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Home School: Is This the Best Option for Military Kids?

April 19, 2018

“I am acutely aware that my child’s future is in my hands. It’s a huge responsibility.” Military families aren’t able to control how often they move or how long their service member will be deployed. For many, this takes a huge toll on their children’s education. Perhaps this is why more and more military families are choosing to homeschool their military-connected kids. “We chose to homeschool our children when we received orders to Germany,” said Air Force spouse, Heather Aliano. “My old…

More Airstrikes in Syria Create Uncertainty and Pride for Military Families

April 14, 2018

“This strike was double the size of the last strike in April 2017,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff, explained in a press briefing Saturday morning at the Pentagon. United States military forces, along with allies France and Great Britain, launched an attack last night on three major locations in Syria housing chlorine and sarin—two chemicals used by the Assad regime to kill and terrorize its own citizens. In April 2017, almost 100 innocent Syrian civilians, including children and even babies,…

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Proposed School Voucher Bill May Cost Military Families More Than Expected

April 13, 2018

Are you a military family with kids in public school? If so, you’ll need to pay attention to this. A proposal is making its way through Congress that would use Impact Aid funds to create school vouchers for some military-connected kids. The bill already has more than 50 co-sponsors, and these supporters want it attached to the National Defense Authorization Act—the must-pass legislation that sets policy for the Department of Defense. This bill is a bad deal for military families, and we need your help to make sure Congress knows…

Military Family Shoppers Guide to Finding a Good School

April 12, 2018

How far would you go to preserve the quality of your child’s education? With no uniform education standards across state lines, many military families choose go to great lengths to make sure their children receive quality curriculum. Some pick homeschooling, long commutes, or even living apart if they receive PCS orders to move to an installation in an area where schools don’t perform very well. Fortunately, more school districts have open enrollment laws and school choice options, which allow flexibility for military families to …

Education Revolution: Their Right, Our Fight

April 5, 2018

Being a kid can be challenging. Making friends, getting along with parents, and keeping up with academic demands can be tough for any child. Being a military kids has its own challenges, like dealing with a parent’s deployment, or moving every few years. And most military kids know being the new kid isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Challenges that are unique to the military, like lengthy deployments and frequent relocations, often create a revolving door of issues for military kids; especially when it comes to their education…

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Military Adoption 101

March 27, 2018

Making the leap to grow your family through adoption will be one of the biggest decisions you may ever make. Adopting a child can also be one of life’s most rewarding experiences for everyone involved, including military families. If your military family is considering adoption, you may be wondering where to start. Each adoption situation is unique, and each will have its own process and procedures. Whether you’re looking into adopting locally, internationally, or through an agency or independent adoption, there are many resource…

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The GI Bill Gets a Makeover

March 20, 2018

A few months ago, Congress passed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, commonly referred to as the Forever GI Bill. These new benefits are actually expansions to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and include 31 new provisions that aids service members and their dependents. NMFA recently sat down with Veterans Affairs Director of Education Services, Rob Worley, to learn more about the Forever GI Bill and how the new provisions might impact military families. Elimination of the 15-year Limitation Previously, service members were requ…

Military Kids Education 2018

Frequent Moves Take Their Toll on Military Kids

March 15, 2018

As if moving to a new area, finding new friends, and being the new kid all the time isn’t enough, our nation’s military kids are subjected to an academic rollercoaster every two to three years. On average, military-connected students will attend between six to nine schools between kindergarten and their senior year of high school. Military families worry about the effects of these frequent transitions, and how the results will impact their child’s academic success. After a PCS, most military-connected kids will either be for…

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NMFA Supports WWP and Others at Annual Senate Committee Hearing

March 13, 2018

On March 6, a Joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs heard presentations from nine veteran service organizations, including NMFA partner, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), among others. Representatives from each organization outlined their legislative priorities for 2018, and NMFA was there to support them throughout their testimony. The testimonies addressed veteran issues, many of which are complex problems NMFA is passionate about finding solutions for, like those our nation’s Medicare-eligible wounde…

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New TRICARE Co-Pays Leave Military Families in Sticker Shock

March 8, 2018

Military families are speaking out against the steep increase in their out-of-pocket health care costs. NMFA has received numerous emails from families experiencing sticker shock after receiving bills for their 2018 provider visits. The only groups not facing these higher copays are families of active duty service members (ADFM) on TRICARE Prime and TRICARE for Life patients over 65. Many families are blaming TRICARE contractors for the increase, but this time, Humana and HealthNet are not to blame. These copay hikes are coming from our own De…

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Military Saves Week: How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

