WHAT MILITARY FAMILIES NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19

We are committed to ensuring military families have the information they need to navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic. While experts learn more about the virus and its impact on health and human safety, our team continues to ask questions that military families need answers to.

As we learn new information from experts, the DoD, and administration officials, we will provide regular updates on this page.

TOP UPDATES

National Guard Benefits

National Guardsman deployed as part of coronavirus relief efforts may qualify for additional benefits. Read More >>

Testing for Deployed, Activated, or Mobilized Service Members

On May 26, DoD issued new guidance on deployment and redeployment of service members. Read More >>

PCS With Pets

The DoD could reimburse troops for pet travel expenses related to PCS if they are incurred as a result of the pandemic stop-movement order. Read More >>

Browse by Topic

Official Coronavirus Response Sites

Department of Defense

Visit the DoD website for their response to Coronavirus.

Coast Guard

Visit the Coast Guard website for their response to Coronavirus.

National Guard

Visit the National Guard website for their response to Coronavirus.

Testing

TESTING

Possible Coronavirus Infection

MHS Nurse Advice Line Website:  MHSNurseAdviceLine.com

United States phone number: 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1

International numbers can be found at MHSNurseAdviceLine.com

The Nurse Advice Line is currently experiencing delays and wait times with increased demand. During this time, video and web chat are limited. Please plan on calling the Nurse Advice Line directly. You will speak with a registered nurse, who will assess your symptoms. The nurse can screen you for potential or suspected exposure or infection. If needed, they can coordinate a virtual visit with a health care provider.

According to TRICARE’s Coronavirus FAQ’s:

You only have to get tested if you show symptoms of COVID-19.  Your healthcare provider will make that decision based on your exposure risk, symptoms, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. There is a screening process to determine who should get tested.

If you have a civilian provider, TRICARE will cover the costs of the test if your provider determines it’s medically appropriate and the request meets the screening criteria.

MySymptoms.mil

Defense Digital Service has designed an online tool for the DoD community to assess potential COVID-19 symptoms. Called MySymptoms.mil, the anonymous tool does not diagnose disease but assesses the likelihood someone may have COVID-19 based on a series of simple health-related questions and then provides information on how to seek further advice. As always, when you are concerned about your health, please consult your primary care manager or appropriate medical professional.

Positive Test Results

Any patient with a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 is being provided with the CDC guidance on how to self-isolate.

When an individual is diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 within a military medical treatment facility (MTF), the MTF notifies installation, local and/or state public health officials—these public health officials conduct a contact investigation in accordance with Service or locality protocols.

For service members with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, military public health takes the lead on investigating potential military contacts and local or state public health takes the lead on investigating potential non-military contacts.

The lead investigator will contact all affected individuals, interview them, and provide education and guidance on how to keep themselves and their families as safe as possible.

Testing for Deployed, Activated, or Mobilized Service Members

On May 26, DoD issued new guidance on deployment and redeployment of service members, including members of the National Guard. The guidance addresses screening and testing for COVID-19 and policies for restricted movement before and after deployment.

The Department of Defense is following CDC guidance for the screening, testing, and quarantine of individuals based on their travel history and potential exposure history. The service members will be screened, tested, and quarantined in accordance with CDC guidance.

EXPOSURE PREVENTION

Slow the Spread

The Department of Defense is using the CDC guidance to educate all DoD personnel on the measures each individual and community can implement to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of military service members, civilian employees, contractors, and their families–in the workplace, the community, and at home.

As of June 8, DoD will lift quarantine restrictions in certain locations. The full list of locations is here.

Face Mask Policy

Anyone on DoD property is required to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet from others in public areas or work centers (this does not include personal residences). The Services will issue their own guidance on wear for service members. Medical personal protective equipment such as surgical masks are reserved for appropriate personnel, so individuals are expected to create their own face masks using household items like clean T-shirts or other clean cloths that can cover the nose and mouth. You may be asked to lower your face cover at security checkpoints to verify identification.

Installation Gate Precautions

Service and component commanders, in consultation with public health officials and in accordance with CDC guidance, are implementing additional measures to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. These include adding force health protection measures such as the use of personal protective equipment, gate guards wearing gloves and not touching ID cards, but rather scanning them.

School

SCHOOL CLOSURES

State Specific

The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission has provided state departments of education/public instruction COVID-19 Information and Guidance on School Closures.

Education Week regularly updates a comprehensive map and list of school closures.

DoDEA

Follow the latest COVID-related DoDEA information on the DoDEA website.

K-12 STUDENTS

DoDEA Grading

Students on U.S. military bases in DoDEA schools will have distance learning taken into account during grading. Grading information can be found here.

