AFAS help in time of need

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
When life hits you hard and you don't have the money to get by, who do you turn to?
The Air Force Aid Society at McChord Field offers grants and interest-free loans to Airmen going through crisis.

AFAS is a non-profit organization established in 1942 to provide financial assistance to Airmen experiencing financial distress. For Airmen going through financial emergencies, AFAS can assist them with basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, funeral expenses, vehicle repairs and emergency travel. In the case of emergency travel, AFAS can also help arrange last minute travel for an applicant.

"We can't always predict what's going to happen to us," said Diana Burr, Airmen and Family Readiness Center, Air Force Aid officer. "This is a place Airmen can fall back on in the case of an emergency and we can help get them back on their feet again so they can focus on the mission."

AFAS offers two types of loans, the Falcon Loan, and the Standard Loan. Both are available to active duty Air Force members, as well as Airmen in the air reserve components on extended Title 10 orders for 15 days or more.

The Falcon Loan is a short-term, interest-free loan created to help Airmen avoid the need to seek financial help from predatory lenders. With a $750 loan maximum, Airmen have up to 10 months to pay it off. To apply, Airmen must fill out an application online or at McChord Field's Airmen and Family Readiness Center and provide a current leave and earning statement.

"Applying for a loan will not negatively impact your career," said Burr.

The Falcon Loan is available to Airmen who have a legitimate financial emergency, such as the death or illness of a family member, a loss of transportation, or dental expenses not regularly covered by dental insurance. Applicants must meet emergency criteria for their loan to be approved.

"The Falcon Loan provides a more streamlined application than the Standard Loan, but should not be considered a "no questions asked" loan, said Burr.

A recent change to the program removed the lifetime cap which limited an Airman to four Falcon Loans through his or her career.

"Emergencies are not limited in our lives," said Burr. That's why it's important that Airmen can come here for help throughout their 20 or 30 year Air Force career."

Like the Falcon Loan, the Standard Loan is available to Airmen going through a financial crisis, but it differs from the Falcon Loan, in that it is for financial emergencies requiring more than $750. It also requires a more thorough application process, which includes a review of an applicant's financial status.

"We want our Airmen to not only to find a solution but also a resolution," said Burr.

In addition to offering loans, AFAS also offers grants. Wounded warriors or dependents in need of medical equipment to assist with special needs are just a couple of the types of beneficiaries of AFAS grants.

Much of the funding for these programs comes via the Air Force Assistance Fund, which last year received more than $35,000 in donations from McChord Airmen. That money helped 140 Airmen receive loans and grants totaling more than $162,000.

"I really believe in our motto 'There when you need us,' " said Burr. "It's a beautiful thing to help our Airmen in time of crisis."

For More information on AFAS, or to apply for loan email: