Emergency Financial Help Services for Military Families

Military families facing financial emergencies have numerous resources at their disposal, including interest-free loans, grants, and assistance programs from organizations like the Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and Air Force Aid Society, along with nonprofit groups such as Operation Homefront.
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Even when you prepare for the worst, expect the unexpected, and seem to have a steady handle on your finances, life has a funny way of turning upside down.

Whether it’s due to a service-related injury, an unexpected family emergency, or unforeseen medical expenses, financial emergencies can challenge even the strongest and most prepared members of our military. Sometimes we have to ask for help when our finances take a huge hit or turn for the worst.

Emergency Financial Help Services for Military Families

Luckily, there are some amazing financial aid and relief organizations who provide emergency financial help and services to qualifying members of the armed forces and their immediate family members.

If you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to pay your mortgage, pay for a funeral, fix your only car, or cover the costs of emergency travel, turn to the organizations listed below. Their primary purpose and functions are to help those who need emergency financial help.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross works together with a variety of aid societies aimed at providing emergency, reliable financial assistance to eligible military families in times of crisis and need. The American Red Cross can help you with travel funds, food, and shelter, in the case of an emergency or tragedy. They can also help with funds for the burial of a loved one.

Who’s eligible for Red Cross Emergency Financial Assistance?

You qualify for emergency financial assistance if you’re:

  • An active duty service member or immediate family member
  • A member of an activated National Guard or Reserve Unit or immediate family member
  • A military retiree or spouse/widow(er) of a retiree

Information you’ll need to have ready

When submitting a request to the American Red Cross for financial services, you will need to have the following information ready:

  • Full legal name of the qualifying service member
  • The branch and rank/rating of the service member
  • The service member’s social security number and date of birth
  • The service member’s military unit address
  • Any information you have about the deployed unit and home base unit if the service member is currently deployed

If you find yourself facing an emergency, and you don’t know how you’ll afford the bills necessary to deal with your emergency, call the American Red Cross at 1-877-272-7337 or submit a request online.


Branch Specific Relief Organizations

Due to the risky nature of military careers, service members are aware of the physical and financial emergencies that can occur at any time. To help relieve some of the stress that comes along with a high-risk career, each branch of the service has established its own emergency assistance program to help the members of their branch.

Each organization varies slightly in relief available, but they mostly offer the following services based on need:

  • Basic living expenses
  • Emergency travel
  • Vehicle expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical and dental bills
  • Child care assistance
  • Moving expenses
  • Miscellaneous expenses

The emergency financial relief organizations by branch are as follows:

Air Force Aid Society

The Air Force Aid Society can help service members in the Airforce and their families through need-based loans and grants. For help, call 800-769-8951

Army Emergency Relief

The Army Emergency Relief organization can help service members in the Army and their families. For help, call 866-878-6378 or visit the aid office closest to you.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance help service members of the Coast Guard and their families. To apply for aid, you will first need to contact your local Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Representative. You can also call the National Headquarters office at (800) 881-2462.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers financial and emergency assistance to qualifying active duty service members in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Navy or Marine Corps Reserves. To receive assistance, first, you will need to make an appointment with your nearest NMCRS office. Before arriving, make sure to fill out your pre-appointment information sheet and have all necessary paperwork. If you have questions or cannot locate a local office, call the NMCRS headquarters at (800)-654-8364.


Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront is a non-government organization that assists military families who are experiencing financial emergencies. Operation Homefront offers help with the following physical and financial needs of qualifying service members:

  • Food assistance
  • Auto and home repair
  • Vision care
  • Emergency travel and transportation costs
  • Moving assistance
  • Providing essential home items
  • Financial assistance

These good and services are fulfilled through financial assistance grants which can be won if you can successfully petition and document your need. While it’s their goal to help everyone, they can only help those who fill out the application form and provide the necessary documents to prove that your, “financial resources are insufficient to meet current expenses and that those expenses are already due or past due.”

