Military One Source is a program for service members, veterans, and their families. They offer so many services, for free. However, many service members don’t take advantage of what they have to offer, usually because they don’t know what’s available to them. So, here’s everything you need to know about Military One Source and how to take advantage of their free help.
What is Military One Source?
Military One Source is a U.S. Department of Defense Program. You’ve probably heard about them if you’re in the military, and you might have heard of them pre-deployment or during TAPS. They’re available to both service members and their family to help you smoothly transition from military to civilian, civilian to military, and pre/intra/post deployment processes. If you need tax help, counseling, employment help, relationship advice, that’s what they’re there for, and confidentiality is a high priority. They even offer legal help for reservists who lose their job as a result of a deployment.
Confidential help might seem like a myth, especially if you’re currently serving. There’s so much stigma around the idea of getting help. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help, whether it’s for dealing with the stress of moving or getting through a traumatic event, Military One Source has the resources to help you through it, and confidentially.
Non-medical counseling is a service provided through Military One Source for active duty, guardsmen and reservists. It is also available to immediate family members and survivors. If you have concerns with relationships at home or work, you need help managing stress, maybe you are having issues communicating in your marriage, need help adjusting to the military culture, phases of a deployment, want to improve your parenting skills, or you’re suffering from grief or loss, non-medical counseling might be what you’re looking for.
Specialty Consultations are meant for individuals who need help with the process of adoption, adult disabilities, building healthy relationships, education, caring for the elderly, relocation and transition support for spouses, special needs, peer-to-peer support, wounded warrior assistance, and even health and wellness coaching.
Interactive Tools & Services
Right when you thought Military One Source already provided a great deal of services, they go and give you more resources such as financial counseling, MilTax services, caregiver support services, spouse education and career opportunities, of course resilience tools, and even language services—to help with translations when you’re OCONUS, translate documents, and bridging language barriers such as that with a foreign-born spouse.
Moving & Housing
If you’re a part of the military, it is inevitable, you will be moving. Whether it’s moving to your first duty station or your 15th, having resources available can make the moving period a little more bearable than trying to do it all on your own.
Whether your move is due to a PCS or separation, Military One Source will provide you will all kinds of resources to get you from point A to point B. They’ll help you plan your move, get sponsorship, and even help if your spouse is moving while you’re deployed.
Moving overseas comes with its own set of challenges. If this is you, don’t worry Military One Source has your back. They’ll help you figure out logistics and family, and let you in on what life is like overseas.
Do you have specialized housing needs? Are you in need of some disaster planning? These are both things that Military One Source will help you with. They even provide educational resources to help you better understand Family Separation Allowance (FSA), Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA).
Military Life Cycle
No one ever said military life was easy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of resources out there to help make things go a little smoother, such as when you deploy for the first time, or when you get to your first duty station.
New to the Military
If you’re new to the military, things might seem a bit overwhelming, we’ve been there. Luckily, Military One Source has resources to help you settle into your new environment. They’ll even provide you with free courses on how to invest and car buying (you should take advantage of both of these).
If you haven’t yet, or you have a record-breaking number of deployments under your belt, there’s something for you on Military One Source. There are even resources for family members. If you’re already hip-deep into your deployment, or you’re getting ready to return home, they can help you there too.
Separation & Transition
If you’re making that civilian transition, there’s most likely going to be a lot of anxiety that comes with it. Questions such as, what’s next and how to survive in the civilian job market are all too common. Military One Source has plenty of resources available for you to take advantage of before and after you get out.
There are so many resources a veteran can take advantage of, if you know about them. Not only do you get the classic “here’s who will give you discounts” lists, but they help you will things like the VA, coordinating funeral honors, educational resources, and even training vital to the job market you’re searching.
Friends & Extended Family
Too often are resources available only to service members and their immediate family. But, that doesn’t mean friends and extended family can’t benefit from knowing a little more about their service member’s life. Military One Source has details on how to recognize stress in military members, how to support service members, and even how to recognize military scams.
