Consumer Resources for Military Personnel

Today's military family faces many common consumer challenges, as well as the additional stress associated with frequent separation. To ease such difficulties, Family Centers, along with the other programs described below, provide help and support for military families.

U.S. Military Family Centers

Located on most military installations, Family Centers provide information, life skills education, and support services to military members and their families. One key function of a Family Center is to link people with appropriate services available in the local community and/or through state and federal assistance programs such as those related to health and human services, school systems, employment assistance, law enforcement and recreation.

Airman and Family Readiness Centers (A&FRC)
A&FRCs are located on every Air Force Installation and offer a wealth of to Airmen and their families. One-on-one consultations are available on information such as financial management, transition assistance, spouse employment, readiness, deployment, family life and relocation assistance.

Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS)
Headquarters and Service Battalion, Henderson Hall
1550 Southgate Rd.
Building 29, Room 305 Arlington, VA 22214-5103
Phone: 703-614-7171
The Personal and Family Readiness Division (MR) provides a number of Marine Corps personnel service programs, such as Casualty Assistance, DEERS Dependency Determination, Voting Assistance, Postal Services, and Personal Claims.

Commander, Navy Installations Command
Fleet and Family Support Programs
716 Sicard St., SE, Suite 1000
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5140
The Fleet and Family Support Program delivered by Commander, Navy Installations Command, provides support, references, information and a wide range of assistance for members of the Navy and their families to meet the unique challenges of the military lifestyle. Up-to-date news, messages, links and resources are provided, including assistance with relocation, employment, career and benefits, healthy lifestyles, casualties, domestic violence, and retirement.

U.S. Army
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command
Directorate, Army Community Service
4700 King St., NW
Alexandria, VA 22302
The Army provides comprehensive information on the support available to personnel and families, including resources to strengthen home and family life, Army basic training, lifelong learning, finances, employment, relevant news, along with links to other resources

U.S. Coast Guard
Office of Worklife
2100 Second St., SW, Stop 7013
Washington, DC 20593-7001
Phone: 202-267-6160
The U.S. Coast Guard can provide key resources, including core publications, career information and related news, as well as comprehensive background about its mission, community services, history, photos and reports.

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Useful Websites

Military OneSource is a comprehensive resource for military members and their families relating to nearly every aspect of personal and professional life, with topics that range from health and wellness, finances, family matters and resiliency.  The website includes blogs, discussion boards, podcasts and live chat. You may also call them at 1-800-342-9647.

National Resource Directory provides wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families and those who support them with a web-based yellow book. It provides information on, and access to, the full range of medical and non-medical services and resources needed to achieve their personal and professional goals across the transitions from recovery to rehabilitation to community reintegration. The National Resource Directory is an online partnership of the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs and provides links to the services and resources of federal, state and local governmental agencies; veterans' service, non-profit, community based and philanthropic organizations; professional associations and academic institutions.

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Additional Consumer Resources for Military Personnel

Be sure to take advantage of resources designed for military personnel and their families. Check with family readiness centers on your installation to get access to financial help.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs offers resources to plan your financial future and prevent being victim of fraud.

The Better Business Bureau also offers consumer education and advocacy to service members through their Military Line®.

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Predatory Lending Restrictions

As of October 1, 2007, the Talent Nelson amendment to the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act allows the Department of Defense to regulate the terms of payday loans, vehicle title loans and tax refund loans to active duty service members and their dependents. These three products have high interest rates, coupled with short payback terms.

The rule for service members and their dependents limits the annual percentage rate on these loans to 36%. All fees and charges should be included in the calculation of the rate. The rule also prohibits contracts requiring the use of a check or access to a bank account, mandatory arbitration, and unreasonable legal notice. Any credit agreement subject to the regulation that fails to comply with this regulation is void and cannot be enforced. The rule further provides that a creditor or assignee that knowingly violates the regulation shall be subject to certain criminal penalties.

The Department of Defense strongly encourages service members and their families to choose alternatives which are designed to help resolve financial crises, rebuild credit ratings and establish savings for emergencies. Payday loans, vehicle title loans and tax refund loans can propel an already over extended borrower into a deeper spiral of debt.

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