If you believe you qualify, apply for assistance on their website. You can also call their main office if you (210) 659-7756 to ask questions. If you aren’t sure if you qualify for assistance through Operation Homefront, have other questions about the application process, or need emergency assistance, call (877) 264-3968.


American Military Family

American Military Family is a private relief organization that offers financial assistance to wounded warriors and their immediate family who happen to be Colorado residents. If you are a Post 9/11 Veteran with a diagnosis of PTSD or a traumatic brain injury, they will assist by:

  • Providing rental assistance to avoid eviction
  • Make a utility payment to avoid shut off
  • Provide interim housing while veterans wait for permanent housing
  • Supply gift cards for food, diapers, and gasoline

If you believe that you qualify, you can apply for any of their services online. If you are in need of urgent assistance, call (303) 746-8195.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Unmet Needs Program

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Unmet Needs Program works to help service members who have “been deployed in the last six years and have run into unexpected financial difficulties as a result of deployment or other military-related activity.”

If you meet the eligibility criteria, they will provide a grant of up to $5,000 to help you meet your payments for basic life needs, such as rent, utilities, and other day-to-day expenses. To date, Unmet Needs has distributed over $5 million in assistance grants to military veterans who need emergency financial help .

If you’re experiencing a financial crisis and need assistance, apply online. You can also contact Unmet Needs by phone at 1-866-789-6333 or email them at [email protected] if you have any questions.


The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) is a cooperative referral system of child care agencies that works to help the families of severely injured service member find and afford long-term quality childcare, especially if the service member is currently a patient at a medical facility due to military-related injuries. Most child care referral offer childcare assistance for six months, but they do accept extension requests.

To request information for fee-assisted childcare, you can visit their website or call (703) 341-4100 to ask questions.

Know That You Aren’t Alone

In the midst of personal, medical, or financial struggles, it can be easy to fall into a depression or feel like you’re completely alone. Know that you aren’t alone, and there are organizations out there able and willing to help you make it through the most trying of times and who can give you the emergency financial help you need.

Even if you don’t qualify for a particular organization’s aid, always ask them to point you in the right direction for a different agency or relief society. Many of these organizations are interconnected and work together to help our nation’s service members in their hour of need.

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  1. Kristin Paugh says

    Does Operation Home Front provide financial assistance to surviving spouses? My husband was Active Duty and in the Operation Iraqi Freedom war. Any other organizations that help? He was killed 10 years ago and I do not qualify for an AER loan/grant anymore. Nor Redcross.

  2. Clifford Cheatham says

    I’m a Navy veteran I have a wife and two children. I had a recent diagnosis of a chronic disease and can’t work. We’ve researched just about everything here in Gastonia NC to get help with our bills. Financially we are going DOWN. I sometimes regret I served for 12 years. I’m scared depressed and hopeless. We haven’t paid our mortgage electric etc this month because all the programs are for service connected vets active military etc. PLEASE HELP US NOW.

    • Jason Perry says

      Try contacting the Service Member and Family Support Center in your State, I work for the program out of CT and we help all branches. They may know of programs that can help you out. If you have deployed before, there should be a number of programs out there for you. If not, it may be a little bit tougher, but they are out there, hopefully they have a list in NC that can be of service to you and your family.

      Marion Armory
      845 Spaulding Road

  3. Pam S says

    Is there any help available for a young recruit who became ill about 10 days into boot camp and is now hospitalized? His mother is trying to travel to be with him but lacks funds for travel and lodging. They have already been turned down by The Red Cross, not sure what other orgs. they have contacted. I believe he is a Marine recruit.

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  5. Martha A Fergusonretusafr says

    Good morning, how’s life today? Having home repairs needed after fire next door. This happen last year in July, working with Bishop Construction here in Flint, Michigan.Have American Red Cross here will also contact. Thank you for needed information, God be with your spirit.

