Thursday, May 1, 2008

Navy Marine Corp Relief Society

This week I started training to be a caseworker at the Navy Marine Corp Relief Society. Although this has some social work principles involved and will be great experience, it does not require a degree of any kind. In fact, the best experience for the job would a being a military spouse who has moved around alot, heard the lingo, and kept a sharp eye on her husband's paychecks. Yesterday we went through doing a budget with a client and let me tell you, it was grueling even for someone with an MSW. I'll admit that I have never once looked at my husbands LES (leave and earnings statement), and my favorite way of budgeting is to go to the ATM and see how much money it says is left in the bank, then take some out. Balance a checkbook? Ha!
The Relief Society has scads of money donated by military all over the world to help service members in need. One example might be a service member who has a death in the family, needs to fly back to the states immediately, and doesn't have an extra $1300 lying around for a round trip ticket. One common problem is the Navy makes a mistake with your pay and you are stuck for a month with no pay - the NMCRS gives what they call a bridge loan repayable when you are reimbursed by the navy.
It is heartbreaking that there are women here, especially at a foreign duty station, who do not have jobs and are completely dependent on there husbands, who go to sea and who are able to restrict their access to the bank account and their pay. A military marriage takes faith in the other person and love, imagine being stuck with no money, three kids and no power of attorney. Unless Jose granted me the permission, I would not be able to get a job, buy a car, even sign the kids up for school!!! Since I know him and we've been married for 14 years, we laugh about this but it still pisses me off.
The woman still needs the husbands permission to get financial assist from the NMCRS, because it is set up to help the service member, not the spouse. After all, the assist might be in the form of a loan in which the repayment would be taken in allotments from his paycheck. Ay yay yay!
So many rules and policies to remember!
I think this, overall, will be a rewarding experience and certainly, service members and their families will be helped in times of crisis, so that is what to focus on.

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