Monday, April 12, 2010

EFMP Do you know what it is?

If you know what those letters stand for than most likely you have an affiliation within the Military community.

Here is some more information about what exactly EFMP stands for, what steps are needed to enroll in EFMP, and some great resources.

What is an exceptional family member?

An exceptional family member is defined as an authorized family member residing with the sponsor (Military member) who may require special medical or educational services based on a diagnosed physical, intellectual, or emotional handicap.

Who would be an authorized family member?

An authorized family member may be a spouse, child, stepchild, adopted child, foster child, or a dependent parent. Disabilities may range from mild to severe.

What special needs would qualify for EFMP enrollment?

Special needs include any special medical, mental health, developmental, or educational requirement, wheelchair accessibility, adaptive equipment, or assistive technology devices and services.

How the program works

The EFMP ensures continuity in your exceptional family member's care and education as your family moves from place to place. The program combines the efforts of the personnel and medical commands, the family support center, and the educational system.

The term Exceptional Family Member Program, or EFMP, actually refers to two functions in the military services: The personnel function Identifies family members with special medical needs, documents the services they require, and considers those needs when making personnel assignments. Involves the personnel and medical commands and the DoD educational system overseas. Is standard across all of the services. The family support function Assists the service member with coordinating military services and community services for exceptional family members. Involves family support center staff. Differs from service to service. (EFMP is available as a family support function in the Army and Marine Corps only.) Most U.S. military installations are located in areas where services can be provided and coordinated locally, but medical standards and the availability of facilities are not the same everywhere. For that reason,when you are assigned to a duty station outside the U.S. (or in certain remote locations in the U.S.), all family members will be screened for medical conditions prior to approval for accompanied travel. If your accompanying exceptional family members are enrolled in the EFMP, their needs will be considered early in the assignment process to ensure that medical and educational services are available. If their needs are only identified during the mandatory screening process, often the assignment will be delayed while their needs are coordinated with the gaining location.

Getting enrolled

It's important to start the enrollment process as soon as your family member is identified as eligible for the EFMP. Don't wait to enroll until you have orders. If the qualifying condition is discovered during screening for overseas orders, your family's travel could be delayed while arrangements are made to coordinate the availability of medical and educational services.

Here are the steps for enrollment:

The exceptional family member is identified. You may already know you have a special needs family member. Or the condition may be diagnosed during a routine visit at your medical treatment facility. The enrollment forms are filed. Your point of contact for obtaining and filing the forms is at the medical treatment facility. (Be sure to keep copies of the forms that are filed.)

Navy -- contact the EFMP Coordinator
Marine Corps -- contact the EFMP Coordinator
Army -- contact the Special Needs Advisor
Air Force -- contact the Special Needs Coordinator (SNC) and Family Member Relocation Clearance Coordinator (FMRCC)

At a minimum, you will need two forms:
DD Form 2792, Exceptional Family Member Medical Summary (for medical issues only)
DD Form 2792-1, Exceptional Family Member Special Education/Early Intervention Summary (for educational issues)
Other branch-specific forms may be required, depending on your branch of service. Medical personnel review the enrollment forms. If the family member is determined to be eligible for EFMP, the forms are sent to the detailer or personnel division. Personnel division codes the member's personnel file for special attention. The personnel division uses the EFMP enrollment data to pinpoint assignments to locations with appropriate resources that address the special needs. The Marine Corps and Navy designate a category based on the individual's needs and reflecting limitations to an assignment.

Family support

Your installation's Family Support Center (FSC) has someone on staff to provide support to families with exceptional family members. They are called EFMP Managers in the Army and EFMP Coordinators in the Marine Corps. Navy Fleet and Family Support Centers have a Liaison to the EFMP who assists with family support services. The Air Force does not have Special Needs Coordinators at the FSCs; they are located at the installation medical group.

Family support services for EFMP enrollees may include:

Exploring child care and youth activities options in installation child and youth programs. Assistance with accessing services in the community, such as protection and advocacy groups and state and national parent training centers. Coordination of care. For example, family center staff may serve on the special needs resource team for the Individualized Family Service Plan(IFSP) or the Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Assistance with finding points of contact, including TRICARE Region and TRICARE Service Center, as well as local school district special education offices. Assessing the family's housing and community support needs prior to transfer.

Education

If you live overseas (and your family traveled overseas at government expense) or on an installation in the U.S. on which there is a DoD school, your child is eligible to receive educational services from the DoD. Early intervention services are provided by the military medical departments' Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS). These services include evaluations or assessments and service coordination for eligible children and their families. Also included is the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), a written document that includes goals and outcomes for the child and family. EDIS provides the services that are identified on the IFSP. Special education is provided for children ages 3 to 21 who have been found to have a disability using DoD criteria. Each child's Special Education is based on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) -- a written statement of individualized goals and objectives developed to meet the unique educational needs of the child. The IEP is written by a multidisciplinary team which includes the parents.

