SPECIAL NEEDS – BENEFITS

There are federal and state programs committed to providing additional assistance for families with special needs. In addition to the support of the Exceptional Family Member Program and Military OneSource special needs consultants, your family may receive additional help from a range of benefits.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that helps to cover the basic needs for individuals with disabilities who have little or no income. SSI provides cash payments that can be used for food, medical and dental care, home improvements and other personal needs. To qualify, you or your family member must meet certain requirements:

  • Income and other financial resources can’t exceed the limits set for your state. However, as a military family, combat pay, hostile fire pay and imminent danger pay don’t count towards the limits. Check with your local Social Security office to learn more.
  • You must have medical evidence of a severe physical or mental impairment that limits your family member’s ability to function for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
  • If the parent is a member of the U.S. military and stationed overseas, children under 18 with special needs can receive benefits while overseas.

Check your family member’s eligibility by completing the SSA Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool and learn everything you need to know before applying.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Also from the Social Security Administration, Social Security Disability Insurance provides supplemental income to people whose disability prevents them from obtaining employment or staying employed. For example, SSDI is available to:

  • Disabled adult children based on their parents’ work, if the child has a disability that was identified or diagnosed before age 22.
  • People who can’t work because of a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.
  • Military families with a family member with special needs or a family member with a military-connected disability and others.

SSDI benefits can be paid on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the disability. You can apply for SSDI benefits through the SSA Disability Benefits online portal or by contacting your installation Exceptional Family Member Program family support office.

Title V programs

In every state, you’ll find services for children under 18 with special heath care needs, which are funded by Title V of the Social Security Act. Eligibility is determined by age, medical criteria and income. Title V programs assist with:

  • Delivery of health services: Organization and delivery of health care services that meet the emotional, social and developmental needs of children.
  • Development of health care plan: Integration of families into all aspects of developing and updating the health care plan.
  • Support for families: Assistance in finding alternatives and choices that meet the needs of your family.
  • Facilitation of professional collaboration: Assisting in the planning, implementing and evaluating programs and related policies.

State Maternal and Child Health agencies maintain a toll-free hotline for information about Title V programs and providers. Check here to locate your local Title V program or call the national Title V toll-free number at 800-311-2229.

TRICARE basic benefits

TRICARE offers several services under the basic TRICARE benefit for beneficiaries with special needs:

TRICARE Extended Care Health Option

TRICARE’s Extended Care Health Option provides financial assistance to beneficiaries with special needs for an integrated set of services and supplies. To use the ECHO program, qualified beneficiaries must:

The Fair Housing Act and other housing programs

If you or someone in your family has special needs, your home may need specific modifications such as a wheelchair ramp or wider doorways to make it accessible for daily living. Go-to resources include:

  • The Fair Housing Act protects your family from discrimination when renting or buying property. Under this law, property owners are required to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities and allow residents to make their own modifications.
  • If you live in privatized housing on a military installation, your property managers are required – at no cost to you – to make reasonable accommodations that abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Families with special needs have the right to accessible housing. Your installation housing office or your EFMP family support staff can help you look for affordable housing on and off the base. Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to find contact information.

Medicaid benefits for individuals with disabilities

Medicaid is a federal program that covers basic health and long-term care services. This benefit is available for military family members with special needs that require medical attention beyond what is available through TRICARE.

Every state has its own Medicaid program with income restrictions and criteria for eligibility. Check this site for your state to see if you qualify and for more information. You can also find more information through the Military OneSource eLearning module on government assistance.

Medicare

Medicare could also help provide health care coverage and save you money in the process. Children and adult children with disabilities may be eligible for services. Learn more at Medicare.gov. You can also contact your installation’s EFMP family support provider or a Military OneSource special needs consultant.

Additional government programs

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Women, Infants and Children program are designed to aid children with special needs. More information about these benefits is provided at USA.gov, an official government website search engine that links to government agencies, programs and services.

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use live chat to schedule an appointment with a special needs consultant. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options. Appointments are available seven days a week.

TRICARE

CAREGIVERS – BENEFITS

Caregiving comes with its own expenses – some anticipated and others not. As a service member, you and your family qualify for numerous benefits that may help relieve some of the financial stress of caregiving. While Military OneSource does not provide direct health care services, it does offer non-medical counseling and information about health care services and benefits.

