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Special Needs

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About

As many as 15 percent of military families have members with special needs. These include spouses, children, or dependent parents who require special medical or educational services. These family members have a diagnosed physical, intellectual or emotional condition. The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) serves these families in several ways.

These four articles will provide families with special needs helpful information and points of contact:

  • Enrollment/EFMP – This article discusses the Exceptional Family Member Program enrollment, which is mandatory for all military personnel who have a member of their family with a medical or educational disability.  The article discusses the purpose of enrollment, the process and provides Service-specific differences. 
  • Family Support/EFMP – This article discusses the family support function of the EFMP, which may include information and referral support (to military and community resources), financial management assistance, relocation assistance, and for some families, case management.  The article provides Service-specific differences and identifies the point of contact at each installation.
  • Health Care/Special Needs -  The military health care system supports families with special needs in a number of ways.  This article describes the special services and provides the point of contact at the Military Treatment Facility.
  • Special Education/EIS – Describes two programs that provide educational intervention for children with disabilities who are from birth to three (early intervention services) or are school aged (3-21) (special education). 
EFMP - Enrollment

The EFMP supports military families with special medical and educational considerations. The program has three components:

  • Identification and enrollment of a family member with special medical and/or educational considerations.
  • Assignment coordination to determine the availability of services at the projected duty station.
  • Family support to help families identify and access programs and services.

Identification and Enrollment Who should enroll?

Family members with special medical or educational considerations, including a spouse, child, or a dependent adult, should enroll in the program. This includes family members who:

  • require special medical services for a chronic diagnosed condition such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  • receive ongoing services from a medical specialist
  • have significant behavioral health concerns
  • receive early intervention or special education services through an individualized education program (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP)

Why enroll in the EFMP?

EFMP enrollment ensures a family member's diagnosed medical and educational needs are considered during the assignment process. It also allows families to receive the support and assistance they need to navigate medical and educational systems.

How to enroll in the EFMP?

Enrollment in the EFMP is mandatory for active duty military members; members of the Guard or Reserves may enroll according to Service-specific guidance. Paperwork required for enrollment in the EFMP is available from the EFMP medical point of contact at the installation military treatment facility (MTF) or, in the Marine Corps, from local installation's EFMP offices, Marine and Family Services. The forms are also available through the EFMP MCCS website. The forms for enrollment are:

  • DD Form 2792, Family Member Medical Summary. In order to document medical needs, the service member, spouse, or adult family member completes the demographic information on pages 1-3. The remainder is completed by the family member's physician or other qualified medical professional, and includes the diagnosis, frequency of care, medication, and any special accommodations required by the family member (pages 4-7). Addendums (pages 8-11) are included and completed as applicable.
  • DD Form 2792-1, Special Education/Early Intervention Summary. In order to document educational needs, the sponsor, parent, or legal guardian completes items 1 - 7 of the first page, as well as 1 and 2 on the second page. The remainder of the form is completed by school or early intervention program personnel. The form includes the child's educational diagnosis and is accompanied by a copy of the IEP or individual family service plan (IFSP)

After the appropriate medical and/or educational provider completes the form, they must be returned to the EFMP medical point of contact.

Assignment Coordination

What is assignment coordination?

The military mission is the driving force behind the assignment process, but the EFMP enrollment ensures that a family member's special needs are considered in the process. Assignment coordination occurs when the personnel command requests medical and/or educational professionals to review a family member's documented needs to determine the availability of services at a projected location.

Why is assignment coordination important?

Assignment coordination is important because access to appropriate medical and educational services may be limited in some locations, especially in overseas and remote locations. When assignment coordination occurs, family members receive the care and support they require and the service member can focus more clearly on mission-related responsibilities.

EFMP - Family Support

The EFMP supports military families with special medical and educational considerations. The program has three components:

  • Identification and enrollment of a family member with special medical and/or educational considerations.
  • Assignment coordination to determine the availability of services at the projected duty station.
  • Family support to help families identify and access programs and services.

Family Support

What is Family Support?

EFMP family support helps families identify and access programs and services. Family support includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • information and referral for military and community services
  • education and training about issues related to the special considerations
  • referral to other family support center providers
  • promotion of self-advocacy
  • local school and early intervention services (EIS) information
  • warm handoffs to the EFMP at the next location
  • non-clinical case management, including individualized services plans

Where are EFMP family support providers located?

EFMP family support providers are primarily located at installation family support centers. For families who are not located near an installation, consult your Service website for more information about accessing services or call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.

Health Care - Special Needs

Exceptional Family Member Program

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is mandatory for all family members who have been identified with a special medical or educational need. Enrolling in the EFMP ensures that the family member's medical needs will be considered during the assignment coordination process.

Military Treatment Facility

The clinics and services available at Military Treatment Facilities vary by location. Before you move, identify the MTF that will serve you, visit the MTF's website to learn about the clinics and services available and to get relevant contact information.

Moving to a New TRICARE Region

If you anticipate a move to another TRICARE region, work with your local TRICARE Service Center (TSC) or case manager before your move to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. On arrival at the new duty location, your sponsor should contact the Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator (BCAC)or TSC to ensure the transition plans are in place and to obtain authorizations for TRICARE Extended Care Health Option(ECHO) services, if applicable.

Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator (BCAC)

All TRICARE Regional Offices and most MTFs are staffed with BCACs (formerly known as Health Benefits Advisors.) BCACs provide information, guidance and assistance on benefit options, TRICARE Prime enrollment, special authorizations, status of claims and eligibility, plus assistance with referrals and appointments. If you or your family member has a more severe medical need, contact your assigned case manager.

