|By Guy Shields, Army Emergency Relief
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service) — New categories of assistance and
new scholarship opportunities now are available through Army Emergency
Included among the new categories of assistance to Soldiers are Family
member dental care, basic furniture needs, rental vehicles and
Capt. Martha Mitchell, a dentist
at the U.S. Army Garrison-Stuttgart Dental Clinic, examines a
patient's teeth during a visit to his second-grade classroom at
Robinson Barracks Elementary School. Assistance for Family
dental care, up to $4,000 per case, now is available through
Army Emergency Relief under new guidelines that expand eligible
categories. (Photo by
“We have been seeing increased numbers of these types of requests,”
said retired Sgt. Maj. Dennis Scott, chief of AER’s assistance
division. “Previously, we’ve processed some cases with mitigating
circumstances as an exception to policy. With this change we’ll be
able to assist additional Soldiers and their Families much more
Becky Wapp Sawyer, Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) director,
said, “The proposed changes are a welcome addition to the AER
program to provide additional support to Soldiers and Families in
the Fort McCoy community.”
At Fort McCoy, the AER program is coordinated by ACS.
AER provides no-interest loans or grants to Soldiers, depending on
the need and individual case.
Family dental care is not available on post for Families located in
the United States. This can put a significant financial burden on
Soldiers, AER officials said.
Dental care eligible for AER assistance includes diagnosis,
fillings, crowns, root canals, extractions, sealants and emergency
care to alleviate pain. Assistance will be limited to no more than
$4,000 per case.
Basic furniture needs include beds, cribs, sofas, chairs and tables.
The intent is to assist those Soldiers and Families establishing a
household when the quarters have no furniture. Additionally, this
category would be eligible to Soldiers who lost their furniture as a
result of a natural disaster. Assistance will be limited to no more
Assistance for a rental vehicle is intended to help those Soldiers
on emergency leave, or waiting for the repair of a primary vehicle.
The rental period normally would be seven-to-10 days.
Assistance for a replacement vehicle is intended to help Soldiers
when the cost to repair their current vehicle is greater than the
vehicle’s value. Assistance will be limited to not more than $4,000.
“We believe that by adding these additional categories, AER can take
a more-proactive role in caring for Soldiers and their Families
during a critical time in their lives,” added Scott. In the past two
years, AER has implemented a total of nine new categories in an
effort to be more responsive to the changing needs of today’s
Also changing within AER is the consolidation of its spouse
scholarship programs. Previously, there were separate programs for
spouses depending on whether they were located in the United States
“The consolidation of the two spouse scholarship programs will
simplify the application process, as well as allow all spouses to
qualify for ‘part-time’ scholarships,” said Diann Evans, manager for
AER’s scholarship programs. “This change will allow us to provide
better service for all the applicants.”
Prior to consolidation, only overseas spouses could get scholarships
for “part time” attendance.
However, overseas spouses had to apply five times per year. This
consolidation will allow them to apply once a year to align with the
domestic spouses who will now be able to get assistance while only
going to school part-time.
“One of the comments that we regularly received from the spouses
located in the States was that it was very difficult to find the
time to go to school full-time while maintaining a household with a
deployed spouse,” said Evans. “We recognized the need and changed
the policy to accommodate the current reality.”
There are no changes to the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship
Program, which is the AER scholarship program for dependent
Information about AER, including scholarship specifics and
application forms, are available on the AER website at
AER is a private non-profit organization dedicated to providing
financial assistance to Soldiers, active and retired, and their
Since its incorporation in 1942, AER has provided more than $1.3
billion to more than 3.3 million Soldiers, Families and retirees.
For more information about AER or for individuals seeking AER
assistance in the Fort McCoy community, visit ACS, 2111 South 8th
Avenue at Fort McCoy or call 608-388-6712/3505.