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For Better or Worse: Two Branches Change Respite Childcare Programs for Special Needs Families

October 12, 2017

Thousands of special needs families are dealing with recent changes to Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Respite Childcare policies. Each Service sets their own standards and eligibility criteria for the Respite program, but the Army and Air Force recently changed their criteria. EFMP Respite was originally established to help special needs families deal with increased deployment tempo related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program was designed to give non-deployed parents of special needs children time to take care of themsel…

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New VA Change Aims to Ease Transition Finance Worries

October 4, 2017

Transitioning out of the military can be a complicated process. Navigating veteran’s benefits can be even more complex. When it comes to filing a disability compensation claim for service-connected disabilities with Veterans Affairs (VA), military families feel the financial heat when forced to wait for their service member’s disability rating. Many have voiced their concerns about the anxiety the lengthy wait times for compensation have on an already stressful stage of their lives. Thankfully, there’s been a recent update in…

Civilian at MTF

New Name, New Costs. New TRICARE?

September 29, 2017

It’s happening. Everyone stay calm. On September 29, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the most detailed information to date on major changes for TRICARE users taking effect in 2018. These changes are supposed to simplify TRICARE, but may take some getting used to—especially for current TRICARE Standard users who go to civilian providers off base. The good news for TRICARE Prime families who use Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) and clinics is that not much will change for you. TRICARE Standard users, DoD’s newly r…

Switching to TRICARE Standard 360px

Consider These Factors Before Switching to TRICARE Standard

September 26, 2017

TRICARE changes are on the horizon, and while most are scheduled to begin on or after January 1, there’s one change that military families should be aware of now. Currently, TRICARE operates on a fiscal year (FY) schedule beginning October 1 and ending September 30 each year. However, starting on January 1, 2018, TRICARE will begin operating on a calendar year (CY) schedule; running from January 1 through December 31 each year. What does this mean exactly? TRICARE will extend deductibles and catastrophic caps that usually reset on Octo…

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Planning for the Future: 3 VA Benefits You Should Know

September 18, 2017

Military families often wonder when they should begin the planning process to transition out of military life. Some start planning one to three years out, others decide 6 months prior to separation is enough time to get all their ducks in a row. The best time to begin planning, no matter where your service member is in their military career, is right now—especially if they plan on utilizing veterans benefits. And it’s always the right time for military spouses to educate themselves on their service member’s transition process,…

Doctor Appointments

An Appointment Missed by You is Really Missed by Two

September 14, 2017

We’ve all had one of those days: you spent days trying to get an appointment to see your primary care manager. You finally get one on the books, so you write it on your calendar. A few weeks later, you randomly look at your watch and realize you totally forgot about your appointment…and now it’s two hours after you were supposed to check in! When it comes to being part of the military lifestyle, it’s no secret that “life happens.” But it’s important to know that missing scheduled appointments without …

2017 Remembering 9/11

16 Years Later, We Will Always Remember

September 11, 2017

In the 46th minute of the eighth hour on the 11th day of September 2001, tragedy struck the heart of every American citizen and our world changed forever. September 11 may be a day of remembrance, but for military families, forgetting isn’t an option. Since that day 16 years ago, thousands of troops have died, and tens of thousands have been wounded. Many of them leaving pieces of themselves in Iraq or Afghanistan that they can never get back. Our country is still at war and our service members and their families still carry the burden …

Harvey to Irma

From Hurricane Harvey to Hurricane Irma: America’s Heroes Answer the Call

September 8, 2017

Just over a week and a half ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall and devastated Houston and surrounding areas. Through the horrific storm, we watched as courageous first responders, military members, and civilians battled treacherous flooding to rescue others. Donations from across the country have helped feed, clothe, and house those left homeless. But Hurricane Harvey has not stopped hope from shining on Houston. We’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to each hero who has helped Houston. Our Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, Air For…

Mental Health Stigma

Improving Shift in Mental Health Stigma May Contribute to Reduced Number of Suicides

September 7, 2017

The suicide rate among active duty service members continues to slowly decrease from 2012—the worst recorded year for service member suicides, where a reported 321 individuals took their own lives. The Defense Suicide Prevention Office reports fluctuations between the number of deaths in each branch, but the question remains the same across all branches: what can be done to eliminate suicide in the military? The impact of mental health efforts may have contributed to the initial decrease since 2012, Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee, the Founder an…

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Military Teens: Navigating the Choppy Waters of Change

September 5, 2017

Being a teenager is tough business. Being the parent of a teenager is tough, too. Add military life into the mix and suddenly, the trek through adolescence can feel more like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. NMFA spoke to several military families who told us about their challenges and triumphs in raising military teens. Fitting in To any teenager, parents are typically the last people they believe will understand ’what it’s like’ to be in their shoes. Adolescence is usually when they begin to work on becoming independent fr…

