THE “HIDDEN GEMS” OF USAREC – ARMY WIFE TELLS ALL (PART 1)
“To Provide the Strength”
“An all-volunteer team sustaining an all-volunteer Army. A mutually supporting relationship with families and communities enabled by a network of shared knowledge using leading edge technologies and premier recruiting practices”.
That is the motto and job description you will find when you Google the name “USAREC” AKA the U.S. Army Recruiting Command…what you don’t find (without a little research of course) are the “hidden gems” of being a USAREC spouse. The hidden gems that make the 3+ years of your soldiers career and your life sooo much different than being back on the line. Follow me as I spill a few of the big juicy details of being a USAREC spouse, details that I know oh so well.
Now let me back track a little so you can get my family’s history and background within the Army and USAREC. My husband and I met in 2007 while we were both stationed at Ft. Riley, KS. I was a supply clerk for Apache Troop/1-13th CAV and he was a cavalry soldier with in the same Battalion (different troop of course). It was a early may morning when he walked into my office and needless to say…I had him at ACUs. He had just come back stateside from Korea and was looking to update his military drivers license, and I just so happen to be the girl he needed (literally😉). A few short years and couple deployments later we got hitched and my husband decided the CAV life wasn’t for him any more and decided to put in his packet to volunteer as a Army Recruiter. I was pregnant at this time so we decided it was best if I got off Active Duty and switched into the Army Reserve….to where our epic journey began.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
This brings me to my first hidden gem of USAREC; LOCATION. Within USAREC you can be sent just about anywhere…and when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere. We were lucky enough to get Rogers, AR as our first destination on this new adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I freaked when I first found out. Arkansas was the last place I wanted to go, I mean I had never been there and feared the worst about it. I guess you can say I judge this book by it’s cover. Boy was I wrong. It was an excellent first location, but unfortunately it was 4 hours away from the closest military installation. This made enjoying the simple things like the commissary or clothing and sales very few and far between.
Don’t let that scare you though, enjoy your adventure. Go out and explore…you might find that you actually love the place you’ve settled in.
Finding a House
Which brings me to my second hidden gem of USAREC; Government Leased Housing (GLH). The lease housing program was established to improve the quality of life for Army Recruiting Command Soldiers where housing costs are not fully supported by BAH plus 20% out of pocket. Soldiers whose duty station are within 50 miles of a military installation and less then 1-hour commute with available housing, will not be permitted to apply for GLH unless the soldier obtains a non-availability certificate from the installation’s housing office.
This program is amazing, and it definitely saved our butts the four years we were in Arkansas. It was super easy to set up through the Corp of Engineers, and it saved us from having to search for a home, pay a deposit and even having our credit dinged.
Interested in learned more…or have some questions you would like answered?! Don’t hesitate to contact the USAREC Housing Office at (803)751-8787 with any further questions or concerns you might have.
Child Care Assistance
So now that we’ve talked about location and housing assistance, let’s talk about about child care assistance. Yup you heard me, there is a program that helps USAREC and families with childcare when there is no availability at your local Army installation.
This amazing program is called the Army Child Care Fee Assistance Program which is soon transitioning to the Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) program. The CCAoA program is the Army’s contribution towards the total cost of child care for Army families. This program compensates for the difference between a Community Care Provider’s rate and an Installation’s rate for similar services.
For more information and eligibility requirements head over to the Army OneSource to read more!
But wait…there is more. Did you know being remote also gives you 5 free hours of respite?! (do I have you attention) Yes! Being part of USAREC makes you eligible for up to 5 hours of no-cost hourly child care for each child up to and including age 12 during an assignment period.
Find more information about this amazing benefit HERE.
After talking about our kiddos, what better to move onto than…TRICARE?! Tricare can be a tricky one when it comes to being so far away from a military installation. An example of this….currently my family is under Tricare Prime Remote. What does this mean? Well Tricare Prime Remote is a managed care option available in remote areas in the United States.
- Usually more than 50 miles (or one hour’s drive time) from a military hospital or clinic
- Check your home and work ZIP codes to see if you may qualify.
