.

Helping with child care costs

Child care is a central issue for many military families. Worrying about cost, availability and our children’s well-being can be stressful and time consuming — I know, I’ve been there. It’s a big reason why the DoD is upping its child care relief to military families, which includes:

  • Building new child development centers on installations and repairing and renovating its existing centers.
  • Increasing access to off-installation child care to include more options and offset the cost via military fee assistance.
  • Providing a pilot program offering in-home care fee assistance to service members who use in-home providers, such as nannies or babysitters.
  • Giving a 50% discount for the first child of military child development program direct-care workers.

Learn more about the new options, or request care on MilitaryChildCare.com. And share this helpful information with your fellow military families.

Expanding MilSpouse employment options and more

I’m excited to let MilSpouses know that now we have more options to find work and boost our family’s income. Starting this month, a new pilot program provides military spouses with paid private-sector fellowships. This is part of the successful Military Spouse Employment Partnership, which connects MilSpouses with over 600 employer partners.

DoD is revising its telework policy to include remote work and domestic employees teleworking overseas. Doing so lets the DoD more quickly hire qualified military spouses. The military is also speeding up the ability of licensed professionals, like those working in health care and education, to begin work immediately upon their service member’s relocation rather than having to become licensed in another state first. I’ll keep you updated on progress on this front. Meanwhile, learn more about these expanded work options. And keep up with new developments by checking out Spouse Education and Career Opportunities, as well as MilSpouse Money Mission’s new content on employment and self-employment options.

Finally, service members in pay grades E1 to E6 who have a permanent change of station move this year may get an increase in Dislocation Allowance. DoD has also extended the Temporary Lodging Expense for all service members. Learn more about these and other changes.

This is all great news to help us with our financial goals this year. As I make my resolutions, I use the SMART method. This means setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This way, I can check in throughout the year to see if I’m on track.

What are your new year resolutions? We would love to hear from you, and have opened the comment feature on our blog. Please share your thoughts and experiences with us!

[1] Authorized percentage as of January 1, 2023.

 

Mandi Moynihan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who has been with MilSpouse Money Mission since its inception. She also served in the Army and is the spouse of a retired service member.

 

 

MilSpouse Money Mission® is a Department of Defense resource that offers FREE personal financial education specifically geared toward military spouses. There is a Money Ready guide for various stages of financial life, a MilLife Milestones section to help you through the big moments in your military journey, a blog, spouse videos, quizzes, calculators and more!

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person holding sparkler under fireworks with the letters 2023 over image

It’s the time of year for new beginnings and making resolutions to become better. If improving your finances is also high on your list, I have some great news to share. This year, military families can look forward to some financial relief thanks to several new or expanded programs.

The new boost to military families’ pocketbooks is a result of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) recent Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families initiative. This initiative aims to help better meet families’ basic needs, expand opportunities for spouse employment and provide more options for affordable child care.

Securing the home front financially

Income boosts: Military families can look for a 4.6% bump in service member’s base pay beginning this month, thanks to the new federal budget. The increase can help with rising prices and provide a little budget relief.

Also starting this month, junior service members’ families might be eligible for a monthly Basic Needs Allowance (BNA).The allowance is intended to raise the household income of lower income service members with large families to 130% [1] of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The amount of BNA will depend on gross household income, household size (member plus dependents) and location. Visit the DoD BNA resource page to learn more about BNA.

Grocery bill relief: I have really been feeling inflation at the grocery store. To provide relief to military families’ grocery bills, the DoD recently boosted funding to commissaries, and military families can save up to 5% more on average each grocery run, or at least 25% compared to civilian food stores. As a mother of two hungry teenagers, I can attest every bit helps.

Helping with child care costs

Child care is a central issue for many military families. Worrying about cost, availability and our children’s well-being can be stressful and time consuming — I know, I’ve been there. It’s a big reason why the DoD is upping its child care relief to military families, which includes:

  • Building new child development centers on installations and repairing and renovating its existing centers.
  • Increasing access to off-installation child care to include more options and offset the cost via military fee assistance.
  • Providing a pilot program offering in-home care fee assistance to service members who use in-home providers, such as nannies or babysitters.
  • Giving a 50% discount for the first child of military child development program direct-care workers.

Learn more about the new options, or request care on MilitaryChildCare.com. And share this helpful information with your fellow military families.

Expanding MilSpouse employment options and more

I’m excited to let MilSpouses know that now we have more options to find work and boost our family’s income. Starting this month, a new pilot program provides military spouses with paid private-sector fellowships. This is part of the successful Military Spouse Employment Partnership, which connects MilSpouses with over 600 employer partners.

DoD is revising its telework policy to include remote work and domestic employees teleworking overseas. Doing so lets the DoD more quickly hire qualified military spouses. The military is also speeding up the ability of licensed professionals, like those working in health care and education, to begin work immediately upon their service member’s relocation rather than having to become licensed in another state first. I’ll keep you updated on progress on this front. Meanwhile, learn more about these expanded work options. And keep up with new developments by checking out Spouse Education and Career Opportunities, as well as MilSpouse Money Mission’s new content on employment and self-employment options.

Finally, service members in pay grades E1 to E6 who have a permanent change of station move this year may get an increase in Dislocation Allowance. DoD has also extended the Temporary Lodging Expense for all service members. Learn more about these and other changes.

This is all great news to help us with our financial goals this year. As I make my resolutions, I use the SMART method. This means setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This way, I can check in throughout the year to see if I’m on track.

What are your new year resolutions? We would love to hear from you, and have opened the comment feature on our blog. Please share your thoughts and experiences with us!

[1] Authorized percentage as of January 1, 2023.

 

Mandi Moynihan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who has been with MilSpouse Money Mission since its inception. She also served in the Army and is the spouse of a retired service member.

 

 

MilSpouse Money Mission® is a Department of Defense resource that offers FREE personal financial education specifically geared toward military spouses. There is a Money Ready guide for various stages of financial life, a MilLife Milestones section to help you through the big moments in your military journey, a blog, spouse videos, quizzes, calculators and more!

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