A simplified list is available in the link above -- our "Just Married" checklist. However, here's a
more detailed explanation of the items, and bonus info too.
The important things to do are as follows:
Your Marine should take proof of your marriage to his personnel office. They will enter you into
the DEERS system. This has to be #1, because to the military, if you're not in DEERS, you don't
exist. To confirm enrollment, contact DEERS at 1-800-538-9552. For future moves, you can
update your address HERE.
He should also take proof of your marriage to his pay office. They will make sure he is getting
the correct pay. His BAH (housing allowance), if he doesn't live in base housing, will go up
slightly by changing to the "with dependent" when he gains a dependent (a wife or child). It only
goes up once. Myth busting: You do NOT get more pay for more babies! Once the Marine has
ONE dependent, beyond that, the number of dependents has NO impact on income.
You need to go get your ID card. What you need to bring with you varies by base, so call ahead,
but generally speaking you'll need your driver's license, social security card and proof of
marriage. Look HERE for the closest ID facility to you. You will probably be required to have your
Marine with you. If he is not available, due to being deployed or in a different state, he can fill out
an 1172 form and send it to you to present to your local personnel office. Important note: Once
you have your ID card, it is YOURS. The federal government issued it to you. Your Marine does
NOT have the right to take it away from you, no matter what. You are not required to surrender it
unless you divorce, or he separates from the military.
You need to enroll in Tricare, which is the military medical insurance. You will automatically be
enrolled in Tricare Standard, but you may choose to enroll in Tricare Prime instead. You can
research the difference HERE.
You will need to enroll in United Concordia dental insurance HERE.
He needs to update his SGLI (Serviceman's Group Life Insurance). Each service member is
eligible for up to 400,000 in life insurance. Make sure he changes his beneficiary to you! As
long as we're discussing beneficiaries, your Marine should make sure that you are the person
put down as the recipient of his death benefit and outstanding pay. It's important that he
remembers to do this. Most unmarried guys in boot camp fill out the forms so the parents are
the beneficiaries, and never think to change it after marriage. And since the death benefit is
100,000 these days, make sure it's right!
Consider spousal SGLI. Your Marine has the option of getting 100,000 life insurance for you and
10,000 for each child. Consider it carefully if you don't have other life insurance. It is very
affordable, currently about 9 dollars per month for 100K on the spouse, and they take the
premium right out of his check.
APPLY FOR HOUSING
Want to live in base housing? You’ll need a housing application (DD form 1746 available here
HERE, your Power of Attorney if your Marine isn’t available during the application process, and a
copy of your Marine’s orders assigning him to that duty station. You will be placed on a waiting
list, which is prioritized by the date the Marine detached from his previous duty station. Your
place on the waiting list may fluctuate from day to day. Be patient, and nice to your housing
Make sure you are joint holder on all bank accounts, with survivorship rights, and that he's
authorized you to deal with his creditors. Have an accurate idea of your finances, and how to
handle them when he's gone. Prioritize what you're going to do with that extra deployment
money BEFORE it starts coming in!
Speaking of extra pay on deployment, here's an idea of what to expect. There are a few
separate entitlements, and the pay is tax exempt. Look at a normal LES and see what is taken
out in federal tax per month... you'll be keeping that while he's gone. Then he's also eligible for
family separation pay if he's gone over 30 days, and imminent danger pay if he's in a
designated zone. Some guys keep their BAS, and some don't, but I don't yet have a clear
understanding of who or why. When I do, I will update the page. Suffice it to say that for wartime
duty in Iraq in 2005, my hubby received an extra $575 monthly in incentives, plus the money not
being withheld for taxes, so it came out to about an extra thousand bucks a month. It's a nice
chunk of change... so use it wisely.
Sign up for a budgeting class through the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society. Living on a military
income isn't easy, but it can be done.
Sign up for LINKS class, or if you're not near a base, take it online.
To take links online: Go to www.marinenet.usmc.mil
Log In - must use his Social Security number as log in and his date of birth for password
Go To Course Catalog
Click on Marine Corps Training Courses
Click on L.I.N.K.S.
Enroll in the course
Launch the course<
When you first sign in, it will recognize you using your Marine's name. Go to account information
and change to your name so your completion certificate will have your name on it.
NOTE: It is best if you can take LINKS class in person. You will make a lot of valuable contacts,
and even a few friends.