Coast Guard Mutual AssistanceServing the men and women of the US Coast Guard since 1924

With transfer season upon us, this Navigating CGMA will address some common questions that Representatives have when issuing assistance:

Approval Limits

What are the local/CGMA-HQ/and CGMA Board of Control approval limits?

Local Level

At the local level, CGMA Reps may approve an interest free loan up to $3000.  If the member already has a balance with CGMA, the Rep site may approve a loan up to the amount that will not bring a member's balance over $3000. 

CGMA-HQ

Requests for loans over $3000 but not exceeding $6000, and all grants up to $6000 can be approved by CGMA-HQ. 

Board of Control

All requests exceeding the above amounts must go to the CGMA Board of Control.

Closing cost/Exceptions to policy/Other Issues

Please note that all closing cost assistance must be approved by CGMA-HQ and not at the local level.  In addition, if a local Representative is not comfortable approving the assistance, regardless of the amount, or if the request seems to be an exception to CGMA policy, he/she should contact CGMA-HQ for guidance.

For more information, please refer to Chapter 4-C of the CGMA Manual, Approval Guidelines

What to do if a Representative or an Assistant Representative needs assistance

Assistant Representatives may not provide assistance for themselves, Representatives, or other Assistant Representatives. Representatives may provide assistance for Assistant Representatives. CGMA-HQ may approve assistance for Representatives.  The approval must always come from a higher authority level.

For more information, please refer to Chapter 4-C of the CGMA Manual, Approval Guidelines

CMP Approval Authority

What should Representatives watch for when selecting approval authority in the CMP?

When indicating approval authority, the Representative will usually select their own initials or the initials of the Representative that approved the case.  One exception is Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) checks: please select SEG as the approval authority, because the system defaults to a loan when a Representative selects their own initials.  Selecting SEG allows for the member to issue a SEG check.  When selecting approval authority for assistance approved by CGMA-HQ, the Representative must select RD.  This will prompt the system to ask for an approval code, allowing the Representative to then issue checks for either grants or loans exceeding $3000.

For more information on how to use the Case Management Program (CMP), please refer to the CMP Quick Reference Guide, found under the "Information for New Representatives" tab

Why is it important that a member cashes their check right away?

Most CGMA checks are for emergency assistance.  If the member does not need the funds right away, there would be no urgency for the request.  With regards to SEG requests, if the member does not cash the check within 60 days, they may not be able to cash the check, which requires CGMA-HQ to either put a stop payment on the check, void and reissue, or reclaim the check, void, and reissue. CGMA loan recipients must notify their Representative immediately if they opt not to use the check. Otherwise, the member could end up repaying by allotment on a loan that was never used.

Is there a limit to how many times a member can receive assistance?

While there is no set limit on the amount or how many times a member can receive assistance, even if they have an existing balance with CGMA, CGMA is vigilant to assess cases individually and determine whether or not the member is using CGMA excessively. 

Each case is based on its own merits

For example, a client who received a $5000 loan out for closing cost assistance in 2009, 2 education loans out in 2012 and 2013 for $2000 each time (repaying the first education loan before receiving the second) would have a balance of $1000 with CGMA. Although his history shows that he borrowed $9000 in the past 5 years, if the client requests $3000 because of transmission failure on his primary vehicle, and  he is short funds because his spouse is out of work, this certainly would be a reason to provide assistance without concern of overusing CGMA. 

On the other hand, if a client requests CGMA assistance for the first time because he is unable to cover his monthly bills while showing a budget of living excessively beyond his means without savings, he may be given one time assistance. This would be for basic living expenses contingent on seeing a financial counselor and developing a budget. If this member returns to CGMA a year later unable to pay his bills again without attending financial counseling or making adjustments to his spending habits, his request may be disapproved. 

CGMA Manual

The CGMA Manual is a great help for new Representatives learning the ropes.  The online version has an interactive table of contents to help find the topic that applies to a particular case.


You give valuable time to assist CGMA clients and it is much appreciated!

Please let CGMA-HQ know (703) 875-0404 or toll free (800) 881-2462 or email: HQS-DG-CGMA@uscg.mil if there is any way we can support your efforts as you serve your shipmates through CGMA.