Jacqueline Hill | Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs Office | April 4, 2022
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Army Emergency Relief’s 2022 campaign kicked off March 1 at U.S. Army military installations across the globe.
AER is the official nonprofit of the U.S. Army and is charged with relieving undue financial stress on the force through zero-interest loans, grants and educational scholarships.
“The Army Emergency Relief fund is a great program that provides leaders with an easy access resource to help their Soldiers in need,” said Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg garrison commander. “It’s important that our military service members know about the resources available and understand that their leadership is there to support them through financial hardships.”
AER offers over 30 different assistance categories. These categories include basic living expenses such as rent, mortgages, food and utilities, medical expenses such as dental care, medical care co-pays, and special medical needs equipment, privately owned vehicle expenses such as repairs, maintenance, insurance payments, and child car seats, and unforeseen emergency expenses such as emergency travel, funeral, domestic violence and disaster assistance.
“Recently, a Fort Bragg Family was in need of sensory items for their Exceptional Family Member,” said Darla Cureton, Fort Bragg Army Emergency Relief officer. “The required items were not covered by TRI-CARE, placing the financial burden on the Family. The Family was able to apply for a grant with AER and received nearly $600 to cover the cost of the items. Not only did the grant reduce the Family’s overall financial stress, but it allowed them to improve the quality of life of their child.”
Any individual that meets the requirements laid out in Army Regulation 930-4 is eligible to receive AER assistance. This includes Soldiers on active duty and their eligible dependents, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers activated on Title 10 orders for more than 30 days and their eligible dependents, Soldiers retired for longevity, medical or upon reaching age 60 and their eligible dependents, and surviving spouses who have not remarried and children of Soldiers who died on active duty or died after reaching retirement eligibility.
There are three ways to apply for AER assistance. The first, fastest and most effective way is for an individual to talk with his or her chain of command. The chain of command has the power to approve immediate financial assistance up to $2,000 and can refer the individual to the on-post AER officer.
The second option is to visit the nearest AER office. Offices are conveniently located at many Army installations, to include here. Fort Bragg’s AER office is located on the third floor of the Soldier Support Center and can be reached at 910-396-2507.
The final option of contacting the American Red Cross is most useful for those not located near a military installation. The American Red Cross can be contacted at 1-877-272-7337 and select the option for financial assistance.
“In 2021, Fort Bragg provided $2.9 million in assistance within our community, including $980,000 through the Commander and First Sergeant Quick Assist Program,” explained Cureton. “In addition, 504 of our children and 101 spouses received more than $2 million in scholarship awards.”
AER offers academic scholarship opportunities for spouses pursing an undergraduate degree or professional certification and children pursing an undergraduate degree.
AER is able to offer the loans, grants and scholarships due to donations. As the Army’s own nonprofit financial assistance organization, it is the most direct path to supporting Soldiers and their Families. Based solely on donations, AER has provided $2 billion in assistance to nearly four million members of the Army team since 1942.
“The Army Emergency Relief fund is just one of the ways we can demonstrate our commitment to the People First strategy to our Soldiers and Families,” said Pence. “Providing an avenue for financial readiness during a time of crisis for our Soldiers is critical to maintaining their quality of life and ensuring that they know that they are part of the Army Family.”
This year, Fort Bragg leadership has set a campaign goal of $250,000, continuing the tradition of “Soldiers Helping Soldiers.”
Those wishing to donate can do so through AER’s website. If you have questions, contact AER at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-878-6378.
Active duty and retired Soldiers can donate by payroll allotment, as approved by Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which can be set-up through the AER portal.