Military life comes with a lot of questions. What is needed for a military move? What can help kids adjust to a new home? How do you make it through a deployment?
Fortunately, the Department of Defense recognizes that military members and their families have a lot of questions. That’s why Military One Source was created to bring valuable resources to help members of the military community live their best lives.
If wading through all those resources has you a little overwhelmed, this guide is your new best friend.
Here is a list of valuable programs that you can find on Military OneSource, organized by each area in which you may need support.
Military OneSource Education Benefits
According to the Department of Defense Education Activity, “the average child in a military family will move six to nine times during a school career.” That’s a lot of adjusting to a new classroom, new teachers, and new friends.
Many of these moves are from one state to another, adding the complexity of navigating differing state standards, testing, or even graduation requirements as the child goes through school.
Fortunately, there are a lot of benefits and resources for military kids to help them as students.
- Service-specific youth and teen programs: Each branch has its own version, but almost every base has a child and youth outreach arm that is there to support military kids in all facets of their lives. From after-school activities and tutoring to sports leagues, these can be a great way for military kids to make connections with others in their new home. Many are available at the on-base library or youth center.
- Boys & Girls Club: The Boys & Girls Club of America supports military families with free membership to military kids, ages 6-18, who may not be close to one of the youth and teen centers. Programs at B&G Club cover everything from hobbies and skill-building to summer camps. Many military families take advantage of the after-school enrichment programs to give their students a study boost.
- DoD Financial Aid for Schools with Military Kids: While not a program that works directly with students, military kids benefit from additional federal funding and grants that are available to schools with a high population of military-connected students.
- Our Military Kids: Another grant opportunity, these can be used for military kids to get access to after-school activities, sports, and tutoring that can help their education.
- Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: An agreement between states, the Compact addresses common concerns that military kids face as they move schools. These include enrollment requirements, placement, gaps in attendance due to a move, eligibility, and graduation requirements.
- Military Child Education Coalition: MCEC connects students and parents to others in their new communities who have made the transition as part of military life.
You may think that the only education-related guidance out there is for parents to help their military-connected child as they move schools and have to make new friends.
Related Article: American Military University Review
But there are numerous resources for military spouses and even military members themselves to pursue education opportunities.
- GI Bill: The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides full in-state tuition as well as a housing stipend for up to 36 months of college education. This benefit is available to military members and can also be transferred to their spouse or children. Military OneSource provides guidance on how to use or transfer the eligibility.
- Service-specific education grants and scholarships: Each branch values education for both service members and spouses. Supplemental Education Grant Programs and Education Assistance Programs provide varying amounts of financial assistance to military members or spouses for undergraduate education.
- Scholarships: Military OneSource provides information for scholarships specifically available for military-connected spouses, children, and veterans.
- Tuition Assistance: The DoD pays for tuition for service members while they are on active duty.
Military OneSource Employment Services
The military is a fairly stable source of employment, even if the logistics details can be challenging to navigate. This means that it often falls to military spouses to remain flexible in their careers and turn down employment opportunities when they are facing a relocation. Military OneSource provides ways to find a meaningful career as a military spouse.
- Spouse Education and Career Opportunities: SECO career coaching can help military spouses with everything job related. From finding a new career to getting set up on a path to credentialing to providing job boards specifically designed for military spouses, you can find it all through SECO.
- Military Spouse Employment Partnership: The MSEP portal through the MySECO website provides a list of employers who have pledged to support the military community by providing job opportunities that work for military spouses.
- Service employment resources: Classes and workshops are available through installation employment readiness offices to help military members and spouses with resume building, interview skills, and other facets of finding employment.
- My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarships: These scholarships can be used by military spouses for professional licenses, certification, or associate degrees to help further their employment potential.
- Online webinars and guides: Military spouses can connect with others to talk about ways to overcome employment challenges.
Related Article: 17 Scholarships For Military Children, Spouses, And Veterans
Military members who are getting ready or have recently made the jump from military to civilian can also benefit from employment counseling and resources.
- Transition Assistance Program: Each service requires separating or retiring service members to complete a course in basic employment skills. These include writing a resume, nailing the interview, and understanding a benefits package.
- Veterans’ Employment and Training Service: The Department of Labor provides online resources for veterans seeking employment.
- Veterans.gov and USAJOBS: These job sites offer a way for veterans and military spouses to seek federal employment and jobs in critical sectors needed by the government.
Military OneSource Counseling and Mental Health Services
Military life isn’t always easy. It can take a toll on mental health—the service member, spouse, or children. Counseling services can help keep everyone ready to maintain positive relationships through the challenges.
