If you are a military family and you have a financial emergency, you may be eligible for an AER loan, or Army Emergency Relief Loan. The AER helps you avoid costly loans, such as payday loans as many people turn to those when they are in a pinch. The AER loan helps you stay afloat and avoid unnecessary interest and fees.
Most veterans and active duty military members qualify for the help of AER. In addition, any surviving spouses or orphans of soldiers that died during active duty or even after retirement are eligible. As long as the veteran was active in the military for at least 30 days, you may be eligible for assistance.
Ways to Use AER
Army Emergency Relief loans can help with any type of financial disaster. If it’s essential, they can help. If it’s not essential, they won’t help.
Examples of what the AER cannot help with include paying for vacations and home renovations. It also cannot help with legal expenses or to cover bad debt. But, you may find a lender or two that is willing to go above and beyond the AER requirements. Some lenders do cover things like credit card debt, debt consolidation, or even vacations.
Typically, AER loans are meant to help with:
- Covering your rent or mortgage payment if you can’t
- Travel expenses in an emergency situation, such as a family crisis
- Covering the cost of emergency vehicle repairs
- Covering the cost of car rental if your car is inoperable
- Covering the cost of funeral expenses
- Paying for food
- Making up for a paycheck you aren’t receiving due to circumstances outside of your control
- Repair of home appliances
- Repair of home utilities
- Cover the cost of furniture in an emergency
Qualifying for AER
If you have a financial emergency and you’ve served at least 30 days in the military, you may qualify. But, if you’ve been on active duty for less than 12 months, you’ll have to apply for the loan through your own unit. You must go through your chain of command to get approval for the loan.
If you’ve been on active duty for at least 12 months and/or you are retired, you can go directly to your local AER unit to apply for the loan. However, if you’ve made more than two requests for AER in the last year, you may have to go through your chain of command.
In order to obtain an AER loan, you must apply for it. You can apply online, but you’ll still have to visit the AER office to complete the process. In addition to the application, you’ll need to show a financial need. The more proof you have of your financial issue, the more likely you are to get the AER loan.
Paying Your Loan
The Army Emergency Relief loan is a loan that you must pay back. In other words, you can’t just take the money and never repay it. While it’s true that they do offer grants in some cases, typically you must repay the loan.
The good news is that they don’t charge interest or even late fees. The AER office will determine the amount of your payments based on your financial situation. You can see your loan’s status on the AER website. You will also have the option to pay the loan back via direct withdrawal from your paycheck or paying via check or money order on your own.
If you were or are in the military and are experiencing a financial crisis, consider the AER loan as a source of help. You can get the money you need to get out of the financial issue and then figure out a way to pay it back moving forward. It’s just another way of thanking you for your service to our country.