Mid-PCS with School-Age Kids

Some military families mid-PCS during the coronavirus pandemic may have withdrawn children from a school district at the losing duty station without yet having enrolled them in school in the gaining duty station. NMFA and the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission are aware of the unique concerns of these families caught in educational limbo. We encourage school districts to be flexible and allow students to enroll in school using a local address or to enroll in virtual school. Contact your preferred school district – losing or gaining – directly about enrollment and non-traditional learning options.

School Lunches

Many public school districts are providing two to-go meals per day and some are expanding the free and reduced lunch program to include free meals for all students. You may also be able to pick up meals from the school you live closest to, instead of picking up meals from the school you attend. Visit your local school district’s website for updates.

For overseas families, Exchanges have implemented grab-and-go meals for school-aged children stationed overseas. Please reach out to your local exchange for exact times and pick up locations.

Middle + High School Students

DoDEA Virtual High School (DVHS) offers a variety of online courses to meet the academic and career goals of eligible students. Course offerings, including Advanced Placement (AP) classes, are designed to address all DoDEA graduation requirements. The online courses adhere to the same standards as the traditional DoDEA curriculum, and align to the same College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).

AP Exams

In order to maintain test standardization and security, the College Board is administering at-home AP exams at pre-established times. The bad news is that for many families, especially those stationed overseas, the times will be inconvenient — possibly even in the middle of the night. The good news if students choose to take the exam and are not pleased with their scores, they will have a free opportunity to take a CLEP® exam to earn credit.

Please note that not all AP exams have a CLEP exam equivalent. Students outside the U.S. with nighttime schedules (9pm-6am local time) who are not satisfied with their scores can receive a voucher for a free CLEP exam. When students reach U.S. colleges, they will be able to take CLEP exams at test centers on a college campus of their choice through the end of 2020. Test centers may charge between $25-$50/test. Children of military personnel in DoDEA schools may be able to take CLEP exams on a date and time convenient to them at existing CLEP test centers on their bases. Modern States provides free CLEP courses, e-text books, and practice questions. Check your local education center for more information. Additional information will be provided to students by email in the coming weeks.

At times convenient for OCONUS students, there will be live online AP exam prep sessions that will provide an overview of the tasks and the scoring process. The chief readers of the AP Program will be available for special sessions for students with nighttime test schedules, broadcast at times convenient for those time zones during the weeks of April 27 and May 4. Details for these special review sessions will be provided to students by email.

For information on optional free online AP classes and more, visit the College Board site here.

DoDEA AP Exam Update: DoDEA students taking advanced placement classes are not required to take the AP exam in order to receive a weighted grade during the current term.

Online Learning Resources

  • Tutor.com has a free program for military kids, and DoD has expanded eligibility to all DoD service members, civilian personnel, and all dependent family members. This is a great additional resource for anyone pursuing an education at any level.
  • Sesame Street is offering emotional support, learning at home, and COVID-19 prevention resources for kids to help your family navigate the pandemic. Parents can access educational entertainment here. 
  • The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State in partnership with the DoD Office of Military Community and Family Policy is implementing the THRIVE Initiative. The initiative supports parents as they learn and practice effective strategies for raising healthy children.
  • The Military Child Education Coalition also offers resources for parents during this crisis. Learn more here.
  • Wide Open School is a collaboration of publishers, non-profits, and education and technology companies that provides a collection of free lesson plans and activities for kids, organized by grade and subject.
  • Purdue University developed the Early Learning Matters curriculum, or ELM, for use in Department of Defense child development centers. Tips for parents are available here.
  • The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress is interested in learning about your personal and/or professional experiences – both the challenges and successes, while providing education during the COVID-19 pandemic. They say:“

    We would like to hear your stories. For example: (1) What challenges do you face balancing work and home responsibilities?  (2) What students do best with distance learning and who has the most difficulty?  (3) What have been your biggest challenges/successes engaging students and/or staff?  (4) If you were to design and implement a distance learning program in the face of another pandemic or other disaster, what would you change and what would you keep the same?

    Please send your comments via email to listeningtoeducators@cstsonline.org. Your email address will not be shared. Feel free to forward this message to other educators who might also be interested in sharing their stories.”

CHILD CARE + CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTERS

Closures

CDC priority changes and closures are at the discretion of the installation commander. Many locations are limiting care to mission-essential personnel and those families with deployed soldiers or soldiers at combat training centers.

Safety Guidelines

The updated guidance includes additional options for screening children upon arrival to ensure children who have a fever or other signs of illness are not admitted to a child care facility. The additional options may be useful when personal protective equipment is in short supply; such as, initial social distancing to observe any signs of illness or reliance on a barrier/partition.

Fee Assistance + Child Care Aware

Visit MilitaryOneSource’s Navigating Child Care Changes During the COVID-19 Crisis

Fee Assistance

DoD issued guidance which allows all non-essential families to apply for fee assistance if the CDC is closed to them (without requiring that family to disenroll from the CDC).

