Do military caregivers need a financial hotline? What are the benefits of having one?

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Since becoming a caregiver, have you thought about retirement planning—and felt you needed advice about it? What about education goals? Or my favorite … advice about ways to best save for emergencies? Anyone who handles money at one time or another in their lives will have the need to learn more about these and other crucial financial issues.

Over the next few months, my aim is to feature a series of posts about the Military Caregiver Financial Hotline tool, and the areas of financial support that are available to the military caregiver through this dedicated hotline. As caregivers, most of us have sacrificed our careers when we’ve taken on our caregiving roles, and as a result, experienced devastating financial losses due to a decline in our career compensation and, basically, a transition from active duty to retirement income.  The 2014 Rand Report commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation shows the staggering statistics of the financial challenges that military caregivers have faced resulting from the unexpected need to care for a loved one who has become ill from or has been injured or wounded in service. The report further explains that financial losses and challenges are among the primary issues that a military caregiver will face.
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Being forced with a decision to resign from a career to care for our loved ones is a common event among those who care for loved ones.  As a former educator, I know. Being forced to learn how to navigate a whole new set of skills as a caregiver, and having to face the reality of losing my practice as an educator, full-time and outside the home, certainly took a toll on my financial portfolio.Three organizations are available through this hotline to offer support to military caregivers: MOAA, for those military caregivers who are MOAA members; Psych Armor, for those military caregivers with immediate financial problems or facing imminent crisis; or USAA, for those military caregivers who are in need of financial planning. It isn’t required for the caregiver to be a member of/or registered with MOAA, USAA, or Psych Armor to receive support through the Military Caregiver Financial Hotline.

The Military Caregiver Financial Hotline is a tool designed to help military caregivers overcome financial challenges that we face as a result of the chaotic twist of events that occur in our lives after adjusting our careers to care for a loved one injured during, ill from, or wounded in military service. Most of us were dealt a devastating blow that affected the outlook of our financial futures. However, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation has stepped up to offer another means that gives relief to military caregivers. Here are the specific details:

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  • Military Caregiver Financial Hotline — (888) 503-1168. Lines are open and available 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, Eastern time.
  • A call center representative screens the caregiver with questions to determine the best organization to refer him/her to: USAA, MOAA, or Psych Armor.
  • Caregivers are asked if they are a member of MOAA, as well as a series of other questions. Again, as a military caregiver, you are not required to be a member of MOAA, USAA, Psych Armor, or any other organization in order to receive support. The questions are only to help the call center recommend the best option for you to support your needs.

When I reached out to the call center and spoke with an agent, I discovered that each of the organizations offers positive options for caregivers, and each provides very distinctive benefits to caregivers. Like every caregiver who calls, I was prompted to discuss my particular situation and needs so the agent could direct me to the most appropriate organization to fit my family’s needs. In my case, USAA suited us best and offered information on the following:

  • Retirement planning and insurance
  • Investments
  • Debt management
  • Savings goals
  • Estate planning
  • Life insurance needs
  • Medical insurance needs
  • Medicare and non-Medicare products
  • Auto and home owner insurance
  • Credit scores
  • Education goals

Military Caregiver Hotline

Each caller will benefit from learning about which of the organizations suits their needs best, as each of these organizations offers solid advice and assistance to military caregivers in search of help. I highly recommend that all caregivers use the Military Caregiver Financial Hotline to gain helpful guidance on their financial needs, whatever they are. Those who do will feel much relief and a sense of security as they gain control over their financial future!

 

 

 

 

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