Coronavirus Brings a Halt to the Lives of Military Families
Government officials are requiring people to take measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, by cancelling gatherings, shutting down schools and establishments, and promoting social distancing. The recent turn of events presents struggles for the general public, of course. But life is already a challenge for military families in the U.S. and abroad even without the strike of this widespread epidemic.
How will COVID-19 continue to impact service members, their families and the lives of veterans? Read more to discover the information the Empire Resume team gathered to help you remain aware and develop your own strategy to navigate this situation.
What is Coronavirus?
According to WebMD, Coronavirus is a common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Some symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
Because the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the common cold and flu, it’s important to get tested should you experience these signs, as the virus is life threatening.
With the Coronavirus pandemic taking over, its shifting and impacting every aspect of military life such as travel and permanent change of station (PCS), military benefits, the employment search and finally the military transition.
Coronavirus Impact on Military Travel
The first way military lives have been impacted is the inability to travel.
The Department of Defense’s (DoD) 60-day stop movement order interferes with travel for military personnel and their families, including official government travel, permanent changes of station, temporary duty and government funded leave, according to an article in the Air Force Times.
Normally, the spring is the busiest time of year for PCS, changes in duty assignments, and the housing market in general, but because of the domestic travel ban, many military families must stay put.
With the understanding that the travel ban is a preventative measure, the situation creates a domino effect that negatively impacts the families to the moving contractors, real estate agents, and every entity and person in between.
For example, contracts are now pending. Plans for household goods to be shipped are now irrelevant. Moving companies are seeking federal relief. Families are forced to stay in locations that they were looking forward to leaving.
And, let’s not forget about our servicemen and service women returning from deployments.
Instead of having a happy reunion and celebration with their families, military personnel are being isolated upon return to the U.S. For instance, over 400 Fort Bliss soldiers are being quarantined upon return home according to the article by ABC-7.
As you can see, the entire aspect of family life in the military is now on hold. Military benefits are feeling the results of the coronavirus too.
Since the military offers several benefits, for purposes of this article, we will focus on medical, educational, and financial benefits.
Patients and Tricare beneficiaries are getting frustrated due to Tricare’s Nurse Advice Line being bombarded with calls.
Military.com indicates that some are waiting for up to an hour after officials instructed people to use the MHS Nurse Advice Line instead of walking into a military clinic.
Even though the hotline is 24/7, it’s hard to get through because of the call volume.
And if the above is not enough to put a damper on the situation, the military’s medical capabilities are limited, says Jonathan Hoffman in a Pentagon news conference. The Defense News article explains that the DoD has about 3% of the number of hospital beds that the private sector has.
Additionally, the article points out that military doctors are better trained for highly traumatic wartime injuries than for communicable illnesses like COVID-19.
Although the National Guard and Reserve have medical doctors that can provide support, but these medical personnel are also civilians and work civilian jobs.
The medical aspect of the military suffers because as Hoffman said, “If you mobilize the Guard and Reserve medical personnel from their civilian jobs, they’re no longer in their civilian jobs, and that directly impacts the community where they worked.”
As we all know, several schools have moved courses online to prevent the spread of the virus. Additionally, graduations are being rescheduled or even cancelled.
This leaves many worrying about their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. As of March 19, 2020, the VA states that they’ve been working to preserve the GI Bill benefits.
The Senate and House passed S.3503 to help protect GI Bill; benefits, and its awaiting signature from the Commander-In-Chief. This will give the VA the authority to continue payments regardless of whether your school changed to online courses.
For those who use the monthly housing allowance, those benefits will continue as well.
Follow the VA’s GI Bill Facebook page to keep up with more information surrounding these benefits.
The spread of the Coronavirus affects civilians financially, but military families are being hit hard as well.
Therefore, military relief societies are offering financial assistance in several ways.
For information on what the Army Emergency Relief (AER), Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, Air Force Aid Society and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society are doing to make lives a bit easier during this trying time, refer to the article by the Military Times entitled, “Here’s Financial help for military families caught in a coronavirus quandary.”
Not only does this affect civilians and military, it even affects the future of the military. Imagine what this does to those who are considering going into the military? Recruiting efforts are also feeling the brunt of the shift in atmosphere.
The third way the Coronavirus impacts the military, their families and veterans is the job hunt.
Right now, approximately 80 million jobs are at risk, according to CNN Business. The United States is experiencing a hiring freeze and many of the people who are losing their jobs will face difficulty finding new ones.
These articles don’t even discuss how big of a challenge this is for military and veterans alike right now. For veteran job finders, the following tasks and the stress as a result takes a toll:
- Translating Military Terms to Civilian Ones
- Writing a Military to Civilian Resume
- Landing a Job After Military Service
Finding a new career after being in the military for years takes time and patience. But with the sudden reveal of the Coronavirus, military and veterans are questioning whether this is something they should be pursuing this very moment.
And what about those that are preparing to get out of the military? Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life is a daunting task all on its own considering the small amount of time servicemembers have to make the switch.
Many service members going through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) are also impacted by the sudden outbreak.
Below are the impacts of TAP and suggestions to avoid spread of the Coronavirus from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS):
- The rescheduling of TAP events is service-specific, at discretion and decision of commanders.
- Reduce TAP class and follow CDC guidance on large gatherings and social distancing.
- Move TAP events to a virtual platform.
For more information, be sure to check out the article, COVID-19 Guidance on Impacts to Transition Assistance Program and Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Events.
If you are participating in TAP at this moment, it is important to check in with your local TAP program within your respective service branch to find out whether the events are being cancelled or whether the event will be held online.
When this event passes, everyone will be going back to their respective places of employment. Military and veterans who are seeking to get jobs should be prepared for when society regains some normalcy.
To stay abreast of the information pertaining to your service branch, we’ve compiled a list of links to the official sites of each branch of the military containing guidance for its members.
The links are below:
- Guidance for Air Force
- Guidance for Army
- Guidance for Navy
- Guidance for Marines
- Guidance for Coast Guard
Just in case you like to attend those military events such as air shows, we’ve provided a list of military event changes, cancellations and closures from Stars and Stripes.
Be Prepared for the Job Search with Empire Resume
Although it seems as if every aspect of life has stopped from the closing of restaurants, cancelling of events, and people buying an extreme amount of food and cleaning supplies, military veterans and those searching for employment can take steps to prepare right now.
If you need a resume, now is the time to write it or have a professional resume writer create one for you, especially in anticipation of the hiring surge that will occur after the hiring freeze’s are lifted.
Don’t turn your career search into a case of hurry up and wait. You should use your time wisely.
Now is the time to practice interviewing for a civilian job in front of the mirror or with your family members.
If you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn profile to highlight your achievements and show hiring managers that you’re available for hiring when there’s an opening.
After all, LinkedIn is one way you can extend a virtual handshake to anyone who comes across your name on a professional level.
There are several ways you can contribute to your own career search success by being prepared for the economy to pick up again. When you’re ready, Empire Resume is here to help.
Call us today at 801-690-4085 or contact us via our website.
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.