Child Care Aware

For those families who utilize child care fee assistance programs, the Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) office has limited services and processing times may be delayed until they return to full staff. If you have pulled your children from child care due to center closure or coronavirus concerns, CCAoA will provide updates to families after they receive guidance from the services on how to move forward. When submitting documents for the fee assistance program, CCAoA requests that you state the reason why the child was not in care, the monthly child care cost, and the dates reflected on the attendance form. For example: “Child was not in care from 3/1/2020-3/19/2020 due to Coronavirus concerns. Cost of care for the month of March is $750.”

Should you have additional questions, contact CCAoA at 1-800-424-2246 or email at militaryinfo@childcareaware.org. In your email include your branch, family ID, and which program you are applying for. You can continue to check your status online at www.childcareaware.org by logging into your account.

Alternative Child Care

Service members should communicate with their commands about child care needs and whether telework is a viable option. Many essential personnel have priority at CDCs now, so contact your CDC to find out about care options whether you fall into a higher priority.

Refunds

This decision will be made at the installation level. Please work directly with your installation for answers about closures and refunds.

Coast Guard

COMDT, in concert with their DoD counterparts, has established emergency operation guidance for Coast Guard child care programs. Read the guidance.

PCS

STOP MOVEMENT ORDER

Official DoD Guidance

DoD has extended the stop movement order to June 30. The order and the FAQ can be found here. Secretary Esper has directed that PCS moves for uniformed personnel with school-age dependents should be prioritized or considered for in-place assignment extensions in order to minimize school year disruption and education costs.

On May 26, DoD issued a memo about taking a conditions-based, phased approach to personnel movement and travel. State and/or regional criteria must be met and installation approval given before unrestricted travel can resume.

PCS

BAH Policy

The answer is complicated – and probably no. But under very unique circumstances, a family might be eligible for both BAH and Family Separation Housing. Below, we’ve included DoD’s exact language so that you best understand the policy as it applies to your exact family situation.

As long as the service member did not occupy government quarters at the new duty station, the service member would be entitled to BAH at the with dependent rate for the dependent’s location and Family Separation Housing allowance (BAH at the without dependent rate) for the service member’s new duty station.

 

If the dependents were to travel to the new duty station in advance, and the service member were prevented from traveling there, the service member would be entitled to BAH at either the service member’s current duty station or the dependent’s location, whichever was determined to be more equitable, but not both. 

 

If the service member entered into a rental or purchase agreement at the new duty station prior to departing the old one and then was prevented from moving to the new duty station because of the travel restrictions and stop movement orders, the service member would likely incur two sets of housing costs (old/current and new duty stations).  The service member would continue to receive BAH at the old/current duty station but would not be eligible for a second housing allowance at the new duty station.   

 

If service members and their dependents had out-processed from the old duty station, but were prevented from commencing travel to the new duty station, or had begun travel, but were halted while in route to the new duty station, service members would be entitled to BAH-Transit and PCS per diem “while awaiting transportation.”  Under existing policies, Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA, overseas), or Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE, in the continental U.S.), along with BAH-Transit, could potentially be payable to service members/families who have vacated their permanent housing at the old duty and have been prevented from commencing travel to a new duty station.

 

Lastly, members may request a hardship exception under the travel restrictions and stop movement orders, which would allow them and their families to proceed to the gaining, or new, duty station.

Servicemembers Civil Service Relief Act

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act and/or a military clause in the rental or lease agreement may provide relief if the member’s orders are cancelled or modified based upon the stop movement order. Service members who require assistance should contact their chain of command and seek assistance from the installation Legal Assistance office.

PCS + EFMP

Beginning April 15, Air Force Exceptional Family Member Program families can initiate their Family Member Travel Screening package online. The virtual platform can be accessed with a CAC here. Required medical clearance appointments are paused until June 1.

Mid PCS

DoD enacted a stop movement order until June 30 for all DoD uniformed, civilian personnel, and their families overseas. The exceptions include: travel by patients and medical providers for medical treatment; deployments/ redeployments of Navy vessels and embarked units, provided they are in transit for 14 days and have met the restriction of movement requirements associated with current force health protection guidance; individuals who have already initiated travel; and individuals whose TDY ends while this order is in effect are authorized to return to their home station. For more information, please contact your command.

PCS With Pets

The DoD could reimburse troops for pet travel expenses related to PCS if they are incurred as a result of the pandemic stop-movement order, according to Military.com. Usually these are considered out-of-pocket costs, but commercial air travel is not currently transporting pets and Air Mobility Command flights limit the number of pets per flight.

