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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 …

Meet the Gieseckes 360px

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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5 Things Military Families Should Know After the Equifax Breach

October 31, 2017

The recent Equifax data breach allowed hackers to access the names, birth dates, social security numbers, and other sensitive data of over 140 million American’s this summer. In addition, over 200 thousand credit card numbers were stolen as well. If you’re not sure your personal information was compromised in the breach, military consumer advocates advise you that you go here to find out if you’ve been impacted. You should also get your free credit report from all three credit bureaus to make sure there are no accounts or cha…

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New TRICARE Enrollment Requirements May Lock You In With No Escape Hatch

October 19, 2017

Military families want more choice when it comes to their healthcare needs. But what happens when those choices become more limited than they already are? If you haven’t read our previous article on this topic, starting in 2018, TRICARE will have an Annual Open Enrollment Period much like commercial health plans do. If you’re a current TRICARE beneficiary, you won’t need to take any action to remain in your current plan. As of January 1, 2018, TRICARE Prime families will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime while TRICAR…

Every Sacrifice Counts…Until Someone Says THIS

October 18, 2017

“He knew what he signed up for.” By now, you’ve likely seen these words all over the internet. President Trump has been quoted as telling a newly widowed spouse "He knew what he signed up for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway." The President denies saying those words about the service member, who was killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month. So let’s put that aside and focus on this: Most military families have had that phrase said to them more times than they care to count. Sometimes it’s in response…

Searching For a New Normal

October 17, 2017

For some, transition from military service back to the civilian world is complicated and difficult. But the one thing all service members and their families have in common is that they’ll all leave the military at some point. How do some families transition seamlessly, while others struggle? With a military spouse unemployment rate of 23%, military members are leaving the service with an already shaky financial foundation, and losing their pay and other allowance benefits can increase that financial instability. Roles and responsibilitie…

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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…

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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…

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…

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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…

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…

More than a spouse

Calling All Determined, Passionate, Driven Military Spouses!

August 1, 2017

When a military member serves, their entire family serves, too. The military’s mission and needs always come first, and no one understands that better than a military spouse. Deployments, multiple PCS moves, and the constant cycle of having to put education and career goals on hold make it hard for a military spouse to find an identity outside of their spouse’s service. Do you feel overlooked, under-represented or stretched way too thin? Do the demands of military life make you feel like you’ll never succeed? Are you tired …

map and pin

The Final PCS: 5 Locations Military Families Should Consider

July 27, 2017

Being a military family means facing challenges along the way. And moving is one of them. Occasionally, the opportunity to pick your next duty station may be an option, but usually, your family’s move is based on the needs of the military. Whether your service member has two years, 10 years, or 20+ years left, you may want to start planning your final PCS. And guess what? THIS time, where your family moves will be entirely up to you and your spouse. Each family’s unique needs and goals will impact your post-military plans, so wh…

heart puzzle in two

Will Your Marriage Become a Casualty of Transition?

July 24, 2017

“Our marriage survived 20 years of military life-only to fall apart less than a year after he retired,” Karen, an Army spouse, shared. “I’m still trying to figure out where it all went wrong.” Before separating from the military, every service member is required to attend a transition readiness seminar designed to prepare military members for civilian life. This week-long course includes employment workshops, benefits briefings, and presentations on navigating the VA. This course should address every aspect o…

New TRICARE Change Could Force You to Stay with PRIME

July 18, 2017

“My Primary Care Manager (PCM) fought with me for two years, insisting I didn’t need the thyroid medication I had previously been prescribed” Army spouse Kristen, explained. Later, after being injured in a riding accident, Kristen faced more challenges with her PCM. “The ER brushed me off, my PCM insisted it was nothing and refused to refer me for an MRI.” But after six weeks with no progress, Kristen decided to switch to TRICARE Standard (soon to be rebranded as TRICARE Select.) “I called TRICARE at 9:00 a…

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Military Family Vacation? Don’t Get Nickel-and-Dimed

July 13, 2017

When planning a vacation at bargain-basement prices, most people budget for three key expenses—lodging, food, and airfare—since they usually make up the bulk of money spent. But sometimes, it’s the smaller expenses that can turn a $700 vacation into a $1700 vacation before it’s over! If your family is looking to get away this summer, here are a few things you may want to keep on your radar to keep vacation costs in check. Hidden Airline Fees Trip insurance (a vacation planning staple for military families), taxes, and…

Navy HYT

Navy Changes to "Up or Out" Give Hope to Military Families

July 5, 2017

How many of your friends have been ‘forced out’ of the military before they were ready? Did they want to stay in, but couldn’t for some reason? How did it affect their family or their marriage? Unfortunately, it impacts military families more than we think. Chances are, you’ve seen plenty of these men and women work so hard, only to get passed over for promotion time and again. Even stellar service members with impeccable service records are told to either move up in rank or get out of the military, regardless of their …

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