By Elaine Wilson - American Forces Press ServiceSeptember 20, 2010
Officials have extended a spouse employment program enrollment deadline in the hopes that more military spouses will be able to take spring semester classes.
Effective Sept. 13, spouses currently enrolled in the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program, commonly known as MyCAA, will be able to request financial assistance for classes with a start date that is on or before Jan. 31. Previously, the start-date cutoff was Jan. 15.
However, spouses still must submit their financial assistance request by Oct. 21, officials emphasized.
The change was based on feedback from spouses and schools. Many schools offer a later start date for the spring semester, and extending the enrollment deadline will give more spouses the opportunity to attend courses, said Robert L. Gordon III, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.
"We appreciate the feedback from military spouses currently participating in the MyCAA career advancement program," Gordon said.
MyCAA is active at this time only for currently enrolled spouses, who can participate in the program through Oct. 21. At that time, the program will ramp down in preparation for the Oct. 25 launch of a revamped program.
Earlier this year, officials reviewed the popular spouse employment program and decided to make changes to bring it back to its original intent: equipping spouses of junior servicemembers with portable careers, such as real estate and home health care, that can convey from duty station to duty station.
Previously, MyCAA offered a lifetime benefit of $6,000 to all spouses of servicemembers. But starting Oct. 25, financial assistance will be limited to spouses of active duty servicemembers in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2. Spouses of Guard and Reserve members within those ranks can participate as long as they can start and complete their courses while their sponsor is on Title 10 orders.
Eligible spouses will be able to receive a maximum financial benefit of $4,000 for up to three years from the start date of the first class, with a $2,000 annual cap. The money can be used to fund associate's degrees, licenses and certification programs, but not higher degrees. The annual cap can be waived if a license or certification's cost exceeds $2,000.
Currently enrolled spouses who meet the new criteria will be able to continue with the program after Oct. 25, but under the new parameters.
Spouses who no longer will be eligible to receive financial assistance after Oct. 25 still will be able to access career and education counseling services. The new MyCAA program will include assistance in identifying and securing information on additional financial resources, employment readiness, and career exploration and counseling for all spouses of active duty servicemembers.
Military spouses can find more information about MyCAA on the Military OneSource website at http://militaryonesource.com or by calling Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.