Military Families Resource Guide
North Carolina Governor’s Working Group
- NC SERVES – NC Serves is a collaborative network of public agencies and private and nonprofit organizations that provide referrals to services and supports for Veterans and their families. NC Serves is a part of America Serves who exists to improve the lives of veterans, service members and their families and it combines the best practices and methodology of the private sector, research universities, and impactful military and veteran organizations in order to achieve that mission each and every day.
- Veterans Crisis Line – Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves.
800-273-8255 – Press 1
- US Department of Veterans Affairs – The VA has consolidated toll-free help lines into one national line. You can also visit vets.gov for additional resources.
- Vet Center Call Center – If you are a combat Veteran or a family member of one. It is a 24/7 confidential call center staffed by combat Veterans from several eras as well as family members of combat Veterans. The benefit is prepaid through the Veteran’s military service.
- Military OneSource provides comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to service members and their families. In addition to the website support, Military OneSource offers call center and online support for consultations on a wide range of issues from everyday concerns to deployment-related issues. Military One-Source also offers confidential, non-medical counseling services face to face, by telephone and through secure online chat or real-time video addressing issues requiring short-term attention. Help services are available 24 hours a day, no matter where you live or serve.
- Cardinal Innovations
Cardinal Innovations is a managed care organization (MCO) which helps people with complex health needs get access to services they need. Coverage supports people throughout 20 NC Counties. Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Wellness Centers are gathering places where community members can come to meet people, have fun, participate in healthy activities, gather information, and learn about community resources. Note: You do not have to purchase a membership to attend events at one of the wellness centers. Most events are free.
- Atrium Healthcare
Atrium Healthcare (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System) is one of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations, connecting patients with on-demand care, world-class specialists and the region’s largest primary care network. A recognized leader in healthcare delivery, quality and innovation, their foundation rests on providing clinically excellent and compassionate care.
- Vaya Health
Vaya Health is a managed care organization (MCO) that oversees public funding for mental health, substance use disorder, and intellectual/ developmental disabilities services. Vaya Health believes in high-quality, whole-person care including one’s physical and emotional well-being. Vaya Health operates in 22 western North Carolina counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.
- New ID Cards for Military Family Members and Retirees
On July 31, 2020, the US Department of Defense began issuing new ID cards for military family members, retirees, and other eligible card holders. Unlike the current laminated paper card, the new ID is made out of more durable plastic and has security measures to reduce the likelihood that they will be compromised. Currently, only about 20 Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification Card System (RAPIDS) sites offer the card because new equipment is required to produce them. Cardholders are advised to wait until their card is about to expire and to schedule an appointment in advance. The complete transition to the new ID card, is targeted for January 2026.
- Mecklenburg County Veteran Service Office
Mecklenburg County Veteran Service Office is open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide service to clients on a walk-in basis. Employees can help with service-related disability, compensation and pension, healthcare, education and training, home loan assistance and more.
- Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy helps people in the Charlotte, North Carolina, region who cannot afford legal services, but desperately need them. Without legal representation in civil matters, thousands of families can lose access to financial security, healthcare, housing and opportunity. The organization serves low-income Veterans and families in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union Counties who are seeking help with disability benefits claims and appeals, discharge upgrades and over-payment issues, as well as additional civil legal matters, at little or no cost.
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows Veterans to transfer all 36 months or the portion of unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The request to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while serving as an active member of the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense (DoD) determines whether you can transfer benefits to your family. Once the DoD approves benefits for transfer, the new beneficiaries apply for them at VA.
- Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities is a non-profit social service organization following the teachings of the Catholic Church. It offers services and programs in the following: Burial Assistance, Counseling, Family Enrichment including Elder Ministry, Natural Family Planning and Respect Life, Food and Clothing, Pregnancy Support, Adoption, Foster Care, Teen Parenting, Refugee Resettlement and Assistance, Immigration, Translations, Social Concerns and Advocacy including CCHD & CRS, Education, Public Policy and Office of Economic Opportunity. Services are provided at the three regional offices: Asheville, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem. There are two satellite office locations in Greensboro and Murphy.
- Veteran Services of the Carolinas
Veteran Services of the Carolinas provides services including rapid rehousing, homelessness prevention, service coordination, employment and training, and outreach to homeless Veterans. The organization is a division of Asheville Buncombe Christian Community Ministry. Its mission is to assist our nation’s Veterans and their families by identifying needs and connecting them to community partners throughout North Carolina.
