Army Emergency Relief (AER)

Army Reserve: Retired

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 Surviving Spouses and offers undergraduate scholarships to Spouses and Children of both active and retired Soldiers. Established in 1942, AER has assisted more than 4 million Soldiers and Family members with more than $2 billion in support. On an annual basis, AER provides over $50 million in Zero-Interest Loans and $10 million in grants to more than 45,000 Soldiers, and another $10 million in educational scholarships for Army Spouses and Children.

Expanded Eligibility to Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers Activated in Support of COVID-19 Relief Efforts:
Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers that are activated in response to COVID-19 are eligible for financial assistance from Army Emergency Relief (AER) for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and food, and personal transportation costs such as car payments, auto insurance, and fuel. Soldiers remain eligible for the duration of their activation, plus an additional 30 days after deactivation. This enhancement to AER marks a significant change in policy for eligibility of Reserve component Soldiers. Under normal eligibility, Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers must be activated under Title 10 orders for greater than 30 days. However, the new eligibility requirements allow for any Soldier activated under Title 10 or Title 32 orders (in response to COVID-19) to receive AER assistance, regardless of the length of their activation.

COVID-19 - Expanded Assistance for USAR & ARNG (Bulletin 05-2020-1) 


Retired Army Reserve Soldiers are eligible to receive AER funds IF they are retired from active duty due to physical disability, or retired at age 60 under section 1331, title 10, United States Code.

Benefit Highlights

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:

  • Rent/Mortgage

  • Vehicle repair

  • Emergency travel

  • Utilities/Deposits

  • Funeral expenses

  • Food

  • Non-receipt of pay

  • Travel fund for relocation (PCS)

  • Dependent dental

  • Medical expenses

  • Repair/Replacement of HVAC

  • Repair/Replacement of major appliances

  • Replacement vehicle

  • Loss of funds

  • Cranial helmets

  • Essential furniture

  • Car seats

  • Rental vehicle

AER does not provide funds:

  • For nonessentials

  • To finance ordinary leave or vacation

  • To pay fines or legal expenses

  • To liquidate or consolidate debt

  • For purchase of home or home improvements

  • To 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 Army Emergency Relief logoimmediate 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 $2,000.

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.

Educational Assistance

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 Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program. More information on these programs can be found in other fact sheets on this site and at

Additional Information

For more information, please visit the Army Emergency Relief webpage maintained by Headquarters, Army Emergency Relief:

Army Regulation 930–4: Army Emergency Relief:

Document Review Date: 23 April 2021