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 customers 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.
If you cannot locate a Family Center, please contact your respective military
branch’s headquarters office listed below. The designation “DSN,” preceding some of the
phone numbers, refers to the military phone system and does not apply to the civilian
Air Force Community Readiness and Family Support
Force Sustainment Division
1040 Air Force Pentagon
Washington DC 20330-1040
Air Force Crossroads is a comprehensive resource for Air Force 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 recreation,
the network includes access to the Air Force Spouse Forum, chat rooms, an employment
forum, a flea market and links to news sources.
Marine Corps Community Services
3280 Russell Rd.
Quantico, VA 22134-5103
Toll free: 1-800-MARINES
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. MCCS delivers
goods and services at over 2,250 facilities and has a staff of more than 12,000
Fleet and Family Support Programs
Commander, Navy Installations Command
2713 Mitscher Road, SW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20373-5802
Ph: 1-800-FSC-LINE (372-5463)
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.
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command (FMWRC)
Family Programs Directorate, Army Community Service
4700 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22302
The MyArmyLifeToo portal is the single gateway to comprehensive information on the
support available to Army personnel and families, including resources to strengthen
home and family life, Army basics training, lifelong learning, finances, employment,
relevant news, along with links to key resources.
U.S. Coast Guard
2100 Second St., SW, Room 6320
Washington, DC 20593
Toll free: 1-800-368-5647 (Safety)
Toll free: 1-877-NOW-USCG (Recruiting)
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.
Military HomeFront is the official Department of Defense website for information to
help improve the quality of life for troops and their families. Members of all
branches of the military service and their families will find reliable, up-to-date
details and advice on such topics as education, housing, legal matters, parenting,
personal finances, pay and benefits, relocation and healthcare. Military HomeFront
also makes it easier for leaders to locate official quality of life program
information and resources for their troops and families. In addition, service
providers can access desk guides, policies, forms and other resources.
Military Sentinel is a gateway to consumer education materials covering a wide range
of consumer protection issues, from auto leasing, to identity theft, to work-at-home
scams. It allows members of the United States Armed Forces to enter consumer
complaints directly into a database that is immediately accessible by over 500 law
enforcement organizations throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. These
law enforcement agencies use this complaint data to target cases for prosecution and
other enforcement measures. The information from Military Sentinel can also be used
by members of the JAG staff and others in the Department of Defense to help protect
armed services members and their families from consumer protection-related problems.
Military OneSource is an excellent hub of information and assistance for military
personnel and their families. This 24/7 resource offers a variety of services and
tools dedicated to meeting the special needs and improving the lives of service men
and women, both personally and professionally. In addition to in-person counseling
and direct links to all of the armed services home sites, Military OneSource offers
advice and who-to-contact information on matters such as health, education, training,
moving, shopping, legal issues and finances. Podcasts, webinars, discussion boards
and news feeds cover special topics and provide answers to help resolve problems.
|Better Business Bureau Military Line
The BBB Military Line, www.military.bbb.org, offers consumer education and
advocacy to service members and their families. Five service-specific sites
contain current military-related consumer news, as well as links to local BBBs
and other sites with useful consumer information:
Users may request reports, file complaints, and sign up for a custom consumer
newsletter. On a local level, area BBBs provide educational briefings for military
personnel and their families, and work with local businesses to promote ethical
treatment of military consumers.
|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 percent. 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.
Commissaries and Exchanges
Consumers who shop at military commissaries and exchanges and who have a question or
problem should contact the local manager before contacting the regional offices. If your
problem is not resolved at the local level, then write or call the regional office
nearest you. Be sure to discuss the problem with the local and regional offices of a
commissary or exchange before contacting the national headquarters.
Wounded Warrior Resource Center
The Wounded Warrior Resource Center website (WWRC) provides wounded service members,
their families, and caregivers with information they need in the areas of military
facilities, health care services, and benefits. It supports access to the Wounded
Warrior Resource Call Center and trained specialists who are available 24 hours a day,
7 days a week by phone at 1-800-342-9647 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Information is also available on how to connect to other families for support and
National Resource Directory
The 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; veteran’s service, non-profit, community based and
philanthropic organizations; professional associations and academic institutions.