TRICARE home health benefits

  • Your loved one may be eligible to receive home health care benefits if he or she has TRICARE.
  • The program has information to help you determine the benefits for which your loved one may be eligible.

Medicare and Medicaid programs

If your loved one meets eligibility requirements for Medicare or Medicaid, coverage may be available for medical costs, transportation, respite care, home modifications and equipment expenses.

Financial counseling

Military relief societies

  • Each service has a private, nonprofit organization that assists families in times of need.
  • Assistance may include emergency transportation; help with medical bills, child care expenses, food, rent, utilities and other household bills; vehicle repair; and family emergency assistance.
  • For more information on relief societies, contact the Army Emergency Relief, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society or the Air Force Aid Society.

Mobility assistance

Sometimes a major injury or illness can affect mobility. If you or your loved one are facing new physical challenges, be sure to check out these resources:

  • Disability.gov: Access all of the federal government’s disability-related information and resources.
  • VA Home Loans: These loans and grants are available to adapt the homes of disabled veterans or help them buy accessible homes.
  • Homes for Our Troops, Inc.: This privately funded nonprofit builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans nationwide.
  • Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes: This site helps wheelchair-bound or blind veterans can receive financial assistance to buy homes that accommodate their disabilities.
  • AbleData: This federally funded project provides information on assistive technology and rehabilitative equipment sources worldwide.
  • National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification: This nonprofit provides helpful advice and links, including state-by-state information.

Assistive devices

Semper Fi Fund

The Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured service members and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities.

Military Heroes Fund Emergency Financial Assistance

The Military Heroes Fund, an initiative of the PenFed Foundation, provides wounded veterans, military families and caregivers with financial assistance and support that cannot be supported by government agencies. The MHF has two components:

  • Emergency Financial Assistance for Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom wounded warriors and their families facing short-term financial difficulties.
  • Family and Caregiver Transition Support including child care support for families of wounded OIF/OEF veterans while receiving outpatient care; short-term training or education expenses for job certification, licensure requirements and course materials; and in-home health care for injured veterans to support caregiver respite needs.

USA Cares Warrior Treatment Today

USA Cares Warrior Treatment Today pays essential household bills while a wounded service member or veteran is attending residential treatment for a traumatic brain injury or PTSD.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, then press 1, or access online chat by texting to 838255.

HEALTH CARE – BENEFITS

When you join the military, one of the most valuable benefits you’ll receive is access to TRICARE, the military’s health care program.

There are TRICARE plans for just about every military family and situation. But as with any health benefit plan, it’s important to understand your options so you can take full advantage of the benefits available to you.

While Military OneSource does not provide health care services, it does offer non-medical counseling and information about health care services and benefits.

Eligibility

Each service branch determines who is eligible for TRICARE coverage. Generally, TRICARE is available to:

  • Uniformed service members and their families
  • National Guard/Reserve members and their families
  • Survivors
  • Former military spouses
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their families
  • Others registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

There are also plans and temporary-coverage options available to transitioning and separating service members.

The easiest way to find out if you’re eligible is to check your information in DEERS, or by calling the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office at 800-538-9552. You should always make sure you and your family members’ information stays up to date in DEERS. Enrollment in DEERS does not mean you are enrolled in TRICARE.

Types of TRICARE plans

With the TRICARE changes that took effect Jan. 1, 2018, TRICARE continues to offer several health plans. Plan availability still depends on who you are and where you live. Basic coverage is no longer automatic when you retire from the service.

The TRICARE website can help you select the plan that’s right for you. You can even compare plans side by side. All plans meet or exceed the requirements for minimum essential coverage.

TRICARE also offers special programs, including:

Some of these programs are separate from TRICARE’s medical coverage and are based on factors such as your status with the armed forces. See the TRICARE website for more information.

Military OneSource health and wellness coaches

Military OneSource health and wellness coaches can help you lose weight, eat better, get in shape, manage stress, tackle transitions and more.

Call 800-342-9647 or view overseas calling options to sign up for health and wellness coaching sessions. You can choose from three Health and Wellness Coaching session options: phone, online chat and video.

FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH – BENEFITS

Getting the best education for your kids is easier and more affordable if you take advantage of all the benefits and programs available to you as a service member.

Military Children and Youth Programs

Every branch of the military service has its own children and youth program, offering affordable instructional and educational programs as well as flexible child care. The programs provide age-appropriate activities in a structured setting either on or off the military installation.

