NEWS | Aug. 13, 2014

EFMP, providing the support you need

By Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Exceptional Family Member Program is here to help by supporting military families with special medical and educational needs.

The EFMP's simple three component process includes identification and enrollment, assignment coordination and family support.

Service members are encouraged to enroll family members with special medical or educational needs into the program, whether the family member is a spouse, dependent child or a dependent adult. Enrollment in the EFMP ensures a family member's documented 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.

While enrollment in the EFMP is mandatory for active-duty military members, members of the Guard or Reserves may enroll according to service-specific guidance. The paperwork required for enrollment in the EFMP is available from the EFMP medical point of contact at the 628th MDG on the Air Base and the Naval Health Clinic Charleston for the Weapons Station.

"One of the major benefits the EFMP offers is that you will not PCS anywhere where your needs cannot be met," said Jessica Metz, 628th Medical Group special needs coordinator. "The Air Force will not place you anywhere where you can't get the services you require for your family."

Although the military mission is the driving force behind the assignment process, the EFMP enrollment ensures a family member's special needs are considered during the assignment process. This occurs when the Air Force Personnel Center or the Navy Personnel Command requests medical or educational professionals to review a family member's documented needs to determine the availability of services at a projected location.

Assignment coordination is key to the EFMP, because access to appropriate medical and educational services may be limited in some areas, 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.

"It's worth noting that the EFMP does not hinder your chance of promotion and does not necessarily stop you from PCSing or deploying overseas," said Maj. Antoinette Sheppard, 628th MDG health care integrator. "It is important though, that you be honest with us so we may provide the support and assistance you require."

The EFMP also has a family support system that helps families identify and access programs and services. Family Support Providers help families by providing information and referral services, non-medical case management, training and other forms of support, such as providing opportunities for families to connect with each other around a common need or concern.

Locating and navigating formal programs and services and informal support when relocating can be difficult because those services may have different names at the new duty station or fall under the responsibility of a different agency. The EFMP family support provider can help bridge that gap, as well as help families understand what those programs offer, how to determine eligibility and how to apply for benefits or entitlements.

Family Support Providers through the EFMP are located at the Airman & Family Readiness Center on the Air Base and the Fleet and Family Service Center on the Weapons Station. For families who are not located near an installation, consult your service website for more information about accessing services.