About MyCAA Financial Assistance
Frequently Asked Questions for Spouses
Learn more about the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) and read frequently asked questions about eligibility and financial aid.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Military Spouse Career Advancement Account, also known as MyCAA, provides employment, career, education/training, counseling and financial assistance for spouses of active-duty and activated reserve components (Guard and Reserve) servicemembers worldwide.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA) is a career development and employment assistance program sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD). MyCAA helps military spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications or associate's degrees (excluding General Studies and Liberal Arts) necessary for gainful employment in high-demand, high-growth portable career fields and occupations.
As part of the Military Spouse's Career Lifecycle, MyCAA offers the following:
Training and Education Financial Assistance: MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to assist eligible military spouses who need professional credentials to meet their Portable Career goals. Annual cap waivers are available if there is an upfront tuition cost that exceeds $2,000 (up to the maximum education benefit of $4,000).
Employment Readiness Counseling: Counseling services are provided to all military spouses married to active-duty servicemembers of all ranks, regardless of their eligibility to receive MyCAA financial assistance and their desire to pursue higher levels of education. Counseling services help military spouses identify additional sources of federal, state, and local financial assistance, expanded career choices and opportunities, and support resources (e.g. child care, transportation, books, computers, equipment, supplies, etc.).
Employment Assistance and Career Services: Referrals are made to networks of military-friendly employers for MyCAA spouse participants who have completed their programs of study using MyCAA funding and who are ready to seek gainful employment.
What kind of financial assistance is available through a Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA)?
The Internet-based MyCAA tool allows spouses to apply for financial assistance for education, training, licensing or certification necessary for their portable careers.
To apply for MyCAA financial assistance and enroll at UMUC, please follow these instructions.
What are the steps that the spouse needs to take in getting started with a Career Advancement Account?
- Set up a profile on MyCAA.
- Gather relevant paperwork and documents, such as high school diploma, resume and any current certifications. These documents will be required by the university for admission.
- Make an appointment with the Family Support Center or Voluntary Education Center. They will help you start the application process, verify your military member's rank for MyCAA eligibility and explain your education and training options. You can also access Military One Source, the virtual counseling center, online or by phone at 800-342-9647.
No, the spouse still has to apply and be accepted for the course of study at the school or other payee program and follow their enrollment procedures.
Spouses married to an active-duty or activated reserve component (Guard or Reserve) servicemember (e.g. your military sponsor) in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2 are eligible to participate in MyCAA. This includes Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) and Coast Guard deployed with the Navy.
DoD will use DEERS to verify eligibility for MyCAA based on your sponsor’s social security number.
If the sponsor has not registered the spouse in DEERS or spouses personal information in DEERS is out-of-date, the spouse should contact DEERS at:
DEERS Web site
For assistance, the spouse may contact Military One Source Career/Education Consultant (1-800-342-9647).
If the military sponsor has a date of separation in DEERS that is less than a year away, am I still eligible?
Eligibility ends when the sponsor leaves active duty.
If the military sponsor is activated Guard or Reserve, but his/her orders aren't for a full year or more, is the spouse still eligible?
No, effective immediately, only those spouses whose servicemembers are executing Title 10 orders will be eligible. This includes spouses of deployed National Guard and Reserve members who are activated on Title 10 orders. This change in practice is to better comply with the program's authorizing legislation. Guard and Reserve spouses are no longer eligible from date of alert to 180 days past deployment. In addition, all spouse participants must be able to start and complete their courses while their military sponsor is on Title 10 orders.
No, the MyCAA legislation specifically excludes spouses who are divorced and spouses who are married to, but legally separated from, their sponsor under court order or statute of any state or territorial possession of the United States.
No, the MyCAA legislation specifically excludes spouses who are members of the armed forces. Spouses are not eligible if the spouse is on active duty, Guard, Reserve or Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR).
Yes, if the spouse is married to an active-duty or activated Guard or Reserve servicemember, he or she is eligible.
Yes, if the spouse needs a license, certification, credential, education or training in order to seek or maintain employment or move up his or her career ladder, then the spouse is eligible for MyCAA financial assistance.
What if a spouse already paid for a class or fee that the spouse wants put in the career plan? Can the spouse get the money back through MyCAA Financial Assistance?
According to Military One Source, spouses can not be provided a tuition assistance voucher for courses that they already paid for out of their own funds.
Spouses can take any program of study from an accredited school or institution recognized by the Department of Education or Department of Defense that leads to a license, certification, certificate or associate’s degree (except for degrees in general studies or liberal arts).
Coursework may include higher-level courses needed for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and higher-level courses that serve as electives in an approved program of study. Graduate certificates can also be approved and paid for by MyCAA.
If the spouse needs a graduate degree, but must complete undergraduate coursework before beginning a graduate program, can he or she use MyCAA financial assistance (e.g., pre-med, pre-law, or similar preparatory courses)?
No, MyCAA financial assistance can not be used for preparatory courses.
Yes, as long as the entire $4,000 has not been used the spouse may continue to use MyCAA financial assistance.
MyCAA will pay up to $4,000 of the spouse’s career plan. The spouse is responsible for any remaining costs.
The spouse should contact the MOS Career/Education Consultant (1-800-342-9647) to discuss the best way to use available MyCAA financial assistance. The spouse may also be eligible for additional funding from sources such as Pell Grants, GI Bill/Post 911 Education Bill, Scholarships, etc. and may use them in conjunction with the MyCAA financial assistance. UMUC advisors can help student explore other financial aid opportunities as well.
Financial assistance does NOT include the following: separate payments for books, supplies or equipment (e.g. costs not directly incorporated into the billing for the block of study); computers; graduation fees; child care, student activity cards; application fees; transportation; parking; technology fees; or medical services testing fees.
The spouse needs to confirm that UMUC submitted his or her grades to MyCAA. He or she also needs to notify the MOS Career/Education Consultant when he or she completes the chosen career plan and upon receiving a license, certification or academic degree. Finally, the spouse needs to let the MOS Career/Education Consultant know about when he or she finds a new job.
Yes, the spouse can create a profile, participate in forums, serve as a mentor, talk to a Military Career/Education Consultant and access MyCAA Resources to help make career and life decisions.
The spouse should notify the attending university once MyCAA is approved.