- Enrollment is required—no enrollment fees
So how does TRICARE Prime Remote differ from TRICARE Prime or Standard?! Well it’s a headache and amazing thing all at the same time (just being honest yo). Under TRICARE Prime Remote you will be given a primary care manager (PCM) who you will see for most of your care. If you need to see a specialist your PCM will need to refer you, which is something they will file with TRICARE.
Now I’m not going to lie…TRICARE Prime Remote is amazing (all my opinion, so don’t throw popcorn at me). We had no enrollment fees when we first signed up, no out-out-pocket costs when we go see the doctor or specialist, and getting a referral takes no time away from my busy day. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!
Before I move on I want to answer a question I see a lot from spouses in regards to this type of coverage, “Can we go to Urgent Care?”. The answer is YES/NO. I say that because you may not go to Urgent Care unless you have a referral from your PCM. If you do happen to get urgent care from another provider without a referral from your PCM, you’ll be using the point-of-service option (This does not apply to Active Duty Service Members). So if you are out of town, on vacation, needing a doctor at 10pm at night on a Saturday I would highly recommend going to the E.R. You will be FULLY COVERED if you go to the E.R. So please do not freak out like I did (tears and all).
Well I’m sure I don’t have too, but I would definitely recommend TRICARE Prime Remote it to any family that is in a remote…check out how to get more information below:
How to Enroll—3 Options
- Online via the Beneficiary Web Enrollment website
- Call your regional contractor
- Mail the enrollment form to your regional contractor (mailing addresses on the form):
MEDS IN THE MAIL
So after all this healthcare talk I can’t help to want to share with you a nice little gem called “EXPRESS SCRIPTS“
Express Scripts is a prescription benefit that makes the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable all through home delivery, and the best part IT’S FREEEEE!
- Home Delivery (Up to a 90 day supply)
- Generic: $0
- Formulary: $20
- Non-Formulary: $49
- Retail Pharmacy (30 day supply)
- Generic: $10
- Formulary (Brand): $24
- Non-Formulary: $50
This benefit is truly only beneficial if you take daily/month medications, but it will save you soooo much money in the long time…but I would recommend checking out Express Scripts to anyone with long term medication.
Find our more about Express Scripts through the link below:
RECRUITER EXPENSE ALLOWANCE (REA)
Spending money on me, on on me, on….OK, now I know my husband is not the only one that does this as a recruiter but it is part of their job…confused? Let me explain.
As a recruiter there are times where they have to wine and dine (not literally) their applicants and the Center of Influence (COI) in their areas, and unfortunately there is no special government credit card that pays for all this, so it has to come out of pocket. Welllll….don’t freak just yet I have some good news. Your husband can claim up to $75 in REA every month! It is done through DTS a the beginning of each month.
If they haven’t been claiming REA (THEY BETTER START NOW, haha) they can contact their Company’s secretary for more details.
Still freaked out?! Still nervous about this amazing journey that you and your family are about to embark on? Well than fear no more…there are actually two really great Facebook Groups specifically designed to help and assist USAREC families new and old with any questions or issues they might have.
(When you send in a request to join this awesome group, be sure to check your personal messages, the admins will message you to make sure you are associated with USAREC)
(Spouses are not allowed to join this FB group, this is for recruiters only)
Both of these groups have been very beneficial in my life, and the lives of others, so when I say this I do not say it lightly….I would HIGHLY recommend joining them (and I don’t do that with a lot of Facebook groups like these) if you find you have any questions that you just can’t seem to find an answer too. The admins of both pages do their best to keep the DRAMA to a minimum so do not view these two pages as “the typical” Army wife page.
Feeling overwhelmed?! I know I just threw a bunch of information at you all at once…and I promise this isn’t it (I have soooo much more to tell), but I will save that for another day. I just really wanted to hit on the main topics that I see so many spouses ask about and I hope I did so with enough detail as to not confuse you even more (I’m pretty good at scoring the deer in the headlights look…it’s talent haha).
With that said I will leave you with this (something I tell every wife coming into USAREC with their soldier) keep an open mind, thick skin, ask questions and you will fly by just fine!
Until next time…