Kimberly Bottema, personal financial specialist instructs Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course students on the Thrift Savings Plan Class, July 21. The Fort Jackson Army Community Service Financial Readiness team is available to offer financial counseling, budget and emergency financial assistance for those who are facing income difficulties. (Courtesy Photo)
By Veran Hill and Kimberly Bottema, Fort Jackson Public Affairs
As COVID-19 continues to impact the way we live, rest assure that the Fort Jackson Army Community Service Financial Readiness team is available to offer financial counseling, budget and emergency financial assistance for those who are facing income difficulties.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the staff is teleworking and successfully providing virtual training, case-by-case training for Fort Jackson units, services via email, social technology and telephonically.
“The pandemic hasn’t stopped our mission of educating and assisting Fort Jackson’s Soldiers, Families and civilians with their finances,” said Angela Crosland, financial readiness program manager.
Emergency financial assistance is provide through the Army Emergency Relief program. AER is a non-profit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to active and retire Soldiers and dependent Family members. Categories’ of assistance include rent or mortgage, utilities, vehicle repairs or payment.
Headquarters AER implemented a Home Schooling Assistance Program to assist Soldiers and Families who may have experienced financial hardship paying the additional costs associated with purchasing home school supplies and equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program can provide up to $500 for eligible Soldiers with dependents in grades K thru 12th grade., For AER assistance contact Wanda Redd or Robin Meredith. They can be reached at 751-5256.
The pandemic has changed how the team conducts business, Crosland said, “we now have the flexibility to provide counseling and assistance through virtual means. Now, rather than providing paper checks for emergency assistance, money is provided through Electronic Funds Transfers directly into a client’s bank accounts.”
“Financial counselors are here to help with your personal finance needs,” added Kimberly Bottema, personal financial specialist.
Financial classes, one-on-one counseling, credit report analysis, security clearance assistance, budget development, and help navigating the Thrift Savings Plan are all provided virtual or telephonic with a financial counselor. For financial counseling contact Shawn Smith, Esperanza Romero or Bottema at 751-5256.
“If an individual has lost a job, our first recommendation would be to contact the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce and speak directly with creditors to explain their situation,” Crosland said.
Many creditors have programs to assist their customers who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.
To schedule an appointment or request a class, call 751-5256. To get additional information on the Financial Readiness Program visit https://www.facebook.com/fortjacksonacs/