TRAVEL

Military Families Overseas

DoD enacted a stop movement order until June 30 for all DoD uniformed, civilian personnel, and their families overseas. The exceptions include: travel by patients and medical providers for medical treatment; deployments/ redeployments of Navy vessels and embarked units, provided they are in transit for 14 days and have met the restriction of movement requirements associated with current force health protection guidance; individuals who have already initiated travel; and individuals whose TDY ends while this order is in effect are authorized to return to their home station. For more information, please contact your command.

Military Families in the US

DoD has issued domestic travel restrictions for service members and their families. For families, these restrictions only apply to government-funded travel. Please refer to their travel restriction FAQ for most of your questions. In short: PCSs, TDYs, and liberty have been restricted through June 30.

Families seeking exceptions to this policy or who have follow-up questions should go to their command for answers and approvals.

Finances

PAY + ALLOWANCES

National Guard Benefits

National Guardsman deployed as part of coronavirus relief efforts may qualify for additional benefits, including certain retirement and education benefits, if they serve more than 90 days. Military leaders are still working out the details to determine if hazard pay and awards will be given. More details can be found in Stars + Stripes here.

Official DoD Guidance

DoD released new guidance on New Military Personnel and Pay & Benefits. Service members may be able to keep special/incentive pay and benefits at the discretion of the military commanders in order to ensure force readiness and reduce risks to military families. Helpful FAQs here.

Special + Incentive Pay

DoD has an infographic explaining special and incentive pays currently applicable.

Those receiving special/incentive pay that requires performing specific duties (e.g., Hazardous Duty, Dive, Demolition, Parachute, or Aviation) but are unable to perform those duties as a result of COVID-19, may be authorized to continue to receive their pay. This waiver authority is available even for those just arrived at a unit and haven’t yet met the initial duty performance requirement(s) for one of these pays.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)

Those who are not entitled to per diem meals, are restricted to government quarters, and subsisted through Government-provided meals, may be authorized to receive those meals for free while also continuing to receive their pre-existing BAS.

Inactive Duty Training (IDT) at Alternative Place of Duty

Commanders may authorize IDT at an alternate place of duty to conduct scheduled training for drills, including telework. IDT periods will continue to be at least 4 hours. Telework is being considered as an event-specific exception to policy even after COVID-19 as an update to DoDI 1215.06, “Uniform Reserve, Training, and Retirement Categories for the Reserve Component.”

Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Coverage for Reserve Component (RC) Members

Per existing policy, coverage will not change even when a member is unable to drill. RC members should expect that any missed premium payments will be subsequently deducted in a lump sum once IDT, Annual Training, or Active Duty for Training resumes and they are once again in a pay status.

DoD has created an infographic to help explain these changes and your responsibilities.

TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS)

The TRS health plan is available for purchase by qualified members of the Selected Reserve (SelRes). TRS monthly premiums cannot be waived. However, to address concerns that members of the SelRes may be unable to pay the premiums due to COVID-19, the Tricare contractor will delay terminating coverage until 90 days after the date the COVID-19 emergency has ended. Unpaid premiums accumulate each month and cannot be waived. If not fully paid within 90 days after the end date of COVID-19, coverage will be terminated retroactive to the last premium paid-through date. If any TRICARE payments were made for those uncovered dates of service, the TRICARE contractor will be required to recoup the payments.

TRICARE has an infographic to help explain these changes and your responsibilities.

DoD has released guidance for leave, pay, and allowances affected by COVID-19 and the stop movement order.

Leave Accrual

A new DoD order will double the amount of leave active-duty service members are allowed to accrue, raising the maximum number of leave days from 60 to 120. The expanded accrual maximum is retroactive to March 11 and will remain in place until September 30, 2020. Unused leave can be retained until the end of fiscal year 2023. Learn more about the order here.

New Hardship Duty Pay

A newly-authorized pay, Hardship Duty Pay – Restriction of Movement (HDP-ROM), is taxable pay that compensates service members who are ordered by their commander, in conjunction with health care providers, to self-monitor in isolation somewhere other than their home or a government-funded lodging facility.

Check out this infographic for more information on hardship duty pay.

HDP-ROM is only payable in situations in which the member remains assigned to the same permanent duty station at a rate of $100 per day, not to exceed $1,500 per month.

For more information, check out this Infographic on the impact of travel restrictions on BAH entitlements.

Family Separation Allowance

Military families who are in the midst of PCS and are now separated due to the stop movement order should receive Family Separation Allowance – Restricted (FSA-R) if the directed separation lasts more than 30 days.

Service members who are on TDY and receiving Family Separation Allowance – Temporary (FSA-T) and are now separated from their family due to the stop movement order will continue to receive FSA-T as long as the separation is 30 days or more.

Per Diem Allowances While Isolated or Awaiting Travel

The Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) have been updated to provide guidance on per diem affected by COVID-19. Service members who have been ordered to self-isolate and restrict movement while on TDY may receive extended orders from their command to authorize continued TDY travel and transportation allowances until able to return to the service member’s permanent duty station.

