Deployment can be financial drain; get help at NMCRS

Preparing for a military deployment can be hectic and stressful. Being away from home for an extended period of time isn’t easy to handle, especially if the deployment could put your military member in harm’s way. Military OneSource and USAA are great resources for deployment checklists and calendars, but financial needs should also be at the top of your list. It’s easy to get into debt, but it’s not as easy to get out.

Typically the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) provides loans to active-duty military members and their eligible dependents with the active-duty member present. However, eligible dependents can be assisted while the active-duty member is deployed if, prior to deployment, your military member fills out a pre-authorization form. This form caps the amount of money you can receive via an NMCRS interest-free loan. Without pre-authorization, NMCRS can assist with an emergency only after receiving permission from your military member through command contact.

There are several documents that are important to have on hand while your military member is deployed, one of the most significant being the general power of attorney that can be provided by Navy Legal Services. A general power of attorney allows you as the agent to conduct any sort of business on behalf of the principal, or it may be specific, limited to the transactions expressly provided for in the document. It can allow you to sign a lease, make updates to bank accounts (as long as your name is on the account), update contracts, change your address and carry out other functions as if your military member were there to sign personally.

Bank account management can be a touchy subject during deployment, depending on who manages the household finances when you are both at home. If your military member manages the finances, see if he or she will grant you access to the bank accounts, credit cards, etc., during the absence.

It is important to create a deployment budget and know how much each of you is spending, because deployment can lead to debt if finances are not managed carefully. You will both need money for things such as food, clothing and fun, but you will still have other financial responsibilities, such as rent, utilities, insurance, car payments and credit card debt. If you need help with a deployment financial plan, stop by NMCRS and get help creating a budget.

There are two other things you should do to prepare your finances for an upcoming deployment: Create an emergency fund and find out what creditors can offer military members on duty. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides extensive financial protection to people deployed in the U.S. military, including assistance with reduced interest rates, termination of residential and vehicle leases, help with taxes and much more.

You can get more information on this from the NMCRS office, located in the Welcome Center at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme.

Before deployment, do your homework. It will pay off in the long run.

© 2013 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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