Military families find that the assignment process can be stressful even in the best of times. When the family has a member with special medical or educational needs, that process can become more complicated.
Some military assignments are “accompanied.” This means the service member and their family are allowed to travel to the new duty station and start a new life there. Other assignments may be unaccompanied, such as for many stationed in Korea and elsewhere.
And then there are assignments for troops who have special-needs family members, they may or may not be able to support those needs. Many times these concerns are related to overseas duty. Though, some stateside military bases are limited in the medical or educational services they can offer.
Is there help for these military families?
The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is the Department of Defense’s way to help with assignment challenges and much more. Enrollment in the EFMP is mandatory for active duty members who qualify.
According to the EFMP official site, “When a family member is identified with special medical and/or educational needs, the special needs are documented through enrollment in the EFMP. Enrollment ensures that the family member’s documented medical and educational needs are considered during the assignment process.”
EFMP helps military families enrolled in the program to make the most of the military’s medical and educational system. They inform families of the services they may be able to use at the new assignment location, the program offers referral services, and “non-clinical case management.”
Each branch of the military has its own EFMP.
Who Should Be Enrolled in EFMP?
Enrollment in the Exceptional Family Member Program should take place for any immediate military family member (including a spouse, child, or an adult who is considered a dependent) who meets any of the following criteria as described in EFMP application materials:
- Requires special medical services for a chronic condition
- Needs ongoing visits to a medical specialist
- Has behavioral health concerns
- Receives early intervention or special education services through an individual family service plan or individualized education program.
The Exceptional Family Member Travel Screening Service
According to the EFMP official site, Family Member Travel Screening “helps to ensure that Service members are assigned to locations that can support their families’ needs.” This service is mandatory for all families who are considering an overseas duty assignment where family members are allowed to live, even if they are not enrolled in EFMP.
Why? It’s important to verify the availability of medical and educational services that may be required for those who need them. This process includes a complete medical and educational review. Any special needs identified in this process will result in the start of EFMP enrollment for the family member.
These screenings are especially important when the service member is being considered for an assignment that may not have the services needed to support the exceptional family member.
What Happens If Services or Care Is Not Available at The Gaining Base
The four branches of service have individual procedures for screening and clearing those in the Exceptional Family Member Program for an overseas assignment. In general, those assigned to bases that cannot support the family’s specific EFMP needs may find their dependents with such needs are not authorized or are “not recommended” for travel and life in the new duty location.
In some cases the military member may be referred back to the assignment process to review other options if available, but this is not guaranteed.
Remember, the EFMP travel screening is mandatory for all who are up for an overseas duty assignment. Those who may, as a result of this screening, be signed up for the Exceptional Family Member Program will need to make plans for the possibility that the overseas duty location may or may not be able to support medical or educational special needs.
Sign Up Procedures For EFMP Will Vary Depending on The Branch Of Military Service
The Exceptional Family Member Program Requirements for the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps may vary depending on current regulations and other factors. At the time of this writing, current EFMP signup policy includes, but may not be limited to the following:
The United States Army requirements for EFMP include the following documentation and procedures. Guard and Reserve troops will also follow these guidelines when applicable.
- DD Form 2792 Family Member Medical Summary and/or DD Form 2792-1 Family Member Special Education/Early Intervention Summary must be submitted to an Army Medical Treatment Facility c/o the EFMP Case Coordinator.
- The Case Coordinator will perform an administrative review and the paperwork is forwarded to the applicable Regional Health Command (RHC).
- The forms are reviewed at the RHC and if enrollment is required, a file will be opened and the military member is notified of the decision to start the enrollment.
Military members are required to insure all EFMP enrollment information is current and updates must be provided when medical or education needs change. These updates must be done at least once every three years or when the change occurs.
The United States Navy requirements for EFMP include the following documentation and procedures. Reserve troops will also follow these guidelines when applicable.
- DD Form 2792 Family Member Medical Summary and/or DD Form 2792-1 Family Member Special Education/Early Intervention Summary plus all applicable attachments must be completed.
- The forms are submitted to the EFMP Coordinator at the Military Treatment Facility (MTF).
- The EFMP Coordinator at the MTF performs an administrative review.
- The EFMP Coordinator forwards the application to a Central Screening Committee (CSC) via mail, fax, or the Navy Family Accountability Assessment System.
- The enrollment forms are reviewed.
- The Screening Committee recommends an assignment category.
- The application data is submitted to the Navy Personnel Command.
- The Navy EFMP Manager at Navy Personnel Command reports enrollment to the officer and enlisted assignment detailers.
- Personnel records are placed and updated in the EFMP database.
All those enrolled in EFMP are required to must update enrollment information every three years or whenever a change of education or medical needs requires it.
The United States Air Force requirements for the Exceptional Family Member Program include the following documentation and procedures. Guard and Reserve troops will also follow these guidelines where applicable.
- DD Form 2792 Family Member Medical Summary and/or DD Form 2792-1 Family Member Special Education/Early Intervention Summary are required, plus Air Force Form 2523.
- The forms are submitted to the appropriate Air Force Medical Treatment Facility care of the Special Needs Coordinator (SNC).
- The SNC performs an administrative review of the forms.
- If enrollment in the EFMP is required, a message is sent to the Airman’s Military Personnel Section and the service member’s records are updated with a “Q” code which tells those working the Air Force military assignment system that the Airman is enrolled in EFMP.
Airmen are responsible for updating all EFMP enrollment information. Updates are mandatory when medical or education needs change and/or during reassignment.
The United States Marine Corps requirements for the Exceptional Family Member Program include the following documentation and procedures.
- DD Form 2792 Family Member Medical Summary and/or DD Form 2792-1 Family Member Special Education/Early Intervention Summary are completed.
- Forms are submitted to the local Military Treatment Facility, Installation EFMP Office, or Headquarters.
- MTF staff or installation EFMP offices complete an administrative review of the documents and forward to Headquarters.
- An enrollment determination is made by the review authority.
- Marines are notified of enrollment determination via email.
Marines are required to update enrollment information every three years or whenever there is a change in status for any family member enrolled.