Military families in the midst of a PCS whose travel has been halted after checking out of their detaching command will likely be eligible for per diem to cover lodging, meals, and incidental expenses while awaiting transportation. Families are encouraged to maintain communication with both detaching and gaining commands.

Family Separation Housing

Military families who are not authorized on PCS orders to travel concurrently with the service member due to travel restrictions will be authorized Family Separation Housing Allowance (FSH) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) at the new duty station if ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • Government quarters are not available at the new duty station,
  • The member has obtained private-sector housing, and
  • The dependent(s) does not reside at or near the new permanent duty station.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence for Enlisted Members

Service members who are self-monitoring and receive food (room service) from a government dining facility should not lose Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), but they will likely have to pay for those meals under the dining rate rules unless granted an exception by his/her commander.

BAS II (twice the monthly rate) may be authorized for service members ordered to self-monitor in lodging that cannot store food, which in turn requires the service member to get his/her meals from a commercial source. However, BAS II may only be authorized in these circumstances if it is uniformly authorized for all enlisted members in similar situations or in the same geographic area.

GI BILL,  FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS, + ANNUITIES

GI Bill

Many higher education institutions have moved all classes and programs online for the remainder of the current term. To ensure military-connected students who are using their GI Bill benefits maintain their current benefit amounts, Congress passed legislation so that benefit payments continue even if the program has changed from resident to online training. Without this Congressional action, a student’s monthly housing allowance, which they were counting on for the remainder of the term, would have been significantly cut until in-person classes resumed. Students do not need to do anything, the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue payments automatically. Students can contact the Education Call Center with questions at: 1-888-442-4551 0800-1900 ET, Monday-Friday.

Federal Student Loans

The President announced that interest on federal student loans would be waived, including direct loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Family Education Loan Program loans. The Department of Education is also providing the ability for all borrowers with a federally held loan to suspend payments for 60 days. We encourage you to work with your student loan servicer if you need assistance repaying loans due to the pandemic. FAQs about this announcement can be found here.

Survivor Benefit Plan Annuity Information

DoD streamlined the certification process for child beneficiaries of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity. Applications can be processed without signatures from school officials or transcripts. The new form can be accessed here. The online submission portal is here. Additional details about the new process can be found here.

TAXES

Tax Day Changed to July 15

Tax Day has been changed to July 15. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin encourages all individuals who expect a tax refund to file sooner rather than later. For the most up-to-date information and details, please refer to the IRS.gov website.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES

Office of Financial Readiness

The Office of Financial Readiness has compiled a comprehensive list of financial resources for military families.

Income Replacement Grants

PenFed Foundation offers grants to military families seeking financial assistance due to loss of income or increased financial burden as a result of the pandemic. For more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit the website.

Utility Assistance

Comcast is offering free internet for low-income households, free Wi-Fi hotspots for all, and eliminating data caps nationwide. Utility companies around the country are suspending service disconnections and waiving late fees for customers struggling to pay their electricity bills, including Consolidated Edison, Georgia Power, Green Mountain Power, NV Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. Almost half the states in the country have imposed a moratorium on utility terminations.

Municipal water companies across the country, including in Detroit, New Orleans, Phoenix, Salinas, Seattle, St. Louis, and the state of Connecticut, have suspended service shut-offs—some will even reinstate your service if it was previously shut off, though service restoration may take a few days. Many states prohibit utilities from shutting off the water during a state of emergency.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have agreed for at least the next 60 days to not terminate service to any residential or small business customers, waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur, and open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Call the number on your utility bill to discuss options if you are having difficulty paying or you need service restored.

Consumer Bills + Banking

Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and others are responding to the needs of their customers struggling to make payments by waiving late fees, providing payment relief and offering other assistance. Goldman Sachs announced it will allow Apple credit cardholders who ask for help to skip their March payment, interest-free. American Express (credit cards) and Capital One (credit cards and auto loans) will also allow customers to skip their monthly payments, interest-free. If you have a problem paying your credit card bill or loan payment, call your loan servicer and ask if they will waive your monthly payment temporarily, without a late fee, and interest-free.

Food Security

Food pantries operate on or near every military installation across the country, and many are run by Armed Services YMCA. If you need help feeding your family, please reach out to your local ASYMCA branch to confirm their pantry’s operating hours. Feeding America also has food banks across the country. You can search for one near you here.

Many public school districts are still providing two meals to-go per day and some are expanding the free and reduced lunch program to include free meals for all students. You may also be able to pick up meals from the school you live closest to instead of the school you attend. Visit your local school district’s website for updates.

