DVIDS – News – ‘Soldiers help Soldiers’ defines Army emergency aid as Fort Drum launches campaign


FORT DRUM, NY (Feb. 20, 2019) – The Army Emergency Relief Program is all about Soldiers helping Soldiers, and AER representatives from the 10th Mountain Division (LI ) met on February 19 to help kick off the annual campaign at Fort Tambouriner.

Since 1942, the AER has provided more than $ 1.7 billion in aid to more than 3.7 million soldiers and their families – through interest-free loans and grants, or a combination of of them.

In 2017, the AER administered $ 69.7 million in aid, including scholarships. At Fort Drum, AER staff handled more than 1,300 cases which provided nearly $ 1.7 million in aid last year.

Michael Ferguson, AER Community Service Specialist at Fort Drum Army, said that while this is a fundraising campaign – with a goal of $ 150,000 – the focus is more focused on communicating how the AER can help in times of urgent need.

“First and foremost, it’s about education,” Ferguson said. “It’s about educating the soldiers. We want our soldiers and their families to know about our program so that they do not struggle unnecessarily.

Ferguson explained the different categories of approved assistance which include medical, funeral and emergency travel expenses, minor home repairs, and the purchase / repair of essential home items.

The AER does not help with non-essential purchases, financing vacation or ordinary travel, paying fines or legal fees, paying off debts, financing a car loan, or purchasing a car. a house.

Changes to the categories of aid in 2019 include:

* New financial assistance for passport, immigration and visa fees for dependents;

* Additional dental care assistance for dependents;

* Assistance with special needs, in particular on equipment not covered (or partially covered) by TRICARE or another insurance;

* Additional grants for helmets and child car seats.

Ferguson also spoke about access to AER assistance and how the self-referral process allows eligible E-1 to E-4 ranks to apply without command intervention. In addition, the rapid assistance process gives company commanders and first sergeants the authority to approve soldier loans up to $ 2,000.

“The bottom line is we don’t want our soldiers to rely on predatory lenders,” Ferguson said. “It’s unfortunate, but we see so many people coming to us with this multitude of loans… and there is hardly any way for them to get out of it, so they shouldn’t come to them in first place.”

Command Sgt. 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy senior adviser Major Jason Johnson said there was a time when circumstances found him unpaid for a period of two months when he was accidentally kicked out of the system of remuneration. Johnson said having an interest-free AER loan saved him a lot of stress and worried about how to take care of his family.

“Soldiers looking after soldiers, that’s what the AER does,” he said. “Today we are launching this campaign, and this is an opportunity for our soldiers to take care of each other, just as those who donated – at the time – took care of me.”

The AER campaign coordinators for the 10th Mountain Division are Major Andrzej Kujawski and Staff Sgt. 1st Class William Sherlin.

To learn more about the AER, visit www.aerhq.org, contact the Fort Drum Financial Readiness Program at (315) 772-5196 or visit www.facebook.com/FortDrumArmyEmergencyRelief/.

Date taken: 20.02.2019
Date posted: 20.02.2019 09:29
Story ID: 311237
Site: FORT DRUM, NY, United States

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