Financial Readiness ~ Benefits and Entitlements
USAREC Personal Financial Counselors ( PFC )
PFCs provides direct financial readiness education and counseling services on topics such as personal financial planning, budgeting, savings, reducing debt, retirement planning, deployment financial planning, and understanding military pay, state, and federal financial benefits. PFCs has overall responsibility for addressing the personal financial readiness needs of military families. PFCs meets with families and unit family support staff to assess needs related to personal financial management. They also make appropriate referrals and warm transfers to military and community resources to address identified needs. PFCs are assigned to each Recruiting Brigade; please refer to the numbers below.
USAREC Military Family Life Consultant (MLFC) Contacts
Army Financial Resiliency - Partnering With Installation Financial Institutions: The purpose of this message is to reemphasize regulations, policy, and procedures for installations with financial institutions on post.
Defense Finance and Accounting Service- DFAS web site at http://www.dod.mil/dfas/. Lots of benefits for Soldiers, civilian employees and retirees. With MyPay, you can print your LES (current and last two pay periods), change direct deposit account, and more. The web site to access MyPay is: https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx.
TSP-Thrift Savings Plan - www.tsp.gov
TSP is a federal government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. It offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. The retirement income that you receive from your TSP account will depend on how much you have contributed to your account during your working years and the earnings on those contributions. It is available at any time to all members of the uniformed services, regardless of income or activation status.
Army Emergency Relief – AER (regulation AR 930-4) - www.aerhq.org
AER is the Army’s own emergency financial assistance organization and is dedicated to “Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own”. AER is a private nonprofit organization incorporated in 1942 by the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff. AER's sole mission is to help soldiers and their dependents.
What type of assistance is available?
• Food, rent, or utilities
• Emergency transportation and vehicle repair
• Funeral expenses
• Medical/Dental expenses
• Personal needs when pay is delayed or stolen
• Undergraduate level education scholarships
How is money issued?
• All loans are interest free, and some assistance is in the form of a grant.
How is this benefit accessed?
• Request for assistance may go through the Soldier’s Commander or the American Red Cross.
Service member's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is now available for family members. Rates for up to $100,000 coverage for spouses are based on age; children are covered free for $10,000 up to age 18 (or 23 if a full-time student). Soldiers can choose to opt out of the insurance. For more information, visit the SGLI web site at http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/sgli.asp.
The following are three major Credit Bureaus where a beneficiary and/or Soldier can contact them to inquiry or dispute an item on their credit report. If the disputed item is listed on all three bureaus reports, they need to contact each of them to request an investigation.
Trans Union: www.transunion.com 1-800-916-8800
Experian: www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742
Equifax: www.equifax.com 1-800-685-1111
How to dispute data on your credit report:
Credit Bureaus will investigate any information disputed by a consumer. Consumer needs to contact the toll-free numbers listed above.
To obtain instructions on how to submit a letter disputing an item on their credit report. They recommend that the consumer submit all facts and supporting documents from the creditor, collection agency, and any information related to disputed item.
--Investigations will be conducted within 30 days of the date they receive consumers request.
--If they cannot verify the disputed information within that time frame (30 days), the disputed item will be deleted from their credit report or updated as requested.
--A revised report reflecting the results of the investigation will be send to the consumer at the conclusion of the investigation. (If it is in favor of the consumer, it will be deleted based on creditors or collection agency's request.)
--However, if the disputed information is subsequently verified (against consumer) they will reinsert the information into their file and notify the consumer in writing within 5 business days.
--If their investigation does not resolve the dispute, consumer may add a 100 word explanatory statement to their credit report. Upon consumers request, they will assist the consumer in preparing the statement.
--Consumer may also request a description of how they conducted the investigation including the name, address, telephone number of anyone they contacted for information.
Note: How long do you keep my credit information?
--Collection agency accounts remain on credit report for 7 years.
FICO Score Information
Ask your SFA about obtaining your FICO score.
I want to find helpful Non-Profit organizations.
• 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation’s Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. It focuses on financial education as a lifelong endeavor—from children learning about the value of money to adults reaching a secure retirement. It features a Web site, offering free tools and resources to help Americans manage their finances through every stage of life.
• Military Saves a component of America Saves and a partner in the Department of Defense’s Financial Readiness Campaign, is a research-based social marketing campaign to motivate, support, and encourage military families to save money and build wealth.
• American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization offering confidential credit counseling and financial education services to consumers nationwide. ACCC is dedicated to helping people regain control of their finances and plan for a debt-free future.
• The Beehive is part of the One Economy Corporation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The Beehive was created to be the place to go for information and resources around the things that matter in our lives: money, health, jobs, school and family.
• Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc., is an industry leader in providing credit counseling and debt management programs throughout the United States. Its mission is to help families end financial crisis and solve money management problems through education and professional counseling.
• Feed the Pig™ is a new national public service campaign from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and The Advertising Council to encourage the 40 million Americans age 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.
• InCharge® Debt Solutions, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in personal finance education and credit counseling.
• Mind Your Finances™ is offered by the InCharge® Education Foundation, Inc., as a resource to enhance the financial wellness of the American public. Mind Your Finances™ provides an extensive array of educational programs and products focused on guiding major sectors of the American public toward financial health.
• Save and Invest.org is a FINRA Investor Education Foundation Web site that provides free, unbiased financial information and tools to military families and older investors.
• Springboard is a non-profit agency with our more than 30 years of experience formed by business leaders and credit grantors. Its mission is simple, yet vital: To offer education on the wise use of credit.
Consumer Guide to Good Credit
I want to find helpful Government organizations.
• Federal Citizens Information Center (FCIC) is focused on answering citizens’ questions about the Federal government and everyday consumer issues. FCIC watches emerging consumer issues and topics and regularly reviews new information coming from Federal agencies and consumer organizations.
• Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Money Smart program is a training program to help adults outside the financial mainstream enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships.
• Federal Reserve System personal financial education website is dedicated to idea that there is a lot to learn about money. All of the Fed websites, curriculum, newsletters, booklets and other resources are free.
I want to understand Why I Need a Budget.
• ConsolidatedCredit.org – Budget basics
• Incharge.org – Preparing a budget
• 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy – Establishing a budget
• Bankrate.com – 10 reasons to budget
• SayGoodCredit.com – Why budget
I want to understand how to Create a Budget.
• ConsolidatedCredit.org – Creating a budget
• About.com – How to create a budget
• Mind Your Finances™ – Preparing a budget
I want to learn how to Monitor my Budget.
• Mind Your Finances™ – Monitor your spending
• The Beehive – Maintaining your budget
I want to find ways to Lower my Spending.
• Myvesta.org – How to save money
• Feed the Pig™ – Resources
• Mind Your Finances™ – Cutting expenses
• MoneyManagement.org – Budgeting tools
• Kiplinger.com – Cutting your spending video
• SayGoodCredit.com – Resources
• TheFrugalShopper.com – Resources
• Stretcher.com – Resources