Case Management

Case management involves a team of health care professionals who help you and your family to find solutions to complex health problems. It is important to inform your case manager if you are moving as he/she will connect you with the case manager at your new location.

Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

TRICARE ECHO provides financial assistance to beneficiaries of active duty service members who qualify based on specific mental or physical disabilities. ECHO offers an integrated set of services and supplies beyond the basic TRICARE program. ECHO is administered by regional contractors in the TRICARE North, South, and West Regions and by TRICARE Regional Offices in overseas locations.

Transporting Medical Equipment

Your Installation Transportation Office has special procedures to follow for the transportation of medical equipment that is necessary for medical treatment required by the sponsor or family member. Some types of medical equipment may be shipped in the same manner as Professional Books, Papers, and Equipment (PBP&E).

Federal and State Health Care Programs

Medicaid - Medicaid pays for medical assistance for certain individuals and families with low incomes and resources. State Medicaid programs are usually administered by departments of social service or departments of medical assistance.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - SSI is a cash assistance program intended to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter for those who are aged, blind or disabled. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Families must reapply upon each move to another state.

Title V of the Social Security Act - Many states have services for children with special health care needs that are funded by the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, or Title V. State departments of health web sites and local health departments will provide information on state health benefits for children with special health care needs. The Maternal and Child Health Bureaus' web site has Title V information organized by State that provide you with Title V points of contact and other pertinent information.

Other Important Resources

Debt Collection Assistance Officer (DCAO) - TRICARE has a DCAO assigned to TRICARE Regional Offices and MTFs worldwide to help beneficiaries understand and get assistance with debt collection problems related to TRICARE. Individuals who have received a notice from a collection agency or a negative credit report because of a medical or dental bill should be referred to the nearest DCAO.

Family Voices - Family Voices is a national, grassroots clearinghouse for information and education concerning the health care of children with special health needs. Family Voices also has State points of contacts with useful links to State programs and organizations.

Installation Specific Information

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) was established by the Department of Defense. The program identifies long term medical, physical, psychological, and special educational needs of family members and ensures duty station assignments where those medical needs can be met.

To ensure detailers consider the special needs of family members during the assignment process, OPNAVINST 1754.2 mandates military members to enroll in this program. Enrollment must be completed when the special needs are identified or at least nine months prior to the Projected Rotation Date. This provides the detailer time to work with the next assignment and to consider the family member's special needs, as well as the military member's career needs and the Navy's needs. Some categories will also allow for priority housing and/or voluntary homesteading.

Enrollment has no impact on sea/shore rotations, promotion opportunities, or detailing negotiations. To enroll in the program, an application and literature about the EFMP can be obtained at your military clinic.

 

Special Education - EIS

Exceptional Family Member Program

  

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is mandatory for all family members who have been identified with a special medical or educational need. Enrolling in the EFMP ensures that the family member’s medical needs will be considered during the assignment coordination process.

Children from Birth to Three Years of Age

 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all States and territories to provide early intervention services to children from birth to age three who are developmentally delayed, or who are at high risk of being developmentally delayed.  Early intervention services may be provided by local school districts or health departments.  There is no common name across States for the programs, but you may hear them referred to as Part C programs (because Part C is the section of the IDEA that pertains to early intervention). 

The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center provides a list of State Part C directors and funded programs at their web site.  Military OneSource can identify local early intervention programs for you.

  • Parents of children who receive early intervention services should hand-carry a copy of the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) and most current evaluation reports to the new location.

Children from 3 through 21 Years of Age

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all States and Territories to provide special education services to children who are from 3 through 21 year of age. Each local school district has a special education director, and each school should have a case study committee or school based committee (terms differ) that attends to special education students’ needs. 

Parents of children receiving special education and related services should hand-carry all pertinent school and medical documents to include their children’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and current testing and evaluation reports to the new school. 

The IDEA requires that if a child transfers to a district in the same state, the receiving school must provide comparable services to those in the child's IEP from the sending district's until the new school develops and implements a new IEP. If a child transfers to another State, the receiving district must provide comparable services to those in the child's IEP from the sending district until the receiving district completes an evaluation and creates a new IEP.

Others who can help you:

Parent Training and Information Centers; Each state is home to at least one Parent Training and Information Center (PTI). PTIs serve families of children and young adults from birth to age 22 with all disabilities: physical, cognitive, emotional, and learning. They help families obtain appropriate education and services for their children with disabilities; work to improve education results for all children; train and inform parents and professionals on a variety of topics; resolve problems between families and schools or other agencies; and connect children with disabilities to community resources that address their needs.   The Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers provides addresses and phone number of the centers in your state.

STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents) is a federally funded Parent Training and Information (PTI) Center established to assist military families who have children with special education or health needs.  The staff of the STOMP Project are parents of children who have disabilities and have experience in raising their children in military communities and traveling with their spouses to different locations.

Washington PAVE
STOMP Project
6316 So. 12th St.
Tacoma, WA 98465
253-565-2266 (v/tty)
1-800-5-PARENT (v/tty)
Fax: 253-566-8052
Email

Installation Specific Information

The Sierra Sands Unified School District provides education for all valley residents, from kindergarten through an adult evening school. Please contact the Sierra Sands Unified School District Office to register for procedures and/or for school placement.

Special Education classes are provided at Richmond School with children being mainstreamed when capable.

Be sure to check with the Exception Family Members Program at Branch Health Clinic. There are many forms of assistance given to families that fall within this military program.

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