Military spouses are entitled to benefits that can help them adjust to the life in the military. One of those benefits is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA). The program was designed to help military spouses pursue certifications, licenses, and degrees to help them qualify for a high demand and portable job.
A short history of the MyCAA program. If you have paid any attention to the MyCAA news then, you probably know that it was not always formulated in the way that we see it today. The program was initially launched back in 2009 and was made available to any and all military spouses. The DoD was quickly overwhelmed by the response and they were forced to shut down their services. When the DoD decided to re-launch the program they made the decision to scale it back and only allow spouses of junior ranked personnel to utilize the benefits.
The MyCAA is an underutilized program. The MyCAA programs approved and confirmed as being used only numbered around 20% of the eligible demographic in a survey done by the Rand Corp. In fact, the same study showed that half of the eligible spouses didn’t even know that the program existed. This is obviously a problem and one that can be remedied. We can fault a mixture of the turbulent launch and then heavily modified re-launch for the lack of general awareness.
According to the Rand Corp survey, most eligible spouses who did not sign up for the MyCAA program believed that they are ineligible. Rand Corp also found that many newly married families, in the last three years or so, simply did not know that the program existed.
With the DoD now stressing that sign ups are available for eligible spouses, we figure that these reasons will become less and less popular.
What does the MyCAA offer? The MyCAA is all about providing a chance for spouses via financial assistance to earn the proper education needed and find a portable, in demand career. The MyCAA offers scholarships for approved educational plans as well as financial help of up to $4,000. In order to qualify for the financial grant, you have to have an active duty spouse with a rank anywhere in the range of E-1 to E-5, W-1, W-2, O-1 and finally O-2.
There is an annual cap of $2000 in benefits. These benefits can only be applied to approved routes of education: licenses, certifications, and assorted courses. The program cannot be used to pursue an advanced degree, so no bachelor’s or graduate programs. You also cannot use the benefits for general studies.