For overseas military children conducting virtual learning in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Europe, and Guantanamo Bay, Exchanges have implemented grab-and-go meals for school-aged children. More than 10,000 meals have been served during the pandemic. Please reach out to your local exchange for exact times and pick up locations.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) can help low-income families pay for food. Eligibility is based on your household’s size, income and expenses.To find out more about SNAP, or to apply for the benefit, contact your state office. Find your state’s office online, or call 800-221-5689 to hear the toll-free number for your state’s program.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods and nutrition education to low-income pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, and infants and children up to age five. Learn more online at the USDA’s WIC website.

The Military Family Advisory Network, our partners in better understanding food insecurity in military families so we can advocate on your behalf, has compiled a list of resources that might help you. 

Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) Premiums

If you are unable to pay Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) premiums during the COVID-19 emergency, your coverage will continue anyway, up to 90 days after the emergency has ended. Be aware that any unpaid premiums will accumulate. You will be required to pay the balance within 90 days of the designated end date or you will lose your TRS coverage. Check out DoD guidelines for more info.

Medical

ID CARDS

Expiring ID Cards

CAC transactions shall be limited to initial issuance or reissuance of an expiring CAC within 30 days of expiration; CACs shall not be reissued due to printed information changes (e.g., promotions, name changes). Transferring DoD civilian employees are allowed to retain their CAC. The ID Card Office Online may update certificates to allow continued usage through September 30, 2020.  Service members who still have questions about CAC renewal should reach out to their chain of command for further guidance.

Individuals with ID cards expiring January 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 and whose status is unchanged, are still authorized to receive benefits. If your ID card expires before October 1, 2020 and you need medical care, DoD has issued the following guidance:

If your ID card is expiring or has expired, you can use your current DoD ID card if you are enrolled in the appropriate benefit (Medicare Part B, Tricare Young Adult, Tricare Select, Tricare Prime).

If this is a first time enrollment and you need an ID card, you will need to mail, fax, or email DD Form 1172-2 and provide necessary identification. Contact your nearest RAPIDS Site for assistance: https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl.

COST OF TESTING

COVID-19 Testing Costs

Thanks to provisions included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, TRICARE will waive copays for approved COVID-19 testing ordered by a doctor. Military families are not responsible for co-pays for tests given after March 18, the date the bill was enacted. Claims that were filed with a co-pay will be re-processed to remove the co-payment or cost-share. Beneficiaries who already paid a copay for now-covered tests can file for reimbursement. For more information, visit TRICARE’s COVID-19 FAQs.

MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM BENEFITS

Benefit Information

The Military Health System has established www.tricare.mil/coronavirus as the primary information resource for MHS beneficiaries.

On May 21, DoD issued guidance to Military Treatment Facilities allowing them to resume elective surgeries if local conditions permit. If your elective surgery was postponed due to the COVID emergency, check with your provider to see if it can be rescheduled.

Veterans' Benefits

VA Board Expands Virtual Hearings

Veterans appealing VA benefits decisions now have expanded access to virtual hearings. Virtual hearings are a secure, confidential, and convenient option for veterans and do not require going to a VA facility due to the temporary suspension of in-person hearings.

TELEHEALTH APPOINTMENTS

Medical Appointments

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program now offers phone and video non-medical counseling. This is available in areas where face-to-face support is restricted due to COVID-19. More info can be found here.

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) released a new policy regarding the provision of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy using telehealth. TRICARE will cover ABA provided via HIPAA-compliant two-way audio and video in limited circumstances. The only CPT code eligible for telehealth services is 97156, Parent/Caregiver Guidance. We will provide more details as we learn more. This policy will be in effect until the end of the public health emergency. For more information, go to https://tricare.mil/Plans/SpecialPrograms/ACD or https://TRICARE.mil/coronavirus.

TRICARE has made changes to make it easier for families to access health care via telemedicine. As of May 12, care can also be provided via audio-only devices. In addition, all cost shares and co-pays will be waived for covered telehealth services. For more details on what care is covered, visit TRICARE.

In addition to ABA services by telehealth, TRICARE also covers telehealth physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy and more by when medically necessary.

Non Medical + Mental Health Appointments

TRICARE has announced that it will cover mental health services offered via telehealth. Covered treatments include individual therapy, group or family therapy, medication assisted treatment, opioid treatment programs, and intensive outpatient programs, which include medication management, case management, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, and discharge planning. Services must be offered via secure video conferencing. Check with your provider to see if they offer telehealth services.

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program now offers phone and video non-medical counseling. This is available in areas where face-to-face support is restricted due to COVID-19. More info can be found here.

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) released a new policy regarding the provision of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy using telehealth. TRICARE will cover ABA provided via HIPAA-compliant two-way audio and video in limited circumstances. The CPT code eligible for telehealth services is 97156, Parent/Caregiver Guidance. This policy will be in effect until at least May 31. For more information, go to https://health.mil/autism or https://TRICARE.mil/coronavirus.

