Last year, the AER (Army Emergency Relief) allowed E-7s to receive financial assistance without a Commander’s signature or knowledge. Now, that same bypass has been granted to NCO’s (non-commissioned officers) who are E-5s or E-6s.
If anyone of rank E-5 or above needs financial assistance from AER, they can now go directly to the AER office to apply for funds.
What You Need to Know About the New AER Procedures
- An application for funds still has to be completed. The difference now is that E-5 and above won’t require a commanding officer or first sergeant signature on the application.
- If the AER officer uncovers budget concerns they believe the commanding officer should be aware of, they may still divulge this information – even if the soldier is an E-5 or above.
- AER funds can be granted in the form of a no interest loan (generally to be paid back within 12 months) or a grant (no payback required).
- AER funds can only be used for emergency and necessary expenses such as rent, utilities, emergency leave and medical costs. Funds cannot cover “optional” expenses such as a vacation.
Commander’s Referral Program
Any soldier can access funds through the Commander’s Referral Program. This program allows the commanding officer, rather than the AER officer, to determine if the loan should be granted. Form 600 is presented to the commanding officer and if signed, the soldier can simply turn in the form to the AER office for a loan of up to $1,500 without further questions.
It is at the commanding officer’s discretion to determine how much (or how little) paperwork and other evidence he needs to see to provide his signature in essence granting the loan.
If necessary, this is a great resource for emergency funds for our soldiers.