- Military Crisis Line: Military OneSource does not provide medical care, including mental healthcare, but does connect the military community with providers. This line, 800-273-8255, is there to help in times of crisis.
- Help lines: Other hotlines include:
- Department of Defense Safe Helpline (sexual assault)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- DoD Child Abuse report line and Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
- National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
- Non-medical counseling: Military OneSource has on-call consultants to provide counseling in a variety of non-medical areas. These include health and wellness coaching, short-term concerns or questions about adjustment, marriage counseling, parenting, stress management, or grief, financial counseling, and other issues as needed.
- Service-connected support services: Each branch works hard to provide extensive programs to ensure the wellness of their military families. These are often found through Family Support Centers or installation administrative offices.
- Marriage Enrichment Programs
- Family Advocacy Programs
Military OneSource Family Life Services
Just as essential as each service member is the family that supports them from home. Military OneSource provides resources for military families to make the most of the adventure that is military life.
- Information, Tickets, and Travel Office: Find discounts on tickets to everything from Disneyworld to your local museum. This office often plans fun excursion (at a discount) for military members and their families.
- Military Kids Connect: Military kids can build camaraderie and a network of support from other kids just like them using this online platform. There are also games, virtual tours, and parent resources to help them adjust to moving, deployments, and injuries or loss.
- Operation Purple Camps: These camps are provided through the National Military Family Association and connect military kids with summer camps all over the country. There are also special options for military families and kids facing a deployment or return of an injured parent.
- Military Teen Adventure Camps: Military teens, ages 14-18, can take advantage of a DoD-sponsored opportunity to experience the joys of summer camp.
- Family Support Center: These education and activity-based centers have a full-time staff of experts ready to help every member of the military family grow and learn. From financial readiness seminars to communication strengthening workshops, you can find it at your installation’s Family Support Centers. Many also host fun activities, such as family fun runs, barbecues, and movie nights.
- Emergency Preparedness: Emergencies happen. Being prepared by knowing what resources are available and what to do during a crisis is essential. Get help preparing a basic emergency plan and learn how to help each member of the family understand it.
Military OneSource Financial Literacy Services
Whether you are just starting your career and learning to budget your new paycheck or planning for a career transition at the end of your military service, you can find valuable resources to improve your financial position.
- Financial counseling: Receive individualized financial counseling FOR FREE from Military OneSource to address your questions and concerns.
- Military retirement benefits: Still trying to figure out how the new military blended retirement system works? There are plenty of resources on Military OneSource that explain military retirement, including benefits overviews, calculators, and planning tools.
- Personal finance: If budgeting makes you nervous, use the resources at Military OneSource to make it easier. These include everything from free financial consultations to payment and debt payoff calculators. Nothing is more powerful for your financial future than making and sticking to a budget.
- Reading your LES: Find guides to using the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and MyPay, the military pay system, as well as a complete list of benefits and pay entitlements.
- Tax help: Take advantage of free tax consultations and DIY tax prep resources.
Military OneSource Relocation Services
Moving is an inevitable part of military life. But it doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. The tools below answer many of the questions that come up during a military move.
- Plan My Move tool: This DoD relocation tool provides information about moving reimbursements, checklists to prepare for a military move, and information about your new home.
- Move.mil user guide: Service members who moves with the military can use the move.mil online portal. Military OneSource breaks down all the aspects of the system, including moving allowances, scheduling pick up, shipment, and delivery of household goods, and weight allowances of household items.
- Military housing resources: Time to find a new place to live in your new home? Whether you decide to move into base housing through the housing office, rent a home in town, or buy a house, you can find resources that will help you get into your new home quickly and efficiently.
Military OneSource Disability and Special Needs Services
The military takes care of their own. This includes family members with special needs and service members who have sustained injuries or illness that impacts their mobility or lifestyle.
- Special Needs Consultants: Military OneSource has specific consultants available to those with concerns about services for a family member with special needs. Topics they cover include education, financial planning, support groups and networks, and finding services.
- Exceptional Family Member Program: EFMP ensures that military kids and spouses who require specialized care or equipment always have access to what they need. This includes connecting the military family with resources at their new duty station, helping them navigate major life transitions, and managing medical care.
- Adaptive equipment: If a military member or their family member needs special equipment to deal with limited mobility, there are numerous ways to get needed equipment.
- Disability.gov resources
- Homes for Our Troops, Inc. and Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, which provide specially adapted housing accommodations
- Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program
Military One Source Military Life Services
No matter where you are in your military career, there are specialized resources designed just with you in mind.
- Newly enlisted or commissioned: Single service members have special activities planned to help them be part of a community on base. There are also numerous sports leagues, outdoor activities, and other planned events hosted on installations around the world for military members and their families.
