November is the month to recognize the Exceptional Family Member (EFM). The Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) wants to acknowledge families that are in the EFM program and hopefully bring more awareness to what the program is and who qualifies.
The EFM Program is a quality-of-life and detailing tool that is used by the military to help ensure service members and their families are assigned to locations that meet the needs of the EFM.
Who qualifies as an EFM? The answer is fairly simple: Family members with ongoing medical, dental, mental or educational special needs that require ongoing treatment for 12 months or longer in most cases qualify for the EFM program.
Signing up is now easier with the introduction of the EFM program enrollment request in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS). By clicking on the enrollment request button under a family member’s name, a request will be sent out to the EFM program liaison at the local FFSC who, in turn, will contact the service member to help facilitate the enrollment process.
But the big question is: What can the EFM program do for service members and their families, and why should they enroll? Enrolling in the EFMP program enables the Navy to take a family’s special needs into consideration when assigning duty stations. The EFM program also allows for family members in certain categories to remain in the same geographical area (homesteading) so that there is a continuity of care for the family member while the service member is still able to meet their sea and shore rotation requirements.
Service members who have family members in the EFM program also have additional resources available to them, such as the EFM liaisons, who have lists of local community resources for those with special needs. Those enrolled in the EFM program may also qualify for TRICARE’s Extended Health Care Option (ECHO) which is a cost-sharing program that helps pay for certain therapies, equipment and treatments that are not generally covered under TRICARE’s other plans. Family members may also qualify for free respite care, sometimes up to 40 hours a month.
— For more information on the EFM Program or this month’s sensory movie, please contact Gil Cajala, EFM coordinator, at 805-982-8844 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.