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Travel Assistance Available for Military Families in Need

December 16, 2013

As every military family knows, serving one’s country often comes at a personal cost. Our family members may return home with serious injuries from overseas combat or peacekeeping operations. Arduous training may leave them susceptible to strength-sapping illnesses like pneumonia or the flu, while bugs they contract abroad can require extensive medication and recovery.

Often times, our loved ones receive treatment in hospitals or rehabilitation facilities many miles from home. Finding accommodations for an entire family while a service member recovers for days or weeks can pose a tremendous financial challenge and wreak havoc on the credit card statement.

Fortunately, there are a variety of resources to assist military families facing precisely these kinds of issues. From airline mile donations to complementary hotel rooms, these programs can help ensure that the financial burden of helping heal a wounded warrior doesn’t fall entirely upon his or her family’s shoulders.

Fisher Houses

These “homes away from home” for families of recovering service members provide free accommodations that are often just steps away from major hospitals. The houses are operated and maintained by the military branches and the VA, and they have saved military families an estimated $200 million in lodging costs since they first opened in 1990. To find Fisher House locations or to learn more about eligibility and a accommodations, visit

Hotels for Heroes

Administered by the Fisher House Foundation, this program offers free hotel stays for military families in areas in which no Fisher House is available. While the program was created to meet short-term lodging needs (generally, stays of a week or less), longer visits are sometimes accepted on a case-by-case basis. The program is largely supported by point donations made by members of hotel loyalty programs. You can donate hotel points at the Fisher House website.

Mileage Programs

To facilitate travel for injured or ill service members and their families, many airlines provide round-trip flights using frequent flier mile donations that come from individual passengers. Again, Fisher House runs a robust program called “Hero Miles” in partnership with virtually every major U.S. carrier. Learn more about Hero Miles here.

More travel resources

• Contact Your MWR Department: Your installation’s Family Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office can provide advice and support for your travels.

• Ensure You Are Eligible: Assistance programs are intended for families of wounded, injured, and ill service members who are undergoing significant treatment at an authorized medical center. They are not designed for general checkups, outpatient care, or other minor medical services. Check with the local hospital or installation commander for eligibility criteria.

• Making Requests: Requests for accommodations at a Fisher House or through Hotels for Heroes are typically handled via hospital case workers or other military liaisons on behalf of service members. Airline ticket requests are made in a similar fashion.

• What’s Not Covered: While these assistance programs generally include major travel and lodging expenses, they do not cover most incidentals (hospital parking, Internet access, meals, etc.)



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