Financial & Legal
Financial advice and resources are something every military member should take advantage of. Whether you sever part-time or you’re active duty, Military One Source is another place to seek advice.
Military One Source can help you create a financial plan, no matter what your current finances look like, no matter what phase of your military career you’re in, and no matter how much you know about making the most of your military pay. They also have educational resources on saving, the different types of military pay, how to invest, pay off debt, even manage a checking account. So, even if you didn’t learn that stuff before graduating high school, they’ll help you out. They also have legal resources available for members looking to understand consumer rights, and it’s all free.
Sadly, being in the military doesn’t mean everyone will do you right. If you’re finding yourself dealing with a prick-of-a landlord who won’t let you out of a lease, aren’t getting the health benefits you’re legally allowed, or need help with civil lawsuits, estate planning, contracts, and lease reviews, or ID theft, there’s a resource Military One Source can point you toward.
Tax Resource Center
Military One Source has a tax resource center you can take advantage of using free MilTax software. Or, maybe you need a tax extension because of a deployment, MilTax can help you there too. They’ll also provide you with both tax consultants and plenty of educational resources to help make filing easier.
Education & Employment
If you’re a part of the military, there are so many educational opportunities available to you—outside of tuition assistance and the GI Bill—but if you don’t know about them, they won’t do you any good. Luckily, Military One Source has you covered.
Whether you entered the military with a degree or you’ve never stepped foot on a college campus, Military One Source can help you get started once you’ve entered the military. Do you need help selecting the right college, don’t understand tuition assistance, or need help securing a job that you can find meaning in after you get out, then check out the resources Military One Source has to offer. If you’ve already made the transition out, you have access to their services one year after separation.
Children and Youth
If you have little ones in school or they’re getting ready to start Pre-K, you’ll find a list of benefits and resources for Pre-K to 12th grade, tips on changing schools, higher education for your child, and even help to get them a job.
Did you know that a military spouse can get up to $4,000 in tuition assistance? If not, this is only one of the things Military One Source can show you how to get. Whether you’re a spouse seeking an advanced degree, a license, or need career connections because of all the moving, Military One Source can point you in the right direction.
Family & Relationships
Relationships in the military can be difficult. Deployments, PCSing, being far from loved ones all cause stress on families. Add in things like special needs, dealing with casualties, and being the survivor and it only makes life that much more stressful. Military One Source has resources to help in these areas, both for spouses and children.
Benefits and resources available to spouses include details on your entitlements, such as getting a military ID, employment benefits, the local MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) programs, how to register for TRICARE, opportunities for education, marriage counseling, and surviving spouse benefits can all be found through Military One Source.
Parenting & Children
Most military installations have programs for children and their parents. Military One Source can help you take advantage of things like finding out about summer activities at the on-base library, find childcare, tips on parenting teens, help with an adoption process, and parenting through a deployment.
If you have a family member with special needs Military One Source can get you in touch with a special needs consultant, help get you in touch with local support, and finding special needs childcare. There are plenty more resources available and tons of benefits you can find through Military One Source, so whether you have a special needs child or adult, they’re there to help you.
It’s no secret that the military puts a strain on relationships, and sometimes it leads to break-ups and divorce, and even falling-outs with co-workers. If you need advice on how to keep your relationship going strong, tips on how to manage relationships while you’re deployed, relationship challenges and divorce, or parenting and guardian tips, Military One Source has resources and benefits available.
Just because you’re serving in the military doesn’t mean abuse or neglect doesn’t occur. Military One Source can show you how to prevent such a thing from happening, and how to recognize the signs of abuse. They’ll also show you how to stop it, and give you resources to help you or someone you know who’s a victim of or related to someone dealing with domestic, child abuse, or neglect.
Survivor & Casualty Assistance
If you’re a survivor of a service member who has passed away, you might find yourself in need of legal and financial assistance. Military One Source has resources available to you and can help provide some support in attempting to find a new way of life without a spouse or parent. They’ll also help by connecting you with a grief counselor if desired.
Health & Wellness
Military One Source does not provide direct health care services, however, they do provide a lot of resources for service members and even family members who are trying to live their best life, mentally and physically.
Again, Military One Source does NOT provide direct health care services. But, they will help you navigate TRICARE plans and point you in the right direction when it comes to figuring out which plan works best for you and your family.
There is an obligation service members have to stay fit while serving. This means maintaining physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. Military One Source can point you toward fitness products, give you advice on getting to your peak performance, and even provide you with a health and wellness coach.
The military has a stigma about getting seen for mental health concerns. But, you don’t have to go see a military doctor for advice and counseling services, unless you really want to. Military One Source can point you in the right direction.
Military Crisis Line: 800-273-8255(then press 1) or chat by texting 838255
If you’re a wounded warrior, you’re entitled to a lot of benefits. Military One Source can help you figure out what these benefits are and give you a list of resources such as military relief organization contacts, and educational and employment benefits to help. They also provide wounded warrior specialty consultations to help with things like finding transportation, respite care, reporting problems with military facilities, and getting any additional support you might be in need of.
If you’re the caregiver of a wounded warrior, you’ll need resources and support too. Military One Source can provide you with resources in military and family life counseling, financial counseling, specialty consultations, and non-medical counseling, services you might need as a result of a spouse’s life-altering injury.
Recreation, Travel & Shopping
No one ever said the military had to be all work and no play. It’s important to find ways of relaxing and spending quality time with your family if you want to keep your mental health on point. Military One Source can show you where to go for discounts on recreational events, travel tickets, and ways to save at the commissary and military exchange.
Whether you’re looking to have a good time testing your fitness, you’re single, want to start a new hobby, think of the library as your second home, or want to attend concerts, Military One Source will show you how to make the most out of what your base has to offer.
Not all of your travel has to be mandatory. If you want to go on a hike, climb a mountain, explore the local community overseas, Military One Source has what you need to get your adventure on.
Commissary & Exchange
Did you know that you can get more than a tax-free and discounted shopping experience at the commissary and military exchange? Military One Source will let you in on all the details, like scholastic rewards for your children, employment opportunities for your dependent(s), and any contests.
National Guard & Reserve Component Information
If you’re not active duty, simply put, you don’t get the same benefits. If you’ve come from active duty to a guard or reserve component, you might find there’s a big difference, not only in operations but how benefits work and what resources are available to you. Military One Source can help you figure it out.
Guard and Reserves
If you’re in the Guard or Reserves, your educational benefits work differently, and so do your medical benefits. You still have the option to use TRICARE and tuition assistance, but the parameters of them are a bit different. Military One Source offers webinars to help you sift through all the policy lingo without giving you a major headache.
Employment & Education
Just because you’re serving part-time doesn’t mean you don’t need help with things like resume writing and turning that military lingo into civilian equivalent experiences. Military One Source will help you with your resume and getting hired. There are plenty of programs out there looking to hire someone with military experience, Military One Source will help you locate them.
Military Separation & Retirement
Whether you did 20 years or 4, leaving the military behind can be daunting, especially if you were serving in an active role. Even if you served strictly as a reservist or in the guard, you might want some help making a full transition to civilian status. Military One Source has the resources to help you do that. If you’re actively looking to go into the reserves or guard, they also have recourses available to get you there.
Military One Source Contact Numbers
If you need to talk to someone, there’s confidential help 24/7 provided by Military One Source. They even have overseas calling options.
Military One Source Phone Number: 800-342-9747
OCONUS Calling Options: 800-342-9647 or 703-253-7599
Emergency Contacts for Disaster & Evacuations: This will vary based on the branch and state you’re in. It’s best to visit Military One Source here for a full list of contact options.