  6. Mary T says

    I am non-serviced disabled Army vet on a fixed income in need of a small loan to pay my bills. I am willing to repay at a reasonable rate. I have tried to get loans but can’t get one.

  7. D Applewhite says

    I need emergency help. I bought a used manufactured home a year ago and did not see a well-covered hole in the bedroom floor.
    I am in danger of my floor collapsing.
    I am 100% permanently disabled, (not service-connected) and wheelchair bound. Unfortunately, trying to avoid going over the hole has become a safety issue. Can you help me please to remove carpet, repair hole, and cover with flooring that I can operate my wheelchair on. Thank you. I am a woman veteran and I operate a small nonprofit helping my fellow veterans succeed in the workforce and life. I am on a fixed retirement and disability income but willing to pay what I can. Habitat for Humanity said they cannot help me. Can you help me or refer me?
    I live in Mesa AZ

  8. Bryan Gaarder says

    Bryan D Gaarder
    Jun 4,2019 at 9:37 am

    Hi, I’m Army / Army National Guard. I went in 1980 in the Army 13 wks of Basic Training and A.I.T Then I served 3 yrs in Germany with 8th Armory Divison 3rd ID. Then I PCSd from 1/176 FA. Then I did the rest of my term to El Paso TX 1983 to 1985 then I ETS then I enlisted in the California Army National Guard 1/143rd FA, Lodi CA. I went to the VA to get medical help. My Administrator did not tell me to go to the VA when I got Medical discharged with full medical benefits. Now I’m having problems with finances and what it gets for disability SSI and VA compensation 895.00 and 265.00 from the VA. I’m trying to get a loan for my tuition for UEI college and all of my bills and I’m paying 500.00 for rent. So how can you help me? I’m desperate. Or with my illness? I have PTSD and other illnesses. I just might go into a rampage or just compt kill myself. I just can’t live like this because I almost punched my mother and father. They do not understand what I’m going through after been in the service for 17 yrs I’ve been shot at and I get anger of what goes into my brain. I’m getting a degree for Human Resources to help me and other vets it will give hope.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bryan, I am sorry to hear you are having these difficulties. I recommend you contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. Both organizations are open 24/7.

      Regarding financial assistance for tuition: You may be eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program through the VA, which helps veterans with service-connected disability ratings obtain training that can help them start a new career. You can meet with a veteran’s benefits counselor for more information.

      Finally, there is always help – you can contact the above phone numbers for mental health issues. You can also contact veterans service organizations such as your county VA office, the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion and others to apply for veterans benefits.

      I pray you will seek out and receive the help you need. Best wishes!

    • amanda says

      I’m not a trained person but a Seabee EO Navy disable Vet. I don’t know you but I give a **** if you off yourself! please contact me, I’ll listen to you rant all night and day. Just know we might not have ever met but we are family!! Amanda

  9. Beverly says

    Hi , I am a widow of Vietnam vet who died of agent orange exposure I am raising 6 grands kids my daughter was murdered and am raising her her kids i am in need of help if anyone knows where I can get help message me at 9185641006 just leave me a message thank u he was in the army

    • Rochelle Sibitzky says

      Do the children get any type of social security from their mothers death? I would recommend contacting your local social services. I hope you find a solution.

  10. Darrell says

    I am caregiver for my wife who suffers fro PTSD and I am not able to work due to having take of her and our 3 small children. Our finances or our of whack because she went through a major breakdown then was hospitalized. I had to to stop work and take care of the kids while she was hospitalized her family manipulated her to singing a poa because she was so medicated. I literally had to get a lawyer to help regain funds by that time we were neck deep in debt.

    • Nicole says

      Have you applied for Aid and Attendance Aid through the VA? Has she applied for VA benefits? For a VA PTSD Rating she can bring home a tax free amount of money per month. If she gets complete 100% VA, you can be compensated an extra $2000 a month for being the person who stays home and takes care of her.

