Army Emergency Relief (AER)
Regular Army: Active Duty
Benefit Fact Sheet
Army Emergency Relief (AER) is a private, nonprofit organization that was created to help Soldiers and their Family members who experience financial emergencies. AER provides funds to help Soldiers with immediate financial needs with rent, utilities, emergency travel, etc. AER also provides emergency funds to Soldiers' orphans and Widows and offers undergraduate scholarships to Spouses and Children of both active and retired Soldiers. Established in 1942, AER has assisted more than 3.7 million Soldiers and Family members with more than $1.7 billion in support. In 2015, AER processed over 42,000 cases, providing $62.3 million in no-interest loans and grants and awarded more than $8.9 million in scholarships to 3,201 Children of Soldiers and 1,084 Spouses of Soldiers.
Active duty Soldiers and immediate Family members are eligible to receive AER funds.
Emergency Financial Needs
The primary mission of AER is to provide funds to help Soldiers meet emergency financial situations. These emergencies are generally deemed unexpected and urgent. Examples include:
- Food, rent, or utilities
- Emergency transportation and vehicle repair
- Funeral expenses
- Medical/dental expenses
- Personal needs when pay is delayed or stolen
- Help needed due to natural disasters
AER financial assistance is not authorized for:
- Help pay for nonessentials
- Finance ordinary leave or vacation
- Pay fines or legal expenses
- Help liquidate or consolidate debt
- Assist with house purchase or home improvements
- Help purchase, rent or lease vehicle
- Cover bad checks or pay credit card bills
Flow of Funds
AER collects and holds funds for use by Soldiers and their eligible Family members and gives local commanders access to this money for disbursement to Soldiers. Therefore, to obtain funds, Soldiers should contact their immediate commander to apply for AER assistance. The immediate commander or local Army Emergency Relief Office will determine the merit of the Soldier's request and the amount of assistance on a case-by-case basis. AER has reciprocal agreements with the American Red Cross (ARC) and the Aid Societies for the Navy and Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, allowing Soldiers and their immediate Family members to obtain AER assistance through these organizations as well.
All Soldiers, who have graduated from AIT, have more than one year in the Army, have not received AER assistance more than twice in one year and have not demonstrated "high risk" behavior, can go directly to the AER office without going through the Chain of Command. However, the fastest way to obtain assistance is through the Commander's Referral Program. Under that program, the Company Commander or First Sergeant is the approval authority for a no-interest loan of up to $1,500.
AER is not an Army or Department of Defense (DoD) organization. Therefore, the Government, or the Army, cannot direct AER how to distribute this money. Funds for the program are generated through voluntary contributions from active and retired Soldiers. AER is also funded through loan repayments and investments made by the AER investment program.
AER's secondary mission is to provide financial assistance (grants) for undergraduate education of dependent Children and Spouses. These programs include the MG James Ursano Scholarship Program (for dependent Children) and the Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP). More information on these programs can be found in other fact sheets on this site and at https://www.aerhq.org/Apply-for-Scholarship.
For more information, please visit the Army Emergency Relief webpage maintained by Headquarters, Army Emergency Relief:
Document Review Date: 29 June 2016