It’s happening…. the effects of sequestration and it’s no more clearly pronounced than in the latest of the Navy’s cancelled deployments. Surprisingly, this is a hardship that I don’t think anyone could have predicted. Sailors and their families make life decisions based on these deployments and the Soldier and Sailor Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) is commonly used by Sailors for things like apartment leases, car loans and student loans.
Another consideration is family choices during deployments. Many times spouses with young children will choose to stay with extended family during deployments. Most often these are young lower ranking families that don’t have much money to spend and work for months to have the money saved to make these trips. What are they going to do? Stay? Go anyway? And what about the Sailors who gave up their apartments? Maybe they let someone move in while they were gone? How about their plans to save money because they had student loans suspended and were really counting on that income for one reason or another?
What now??? What are they going to do now? And what if your command is slated for deployment? How confident are you that your spouses will be going? I know I’m not!
Here are some tips and resources to help prepare you through the next several months of possible (and already) cancelled deployments:
1. Get with a financial counselor. They can be from FFSC/MFSC, Military OneSource, NMCRS or your bank. Have them outline any possible financial repercussions that could come up. This could be anything money related like purchased plane tickets or suspended student loans. You should know what to expect in the face of the unexpected.
2. Make plan A, B and C and be prepared to act on all of them. You may have decided, “nuts to spending 6 months with a two year old and 3 month old, I’m outta here and living with my mom and bought plan tickets.” Make sure your spouse is ok with you still going or if he/she would prefer that you change plans, etc…
3. Be open with all interested parties. This means if you have a second job, be sure your employers knows you might not leave and want to keep your job. If they think you are leaving they may fill your position and then you are out of luck. Same goes for lenders!!! Make sure they know anything is possible. The last thing you want is for creditors to come knocking.
4. Try to see the positive in a cancelation. Yes, yes I know… Sailors love going to sea. I’m married to one and I can tell you he will be very disappointed if his deployment is cancelled. But, the positive part is that he isn’t leaving and that means no missed birthdays or anniversary or swim meats and soccer games. Let them mourn and then help them see the silver lining.
5. Know who you can turn to if the worst happens. Even the most prepared get stuck with the worst case scenario. There are so many resources to help. The best people to turn to are the command Ombudsman. During a recent high profile cancelled deployment Navy families were sent to NFAAS to help have their needs assessed. This could happen to you, the Ombudsman will be the best person to ask if the need arises.
I do realize that this blog is very Navy focus but I think any military family can use these tips. A cancelled deployment can happen in any service in any job field. The ultimate goal would be to ask the “what if” questions and be prepared!