by Bradley Hood
In a previous post, I discussed the ability that Post-9/11 GI Bill-eligible individuals have to transfer their benefit to a dependent. I have been meaning to discuss other benefits available to military spouses, but have taken a bit of time because I am still new to the world of dependent benefits.
Recently, my wife and I came across MyCAA, which stands for Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts. This excellent program was made available again in 2010, and can provide up to $4,000 for a spouse to pursue education. Despite a number of restrictions, this assistance can be extremely valuable, even for a military spouse who possesses a degree already, allowing him or her to pursue education in a new area which may be more portable, suited to the constant relocation that the military lifestyle demands.
There are a number of restrictions on MyCAA, the most important of which is that MyCAA funds may only be used to pursue an associate degree or certifications and licenses. Unfortunately for the Coast Guard, MyCAA is only available to service members in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.
Additionally, MyCAA is designed to assist spouses of junior military members, and so is restricted to dependents of active-duty service members in the grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2. Like many education benefits, the requirement for active-duty status means that National Guard members can receive this benefit, but only when on Title 10 orders.
Because I have not yet received my active-duty orders, my wife has not been able to complete the registration process for MyCAA, but we have been discussing how she might use these funds. She does possess a bachelor’s degree, and has a number of years of experience in an office environment, but neither of us have yet faced the challenge of attempting to ensure stable civilian work over the inevitable relocations we will soon go through. The MyCAA funds will allow her to pursue education in fields which will make this process much easier, as the liberal arts degree she possesses now, while valuable, may not be enough.
For those of you interested in finding out more information, Military OneSource has an excellent fact sheet at: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/12038/Project%20Documents/MilitaryHOMEFRONT/MyCAA/FactSheet.pdf
If you have a spouse eligible to apply for this benefit, they can go to this address: https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/