In addition to ABA services by telehealth, TRICARE also covers telehealth physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy and more by when medically necessary.

PHARMACY

Prescription Refills

The Defense Health Agency issued guidance for beneficiaries in the event that pharmacies in military treatment facilities (MTFs) are forced to close or restrict services. Limitations may include:

  • Staggered pick up times, Curbside pickup and other alternative pick up options.
  • The temporary transfer of non-enrolled, non-active duty service members and/or non- active duty family members to home delivery or retail.
  • The temporary closure of a military pharmacy.

TRICARE is encouraging beneficiaries to switch to home delivery during this time by calling ExpressScripts at 877-363-1303 or visiting www.militaryrx.express-scripts.com/home-delivery. You can receive up to 90 days of most medications by using home delivery, and copayments will apply.

For more information about options for refilling your prescriptions, visit TRICARE’s dedicated Coronavirus page.

Availability of Medication

COVID-19 has led to increased demand for albuterol and levalbuterol inhalers used by people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. In response to this increased demand, TRICARE announced on April 10 that it’s implementing quantity limits on those two drugs. Beneficiaries will now be limited to one inhaler every 30 days. As production of the drugs increases to meet demand, the limitations may be lifted; check back here for updates.

Co-Pays

No pharmacy copays will be waived except where specifically mandated by HR 6201 (Families First Coronavirus Response Act). While DHA originally said that early refills would be available, that is no longer the case.

From DHA:

At this time, there is no plan to alter current refill restrictions. The TRICARE Pharmacy Benefit allows for limited early refills dependent on patient situation and pharmacist’s clinical judgement. Patients seeking an early refill should speak with their MTF or Retail Pharmacist, or if using the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 (TRICARE specific).

On March 24, DoD directed all Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and Dental Treatment Facilities (DTFs) to postpone all elective surgeries and dental procedures for 60 days, effective March 31. Individuals affected by this postponement will be contacted by their health care provider. This policy applies to all beneficiaries who use MTFs or DTFs, including service members, families and retirees. For more information, visit DoD’s Fact Sheet.

DOMESTIC + FAMILY VIOLENCE PROTECTION

Hotline + Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1(800) 799-SAFE (there’s also an online chat option)

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental HealthSupporting Survivors’ Access to Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services 

Futures Without Violence, Promising Futures Capacity Building CenterRecommendations for helping family and friends experiencing violence at home 

Futures Without Violence in Spanish

Futures Without Violence, Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 

National Network to End Domestic Violence, WomensLaw.orgFrequently Asked Questions Involving Courts and COVID-19 

Commissary

COMMISSARY

Official Commissary Guidance

Commissary Updates related to the coronavirus can be found here.

The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is requiring everyone to wear face masks when entering, working, or shopping in any DeCA commissaries or facilities, including all stores and Child Development Centers. Read more.

Safety Measures

Military commissaries worldwide are installing plexiglass sneeze shields in all regular checkout lanes to add extra protection for customers and cashiers. They will not be placed at self-checkout stands. In all checkout lanes, individuals will be asked to scan their own ID cards and no shopper-provided reusable bags may be used when bagging groceries.

To reduce the spread of coronavirus, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) will begin daily health screenings of anyone who works in commissaries – including employees, baggers and affiliated contractors – before they start their shifts. This new policy goes into effect May 8. More details can be found here.

Commissary Agent Shopper Program

The participating installation identifies a volunteer group to manage the program in which volunteers grocery shop for eligible patrons (some locations selected the chaplains’ office or a spouses club). The exchanges are also using this program to serve recently returning troops in quarantine at Forts Belvoir, Benning, Bliss, Bragg, Drum, Jackson, Lee, Riley and Myer; Camps Casey, Humphreys and Fuji; Schofield Barracks; Charleston, Hickam, Keesler, Shaw and Tyndall Air Force Bases; and Joint Bases Langley-Eustis, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Elmendorf-Richardson. Those staying at the installations’ restricted quarantine areas can order snacks, drinks and personal hygiene products via phone or email. The order is then delivered to an intermediary at the troops’ quarantine location at no additional cost, usually on the same or next day.

The following installations are currently also participating: Ansbach, Stuttgart (Kelley Barracks, Panzer Kaserne and Robinson Barracks) in Germany; Aviano Air Base, Italy; Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland; Fort Hamilton, New York; and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Additional information can be found here.

Supply + Demand of Products

According to DeCA, they are increasing deliveries to commissaries ‘where the need is greatest’ – which they note is especially those overseas. They are putting particular emphasis on high-demand items like liquid sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and toilet paper, but purchases of high-demand products may be limited.

