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Respite Care Services for Families With Special Needs

Caretaker with elderly patient

Taking care of a family member with special needs can be more than a full-time job. As a parent and/or caregiver, it’s natural to want to give your all to your loved one, but everyone needs a break, whether that’s to go to an appointment, run errands or just have time for yourself.

Respite care provides that temporary break by putting your family member in someone else’s care. It can be hard to leave your child, teen or other family member with special needs, but taking time away from caregiving duties is essential to your well-being and benefits your loved one as well.

Where can I find respite care?

Families enrolled in EFMP may receive respite care through their branch of service’s EFMP respite care program if they meet standard eligibility requirements. Respite care is a program benefit, not an entitlement. Families can request additional respite care support if they experience exceptional circumstances that significantly impact the well-being of a caregiver or require additional support.

Contact your EFMP Family Support provider for more information or assistance in locating military and community respite care resources.

Other places to look for information and respite care options for children and adults include:

  • Your state’s Lifespan Respite Program, if available. Lifespan Respite Programs are run by state agencies to provide community-based respite for family caregivers.
  • The National Respite LocatorThis online tool can link you to information on respite funding and caregiver support in your state.
  • State Respite Coalitions. These membership organizations represent people with disabilities. Some of these organizations provide training and respite vouchers.
  • Nonprofit organizations related to your family member’s condition may be able to refer you to respite services in your community.
  • A “co-op” in which you and other families take turns watching each other’s loved ones. Family support groups are a good place to meet others interested in forming a respite care co-op.

Where can I find help paying for respite care?

There are several options where you may find help paying for respite care.

  • TRICARE Extended Care Health Option offers up to 16 hours of in-home respite care to eligible military families.
  • ECHO Home Health Care offers up to eight hours per day, five days a week of temporary relief for eligible military families with a family member who is homebound and requires frequent care.
  • Medicaid waivers cover the cost of respite care if your family member qualifies. Check with your state’s Medicaid office to learn more.

Your installation’s Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support provider can help you navigate the EFMP respite care program, locate alternative respite care programs or locate financial assistance. You can also schedule a Military OneSource special needs consultation 24/7 by calling 800-342-9647 or through live chat. If you’re overseas, view international calling options.

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