Military spouses furious about paused benefit program - - The News for South Mississippi

Military spouses furious about paused benefit program

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Jamie Chevalier, a proud Navy wife, isn't finished with her journalism degree.  However, she worries this semester could be her last, due to sudden halt in the Department of Defense's program called MyCAA.

"It gives you $6,000 to put towards your education," explained Chevalier.  "While we're down here, that would have covered the 11 classes I need to finish out the degree. So I would be able to finish it here and not have to worry."

A program representative did not return our call Friday, but an update on the Department of Defense' website explains the program's pause is temporary.  The post explains the program's enrollment increased six fold in recent months, forcing the Department of Defense to halt it temporarily and regroup. 

"To clarify the status of MyCAA, during the pause no new MyCAA accounts may be created, and no new financial assistance applications will be accepted," the post said.  "Approved financial assistance documents for enrolled participants will not be affected. And, spouses who already have a MyCAA account may continue to use the MyCAA website for career counseling and planning."

Click here to read the entire post.

Chevalier said she was never contacted about the freeze, and instead was told by a friend via email the program had halted.

"It's like they gave us something and took it away and they expect us to just be quiet and to not question it," said Chevalier.  "And I think that's where the problem lies is they didn't expect us to question it like we're doing.  And we are."

More than 1,500 military spouses have joined a Facebook group, using comments to express their concerns about the program's abrupt halt.  Click here for a link that page.

Chevalier said the affected spouses aren't just making noise online.

"We've started letter writings, emails, phone calls, and congress is listening, and they're talking to the DoD on our behalf," Chevalier said.  "Somebody's going to listen.   If it's just a handful of people, we're just making noise. But if its 2000 spouses, somebody's going to listen.  And hopefully we'll get something accomplished."

Chevalier hopes this wont be her last semester of studying with help from MyCAA, but if it is, she wants to be notified.

"If they can start the program back up, great," said Chevalier.  "If they can't just let us know. Personally tell everybody why and explain to them what can be done in the future."

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