Besides a steady pay check, advancement opportunities and travel, here are some other military benefits:
Full health care – for the service member, spouse, and children
Full dental for service member – Pay a small fee for coverage for your spouse and dependents
Post 9/11 GI Bill for higher education – This benefit will pay full in-state tuition and fees for an undergraduate degree from a public school, not to exceed the highest in-state tuition for the state.
Tuition Assistance – The Marine Corps will pay all or most of tuition for college classes you take while you are in the Marine Corps. Last year sequestration budget cuts temporarily suspended this benefit during the budget crisis.
Retirement Benefits – Depending upon the year of retirement and time served, service members receive a retirement payment.
Thrift Savings Plan – Like a 401K plan – deductions are made from your pre-tax pay and put into a government administered retirement plan. Choose from several funds and watch your retirement savings grow! For more details visit the Thrift Savings Plan website.
Insurance– $400,000 Life insurance to protect the ones you love can be purchased for a
reasonable fee $27. Pay an additional $5 for your spouse to received 100,000 of coverage.
VA Home loans – purchase a home using a VA loan and buy your home with a very small or no down payment. Standard financing may require 10 – 20% down on the purchase price! Imagine having to come up with $40,000 cash before you could buy a $200,000 home. For detailed information see the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Vacation –Marines earn 2.5 days of paid vacation (leave) each month of service. Time off for medical reasons is provided as required.
Military Base Benefits – Marines have access to military bases throughout the country and around the world. Many bases have pools, movie theaters, beaches, RV campgrounds, bowling alleys etc… Also check out Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Recreational Gear Rentals where you can check out boats, campers, and bounce houses. Check out the items available at the Marine Corps Air Station MCCS.
Commissary – This is one of my favorite benefits. You can save around 30% on your grocery bill by shopping at the commissary according to the Defense Commissary Agency’s 2013 price comparison study. The prices on meat and canned goods are very good. Save even more because there is no sales tax on items. The commissary does charge a 5% service charge that goes back to the commissary to offset costs. And while commissaries may not have as much variety as a regular grocery store, the savings on staple foods is well worth your time. Note: According to a U.S. Department of Defense article dated January 28, 2014 the Pentagon is looking into cutting this benefit.
Space Available travel – or Space A travel or a hop is not a benefit we have used often mainly because of time restrictions. Space Available is exactly what it means. If a military flight has room on board you can travel along to your destination. That means the flight could be canceled, re routed, or someone can “bump” you from the seat. Once my husband traveled from Okinawa to Hawaii to meet me and although he arrived in Hawaii, he couldn’t get a flight back in time so we had to buy a one-way commercial flight. That was the one and only time we tried to use it.
The Marine Corps Exchange – The first Marine Corps Exchange opened in 1900. Flash forward to today and the Marine Corps Exchange has its own brand of clothing called 1775 and an online store. They’ve come a long way since that first Post Exchange. Marines and their dependents have access to the Marine Corps Exchanges as well as any U.S. military exchange both in the United States and abroad. Be sure to check out the Parris Island Exchange when you visit.
Credit Union – We belong to the Navy Federal Credit Union. The credit union has free checking, free use of their ATM’s and reasonable fees for ATMs outside of their network. Definitely look into opening an account with them.
Discounts at local restaurants and stores – Make sure to ask if a store has a military discount. Be sure to have your military ID on hand to show the clerk.