      Just letting you know. – a veteran to help

  11. Rick says

    No assistance out there for pre/911 vets. All these organizations pretend to want to help but then they ask if you or post 9/11 or pre. I don’t think that those that are gifting millions to these organizations truly understand.

    • Juanita Beazley says


      I wish I could help, Good luck and God Bless

  12. Yvonne M Beaudet says

    I am desperate to find some financial help and thou tght the navy cold help me out. My husband served 22 years in the navy as a chief petty officer and died in 1988 from agent orange serving two tours in Viet nam. I am looking for some financial help to catch up with my utilities bill which is Fpl,Comcast,and water co as I got behind when I was sick. I am on ss security and am not able to work. If some one could call me back with some answers I would appreciate. My number is
    7722458928 I would appreciate this. Thank you

  13. Theresa Lynn Zaino says


    My husband served in the United States Army from 1979 to 1982 and was honorably discharged. He served on the DMZ in Korea (Camp Irwin) from October 23, 1979 to October 14, 1980 as a Military Police Officer during the time of the assassination of the South Korean President Park Chung-hee and the Gwangju Massacre.

    He is suffering from Severe PTSD, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Depressive Disorder and a possible TBI. He is a patient at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in the PTSD Clinic since 2012 but in the Mental Health Program there since 1998. He has a claim in appeals with the VA for 6 years now. He cannot work and is only receiving SSDI income. I am his care giver so the work I can do and income I can earn is minimal. We are in severe financial hardship at this time. Our home is in foreclosure with the possibility of becoming homeless very soon. My husband has attempted suicide 3 times and he is currently on a high suicide watch.

    It is amazing to me all of the programs out there to help Veterans in distress yet none are available to us because he is either not active duty, post 911 or service connected. There doesn’t seem to be any programs available to Veterans such as what my husband and I are going through. If I am wrong please contact me and let me know what is available out there. Again every time I come across a program it is only for active duty, post 911 or service connected / retired. Unfortunately he has been waiting 6 years to be service connected. But our time is running out.

    If you can help us in any way we would be most grateful.


    Theresa L. Zaino
    Proud Wife of a Military Veteran

  14. Spc. Randall says

    I’m a disabled post 9/11 vet who recently went through a bitter divorce and now subsequent custody battle and needless to say the financial stress has taken a toll on me!!! I NEED HELP but everywhere I turn Im denied or ineligible I just ask that enough people can see it in their hearts to help me I just lost my phone today due to late payment and will probably lose water also to top that off I have for the first time since purchasing my home fallen behind on my mortgage payment and could be in danger of losing my house as well!!!! Someone please point me in the right direction or lend assistance if you can.

  15. Jim eisenhardt says

    I agree, Sheila. I’m an honorably discharged Marine reservist who can’t get a dime in aid medical help or any assistance what so ever and that must change! My family and I face eviction. We can’t even pay our phone bill because my active duty was for training this must change for all vets.

  16. ROBIN JENSEN says

    im in greatneed of some financial help, my husband was severly injured in 07 and 09 at 100% medicaly retired all around,VA-ARMY-AND SS however the ft carson warrior transition tried without succesion to throw him out with nothing . his face was BLOWN OFF TWICE with massive re-construction both times finaly retiring in 2012 dec. they won pulitzer prize for his story 2014 colorado gazette. everybody got somthing from the story EXCEPT MY HUSBAND .long story short we have suffered emencly because of it.they did follow up story 3 years later admitting they messed up and continue to say they will help but do nothing,we are HOMELESS,HES TRIED TO GO BACK TO WORK 4 TIMES AND GOT HURT WORSE AND NOW WE HAVE NOTHING….we went from colorado to scarolina so he could get this job he went and got his CDL worked 3 months and now his back and neck is worse from driving so we have tried and tried and still we dont quilify for a VA HOUSE LOAN.HIS FREE TRI CARE CHARGES US FOR MEDICAL-HIS TRI CARE IS FREE, so our credit is BAD because of it.and i could go on forever.my point is WE CANT GET HELP ANYWEAR AND WE SPEND OUR ENTIER VA CHECK ON MOTELS CUZ WE ARE HOMELESS. AFTER 9 YEARS IN THE ARMY 5 YEARS DEPLOYED AND NO FACE THAT IS WHAT THE ARMY GAVE TO US… WE NEED HELP…..WE ONLY RECIVE A VA AND SS CHECK WITCH THEY GARNISH FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS FOR A 2000 DOLLER LOAN AND WEVE PAID WELL OVER 10.000 DOLLERS FOR. thanks for listening.MRS ROBIN JENSEN.