- Deployments: Being separated from a loved one is never easy. Military OneSource connects military members and their families with valuable deployment programs to help them during the tough days.
- Plan My Deployment tool
- Deployment Survival Webinar
- Savings Deposit Program
- Legal assistance overview
- Relocation Assistance Program
- American Red Cross for emergencies
- Veterans: Moving from military to civilian life is a huge transition for both service members and their families. Tools like the DoD Transition Assistance Program, financial planning tools, VA benefits briefings, and a guide to completing a Verification of Military Experiencing and Training form help military members navigate the transition with ease.
- Recreation resources: Make the most of your military life during your off-time through connecting with your Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Office. Rent recreation equipment, such as kayaks or sports equipment, for a fun day outdoors. You can also participate in a visit to a nearby attraction as part of an MWR-sponsored tour. MWR maintains on-base swimming pools, bowling alleys, golf courses, hiking trails, hobby shops, fitness centers, and libraries.
- MWR digital library: Can’t make it to the on-base library? Many resources are available online through the digital library. You can also access the catalog and reserve books to pick up later.
Military One Source Wounded Warriors Services
If you or a family member are wounded during military service, you can take advantage of numerous programs to help with rehabilitation or adjusting to life as a wounded warrior.
- Service-specific wounded warrior care programs: Each branch has specialized programs that assist wounded warriors, whether they will be recovering and returning to full duty or moving into civilian life.
- TRICARE services: The military medical system has many services that go beyond just repairing an injury sustained in the military. Military OneSource consultants can help provide overviews of what is available and how it may apply to each case.
- Wounded Warrior Project: This national nonprofit provides counseling, support groups, and life-affirming experiences for those who have been injured as a result of military service. It is open to those currently serving and veterans.
- Navigating VA medical benefits: Once a military member transitions out of the military, they have to learn to navigate the Veterans Affairs system for healthcare and related coverage. Military OneSource can help transitioning service members and veterans understand their benefits, which is particularly important for those with more significant needs.
- Disabled American Veterans: This and other service organizations provide support and resources for veterans who have been injured and face a different future than they envisioned.
- Resources for caregivers: Support for those who care for wounded warriors is equally important. Military OneSource connects caregivers with organizations to help them thrive in their role as caregivers:
- Military Caregiver PEER Forum Initiative
- Caregiver Resource Directory
- Military Families Learning Network
- Department of Defense Warrior Care Blog
Frequently Asked Questions
Military OneSource is a great source of information that will help service member, spouses, military kids, and veterans take advantage of valuable programs and tools that are out there. You may be wondering how to find this treasure chest of military specific info.
Here are some commonly asked questions about Military OneSource.
How do I sign up for Military OneSource?
Military OneSource is a list of resources and does not require a user to sign up. That’s right! No sign up required to access the directory of resources. To navigate through Military OneSource, use the menu in the top right corner.
To take full advantage of the resources and services, you must meet the eligibility requirements of the organization included. For example, Operation Purple camps cater to military kids of various age ranges. Other resources, such as Single Service Member programs, are available to junior enlisted members of the military. Check with each program to see if you are able to use their services.
Military OneSource counseling and consultations are available for military members and their family members to address a variety of non-medical concerns or questions. To use these and other tools on Military OneSource, you will be prompted to create a user profile and log in. You can also call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.
How do I become a provider/therapist or work with Military OneSource?
Providers who want to work with Military OneSource through their provider network should contact the provider service line at 800-397-1630 or via email at MOSProviderRelations@militaryonesource.com.
Beacon Health Options also offers an overview of joining the Military OneSource network of clinicians at their website.
Commercial organizations interested in being listed must be reviewed and approved through the Office of Military Community and Family Policy. Military OneSource recommends that organizations serving the military and veteran communities reach out to veteran and military service organizations to develop a partnership.
Is Military OneSource confidential?
All non-medical counseling services provided through Military OneSource are confidential. To be eligible to use these service, a service member or family member cannot be receiving therapy, be part of a Family Advocacy Program case, undergoing fitness-for-duty evaluation, or participating in court-ordered counseling. Some medical diagnoses or prescription drug use may impact eligibility. The scope of Military OneSource confidential counseling is to address non-medical needs and concerns.
Use of other programs or services listed on Military OneSource may or may not be confidential, based on the policies of the organization. Check with each program to learn about their policies regarding confidentiality.
Can retirees use military OneSource?
Military retirees can use Military OneSource services for up to 365 days after their retirement date, end of tour date, or discharge date. Some programs listed on Military OneSource specifically work with retirees or other veterans. Check with each program to see if you are able to use their services.