Military families often have to face unique challenges, and adding a special needs child to the mix can be even more difficult. They frequently have to move and that can be hard for children with special needs. Fortunately, the military offers several benefits for families with special needs children. In this blog post, we will discuss these benefits and help you understand what you need to do to take advantage of them.
One of the most important benefits available to families with special needs children is TRICARE. This is a health insurance program that covers active duty service members, retirees, and their dependents. The program offers different coverage options, and one of those options is specifically for disabled dependents.
Called TRICARE’s Extended Health Care Option (ECHO), this coverage option provides comprehensive medical and dental coverage for eligible children. It can be a lifesaver for families who might otherwise struggle to pay for their child’s care.
To enroll in ECHO, you must enroll in the EFMP of your branch of service and be registered with your region’s TRICARE.
The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
The Department of Defense (DoD) requires military members who have children with a medical condition to enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program. Service members must update EFMP every three years with the condition of their special needs child.
EFMP’s main role is to prevent the deployment of families with special needs children to areas without proper medical or educational support. This guarantees that their special child receives continuous treatment in a location that has government-supported treatment facilities. Services differ from installation to installation. In some areas, EFMPs also offer respite care and recreational activities such as summer camps.
Different military services have their own EFMPs. To learn more, you can visit the National Military Family Association.
Supplemental Security Program
Supplemental Security Program is available to help offset the cost of caring for a special needs child. The federal program provides cash allowances that can be used to pay for things like medical expenses, therapy, and special education. The allowance is available to families regardless of their income, and it can be a real help in covering the extra costs associated with caring for a special needs child.
To qualify, your income must not exceed the limit set for your state and you must have medical evidence of your child’s impairment. You can check your eligibility here.
The Military is Here to Help
The military provides many benefits for families raising special needs children. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, be sure to take advantage of the resources and support available to you. Depending on the service you enlist in, there are other medical benefits and support available for your family. Be sure to check your eligibility for these programs.