TRICARE for college kids

Tricare for College Kids 101

August 31, 2017

Fall semester is in full swing and college students are filing into lecture halls and dorm rooms around the country. Whether your military kid is college-bound for the first time, or taking time off while staying at home, you’ll want to make sure that their health care survives their transition into independence. As long as the military sponsor remains eligible for TRICARE, your child will remain eligible for TRICARE Prime or Standard (soon to be TRICARE Select) until their 21st birthday; whether they attend school or not. They may al…

Houston Hurricane 2017

There’s No Such Thing as Being “Over” Prepared

August 29, 2017

Thousands of East Texans, including military families, are still being rescued, and thousands more have evacuated in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall over the weekend. The news and social media photos of residents and first-responders wading in waist-deep waters are only a glimpse into what disaster looks like when it hits. These images serve as a reminder that one can never be too prepared for disaster to hit. This is especially true now that Irma, a category 5 hurricane, is hot on Harvey’s tail. “One of my biggest r…

PCS Expenses

PCS Expenses: How DLA Stacks Up

August 24, 2017

Will Dislocation Allowance (DLA) cover your entire Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move? It’s not likely. That’s because DLA is only intended to partially reimburse relocation expenses associated with moving your military household from one duty station to another. DLA amounts vary based on your service member’s pay grade and dependent status. For example, an E-6 would be entitled to $2399.34 if they’re traveling with dependents, or $1633.58 without dependents. While there are a host of other entitlements available t…

President Trump

Winning the War Means More Sacrifices for Military Families

August 22, 2017

The longest war in American history will get even longer. “The American people are weary of war without victory. Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan,” President Trump said Monday evening in front of more than 2,000 service members at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. President Trump outlined his military strategy for America’s 16 year-long conflict in Afghanistan, stating that additional troops would deploy in the near future. He stopped short of announcing how many troops this would affect, or how l…

Licensure Careers

4 Careers You May Need a License For

August 22, 2017

“About 90,000 military spouses require a license to work in their career field,” according to Marcus Beauregard, Director of the Defense State Liaison Office. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission’s Economic Liberty Task Force hosted a roundtable to look at different ways to make it easier for military spouses to hold and maintain occupational licenses across state lines. And recently, the White House has taken an interest in military spouse employment issues, focusing on license and certification portability, as well. …

Child Care Fees

Are You Paying Too Much For Child Care? This Might Help.

August 15, 2017

Has your family ever used child care fee assistance? What was your experience? How much of your family’s budget is eaten up by child care costs? It’s no secret that affordable child care can be hard to come by, depending on where your military family is stationed. Child care can be one of the largest expenses in your family’s budget, and many military spouses have been forced to delay their education or career to avoid financial hardship brought on by the inability to afford their education expenses and child care costs at …

Bye-Bye Beachwear, Hello Backpacks: Back to School Season is Upon Us!

August 10, 2017

The weather’s still warm and the pools are still open, but kids across the nation are groaning in unison at the “Back to School Sale” ads in the stores and on TV. We’re betting a few parents are groaning along with them, too! The hustle and bustle of back to school season can be daunting, especially if you’ve recently moved to a new area. Military kids face education challenges that many of their civilian counterparts don’t experience, so to help make a smooth transition from poolside to classroom, we’…

5 Ways to Volunteer You Never Knew About

August 8, 2017

Did you know members of the military community volunteer at a higher rate than the general U.S. population? Three times higher, in fact. According to Blue Star Families 2016 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 73% of respondents reported volunteering within the last year. At some point, you’ve most likely volunteered at a unit family day, a squadron holiday party, or were part of a food train when your neighbor had their baby. Maybe you’ve used your marketing education to help promote a base initiative, or used those killer networkin…

Yellow Ribbon Program

Unraveling the Yellow Ribbon Program: Post 9/11 GI BILL Changes

August 3, 2017

In a tremendous showing of bipartisan support by the House and Senate, changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill have passed in both chambers and is on its way to the President’s desk for signature. This new legislation boasts over two dozen changes to education benefits that will impact service members, veterans, and their families; including: Expanding transferability to allocate unused education benefits upon the death of the sponsor or dependent; Changes to Basic Allowance for Housing for active, Guard and Reserve members; Restoration of…

Ivanka Trump White House Meeting 360px

NMFA Meets with Ivanka Trump to Focus on Military Spouse Employment Challenges

August 3, 2017

The White House is talking about military spouse employment—an extremely important issues near and dear to our hearts. And we were there to hear the conversation. White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump invited military spouses, including NMFA staff, scholarship recipients, and Volunteers, plus representatives from other organizations to join her and White House staff, including KellyAnne Conway, on August 2 for a roundtable discussion about military spouse employment. Ivanka and others, like Small Business Administrator (SBA) Linda McM…

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