CASA believes that none of America’s heroes should have to go without the dignity of a permanent home. That’s why the non-profit provides and manages affordable housing to Veterans experiencing homelessness. CASA has several dedicated Veteran housing units, as well as other Veteran apartment options across its properties in central North Carolina.
- Central Piedmont Community College
Central Piedmont Community College has a Military Families and Veterans Services program that provides the bridge between education, life-long education and career development for those who have served and their family members. The services are consistent with their needs, interests and abilities as they transition.
- University of North Carolina Charlotte
UNC Charlotte’s Veterans Services Office is dedicated to the support and success of its military-affiliated student body. From processing GI Bill benefits to providing the Veteran Student Lounge for study and community, the VSO is the central hub at UNC Charlotte to promote a smooth and seamless transition for those choosing college after or during their service.
- NC Department of Commerce
The NC Department of Commerce offers a variety of supportive services to Veterans and their spouses through their network of NCWorks Career Centers. Individuals can search for their local center or sign up for the Veterans portal.
- Patriot’s Path
Founded in 2013, Patriots Path is a non-profit career coaching and job search training program created specifically to support the unique needs of military personnel in transition to civilian careers. Developed and taught by career coaches and executive recruiters who understand the complexities of the civilian hiring process, the Patriots Path course empowers and encourages veterans in translating their experiences while navigating the complex civilian landscape of networking, elevator pitches and interviewing.
- Veterans Bridge Home
Veterans Bridge Home is a Charlotte-based organization that connects Veterans and their families, in any state of transition, to the community. Through its network of partners, the organization helps Veterans navigate employment, create social connections, and settle their families. Veterans Bridge Home looks at the whole Veteran and connects them to the resources needed to be successful and thriving leaders in our community.
Charlotte Veterans Network
Charlotte Veterans Network is a private Facebook group for Veterans of all ages and eras, Active, Guard and Reservists in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Whether you’re looking for new friends, a running buddy or just miss the camaraderie from your time in uniform, this is your group.
Frequently Asked Questions on Deployment
What Does It Mean to Be Deployed?
A military deployment is different than Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or Temporary Duty orders (TDY). The deployments are usually to a “forward” location and may be considered part of a specific operation or objective.
Those who deploy are not headed to the forward location on a “permanent” basis. There is usually a time restriction on deployments. This is to support bringing fresh troops in and rotate out those who have completed the time requirement for the deployment.
TDY orders differ from deployments as they are for more general purposes. This includes training, professional military education, permissive TDY for house hunting in conjunction with a new assignment, etc.
Both TDY orders and deployments differ from PCS orders. PCS moves are based on the reassignment of the service member to a new base or installation. These moves require the service member to relocate for a year or longer. Three to four years is not uncommon for some career fields and job requirements.
How Long Are Deployments?
Deployment orders don’t require the duration that a PCS move does. A common deployment in the past was 180 days. Depending on the branch of military service doing more time than that on the deployment may require new orders, a recharacterization of the time served, or other considerations.
Some branches of service have made policies that restrict deployments to smaller time frames. The Air Force may deploy its troops for 60 to 90 days before rotating another set of troops into the deployment area. Mission needs, troops strength, and other variables may affect the length of these rotations.
Other branches of service, such as the United States Navy, still have 180 day deployments that includes sea duty. The Army may deploy troops for 12 months or more with an accompanying amount of non-deployed time in return.
Will Deployed Troops See Combat?
This question is almost impossible to answer except to say that it depends greatly on the service member’s unit, career field, the nature of the deployment, and other factors.
Those who deploy for military training exercises will likely experience simulated combat or forward deployed conditions. This includes restrictions on cell phones and other communication, living in field conditions, and accomplishing missions planned on a much larger scale than “at home.”
Remember, not all deployments are the result of military conflict. The Army recruiting official site advises parents, “Traditionally, the Army has been the United States’ first line of defense in times of war. Today, the Army performs many more roles. U.S. Soldiers provide humanitarian relief in regions stricken by natural disaster. They have a presence in hundreds of non-combat areas around the world, providing anything from medical services, to human resource support.”
Will I Be Able to Contact My Spouse/Son/Daughter During A Military Deployment?
Communications may be limited for those being deployed for a variety of reasons, but there are means of communication provided. The military relies on Internet communications and typically has some type of network available in the deployed area.
Whether troops are permitted to access this network on deployment will depend on the nature of the mission, security requirements, available technology, and other factors.
It’s true that many troops have carried mobile devices with them on deployment, but use of iPads, cell phones, and other mobile communications will be controlled and regulated for security purposes. At the time of this writing, for example, troops are forbidden from using any GPS or tracking devices in a deployed setting.