March 1, 2018

Living paycheck to paycheck is no picnic. Yet many military families face this financial hardship due to frequent relocations. Many dual-income families face this financial challenge when military spouses are forced to look for new employment after each PCS; oftentimes searching for months to no avail. Military Saves Week, happening February 26 - March 3, 2018, encourages service members and their families to dive deeper into their financial situations by assessing their financial habits and making a pledge to start saving money. But how are …

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This School Voucher Plan Is Not the Answer for Military Families

March 1, 2018

Military families most often do not have control over many aspects of military life, such as the number of PCS moves they will make over time, the length or frequency of military deployments and sometimes, whether or not their child will be in a desirable school district. A recent proposal through the Heritage Foundation attempts to promote school choice for military families by turning Federal Impact Aid funds into a voucher system they refer to as Education Savings Accounts (ESA). The idea that military families would have more control over …

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Top 3 Myths about Overqualified Military Spouses

February 27, 2018

Cities near military installations often have a high population of military spouses looking for work, so the labor market becomes saturated. Most spouses search for months without finding suitable employment, only to find a position where their skills go underutilized and their education doesn’t even apply. Sound familiar? We thought so. Hiring managers think they know why most military spouses are looking for work, but many of those same hiring managers write off exceptionally over-qualified military spouses as potential employees beca…

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Paid Family Leave Allows Working Military Spouses to Focus on Family and Career

February 22, 2018

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has helped millions of employees across the country keep their jobs while they take time off to care for an ailing family member. We’ve championed military expansions so military family members can use FMLA for deployment issues, or to care for an ill or injured service member. These protections allow you to keep your job while taking care of your family, but only in an unpaid status. However, it’s possible that you may be able to receive Paid Family Leave. Paid Family Leave (PFL) is exactly…

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Military Kids Find Their Tribe at Operation Purple Camp

February 20, 2018

Being a military kid can be a tough job, and not many other kids understand what it’s like. At NMFA, we know military kids serve too. And to support our awesome pint-sized heroes, we started Operation Purple Camps® (OPC). These FREE weeklong camps bring together military-connected children from all walks of life. Their parents are active duty, Reserve, Guard or veteran military service members. In some families, both parents have served. Some of the campers’ parents are deployed, while others are going through the challenges of…

Kelly Hruska

NMFA Urges Senate Committee to Hold DoD Accountable

February 15, 2018

Through 17 years of war, repeat deployments, and other challenges, military families have faced their share of sacrifices in the name of freedom and justice for all. We’ve heard stories from military families, like yours, about health care experiences, struggles obtaining child care, and transition difficulties after leaving military service. And yesterday, NMFA shared some of those stories with the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing about military personnel programs and military family readines…

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No Notes, No Records, No Problem: MFLCs Explained

February 13, 2018

“If something doesn’t change, I’m going to lose my mind.” Sarah Cassidy is married to a Chris, a Marine who travels frequently. “Sometimes he’ll only be home for a few days before he has to pick up and leave for another week or two,” said Sarah. “We never have a chance to get a routine underway like most families would during a deployment. If we do manage to nail something down, it just gets screwed up again when he gets home!” It’s not uncommon for complaints, like Sarah’s, t…

Book with FMLA

Family and Medical Leave Act: What is it and Can Military Families Use It?

February 5, 2018

Twenty-five years ago today, President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); the first and only national law allowing millions of Americans to take time off of work without the threat of losing their jobs. The FMLA was designed to help American employees meet today’s demands between work and family life. Eligible employees are able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for a serious health condition, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. It can also be used for ma…

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Tax Season Tips for Military Families

January 30, 2018

Tax season can be a confusing time for everyone, and for military families, even more so. Thankfully, there are plenty of organizations and resources available to help military families with their taxes. As you prepare to begin filing your taxes for the year, it’s important that you have all necessary documentation to complete the process. Examples of these documents include: Your family’s personal information, such as Social Security numbers; W2 form(s) from each employer you worked from over the last year. If your servi…

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5 Types of Insurance Your Military Family Might Need

January 25, 2018

As a military family member, you’re probably familiar with military life insurance, such as the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI). You also most likely depend on the Military Health System and/or TRICARE for your health care needs. However, military families sometimes face unique scenarios specific to military life, such as frequent travel and relocation, and your family may need some of these commonly used insurance products along the way. TRAVEL INSURANCE E…

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Congress is Ending the Shutdown and Turning the Lights Back On….Now What?