Army Children and Youth Programs

If you visit MyArmyBenefits, you can review all of the programs available to Army families, such as:

  • Child Development Centers (ages 6 weeks – kindergarten): on-post child care centers that offer full-day, part-day and hourly care, where children can learn motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills through a special curriculum.
  • Family Child Care Homes (ages 4 weeks – 12 years): on- and off-post child care from trained providers who provide full-day, part-day and hourly care and learning activities for children in a home environment.
  • Instructional Classes (all ages): a program designed to complement, expand, and support the academic, life skills, and athletic experiences children have within Army’s programs and at school.
  • School Age Services (ages 6 – 12 years): before and after school programs, weekend activities during the school year, summer care and camps during school vacations.
  • Youth Services (ages 11 – 18 years): programs designed specifically for middle school youth and teens to ensure that all of their physical, social, and emotional needs are addressed.

Marine Corps Community Services Child and Youth Programs

  • Marine Corps New Parent Support Program offers a wide range of support services to military families expecting a child or with a child up to age 5, including classes, home visits and referrals.
  • Marine Corps Community Services Children, Youth and Teen provide high quality child care programs and services that support eligible families. Child Development Programs, available for children 6 weeks through 12 years, including Child Development Centers, School Age Care and Family Child Care, which offer full-day and part-time child care and in some locations hourly child care.
  • Youth Programs, serving children ages 6 to 18, are offered at many installation locations.
  • All programs are designed to enrich your child’s social, cognitive, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth and development.

Navy Child and Youth Programs

  • Navy Child and Youth Programs offer developmental child care and youth recreational services for children and youth ages 4 weeks to 18 years.
  • Programs and services are designed to meet the needs of service members and their families.
  • Like other branches, the Navy provides Child Development Centers, Child Development Homes, School-Age Care, and Youth and Teen Programs.

U.S. Air Force Child and Youth Resources

Air Force Children and Youth Resources provide child care for children from 6 weeks to 12 years old in on-base Child Development Centers and School Age Programs in Youth Centers. Before and after school care and care on school holidays and during summer months are available for children aged 5 to 12 years old. The Air Force also has support for families outside of typical duty schedules and in geographically separated areas like:

  • Air Force Extended Duty Child Care Program that provides extended child care each month in homes at no cost to the military member when workloads exceed their typical 50 hours per week arrangements. Child care is provided for nontraditional hours at no additional costs to parents.
  • Air Force Returning Home Care Program supports service members returning home from deployments, offering 16 hours of free child care upon their return.

National Guard Family Programs

Visit the National Guard Family Program to learn about youth programs offered to National Guard families, such as:

  • Instructional programs that provide opportunities to learn new skills on a wide range of topics like photography, woodworking, science and technology, gardening, health and safety.
  • Educational programs that are focused on citizenship, character building, public speaking and leadership.
  • Community-based Child Care Programs that provide care and nationally accredited programs for children ages 4 weeks to 12 years of age in community-based facilities and homes
  • School-age Care Program that provides care to children from kindergarten to 12 years of age before and after school and during holidays and summer vacations.
  • 24-7 Child Care operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, designed to meet the needs of shift workers and families seeking flexible arrangements.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the U.S. Armed Forces partner to help support children of military families with youth development programs, curriculums and activities. Education and career programs offered by the Boys & Girls Clubs include:

  • Mission Youth Outreach: a free membership to local Boys & Girls Clubs for military youth ages 6 to 18 who do not live near or have access to a military youth center.
  • Money Matters: a program where youth ages 13 to 18 learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, start a small business, pay for college, and save and invest.
  • Diplomas to Degrees: a program to prepare high schoolers for college and career success.
  • Summer Brain Gain: a program to encourage summer learning and keep kids engaged in reading.
  • My.Future: a program that teaches foundational technology skills and develops computer literacy.

4-H Military Partnerships

  • 4-H Military Partnerships bring the resources of the Land Grant Universities including youth development professionals, research-based curricula, and high-quality training and technical assistance to the youth programs of the military.
  • Military youth can join 4-H clubs in their community, and they can also participate in summer camps around the country.

Operation Purple® Camp

  • Operation Purple Camp from the National Military Family Association brings together military kids from all services and offers a Family Retreat that provides military families with a chance to reconnect and bond.

