KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Army Emergency Relief is a private 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that was established to provide funds to assist Soldiers with immediate unforeseen financial needs such as rent, utilities, emergency travel, etc.
This year marks the 78th year that the AER has supported soldiers and their families.
“Army Emergency Relief is the only non-profit organization in the military that provides interest-free loans, grants, loan / grant combinations and scholarships for active duty, retirees and their families,” said Paul Collins, AER officer in the US Army Rheinland-Pfalz garrison.
Some people confuse AER with the Combined Federal Campaign, which allows the military to donate to a number of organizations. While both are worthy of donation, there is a difference.
The USAG Rheinland-Pfalz 2021 awareness and donation campaign will run from March to May via unit representatives and social media.
“The campaign will publicize the programs available through Army Emergency Relief in addition to seeking campaign donations to continue to meet the needs of soldiers and families where they serve,” said Monica Teel, Financial Readiness Program Supervisor USAG RP Army Community Service. .
Although the AER campaign is expected to run from March to May 2021, unit representatives will begin their training as early as January.
“AER is a unique, nonprofit financial aid organization, with 90 cents of every dollar donated to help soldiers and their families,” Collins said. “AER is intended to be a soldier’s first choice when requesting emergency financial assistance. “
In 2019, the AER provided $ 70 million in interest-free loans and grants to 40,000 U.S. Army families, according to the AER’s website at www.armyemergencyrelief.org.
However, the AER cannot provide financial assistance for all financial emergencies that a soldier or his family may face. Limits include debt consolidation, legal fees, home improvement projects, or funding for regular vacation or vacation.
“Most of our assistance cases involve auto repair, utilities, rent, and emergency travel. One case, for example, was an interest-free loan given to a young married soldier who had approved time off to attend the funeral of his spouse’s grandfather, ”Collins said.
The AER has made changes to some of its policies to support soldiers and their families currently affected by COVID-19.
One change in particular is the Home and Distance Education Assistance Program. This program helps military families meet the costs of home schooling and virtual or distance learning supplies and equipment, providing up to $ 1,500 in loans, grants, or a combination. both related to unforeseen expenses incurred as a result of the classroom transition to a virtual environment.
The AER also provides emergency funds to orphans of soldiers and surviving spouses, and offers undergraduate scholarships to spouses and children of active and retired soldiers.
Soldiers, regardless of rank, can begin their application process by contacting ACS at the Kaiserslautern reception or Baumholder ACS for an application package using the direct access program. However, if a soldier has less than a year of service, they will need a recommendation from their chain of command before their request can be approved.