Special Needs and the Military Family
Military families have many opportunities that civilian families do not. Chances to travel and see new places, learning about new cultures, making new friends, having the reliability of an established military community wherever you go are all part of the active military life.
Active Duty military families also face challenges civilian families do not. Living long distances from family and friends, deployments in remote locations, frequent moves, long separations, etc. are all part and parcel of daily military life. These challenges are compounded when a family member has a disability. Ensuring you are able to acquire accessible housing at your new duty station, finding new medical specialists and rehabilitation offices, enrolling in school with a new group of teaching staff to set up an IEP with are just a few of the many challenges families may face.
This section is designed to give Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve families on Active Duty Orders basic information to make transitions smoother.
The Military Health Care System continues to change at a rapid rate impacting all military members and their dependants. No matter where in the world you may be assigned or the branch of service you may serve in, traditional Active Duty, National Guard or Reserve, medical care for Special Needs Dependants has taken on a whole new complexion in the "new, modern" military.
Down sizing, frequent and repeated activations, reassignments and other policy changes have taken what used to be a total "in house" treatment system to one using Super Clinics for primary emergent care and "out sourced" civilian sites for referred specialized and long-term care. All of these changes have made what used to be a straightforward system more difficult to negotiate for even the most experienced of personnel.
There are 4 specific steps Active Duty members must take to ensure their disabled family member is enrolled in all programs required by regulation. These are explained in subsections following this introduction.
These 4 steps are:
- Enroll in DEERS, ensuring the incapacitation status of your dependent has been noted on the DEERS system.
- Obtain an Incapacitation/Guardianship court order for your state, if your child is 18 or the age of majority in your state if you have not already done so.
- Enroll in EFMP. (Yes, National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders Title 10 and Title 32, this means you, too.)
- Enroll in the TriCare ECHO program.