Military families face unique challenges. Frequent relocations can disrupt spouses’ careers, making it difficult to build experience and secure stable employment. Finding reliable child care can be a constant struggle, especially when moving to new locations with unfamiliar options.

Nevertheless, the Department of Defense (DoD) and service officials are dedicated to improving their quality of life with various programs, from tackling spouse unemployment and child care shortages to offering a vast network of support services on base.

Helping Spouses Find Their Footing

Spouses play a vital role in military life; however, they might struggle to maintain their careers due to frequent moves. To help, the DoD offers a robust support system where spouses can get free career counseling and education assistance, including financial aid through the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship program.

What’s MyCAA scholarship program?

The MyCAA scholarship program offers financial assistance of up to $4,000 (with an annual cap of $2,000) for spouses of active duty service members for licenses, certifications, and associate degrees.

However, there are some eligibility details to consider:

Rank Restrictions: The program is generally available to spouses of enlisted service members (E-1 to E-6), warrant officers (W-1 and W-2), and commissioned officers (O-1 to O-3).

E-6 and O-3 Expansion: In 2023, the DOD expanded eligibility to include spouses of E-6 and O-3 service members, but with a limit. Only the first 1,250 spouses per year in these two pay grades can participate.

Grandfathered Eligibility: If a spouse’s service member sponsor gets promoted beyond the eligible ranks (E-1 to E-6, W-1 to W-2, O-1 to O-3), the spouse can still receive MyCAA funds as long as they already have an approved education and training plan in place. This protects spouses from losing access to the program due to their sponsor’s career advancement.