When I was a brand new spouse, I often felt lost among the tons of websites and resources that were available to me, not sure where to find information or how to get a certain task done with the tools in front of me. There are so many different places to find information for military families that it often can become overwhelming. And many times, the military has a slightly different name for something than civilians do, so you might feel lost trying to look up something specific. Because really, why would the military make it easy and call a paycheck a paycheck? Nope, it’s something else entirely. (You’ll have to read on to find out its official name!)
I’ve sifted through a ton of websites for you and have some of the most important ones that will come in handy. Set up a folder in your bookmarks just for military stuff and save these 8 websites. You’ll need them… probably more than you think you will.
The official website of the military’s health care plan, TRICARE, is where you need to go to understand your benefits and how you can use them. Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs and make sure you’re registered so you can be your best advocate for your health and your family’s.
SECO stands for Spouse Education and Career Opportunities. Keep your eye on this page for career and education resources from the government including hiring fairs, updates on policy and legislation that affect you, and job searches.
United We Serve
Many milspouses fill their resume gaps with volunteering opportunities. Check out United We Serve if you’re looking for volunteering opportunities in your area, whether you’re new to your area or not.
This website is the official website of the GI Bill—something you’ll need to know inside and out if you or your spouse is thinking about using it. The website, hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has everything you need to know, including a tool that allows you to compare schools and constant updates on legislation affecting the benefits of the GI Bill.
You might not be PCSing just yet but put this website in your back pocket for when you do. This is the military’s website for everything regarding military moves, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it closer to your move.
Many military spouses qualify for the $4,000 education grant from the government called MyCAA. Interested in how to apply for and use it? This website is for you—it’s the official portal for the program. Don’t let $4,000 sit on the table—go use it!
Learn to Read an LES
LES stands for Leave and Earning Statement—just a super-specific way the military says “paycheck.” This is a document (it’s a download, but it’s safe!) that breaks down each part of the LES and explains it. Print it out and keep it on hand—you never know when you might need to pull it out and use it when your spouse is away.
DEERS is the military’s giant database of military personnel and their dependents. If you don’t exist on DEERS, the military doesn’t know you exist and you won’t have access to things like an ID or health care. You’ll need to go on base to get enrolled in DEERS, but after that, you can make changes to (most) information through this website.
If you’re not-so-new to the military, what websites would you add to make this a more comprehensive list?