As the wife or husband of a service member, you are eligible for many benefits, including health care, shopping privileges on base, and access to base facilities and programs. Once you arrive at a military installation, visit the Fleet & Family Support Center to find useful information on benefits and services. You’ll find it helpful to attend orientations for military spouses and to read all the information available to you. In the meantime, here is a quick checklist to get you started.
The Basics | Health Benefits | Financial | Moving | Housing | Deployment | Children | Spouse Employment & Education | Base Services
Ask your spouse to enroll you in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). All service member and their dependents must be enrolled in DEERS to receive medical benefits. It is up to your spouse to enroll you. Check the website for information:
Obtain a military identification card from the ID card facility. To receive benefits as a military spouse, you will need an identification card. All family members, including children ages 10 and older, will need their own ID cards. Your card will allow you access to military bases, exchanges, and commissaries, and will make you eligible to receive a medical card. You will need your marriage license, birth certificate, photo identification, and Department of Defense Form 1172 (application form) to apply for an ID card. Click here to find the nearest office.
Register your car on base. You can do this through the Security Office on base. Check with them to see what documents you’ll need, but expect to bring your driver’s license, Department of Motor Vehicles registration, and proof of car insurance.
Ask your spouse to list you as a beneficiary on his or her Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy. This is the time for your service member to update his or her record of emergency data sheet (DD Form 93).
Determine whether you should change your state and federal income tax status to reflect your marital status. Check with the legal office or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) on base to ensure you are doing what is right for your situation.
Memorize your spouse’s Social Security number. You will need it for all sorts of paperwork and forms.
Know your Sailor’s rate, rank, department or division, email, mailing address and full command name. Make sure your whole family has this information.
Know who your Command Ombudsman is. The Ombudsman is a spouse of a member of the command who voluntarily serves as the official liaison between the command and its families. Ombudsmen provide resource and referral, assistance during times of emergency and rapid communication between the families and the command. Ask your spouse for the name and phone number of your Ombudsman.
Develop your own Family Preparedness Plan. It is important to be prepared in advanced of any disaster – either natural or man made. Further information may be obtained at the following website:
Once you have the basics taken care of, you will want to become familiar with all the other benefits and services you are eligible for as a military spouse. Here are some of the most important ones you will want to know about.
Tricare - http://www.tricare.mil/
As active duty dependents, you and your children will be eligible for health care. You and your spouse should review the types of plans that are available to you and determine which meets your needs best. You must be enrolled in DEERS (see above) to receive health benefits.
Dental - http://www.tricare.mil/Dental.aspx
Tricare offers a voluntary premium-based dental insurance plan for active duty family members. You and your service member should discuss your family’s need to participate in this optional plan.
Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
The LES is a comprehensive statement of leave and earnings. It is unique to each individual sailor. Learn to read and understand your Sailor’s LES.
Defense Finance and Accounting Services
(http://www.dfas.mil/) Information about military pay. From this site you can link to MyPay, (https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx) which allows you to manage your pay, LES, W-2s, and more. A login and PIN are required.
Personal Financial Management
Financial awareness and responsibility through a life-cycle approach is key to the personal readiness of Sailors and families. Learn about financial planning and strategies. Check with your local Fleet and Family Service Center (FFSC):
for financial management classes.
Navy Pay and Benefits Guide
Provides additional information about benefits to Sailors and their families.
Moving and Relocation
Moving is a way of life for Navy families. This website contains important information to help make your move a smooth one. Please be aware that housing allowances change according to the duty station. This means your Sailor’s pay may be more or less when you move. Make sure you know what your pay and allowances will be before you sign a lease or purchase a home. Click here for the "NAVSUP READY. SET. MOVE!!" brochure.
Plan My Move
Provides planning tools, information and points of contact for your new duty station, checklists, benefit and entitlement details and education and employment options.
Navy Household Goods
The Official Website of Navy Household Goods & Personal Property.
The Housing website contains information on Navy quarters around the world. Learn about waiting lists, view floor plans and photos, and search the site for other relocation topics.
If your spouse is in the Navy, chances are he/she will deploy at some point. This website contains information on getting prepared, communicating with your spouse during deployment, personal and financial readiness, and strategies for helping children. You will also learn about deployment support systems, the impact of deployment, and the emotional cycle you may experience.
Individual Augmentation (IA)
A Sailor who leaves their assigned unit or command to deploy individually or with a small group is known as an Individual Augmentee. Log onto this website to learn more about the IA program and to access helpful information such as a family handbook, pay and benefits, emergency services, support networks, IA family events and chaplain information.
