Are you a new milspouse or soon-to-be new milspouse? There are some basic things that every milspouse needs to know when they say “I do” to their servicemember!
If your spouse enrolled you (and your kids) in DEERS. You’ve gotta be enrolled in DEERS in order to get your dependent ID (read: your golden ticket) and most importantly, receive TriCare benefits (health insurance and dental program).
Are you a same-sex milspouse? We’re proud LGBT allies. Our friends at the American Military Partners Association have resources about understanding military benefits for same-sex couples.
Exactly what TriCare covers and how to enroll in the dental program. There’s a ton of misinformation out there, so you’ve got to separate the fact from the fiction. Your spouse has to enroll you and your family in the dental program (managed by MetLife)…it’s not automatic and it’s not free, but it is cheap.
Where to get an ID card (and how to take a great ID card picture). Why? Because you will lose your ID card at least once, and it will probably be when your spouse is gone. You should also be sure to have a current Power of Attorney so you can take care of nabbing a new ID card sans spouse. Oh, and practice in the mirror so you don’t look like a convict in the picture. That’ll be the ID Card you wish you’d lose but won’t.
If you are your spouse’s second (or third) marriage, did your spouse update her or his beneficiary designation for SGLI? If the worst were to happen, you don’t want to have to duke it out with your spouse’s ex about benefits. Also, you are automatically covered under Family SGLI. While you’re at it, make sure you both update your wills. It’s free ninety-nine if via your legal office on base!
Decide if you are going to remain a state resident of your home of record or not. If your state doesn’t have an income tax, you might want to remain a resident of that state or if your new state doesn’t have one, you may want to be a resident of that state. You DO NOT have to change your license every time you move, unless you make that state your new state of residence or if it’s state law.
Your spouse’s social security number. You might not know your own, but you better know theirs because you need it for everything. Literally. Everything.
Become your spouse’s emergency contact. That is if you want to be the first one told if something were to happen. Some people would rather hear it from a family member.
Where the Commissary, Exchange, Class Six, Gas Station, and ITT/MWR are located. We know you may prefer to shop off post, but it’s still good to know where these things are just in case. Plus, if you’re a savvy shopper, you can price match and save on tax. Cha-ching!
What services are available to you as a military spouse. Definitely take advantage of what’s out there. It’s probably more than you think. You can join a spouses’ group for social networking and to learn the milspouse ropes. A great place to start connecting with career, education, and support resources is through your local Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC), Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), Army Community Service (ACS), or Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS).
Whether or not you are going to live on- or off-base. If you choose to live off-base, learn what and where the black-listed and unsafe areas are located . A good place to start researching you new assignment is by joining the base’s official Facebook group/page.
How to unpack a house in under a week. This will just make you happy. Living in unpacked house just doesn’t feel right. The sooner you unpack, the sooner you feel settled, which is important in this crazy lifestyle!
How to make every house a home. By putting your own personal stamp on every place you live, and making it “home” whether it’s for 6 months or 6 years you will feel better and more relaxed.
Remember…everything is temporary. Whether you hate or love you new home, remember, it’s just for a short period of time. Be flexible, embrace the adventure, and by the time you figure it all out, you’ll be itching to move again!
Learn what OPSEC is and maintain it…ALWAYS! During times of conflict, OPSEC is critical to helping to keep service members safe. Any sort of troop movements, even R&R travel, is NOT information intended for public consumption, EVER! Talking about where your service member is when deployed or posting on Facebook when they will be home for R&R is a bad idea. Information about dates when troops are leaving or returning from deployment, when or to where they moving or operating while deployed (this is information you should never have, by the way), or even when your service member is coming home for R&R, is confidential information that should never be shared on social media, email, via phone, or in public! Michelle!)