Department of Defense Financial Aid for Schools With Military Kids

Through the Department of Defense’s Impact Aid for Military Connected School Districts, you can help your child’s school get more money.

  • Supplement to Impact Aid Program provides extra money to school districts that have an average daily attendance of at least 20 percent military kids.
  • Impact Aid for Large Scale Rebasing Program gives money to school districts heavily impacted by large-scale military rebasing.
  • Children with Severe Disabilities: As another congressional allotment, school districts with at least two military students with severe disabilities get reimbursement for expenses they incurred during the year.
  • The programs allow funds to be used in any educational activity as long as it meets state and local requirements. Local education agencies must submit a Section 8003 (OMB No. 1810-0687) application each year and an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form.

The Department of Defense Education Authority also gives grants to school districts with school-age military children, such as:

  • A competitive grant program that works to boost student performance, provide professional growth for educators and add technology to programs in schools facing a growing number of military kids.
  • An invitational grant program that aims to increase student success and ease the challenges military kids face because of their parents’ service.

Our Military Kids grants

  • Our Military Kids offers grants to National Guard and reserve families during deployments. The grants are to help with children’s activities when families have trouble accessing support services from military installations.
  • Our Military Kids also offers grants to children of injured military members that pay for participation in sports, fine arts and academic tutoring.

Home-schooling benefits

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is an agreement among participating states to help alleviate some of the school transition problems that happen with frequent moves. The compact helps out in four major areas:

  • Enrollment: The compact helps with education records, immunizations, and kindergarten and first grade entrance.
  • Placement and attendance: The compact ensures that your children won’t miss appropriate placement in required classes, advanced placement and special needs programs while awaiting evaluation at their new school.
  • Eligibility: The compact makes a smoother transition when it comes to your children’s eligibility.
  • Graduation: The compact ensures your high schooler’s graduation will not be affected by a move.

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)

The mission of the MCEC is to ensure quality educational opportunities for all military and veteran-connected children affected by mobility, transition and family separation. They offer a variety of programs, such as:

  • Student 2 Student programs that train civilian and military high school students to establish peer-based programs in their schools to support children transitioning to new schools.
  • Parent to Parent programs that teach parents to be strong advocates for their children on educational and social issues.
  • The Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program that identifies exceptional young people through their participation in the Student 2 Student program.
  • The Call for the Arts Program that encourages military children to express themselves in art to communicate and celebrate their military lives.

Special needs consultations

Special needs consultants through Military OneSource can point you to benefits that are available for families with special needs. Your consultant can help connect you with information, resources, services and more, including:

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or click here for overseas calling options to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Appointments are available seven days a week for your family’s convenience.

 

OCONUS MOVES – BENEFITS

Moving outside the continental United States can be exciting, and usually a bit of a challenge. But Military OneSource is available to help, 24/7 anywhere in the world. In addition to general moving support tools and services, there are several benefits and resources available to help you ease your OCONUS move so you can enjoy your overseas experience as much as possible.

Learn more about moving OCONUS and the following benefits and resources. If you have any questions, you can contact a Military OneSource moving expert by phone or live chat.

And if you have questions about new procedures and safety guidelines due to COVID-19, contact your installation Personnel Support Office.

Benefits and resources

In addition to support offered by your installation Relocation Assistance Program, here are some benefits and resources available when you are moving OCONUS:

  • Command sponsorship is the permission needed for your family to accompany you overseas. You should apply for command sponsorship as soon as you receive your PCS orders. If approved, you’ll receive an additional allowance, reimbursement for moving expenses and more weight in your moving shipment. Follow all instructions carefully when applying and keep strict records of your expenses once approved.
  • The military sponsorship program is different from command sponsorship. The sponsorship program helps service members and families settle into a new duty station. It is available to all service members and families no matter where you are moving to, and can be especially helpful if you are moving to a new country. Your unit will assign you a sponsor, typically a service member of similar rank and family status, to help you learn the ropes at your new location. Learn more about how sponsorship can help you settle into your new home.
  • Overseas Housing Allowance may be available to offset the cost of living off-base. It is based on rank and dependents and is available to unaccompanied service members only if government housing is unavailable. Contact your installation Housing Office for more details and help with applying for OHA.
  • Family Separation Allowance is paid when your family members can’t live with you at your permanent duty station – most commonly when transportation isn’t authorized, housing is unavailable, you’re aboard a ship, or your family can’t move because of a medical condition. This allowance is paid as a flat, monthly rate. Check with your installation Housing Office or the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for more FSA details.
  • Dislocation Allowance can help with miscellaneous moving costs. It is generally paid once per PCS. It is not paid of you are reassigned to government quarters or are unaccompanied. Learn more about DLA FAQs, or contact your installation Finance Office for more details.
  • Move-in Housing Allowance helps cover the cost of miscellaneous expenses like appliances, lease taxes, or one-time rental or security-related expenses. It varies by currency rate and location. Check with your installation Housing Office for more details about MIHA.
  • Advances are available to cover the cost of moving. You can apply for an advance of basic pay to cover:
    • Basic allowance for housing
    • Overseas housing allowance
    • Moving-related expenses
    • Travel allowances (varies by service branch)