New Parent Support
The New Parent Support Home Visitation Program was developed to assist military families in ways that friends and family do when you're back home. This program offers expectant parents and parents of newborn and young children the opportunity to learn new skills as parents and to improve old ones in the privacy of your home.
Children and Teens
The Navy’s Child and Youth programs are among the highest quality in the nation. The programs serve eligible children ages 4 weeks to 18 years. Learn about the Navy’s Child Development Centers (CDC), youth and teen programs, after school and day camps, and much more.
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
The Navy's EFMP is designed to assist sailors by addressing the special needs of their exceptional family members (EFM) during the assignment process. Special needs include any special medical, dental, mental health, developmental or educational requirement, wheelchair accessibility, adaptive equipment or assistive technology devices and services.
Family Employment Readiness Program
Navy program at the Fleet and Family Support Centers that addresses the employment challenges of military families. Workshops are offered on launching a job search, career planning, resume writing, interview techniques, Federal employment information, conducting self-assessments, goal setting, and vocational tests.
Fleet and Family Support Centers
Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs) are located at bases and stations around the world. They provide Navy families with a variety of programs that assist them as they adapt to the special demands of the military lifestyle. Some of the programs offered include Family Reading Program, Spouse Employment Assistance, Scholarship Opportunities and New Parenting classes.
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)
The NMCRS programs include grants and loans to families in need, education, food lockers, free layettes, Thrift Shops, and visiting nurses. Visit the NMCRS website to learn more about these programs as well as the location of the NMCRS offices around the world.
Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Division (MWR)
The mission of the MWR Division programs is to provide active duty, reserve, retired Navy personnel and their families with sports and physical fitness activities, child and youth programs, and a variety of food and beverage services. Visit the MWR website and learn about the wide range of programs that contribute to the retention; readiness; and mental, physical, and emotional well-being of our Sailors and their families.
Information Tickets and Tours (ITT)
A division of MWR, ITT sells discount tickets to many local and national attractions and provides information about travel discounts available to military and their families.
Naval Legal Service Offices is a customer-service organization providing legal services to active duty Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard service members and their dependents, reservists on active duty for 30 days or more, and to retirees as resources permit.
Chaplains serve all service members and their families, not just individuals or groups belonging to specific religious denominations. Chaplains are authorized representatives of a broad range of religious faith groups. They conduct divine worship services and officiate at special ceremonies, such as baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings and funerals. They also offer programs that enable personal spiritual growth and development, and promote camaraderie and a sense of community. They can help you establish contact with almost any religious institution or clergy.
Pastoral counseling is provided to all who ask for assistance. Chaplains work at base chapels and are qualified to help Navy families find solutions to personal, family, marital, and spiritual dilemmas.
Sailors and families who shop the Navy commissaries save over 30% per year on the cost of their groceries. Visit the commissary website and discover information on store locations, promotions and special savings, recipes, commissary employment opportunities, and more. Please note baggers work for tips only.
Navy Exchange (NEX)
The prices at your Navy Exchange average 20% below the competition and are tax exempt. On the NEX website you can view the online catalogue, locate stores and mini-marts, learn about NEX employment opportunities, and more.
Official Navy Website
Stay up to date on the latest Navy news.
Navy Reserve Force
For complete information about the Navy Reserve Force, log onto their website. Click on CNRFC Families for family readiness information.
Military OneSource provides you with information and resources that can help improve many areas of your life, from personal to professional. This confidential service is available 24/7.
Naval Services FamilyLine (NSF)
NSF was founded in 1965 by Navy spouses to provide education and resource assistance for Navy spouses to help them meet the challenge of the military lifestyle. NSF’s volunteers publish and distribute free the Guideline Series – educational booklets on topics such as: Social Customs and Traditions, Guidelines for CO, XO, CMC/COB, and CPO spouses, how to launch a club or family association, and more. To request one of the many publications or speak directly with a Navy spouse, call NSF toll-free at 1-877-673-7773 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
New to the Navy? Nervous about what to expect from a deployment? Need help figuring out how to plan your move? Join a Compass Class! You will meet new friends, hear valuable insights and funny storied from seasoned spouses and learn more about the Navy than you ever thought you needed to know! Compass is a 12-hour, 3 session course that links spouses with resources. COMPASS is free and babysitting is provided.
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the troops by providing morale, welfare and recreation-type services to men and women in uniform. The USO currently operates more than 135 centers worldwide.