It is difficult to drop everything and leave for deployment, particularly if you're involved with a complicated legal case, or haven't put your legal affairs in order yet. Be sure you take care of at least the following before you leave:
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) - USERRA provides reemployment protection and other benefits for veterans and employees who perform military service.
Soldiers and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) - Make sure you learn everything there is to know about this act. Under it, you could qualify for:
- Reduced interest rate on mortgage payments.
- Reduced interest rate on credit card debt.
- Protection from eviction if your rent is $1,200 or less.
- Delay of all civil court actions, such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or divorce proceedings.
Note that most of the protections SSCRA offers are good only during your duration of your active duty assignment.
Wills - One of the most important tasks an individual or couple can do for personal and family readiness is to prepare a will. A will ensures that your children have someone to take care of them and that your estate is disposed of properly. Without a will, the state will make those decisions for you and impose a fee for representation.
Power of Attorney - A power of attorney gives someone else (a spouse, relative, good friend) the legal power to act on your behalf when you are not able to act yourself. Setting up a power of attorney would allow the trusted individual to conduct business in your name, for example, banking transactions, selling or buying property, and everyday medical decisions.
Family Care Plan - A Family Care Plan is required for all single service members and dual-service couples responsible for family members. The plan outlines specifically the care of your family members in your absence. This is critical for single parents of young children. It is the service member's responsibility to maintain a current plan with his or her unit.
Servicemen's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) - For a small monthly charge, service members may get $200,000 of life insurance coverage. This coverage need not be the service member's only life insurance. The service member will need to identify who the beneficiary is and keep this policy updated.
ID Cards - Every eligible member of the family needs to have the Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (ID). During peacetime, the ID card affords the family members certain entitlements such as exchange privileges, limited commissary privileges, recreational facilities, and military discounts. However, when the service member is called to active duty for longer than 30 days, the ID card will be necessary for medical benefits, arranging a transfer of goods, or obtaining base housing. Be prepared to show proper documentation to prove eligibility (marriage certificate, birth certificates, adoption papers etc).