What Does “Stop Loss” Mean?
The practice of Stop Loss involves involuntarily extending the separation date of service members who are on or scheduled to go on deployment.
A service member due to separate from the military may have that date moved to a later time to accommodate the needs of the mission. It is a controversial measure that causes no small amount of grumbling among the troops it affects. All should be aware of the potential Stop Loss has to be used in a given situation and plan accordingly.
Stop Loss is often used during times of manpower shortages or when troop strength goals have not been met by a branch of service. Stop Loss is administered on a situational basis, the duration of such a program, and what troops it may affect will vary.
When The Deployment Is Over, What’s Next?
Just because a service member finishes a deployment does not mean they will not be re-deployed again to the same or different area. There is a minimum amount of down time required after a deployment, but what happens to the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine after the deployment ends depends greatly on circumstances.
For example, the soldier who only had a small amount of time left on their current military assignment may have to decide where they might wish to volunteer to go to next. No guarantees are made in this department in general, but deployed service members may get some form of preference for having returned from the deployment.
These considerations will depend greatly on the policies of the unit, command, and branch of service.
What Happens When Troops Are Called Up to Be Deployed?
The specific deployment procedure will depend greatly on the branch of service, the policies of the major command the deployment affects, and other variables. Deployment procedures may also depend on whether the mobilization is for an active unit, Guard, or Reserve unit.
For example, Army Reserve units involuntarily deployed are generally required by the 2018 Army Deployment and Mobilization Reference to have 30 days advance notice ahead of the “effective reporting date.”
Others may have a very limited amount of advance notice before being deployed. Some units are designed specifically to react to mission requirements at a moment’s notice. Others require prep time, training, and mobilization efforts on a large scale.
What Resources Are Available for the Families of Deployed Service Members?
Each branch of military service has programs to help the families of those who have been deployed. One excellent example is the United States Army’s Family Readiness Groups and Family Training Programs. The Air Force’s Airman and Family Readiness Centers on bases stateside and overseas is another example.
Help is often available from these resources in the form of support groups, counseling services, special phone calling or video conferencing programs to stay in touch with the deployed service member. They also provide aid with re-integration and family reunion counseling for returning troops and their loved ones.
You can usually find these services by searching the official site of the military base the member is assigned to before deploying. You can also look up family readiness or family support programs in the base telephone directory.
In addition to official help from the military, there is also deployment assistance offered by Veteran Service Organizations and military-related non-profits such as the Air Force Aid Society, Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, etc.
How Can I Help My Spouse/Son/Daughter Prepare for A Military Deployment?
There are many highly recommended pre-deployment preparation steps a service member and family can take to make the entire experience less stressful. Parents, spouses, and loved ones can help by encouraging the service member and family to take as many of the following steps as possible ahead of getting orders to deploy:
- Create a long-range budget
- Establish allotments
- Determine who will write checks, pay bills, etc. during the deployment
- Create or update a Last Will And Testament
- Arrange for payment of insurance policies including auto insurance, life insurance, etc.
- Determine the need for a general or specific power of attorney
- Establish rules regarding children’s discipline, chores, curfew, and other needs
- Distribute the unit First Sergeant’s contact information among loved ones
- Develop a good support system: family, friends, church, school, co-workers, family readiness support groups and hobbies
- Plan family days with quality time and no interruptions before and after deployment
- Create family routines that can be established before and after the deployment
- Plan activities to maintain the deployed loved one’s presence including photos, video, cards and letters, etc.
Do I Need A Power Of Attorney for My Deployed Child?
Powers of attorney are very important in the absence of a servicemember. Any child care, health care, home loan, rent, storage, or related issues involving legally binding agreements may require a power of attorney so a loved one can act on the service member’s behalf.
A general power of attorney is often discouraged. This gives the bearer a wide range of powers over the finances and other areas of a service member’s life. It should only be used when there is a high degree of both need and trust.
A limited power of attorney is better in many circumstances. But as the name implies, it will only be good for the specifically authorized activities listed in the power of attorney. It cannot be used in a general way.
It’s best to discuss the need and implications of using a power of attorney with loved ones long before a deployment.
Where Do I Get A Power of Attorney?
Contact the base Legal Office or Staff Judge Advocate office to learn how you can schedule an appointment to get a power of attorney. Depending on the size of the military base, mission requirements, and other variables you may be able accomplish this on base. You will be directed to the office most used in these circumstances in your area.