January 22, 2018

Congress is set to reopen the government and many military families are breathing a sigh of relief…for now. The short-term funding bill that was passed will only fund the government through February 8. That means Congress has less than three weeks to pass an appropriations bill in order to avoid another government shutdown; essentially “kicking the can down the road”. In the meantime, it’s important to stay vigilant and informed. It’s better to be prepared by asking the question “What if?” than l…

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The Shutdown Happened: Here’s What You Need to Know

January 17, 2018

No deal. The government shutdown is in effect as of midnight January 20. We’ve been here a few times over the past few years, so we have some idea what families should expect – although there are plenty of unknowns. How will your military family be impacted? Here’s what we know: Will my service member get paid? No. BUT if Congress is able to pass a separate bill to continue military pay, service members should receive compensation as usual. They did this in 2013 with the Pay Our Military Act. If Congress doesn’t pass…

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Here’s What You Need to Know About Starting a Business

January 16, 2018

The career life of a military spouse often has a lot of starts and stops. Frequent PCS moves are usually the main culprit of military spouse employment issues, since most jobs require an on-site presence. In an effort to side-step the frustration of job searching every few years, many spouses are moving towards entrepreneurship, which allows them to move their business (and income) with them with each new PCS Many military spouses toy with the idea of owning their own business, but are often hesitant to make the jump due to lack of funding, o…

Today's Army Spouse

New Survey Invites Army Spouses to Speak Up

January 11, 2018

We may soon find out how well the Army is doing in meeting the needs of spouses and families. This month, the RAND Corporation will be conducting a survey to provide an opportunity for spouses of active duty soldiers to voice their concerns about challenges they face and the services they find helpful to overcome those issues. A postcard invitation to complete the survey is being mailed out to a random sampling of Army spouses living in the United States. The RAND survey comes on the heels of the 2017 study, “Today's Soldier: Assessing …

2017 Year in Review

NMFA Year in Review

January 1, 2018

With 2017 in the rear-view mirror, NMFA is busy moving down the road to take 2018 by storm. 2017 was filled with many changes, including TRICARE reform, a new Administration, and international conflicts that have kept over 300,000 troops deployed worldwide. NMFA has worked tirelessly on behalf of service members and their families and will continue with that commitment into 2018 and beyond. For now, let’s take a look back at our Association’s efforts to support military families, like yours, this year. NMFA was founded with the…

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Deployment Cycle of Emotions: No, You’re Not Crazy

December 20, 2017

Every military family will have a different set of challenges when experiencing deployments. Likewise, each member of a military family will have different reactions based on their unique placement in the family. Experts have studied the cycle of emotions military families encounter during deployment and have found certain emotional characteristics can be identified through different phases throughout each deployment. Most researchers agree there are generally three phases: pre-deployment, mid-deployment and post-deployment. However, some org…

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Thinking About Military Marriage Counseling? Consider This

December 14, 2017

Every marriage will have its ups and downs, but military couples tend to face marital challenges that are unique to the military community. Moving every few years, dealing with frequent separations, and raising children when away from extended family all contribute to stresses that most civilian marriages are able to avoid. Because of these unique challenges, it’s important for military couples experiencing relationship issues to address them with professionals who have an understanding of military culture. Many service members are …

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3 Old School Ways to Communicate in the Tech Era

December 13, 2017

The rise of technology over the last two decades has most likely made communicating with your service member during deployments a whole lot easier, and often times, more frequent. The evolution of communication methods have grown from e-mail, to instant messaging, all the way to live video options, such as FaceTime and Skype. However, every deployment is different and not every service member will be able to use all of these options. Everyone’s first deployment will be a trial and error process, but it’s important to remember that…

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Pearl Harbor Through the Eyes of the Military Family

December 7, 2017

Imagine waking one morning to the ground shaking your home on base. Imagine grabbing your children and frantically running to escape the gunfire pelting the ground at your feet. Imagine watching your neighbors, fellow military families, being shot in front of you as they hang their laundry. Imagine your sense of security vanishing instantly. While it might be difficult for you to imagine this scene happening today, it was an unfortunate reality for the military families of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor killed ov…

At a Glance: This Year’s Big Wins for Military Families

December 5, 2017

Military families, we have your back. And today, we are celebrating some major wins, now that the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (FY18 NDAA) has been signed by the President. From health care and education for military children to pay raises and reimbursements that help the entire military family, we have a lot to be thankful for: Pay Raises: For the second year in a row, service members will get a 2.4% pay raise – which is consistent with the Employment Cost Index (ECI), as required by law. The three years prior, the pay raise …

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Meet the Giesecke Family!

