October 16, 2006
Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 18
This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.
- Citizen-Soldier Support Program (CSSP)
- AUSA’s Legislative Report
- Beware of Copycat or Look-a-Like Websites
- International Franchise Association Develops VetFran Program
- Army Launches “Our Survivor” Web Resource
- Army’s New Slogan
- Spouse Buzz Launches
- Make a Difference Day-28 October
- OPERATION: Love From Home
- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- NFL Sponsorship SAT-ACT Training for Military Families
- Army Emergency Relief Offers Scholarships
- American Legion
- VFW Foundation Supports Military Families Through: “Unmet Needs”
- Inter Service Family Assistance Committee
- Drugs Moved to Third Tier
- TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy Keeps Beneficiaries Satisfied and Attracts More Users
- TRICARE Reserve Select Expands to All Reserve Component Members and Families
Citizen-Soldier Support Program (CSSP)
A collaborative support program lead by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to mobilize support for military families. The program has conducted training for school psychologists and health-care professionals, activated numerous faith communities, and partnered with parks and recreation departments, libraries and cooperative extension agencies to create services benefiting citizen soldiers and their families. While active duty military personnel often live on military bases, citizen soldiers maintain civilian jobs until mobilized and can live hours away from the nearest base or formal, military support system. CSSP's goal is to create a network of community support for citizen soldiers and their families before, during and after mobilization. For more information about the Citizen-Soldier Support Program, click here: http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/dec05/csspfunding1205.htm
AUSA’s Legislative Report
To find out the latest actions in Congress and AUSA's legislative report go to: http://www.ausa.org/webpub/DeptGovAffairs.nsf/byid/CTON-6CFR3B
Beware of Copycat of Look-a-Like Websites
DFAS-Denver myPay officials have advised all DoD organizations and members to beware of copycat or look-a-like websites being developed to make people think they are accessing official sites. These websites may use the words "myPay" as part of their web address. Members are advised to use caution against mistakenly providing personal information to copycat, look-a-like, or other websites that use "myPay" in their web address. While they may be legitimate business concerns, they are not in any way affiliated with DFAS and myPay. The official myPay website is https://mypay.dfas.mil
International Franchise Association Develops VetFran Program
The International Franchise Association has developed the VetFran program, where participating Franchisors offer substantial discounts to Veterans towards the purchase of many well-known franchise businesses. Franchise brands like Dunkin’ Donuts, Service Master, Geeks on Call, Midas, Big O Tires, Baskin Robbins, Gymboree and dozens of other companies value the training, discipline and leadership that Soldiers can bring to being their employers. Military experience has been invaluable in teaching the skills and discipline required to own and operate and own a business.” Mail Boxes Etc. reports that they have 159 franchisees who have entered the system through the VetFran program and that those locations tend to perform above the average for the system. To learn more:
Army Launches “Our Survivors” Web Resources
The Army recently launched its new "Our Survivors" web resource. Available through the Army Well-Being website, http://www.armyfamiliesonline.org/ this site offers resources for families to help them through the difficult time after their Soldier’s death. Links are listed to the new DoD guide; A Survivors Guide to Benefits and Veterans Affairs" as well as DoD survivor sites. There is also a FAQ section which provides answers to many questions families may have after the loss of a loved one. Another part of this initiative, the Army Families First Casualty Call Center (FFCCC) is a one-stop resolution center to assist surviving family members of deceased Soldiers with questions regarding benefits, outreach, advocacy, and support. FFCCC will provide assistance, support, and referral information to spouses, children and parents, as well as extended family members of fallen Soldiers and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 272-5841.
Army’s New Slogan
Army Strong speaks to the truth about the U.S. Army - that Soldiers develop mental, emotional and physical strength forged through shared values, teamwork, experience and training...that by making the decision to join the Army, an individual is choosing to recognize potential strength within him or herself and develop it further ... that an individual Soldier is choosing to take charge of his or her future and career ... that Soldiers actively choose to make a difference in their lives, their families, their communities and for their nation. Secretary of the Army Dr. Francis J. Harvey, announced the effort at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The Ad campaign was developed as a powerful new way to tell the Army story and create an Army Strong national advertising campaign that will launch November 9, 2006. The campaign will initially involve television, radio and on-line spots, as well as a vigorous on-line presence, including an updated GOARMY.com Web site. Print ads are scheduled to begin running in January 2007.
