By Olivia Rigby
Did you know that the Army has a nonprofit organization called Army Emergency Relief (AER)? No? Well, let us enlighten you! One of the major goals of Army Emergency Relief is to help provide financial assistance to military families in need. But what type of financial assistance is available through AER, and how does one qualify for their assistance? Keep reading to learn more about what the program provides and how to qualify for it.

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What Does Army Emergency Relief Do?

Army Emergency Relief provides zero-interest loans or grants to qualifying Soldiers and families. There’s also an Army Emergency Relief scholarship available to military spouses and dependents (applications for the scholarship are due each spring).

What Can AER Help With?

The Army Emergency Relief Fund can help with pretty much everything under the sun (well, almost everything). They can’t help with things like vacations, fines, legal expenses, home improvements or purchases, or bad checks. But they can help with things like home payments, including rent and mortgage payments. They can also help with vehicle repairs, medical expenses, food, PCS expenses, home appliance repairs/replacements, home heating and cooling repairs/replacements, emergency travel, utilities and utility deposits, funeral expenses, car seats, vehicle rentals, loss of funds, furniture replacement, and paycheck problems. It’s a long list! AER is a great option for many people. Officials in the organization also recently started a fund for Soldiers leaving the military and transitioning back into civilian life. The AER is offering grants to Soldiers attending an approved Career Skills Program. The Career Skills Program gives Soldiers opportunities to participate in pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, on-the-job training, internships, job shadowing, and more. Soldiers are still able to receive their full pay and benefits during the Career Skills Program. The grant from the AER program helps Soldiers cover travel costs, lodging, work attire and/or supplies, and food and utilities.

Who Qualifies for the Army Emergency Relief?

The answer to this question is pretty easy: pretty much every active-duty Soldier and their dependents qualify for AER help. Even military and medical retirees, widows, and orphans of Soldiers who died in active duty can qualify for help from Army Emergency Relief! Guard members and Reserve members who have been activated for at least 30 days also qualify for funds from the Army Emergency Relief program.

How To Get AER Help

As with most organizations like this, in order to receive help from AER, you have to prove that you need help. You need to fill out the program’s forms, provide documentation that financial assistance is needed, and present your identification. You can fill out the forms online and bring them to an AER office near you. If there isn’t one near you, you can still get help from Army Emergency Relief. AER works with the American Red Cross to help those who don’t live near an AER location. For more information, the Army Emergency Relief phone number is

1 (866) 878-6378

. The phone number through the Red Cross is

1 (877) 272-7337

, then select option 1 for financial assistance.

Repaying Your Loan

One of the biggest benefits of the Army Emergency Relief program is the zero-interest loans. Payments will be determined by your AER officer and can be paid through a paycheck allotment, meaning that the AER will automatically take out your payment with each paycheck. This can be set up by the AER. You can also make your payments online, through check, or by money order. The Army Emergency Relief program is a fantastic nonprofit organization that can help you out in a bind. This organization offers zero-interest loans and grants that can help you with house payments, PCS expenses, vehicle repairs, and much, much more. AER is great for anyone in need of immediate assistance!

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