    Before taking an advance, be sure to do some research about repayment, and contact the experts at your Personal Financial Management Program office to help with budget planning. Financial counselors can also help with information about financial aid organizations and emergency assistance.

  • Confidential, Non-medical Counseling – Military OneSource offers free, confidential non-medical counseling to discuss adjustment difficulties or ways to manage relocation stress. You can connect with a counselor to schedule an appointment 24/7 over the phone, in person, via secure online live chat or via secure video sessions. You are eligible for up to 12 sessions.

One of the benefits of military life is the unique opportunity to experience different parts of the world – the chance to live in diverse cultures and environments. Let Military OneSource connect you with the benefits and resources that can help you master your PCS and enjoy your overseas experience.

DEPLOYMENT – BENEFITS

Members of the military get rocking benefits. These range from educational benefits and cash bonuses, to tax-free housing, food allowances and pensions. Military benefits and entitlements extend to service members and their families during all phases of the deployment cycle. Make sure you know what’s available.

Understand what you are entitled to

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides service members with a range of rights and benefits, from interest rate reductions to eviction protection. Know your rights and available benefits.
  • Benefits.gov houses information on the wide range of benefits available to active-duty military and veterans. It’s a go-to resource for all service members and families, containing information on interest rate reductions, tax benefits, educational and medical benefits, and many other benefits you’re entitled to.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of benefits and services to active-duty service members.

Take advantage of deployment cycle benefits

The Military Deployment Guide provides a map for the road ahead, including the many benefits service members and their families are entitled to. These include:

  • Health care: Before deployment, service members are required to complete a Pre-Deployment Health Assessment to record and evaluate their current health and to ensure that they receive any needed care. Family members of active duty service members are entitled to health care insurance through the military’s program called TRICARE.
  • Financial: Service members typically receive special pay and benefits during deployment. Contact or visit your installation Personal Financial Manager or a Military OneSource financial counselor to find out more.
  • Education and other benefits: Upon return from a deployment, service members and their families may become entitled for a variety of benefits. Some require enrollment, so it is important for service members and family members to be aware of them and to take any necessary enrollment steps on time, if they meet specified eligibility requirements. These include post deployment health benefits, education and training benefits, wounded warrior benefits and survivor benefits.
  • Confidential non-medical counseling and specialty consultations: Military families face frequent moves, deployments and separations from loved ones. Sometimes some extra support can make all the difference during deployment. Military OneSource provides confidential non-medical counseling, specialty consultations and other forms of free confidential help to service members and immediate family members. Call 800-342-9647.

For National Guard and reserve members

The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act offers protections when service members are called to active duty. Learn about your rights at the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve website.

National Guard and reserve members with active service may also qualify for a variety of VA benefits. See the department’s National Guard and Reserve page for more information about these benefits.

Benefits for survivors

Service members and spouses can access the Online Survivor Benefits Report. This is a personalized, online benefits calculator available to surviving spouses of service members who have died while on active duty. It allows survivors to see what their benefits should be today and how they would change based on “what if” scenarios, like remarriage, employment or unemployment, and more. Learn more about survivor benefits:

The military offers benefits to support you and your loved ones throughout the deployment process and beyond. Making the most of the military’s benefits can strengthen the home front and your family’s pocketbook.

Whether you want to learn more about your benefits, understand how to access them or have other questions, Military OneSource stands ready to help. Call 800-342-9647 or live chat with us today.