Spouse Buzz Launches
The new blog site Spouse Buzz.com was launched recently. The objective was to create the Military spouse destination where like minded individuals could come together to learn from and share experiences. The product utilizes 13 military spouses from around the country, headed up by Andi Hurly of Andi's World (http://andisworld.typepad.com) fame. Although still in its infancy, the blog is already receiving praise from both government entities as well as grateful spouses. When you get the opportunity - check out the site, http://www.spousebuzz.com
Make a Difference Day-28 October
Make a Difference Day was created by USA WEEKEND Magazine, and is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of October each year. The Make a Difference Day program is intended to inspire volunteers to answer a need in their community and to reward them for doing so. For more information, visit: http://usaweekend.com/diffday/index.html
or call the Make a Difference Day Hot Line, 1-800-416-3824.
OPERATION: Love From Home
From now until November 30, Kathy Orr, a military mom, will be collecting holiday cards for troops stationed in high-combat areas in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cards can be handmade or purchased, you may also send a hand-written or typed letter. Do not send suggestive or otherwise inappropriate cards or materials and also refrain from making political statements of any nature. Each card will be screened to ensure that the guidelines are adhered to (the cards should not be sealed.) This is a great opportunity to get your Scout troop, school, church and other civic organizations involved to show support. If you wish to send an email greeting (which will be printed off and mailed along with the holiday cards), please send an email to: LoveFromHome@Gmail.com Send your signed, unsealed holiday cards to: Mrs. Kathy Orr, OPERATION: LOVE FROM HOME, P.O. Box 1660, Loganville, Georgia, 30052. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy at LoveFromHome@Gmail.com
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from a day of unity observed in 1981 by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence to connect advocates across the nation working to end violence. In an effort to address violence that may be affecting military families, the Department of Defense (DoD) has taken aggressive steps to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. As part of this effort, DoD issued a Restricted Reporting Policy for Incidents of Domestic Abuse to provide victims with advocacy and medical services confidentially. Options regarding disclosure of abuse enhances victim safety and may encourage unrestricted reports. DoD has also partnered with the Family Violence Prevention Fund to develop a public awareness campaign focused on the prevention of domestic abuse, and developed a domestic abuse web-based training tool for commanding officers. Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr. David S. Chu, has reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to preventing domestic abuse, stating, “Domestic violence will not be tolerated in our military communities.
It is criminal; it hurts individuals, ruins families, weakens communities, undermines readiness, and is contrary to the institutional values of the Armed Forces.” The DoD Family Advocacy Program encourages all those involved in combating domestic abuse to maximize the opportunities October provides to educate others about this important issue and the services and resources available to victims of abuse.
NFL Sponsorship SAT/ACT Training for Military Families
After Receiving Tens of Thousands of Letters from Service Members World-Wide, A Group of NFL, NFL Europe, AFL, and CFL Football Players Extend & Enhance their sponsorship of $200 SAT/ACT Training to all families in The Armed Forces(, for) the second year. Specifically, the sponsorship allows any military person (active or retired) to request as many programs as they need for the students in their lives-for example a military uncle can use his military status to order a program(s) for the students in his extended family back home—any military person can request a program to help any student in his or her life. To have access to the sponsorship the person placing the request must be military (active or retired). The Department of Defense has created a secure website to quickly confirm a person’s military status. Personnel can access the confirmation and request pages through several military related associations and organizations, including: The National Military Families Association, The Military Impacted School Association, The Military Child Education Collation, The Department of Defense Military Student website www.MilitaryStudent.org and the Military Home Front website for families www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil all have access to confirm military status and process the order. Programs ship to domestic U.S. addresses and APO addresses. The sponsorship covers the regular purchase price and the family pays only the S&H. The programs have a one-year license and are intended for the sole individual use of students on their personal home or laptop computer and are not intended for group or classroom instruction through the schools. Requests to receive the sponsored program can be placed now on the website or over the phone.
Army Emergency Relief Offers Scholarships
Army Emergency Relief (AER) offers financial aid for full-time college study for dependent children of retired Soldiers. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need and on academic achievements and individual accomplishments. The only way to ensure your child will be considered is to mail the application and all requested documents by 1 March 2007. Applications for the 2007-2008 academic year scholarships will be available at the Army Emergency Relief Website at http://www.aerhq.org from 1 November 2006 through 1 March 2007. Mailed applications and/or supporting documentation must be postmarked no later than 1 March 2007.