The AAFES exchange stores are open at most locations but hours may be reduced or changed to allow for thorough cleaning and restocking. AAFES restaurants are open—but transitioning to take-out service to align with social distancing measures. The Military Clothing stores, Express gas stations, and malls are open but hours may vary. Stringent cleaning procedures are in place at customer service and sales points, restrooms, theaters, and restaurants. There is an around-the-clock effort to ensure critical supplies are in stock. There may be purchase limits on products in certain areas. The Exchange’s Disaster Support Group is working to expedite support to impacted areas. Service members and their families can use the Exchange’s Buy Online, Pick Up in Store service. Shoppers simply go to ShopMyExchange.com, click on what they need and select the “Pick Up in Store” option. Their local Exchange will contact them when their order is ready to be picked up.

NEXCOM incorporated additional air shipments to key overseas locations, which has helped get supplies to places like NEX Naples and Sigonella. All NEX stores are open but some have restricted hours so check your individual store’s Facebook page and on myNavyExchange.com. NEX stores have limited purchase quantities of certain products to two products, per customer, per day. All in-store vendor and sales events are cancelled so any flyers or sales coupons you receive in the mail might not apply. All special sales prices, both in-store and online, will be honored. Additionally, all purchases made on myNavyExchange.com will receive free standard shipping.

EXCHANGE

Hours + Shopping Options

Hours

Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) operating hours are posted on the online community Hub here, scroll down to the “Information for Your Location” header on the right side of the screen and click “Store Hours by Location”. Most Exchange locations remain open during the pandemic, but hours may be adjusted to allow for cleaning and restocking.

Shopping Options

The AAFES exchange stores are open at most locations but hours may be reduced or changed to allow for thorough cleaning and restocking. AAFES restaurants are open—but transitioning to take-out service to align with social distancing measures. The Military Clothing stores, Express gas stations, and malls are open but hours may vary. There may be purchase limits on products in certain areas. Service members and their families can use the Exchange’s Buy Online, Pick Up in Store service. Shoppers simply go to ShopMyExchange.com, click on what they need and select the “Pick Up in Store” option. Their local Exchange will contact them when their order is ready to be picked up.

NEXCOM incorporated additional air shipments to key overseas locations, which has helped get supplies to places like NEX Naples and Sigonella. All NEX stores are open but some have restricted hours so check your individual store’s Facebook page and on myNavyExchange.com. NEX stores have limited purchase quantities of certain products to two products, per customer, per day. All in-store vendor and sales events are cancelled so any flyers or sales coupons you receive in the mail might not apply. All special sales prices, both in-store and online, will be honored. Additionally, all purchases made on myNavyExchange.com will receive free standard shipping.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is implementing curbside pickup at Fort Campbell, Kaiserslautern Military Community, Camp Humphreys, McChord Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth as part of a pilot program. Fort Benning has already initiated the service. Order at ShopMyExchange.com and pick up your purchase at the curb. When the pilot program ends, the service should be implemented at most Exchange locations. Read more.

Food + Other Services

Barber Shops

Check with your local installation. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service has opened two mobile barber shops at Fort Lee and Fort Leonard Wood so Soldiers can receive their military haircuts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.  

Housing

HOUSING

Maintenance Requests

Every housing contractor is handling routine and emergency maintenance a little differently. Communication is key. If you have questions about how routine and emergency maintenance is being handled in your military housing community, contact your housing office.

MWR (and other big group spaces on installations)

Churches + Places of Worship

Religious services will move online and base religious programs will continue virtually. Chaplain services will be available by phone, email and online chat. More information here.

Programs

ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS

Virtual Communities

Families Tackling Tough Times Together is a new Facebook group and community of support, led by Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences. The goal is to help families tackle the challenges brought forth by the pandemic. Every week there will be new materials and activities, tailored toward different ages, that focus on a specific aspect of resilience.

SUPPORT

As the coronavirus continues to spread, NMFA is looking for new ways to support our military families through these uncertain times.

Contact

National Military Family Association
2800 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 250
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.931.6632

info@MilitaryFamily.org

© 2020 - National Military Family Association | Privacy Policy

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Columbia, NC

Operation Purple Camp

Eastern 4-H Center is owned and operated by NC State University. The Center's staff is dedicated to providing every camper an opportunity to feel accepted, valued, and cared about as a member of the summer camp community. Creating friendships and a sense of safety are as important to us as the activities we teach. Our vision is to establish an enjoyable and exciting summer camp program that contributes to the development of each camper's character, along with the development of important life skills. Our summer camp experience enables campers to learn these skills while doing a variety of traditional summer camp activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, learning about nature, team challenge course, sports and games, arts and crafts, and archery. Eastern 4-H Center is also outfitted with modern recreational facilities and lodgings to make campers feel comfortable during their stay. We hope your camper will join us for a fun filled week.

Camp Dates

July 21 - 26

r

Camper Ages

8 - 13 years old

Camp Contact

Jennifer Standish
252-797-4800
jlstandi@ncsu.edu

Camp Applications Open March 2

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