Fort McCoy News December 13, 2013

Sergeants, above can apply directly for AER program

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, all Army personnel in the ranks of sergeant through colonel can apply directly if they need emergency financial assistance from the Army Emergency Relief (AER) program.

The latest change was based upon feedback from Army senior leaders and is defined in AER Policy Memorandum 2013-10.

It continues the Army's goal to encourage greater use and awareness of the AER program, as well as becoming advocates for the program.

AER emergency assistance is used to help Soldiers with immediate financial needs with rent, utilities, emergency travel, etc.

The assistance can come in the form of a no-interest loan or grant. Loans must be repaid, which helps continue monetary support for the program.

Prior to September 2011, Soldiers in the ranks of privates through lieutenant colonels were required to process requests for AER assistance through their immediate company/battery level commander or first sergeant.

In September 2011, the exemption was expanded to include master sergeants and above, chief warrant officers 3 to 5 and captains and above. Effective Oct. 1, 2013, the exemption was expanded to include all personnel in the ranks of sergeant first class and above.

Soldiers in the rank of privates through corporals will continue to submit their routine requests for AER assistance through their immediate company/battery commanders or first sergeants or use the Commander's Referral Program.

The AER program relies upon donations, which can be made during an annual campaign or at any time at the AER website. In addition to emergency financial assistance, the AER program also awards scholarships to Family members.

Additional information about the AER program is available at the website www.aerhq.org or www.myarmybenefits.us.army.mil.

For more information about the AER assistance program, eligibility or other AER policy questions in the Fort McCoy community, call the Army Community Service Center at 608-388-6712/3505.