The American Legion’s Family Support Network stands ready to assist military families while Soldiers serve overseas with issues such as; Grocery shopping, child-care, lawn care, fixing the family car and or help with countless other challenges military spouses are facing. Family members should call (1-800-504-4098) and provide details of the need. An American Legion post in the vicinity of your family will be called and asked to help. Members will contact your family to determine if and how assistance can be provided. For more information visit: http://www.legion.org/activeduty/index.php?content=ad_fsn
VFW Foundation Supports Military Families Through: “Unmet Needs”
"Unmet Needs” http://www.unmetneeds.com provides grants to military families and connects families with tradesmen, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other trades people who have volunteered their time and skills to support military families while a Soldier is deployed. Operation Uplink- a unique program that helps military personnel and hospitalized veterans keep in touch with their families and loved ones by providing them with a free phone card. Requests for an Operation Uplink Phone Card for a specific Soldier or a loved one can be made through www.operationupling.org/request.cfm (Note: cards can only be sent to hospitalized veterans/deployed military)
Inter Service Family Assistance Committee
The Inter Service Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC) - provides assistance to families of Servicemembers (active and reserve components) from the closest military structure source, regardless of affiliation to military service branch or geographical location. ISFAC is a collaboration between the DoD (Department of Defense) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) installations, Active, Reservist, National Guard; and respective Family Service Centers (FAC) in time of mobilization, deployment, and/or disaster relief. For more information about the ISFAC: http://www.first.army.mil/family/faq.asp
Drugs Moved to Third Tier
A panel of beneficiary advisors has concurred with a DOD pharmacy panel's recommendation to move Crestor and Caduet, which lower so-called "bad cholesterol" (LDL), to TRICARE's "third tier" of medications (which carry a $22 co-pay). TRICARE will continue to cover 12 other cholesterol- lowering drugs (including the popular Lipitor and Zocor) at the lower $3(Generic) or $9 (brand name) co-pay. Third-tier drugs can still be obtained at the regular $9 co-pay if the doctor specifies the drug is medically necessary for the patient (e.g., works better or avoids side effects associated with other drugs) and the "medical necessity" determination is approved by DOD.
TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy Keeps Beneficiaries Satisfied and Attracts More Users
A recent survey of TRICARE mail order pharmacy users shows that 97 percent indicated overall satisfaction with the service. Officials believe this is one reason that the number of beneficiaries using the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy is growing at a strong pace. The popularity of TRICARE’s home delivery option for maintenance medications is growing so quickly that in the month of August alone, the overall number of unique users of the mail order pharmacy went up by more than 9,000 beneficiaries. These beneficiaries may save as much as 66 percent of the cost of using retail pharmacies on medications for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. Beneficiaries receive up to a 90-day supply of most medications for the same amount they would pay for a 30-day supply at a retail pharmacy. Plus, they don’t have to leave home or wait in line, and pharmacists check mail order prescriptions against the beneficiary’s medication history to guard against harmful drug interactions. Mail-order service is useful for drugs a beneficiary will use for long periods. Beneficiaries may still fill prescriptions for medications needed for immediate or short term use at military treatment facilities or local retail pharmacies. Beneficiaries may enroll in the mail order program by mail or on line. For more information, call 1-866-363-8667 or visit http://www.tricare.osd.mil/pharmacy/tmop.cfm
TRICARE Reserve Select Expands to all Reserve Component Members and Families
The TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program has now expanded to include all Guard and Reserve members and their families. Tier 2 and Tier 3 coverage began October 1, 2006, for members whose request form and premium was postmarked or submitted to a TRICARE Service Center between August 1 and September 25, 2006. Coverage begins January 1, 2007, for members whose request form and premium is postmarked or submitted from September 26 through November 25, 2006. Service members who believe they are eligible for Tier 1 of TRS must contact their reserve component to obtain qualification guidance. This expansion allows all qualified members of the Selected Reserve to purchase health care coverage, with three tiers of premium sharing. The Due to the many changes occurring with TRICARE Reserve Select, beneficiaries should check the TRS webpage http://www.tricare.osd.mil/reserve/reserveselect to remain current on their TRICARE benefits. An email subscription service is also available to provide updates as changes are implemented. To subscribe, go to: http://www.tricare.osd.mil/tricaresubscriptions