    • Robert Anderton says

      I am wondering if I can get some help as well I have a lot of the same problems you have and I’ve hurt my back now and can’t work. I had a brain tumor some years back which put me on disability. I tried to work a job and made it 10 months. Well disability still paid me and I haven’t worked since I thought it was ok. Then I get an over payment statement for 50,000 dollars. Disability stopped and now I can’t work at all. What should I do? Just kill myself? I served in a time of war and discharged with honor. Why do we keep giving money to people who hate our nation and toss out those who served it!!

      • Robert Anderton says

        It’s Robert Anderton I didn’t know I could leave a number so somebody could help me. My post is above. 678-258-5789 . We are about to be on the street. I’ll show any and all documents to prove to you I am telling the truth. Gladly I’ll give you my SS number if need be. Sincerely ty


      Call the Wounded Warrior Project office in Jacksonville, FL tell them your situation. They offer one-time financial assistance for emergencies plus they help with food and other needs directly. Then they will send you referrals for other stuff.

  17. Sandra williams boyer says

    I am trying to help a soldier get home to his four year old son who is currently being taken care of by an 86-year-old elderly grandmother. The mother of the child is no longer living and his father is all he has. They have granted him an early leave but needs $4500 to do so. $1500 has been raised is there a way to help with the last 3000 to get him home. He only has seven days to come up with this money. Desperately seeking assistance to help this soldier.

    • Christopher Womack says

      I used United Military Travel and they helped me fly to see my daughters HS graduation. They help as long as you can prove your military status.

  18. Sheila says

    What about family’s and service members in reserves because there not deployed no one will help them there important too so they go homeless cause there not active duty

    • KA says

      I agree. I’m currently in the Army Reserve and there aren’t any organizations that’s willing to help me during my time of need. It’s so frustrating to to be turned down because I’m not active duty.

    • Rosendo R. Ramirez says

      Google your States National Guard, Family Assistance Center for financial assistance and other assistance needed. Arizona has the Arizona Reserve Component Emergency Relief Fund, (AZRC ERFund), that assist the Arizona assigned Branches of the Reserves or National Guard Service Members that are assigned to an Arizona unit.

      The Family Assistant Center is a contract that is awarded by NGB in which assist ALL Branches of the Military, (Army – Coast Guard), Active Duty, Reservists and National Guardsmen, Veterans, Dependent and Surviving Dependent Members on their essential needs. They are located throughout the Nation including the four territories. If they have the knowledge of the financial resources in your area.

      Note: By Army Regulation and National Guard Regulation, the Family Assistance Center is mandated to be in service.

      • Rosendo R. Ramirez says

        I mean, they have the knowledge of financial resources in your area that may help you with financial or any other resources needed.

  19. DS says

    What about veterans? This article and services pertain mostly to active military and/or recently separated within 6 years.

  20. BP says

    I’m going to nitpick. Red Cross doesn’t actually provide financial assistance. They will connect you with the local office of your service’s aid society, or if you’re not near a local office, get all the info and relay it to the aid society for you.
    Other options for assistance include usacares(dot)org and (in Southern California only) Support the Enlisted Project (STEP).

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