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Military spouses-help for a n00b - May 30th 2015, 01:48 AM

My partner of seven years landed a spot in a Marine Corps service band stationed in San Diego and will be enlisting. This has changed quite a few of our plans. We had already talked about marriage, and we have both wanted to marry long before he even thought about enlisting. However, marriages are expensive and we both wanted to complete school first and make sure we're living in the same location as we're both passionate about our careers and that obviously comes first. But because of this opportunity, he is now taking a few years off of school and planning to go back in a few years while I am a college graduate beginning graduate school in the fall across the country. When we first talked about it, we decided it may be beneficial for us to get married while I am in graduate school, maybe between the first and second. However, we learned from a friend that there may be benefits to us potentially getting married before attends basic/boot camp, which he will be attending this fall at an undetermined time, depending on paperwork and such.

Does anybody know if there are benefits to marrying before a person goes to basic/boot camp? If so, what are they? Is there an increase to his pay? I do not think it can help my tuition, but I'm unsure. Keep in mind that we will not be living together on base-I'll be at graduate school very very far away. Would it be worth the hassle? Side note, we're two nonreligious people who are not opposed to a courthouse wedding with small reception afterwards, but I may have preferred something more extravagant. But life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, and I don't care about the wedding as much as spending my life with my partner, and if it can increase his benefits, hey, I'm down.

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Re: Military spouses-help for a n00b - May 30th 2015, 02:40 AM

I'm not sure on any benefits -before- basic/boot camp since I was not in that situation, although he may receive additional pay as a geo-bachelor. Basically, this means that, because he is required to be somewhere away from his spouse with no opportunity for you to be with him, they "soften the blow" by giving him a little bit of additional pay. I don't know if this applies to boot camp and MOS schools, but it is something for him to ask his recruiter about.
There are other benefits you receive as a military spouse as well. When he does become stationed somewhere, there are two options for housing: living on base with no rent payment and all utilities covered, OR living off base with BAH. BAH is "base allowance for housing" and is a pre-determined amount based on living costs for the area you're in.
There -are- some tuition assistance programs that are available for both military members and dependents such as the GI Bill (which he can transfer to you). They also have employment assistance available for military spouses where you are given priority for DoD job vacancies. That can be a HUGE help, especially when moving from place to place.
Then, of course, there are insurance benefits. Your spouse can enroll you in health insurance at no cost to you. There are a couple of options (Tricare Standard, Tricare Prime) which have different requirements and benefits, but in my experience, it is good health insurance with very little out of pocket costs. You can also get dental insurance and you can even be enrolled in Family Service Members Group Life Insurance (both of these do cost, but dental is pretty minimal).

There are some other smaller benefits such as military discounts at various stores and restaurants for military members and dependents. They can range anywhere from 5% to 25% depending on the business and the area. Some apartments also give military discounts, especially in a military town. You can also shop at the NEX/PX and commissaries which allow you to purchase things without sales tax, and commissaries have lower costs overall.

I would suggest having your partner talk with his recruiter to ask about other benefits. They also have this great thing called Military Family Readiness which can point you in the right direction. They try to do everything in their power to help you, but you -have- to ask. They don't volunteer a lot of information, but if you ask, they're usually happy to give it to you.

“Don't get too comfortable with who you are at any given time. You may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be." ~Jon Bon Jovi

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