There's never a good time for a financial emergency to occur. When these events take place it is especially hard on those Soldiers without adequate savings, no credit and no one back home to call for help.
In 1942, the Army Emergency Relief was incorporated as a nonprofit organization by the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff to provide emergency financial assistance and became instrumental in "Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own."
Since its incorporation 70 years ago the AER has provided more than $1.3 billion to more than 3.3 million Soldiers, Families, and retirees. Currently, the AER offers three types of assistance to Soldiers and their Families: emergency financial assistance in the form of no interest loans or grants; assistance to widows/widowers and orphans (separate fund given as grants only); and lastly, educational scholarships.
The AER may assist with emergency leave travel costs; mortgage or rent payments, car payments or repairs, utilities and other emergencies, depending on the situation.
Recently AER has implemented new categories of assistance to include: basic furniture/appliance help for those starting out or after a disaster; child cranial helmets; family dental costs; and rental cars for emergency leave or while awaiting major car repairs. Also new to AER is assistance to help purchase a reasonable vehicle if the cost to repair the current vehicle is more than the vehicle is worth.
The AER's Commanders Referral Program provides commanders a valuable asset in accomplishing their basic command responsibility for the morale and welfare of Soldiers. Funds are made available to commanders to provide emergency financial assistance to Soldiers and their Families when there is a valid need. Commanders may authorize up to $1500 per command referral assistance.
The Army and AER are partners. For this reason, the AER assistance program is conducted within the Army structure by major commanders and their installation/organization commanders through AER sections and other related organizations.
The Fort Detrick 2012 annual Army Emergency Relief Campaign is now underway and runs through May 18. This year's goal is $30,000. The Campaign Coordinator is Sgt. 1st Class Brooks Reeves from the 21st Signal Brigade.
To keep the AER running strong, Soldiers are encouraged to donate, whether by allotments or a one-time payment of cash or check.
If you have any questions concerning AER please contact the local AER office at (301) 619-3455/3456.