November 30, 2017

It’s Military Family Appreciation Month, where we focus on the uniqueness, braveness, and total awesomeness of the military family. In our final week of this awesome month, we’d like to introduce you to the Gieseckes, an Army family currently stationed at Fort Belvoir, in Northern Virginia. Heath, who works with information systems in the Army, and Cynthia are both from Texas, and met when some of their high school friends introduced them at Cynthia’s birthday party. The couple parted ways when she went off to college, but be…

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Pay Attention to These Financial Issues BEFORE Leaving Military Life

November 29, 2017

Separating from the military can be exciting and scary at the same time. For every uncertainty or challenge, there are new adventures and opportunities waiting around the corner. But the financial realities of civilian life have been known to cause “sticker shock” for even the most prepared transitioning military families. Transition horror stories are common, and many of them are true. Yet some of them may have been exaggerated, as urban legends often are. These stories are usually filled with struggle and strife, but they don&rsq…

Meet the Alvarados!

Meet the Alvarados!

November 21, 2017

It’s Military Family Appreciation Month, where we focus on the uniqueness, braveness, and total awesomeness of the military family. This week, we’d like to introduce you to the Alvarados, a Navy family currently assigned to Naval Base Point Loma in sunny San Diego, California. Brian and Matt’s relationship began the way nearly one-third of marriages begin in the tech-era: online. Brian, a successful real estate agent, had just sold one of his best friends a condo. “While I was helping them paint their new home, they …

KellyAnne Conway

Military Spouse Employment: The Conversation Continues

November 17, 2017

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, met with military spouses Thursday to continue the conversation about spouse employment and licensing issues at a luncheon hosted by the Army Officers' Spouses' Club of the Greater Washington Area (AOSCGWA). “Military spouses, like you, are the backbone of our society,” Conway said as she relayed how deeply moved she was to be in the presence of people who have sacrificed so much. As the luncheon’s featured guest speaker, Conway shared details about the ongoing efforts Presi…

Meet the Wilsons

Meet the Wilsons!

November 16, 2017

It’s Military Family Appreciation Month, where we focus on the uniqueness, braveness, and total awesomeness of the military family. We know the military journey can be tough, but you’re not alone. Meet the Wilsons, a Marine Corps family currently stationed near Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico, Virginia. Dave and Rachel met 15 years ago when they were both serving in the Quantico Marine Corps Band. They married in 2006 and finally returned to MCB Quantico two years ago. But a lot has transpired since their last tour there. After …

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More Than a Scholarship

November 14, 2017

At NMFA, we know that when a military member serves, their entire family does, too. Nobody understands this more than a military spouse. Often facing education and career barriers due to their loved one’s military service, spouses put their own dreams on hold because of deployments, child care dilemmas, and moving to rural or overseas locations every few years. Some have even changed their degree major (or pursue a completely different career path) just so it would mesh with the military lifestyle. Whether you’re a military spouse …

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

58,318 Reasons to Remember Vietnam

November 11, 2017

Over the four days leading up to Veterans Day on November 11, each name etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is read aloud, commemorating the 35th anniversary of its inception, and honoring the memory of lives lost. 58,318 names we should never, ever forget. Volunteers from all over the country came to Washington D.C. to honor these brave souls, each reading 30 names in front of the memorial. Veterans who lost members of their unit paid homage to their fallen brethren, and family members read from lists that included their loved one…

Meet the Bocchers

Meet the Bocchers

November 9, 2017

Military Family Appreciation is here, and we’ll be featuring four different military families each week during the month of November. This week, we’re featuring the Bocchers - an Air Force Family currently stationed near Little Rock, Arkansas. Brittany met her husband Adam, an Air Force Special Agent for the Office of Special Investigations, at an airport while she was traveling on business. Brittany, who lived in Texas at the time, kept in touch with Adam through email and telephone calls. “He asked me to travel to Mississi…

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TRICARE “Access Improvements” May Limit Access – Here’s How You Can Help

November 6, 2017

Just when we thought TRICARE reform couldn’t get any more disappointing and confusing…another policy detail will leave military families scratching their heads. This time, the letdown comes with potential changes to urgent care access. Under the current Urgent Care Pilot Program, TRICARE Prime will cover up to two (2) urgent care visits a year without a referral from a primary care provider. The Pilot was a step in the right direction in giving military families access to medical care when they can’t get an appointment at th…

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Military Families: We Appreciate You!

November 1, 2017

Saying you support our troops without supporting their families is like watching your favorite football team play with only one player. Tim Tebow may be stellar, but he didn’t win the national championship by himself. Each day, thousands of families around the world watch their loved ones put on a military uniform and head out the door. Thousands more wake up, wishing that were their morning routine, because their loved one is gone—deployed, away at boot camp, training for an upcoming mission, or worse, gone because they’ve…

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