Transferring

Whether you're transferring within the U.S. or overseas, moving your family to a new community is a big undertaking. It's important to begin gathering information about your new location as soon as you receive change-of-station orders. Researching the availability of services for your exceptional family member may seem like an insurmountable task. But a good deal of information is available through your Family Support Center or installation medical group's EFMP coordinator and online sources.

Here are some ways to ease your transfer with an exceptional family member:

If you are in the Army or Marine Corps, contact the EFMP coordinator at your current installation as soon as you have change-of-station orders. Let them know when you are leaving and the installation to which you will be moving. The EFMP coordinator can then contact the EFMP coordinator at the next installation. If you want to make the contact yourself, you'll find a list of EFMP coordinators at military installations on the Military HOMEFRONT site at www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/efm . If you need accessible housing and wish to live on base, contact the housing office at your next duty station directly or ask the EFMP coordinator to make the contact for you. Depending on your family's requirements and the availability of housing, you may qualify for priority in housing assignment.
Marine Corps -- Enrollment as a Category 4 in the Marine Corps ensures priority housing on Navy/Marine Corps installations. Marine Corps Category 4 families going to other services' installations are handled on a case-by-case basis. The Marine Corps complies with other services' policies regarding priority housing for exceptional family members.
Navy -- Family members in Categories 4 or 5 qualify a sponsor for consideration for priority housing. This determination is up to the individual housing offices. The EFMP will provide the housing offices with oral or written verification of Category 4 or 5 if the member requests that this be done.
Air Force -- Identification as an exceptional family member does not entitle the sponsor to priority housing. Critical care needs determine priority housing. A letter is submitted to the Medical Group commander who makes the decision.

Keep copies of your enrollee's educational records in a convenient location and make sure they go with you when you move. If you have a child in special education, it's especially important to keep her most recent IEP and most recent evaluation. Keep your enrollment information current. Enrollees must be re-evaluated every three years or sooner, if there is a change in status.

Resources

There are many resources available to help service members who have family members with special needs:

Military HOMEFRONT

www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/

At the Special Needs/EFMP module on this Web site, you can link to your service's EFMP program, sign up for an electronic bulletin board for families in the EFMP, and contact the EFMP coordinator at your next assignment. This site includes two helpful tools for planning a move. Search Military INSTALLATIONS for information about programs and services for over 250 military installations and communities.
Create a customized plan and calendar using Plan My Move.

STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents)

www.stompproject.org

1-800-5-PARENTSTOMP is a resource center for military parents of children with special needs that provides information on disability and special education laws, rights, regulations, and responsibilities as they apply to military families.

TRICARE

www.tricare.osd.mil/OCMO/download/SCOR.doc

Provides a down loadable version of the Special Needs Organizational Record (SCOR) system, which can be used as a guide in organizing and keeping track of your child's records, appointments, and other important information.

B.E.S.T. (Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool)

best.ssa.gov/

Provides an online Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool (B.E.S.T.) that helps you understand your eligibility for benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration.

National Council on the Aging

www.benefitscheckup.org

The National Council on the Aging provides this online service to screen for federal, state, and some local private and public benefits for older adults (ages 55 and over).

Your installation's support services Depending on your service branch, your Fleet and Family Support Center, Marine Corps Community Services, Airman and Family Readiness Center, or Army Community Service Center can help you find resources for special needs.

Military One Source This free 24-hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues. You can reach the program by telephone at 1-800-342-9647 or through the Web site at www.militaryonesource.com .

This article was written with the help of Dr. Rebecca Posante, Policy Analyst, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy. Information received by me from the Ft. Bliss WTB Warrior and Family Support Group.

6 comments:

  1. We are not a military family, but I am sure that someone is going to benefit from this!

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  2. This is very informative and I hope it will help someone who may have not known about it.

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  3. Can certain conditions keep you from being able to go with your sponsor? For example, my wife has a spinal cord stimulator. Would this be something that could keep her from being able to accompany me?

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  4. Thanks for giving STOMP a shout out! :)

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  5. This was a great blog and provided a wealth of information for families that are unsure of the EFMP process. Just a note of clarification, the Air Force now provides family support services for EFMs on a select few installations. They are called EFMP Coordinators and they are located at the base installations AFRCs. Thank you for taking the time to post this information.

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  6. Thank you for posting this wealth of information on the EFMP. I just wanted to add that the Air Force now provides family support service for EFMs. They are called EFMP coordinators and they are located at the installations AFRCs.

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