June officially marks the start of permanent change of station (PCS) season for many Coast Guard families. At least 3,500 members will make a PCS transfer over the next few months, so during this time of transition, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) is reminding our members of their key programs offering financial support to ease the strain of relocation.
“We are excited to support families during this challenging transfer season” said Erica Chapman, Education Services specialist for CGMA. “We understand that members are moving while also facing the added economic challenges from inflation and pressures in the housing market. So, we combed our manual to provide you with the widest list of programs that would be helpful to Coast Guard families during their transfer. We wanted to make sure members knew how Mutual Assistance can help.” CGMA is highlighting key resources in four categories of support including: housing, transportation, family and education.
Specifically, to address increasing housing needs CGMA recently expanded two hallmark programs: the Rental Assistance Loan and Closing Costs Loan. Under the new expansion, members can receive an interest free loan of up to $9,000 to help cover the cost of fees associated with securing a rental, such as, first and last month’s rent and security deposit. You can also use it to assist with closing costs when purchasing a new home. Previously the loan was capped at $6,000.
“We have tripled our housing assistance from 2020 to 2021, and overall support to help with moves more than doubled,” shared retired Rear Adm. Cari B. Thomas, CGMA chief executive officer. “We expect to break records again this year as families continue to combat supply chain delays and housing shortages.”
Coast Guard leadership is paying attention to these challenges. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Heath Jones shared “My wife Carol and I have moved 11 times over my career, and we know first-hand that it's never easy to pick up and reestablish roots in a new town, make new friends, and have it all go smoothly.” He continued, “We are grateful for CGMA’s efforts to design programs that assist with every aspect of a PCS move helping to ensure moving is an adventure, not a headache.” Watch his video on the housing support expansion here.
Housing support options:
- Rental Assistance: For moving into a new apartment (first and last month’s rent/ security deposit).
- Closing Costs: For personnel purchasing homes.
- Household Furnishings Loan: For household furniture (sofas, chairs, tables etc.).
- Utility Startup Loan: For help setting up utilities when moving into a new home.
- DLA Supplemental: To assist with unexpected but necessary local moves.
- PCS Incidentals Loan: For unexpected cost that accompanies a PCS move.
You can find out more information and apply for housing assistance grants through this webpage.
Transportation support options:
- Outside of the continental United States (OCONUS) Car Rental Loan: To assist with car rentals while waiting for your privately owned vehicle to arrive.
- Vehicle Shipment Loan: To assist with shipping your car.
- Vehicle Repair: Help with the costs of fixing your car.
- Car assistance support and its application can be found here.
Family Support options:
- PCS Childcare Reimbursement: To pay for childcare services while engaged in PCS activities like packing or receiving household goods. Details about the program and how to apply can be found here.
- Childcare Loans: May be used to establish longterm child care (initial payments etc.).
- Breast Milk Shipment: Can be used during PCS travel. Includes transport costs, dry ice and other shipping supplies. More information about the assistance and the application can be found here.
- Pet/ Quarantine Expense Loan: To assist with the costs of transporting a pet during an OCUNUS move. Additional information about the loan, as well as, the application can be found here.
Education support options:
- Education Loan: For any student in the family pursuing a college degree.
- Tutor.com/ military: Help getting ready to go back to school and help while in school; over 80 subject areas.
- Education Advocate Grant: For dependents required to undergo evaluation for IEP or IFSP.
- Spouse Professional Requirements Loan: For costs associated with transferring professional accreditation from one state to another.
Educational support grants and loans and application details can be found here.
If you have a financial need and don’t see a program that fits your circumstances, Chapman advises that help may still be possible. “You don’t have to wait for a program if you have a need. Just contact your local CGMA representative to ask for help,” she said. There are 165 locations across the country that have representatives. If there is not a representative within a 50-mile radius of where you live, other relief societies can process your request and offer assistance on behalf of CGMA. Here are those additional agencies:
A full listing of PCS-related support is available here. You can contact CGMA’s headquarters by dialing: 800-881-2462 or visit their website.