May 15, 2008
Family Programs Update
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 email@example.com and type “subscribe” in the subject line
- Nominations Now Accepted for the 2008 AUSA Newell Rubbermaid Volunteer Family of the Year Award
- AUSA Family Programs and the National Child Alert System Partner to Bring Military Families Discounted Rates
- New Guide Helps Military Families Take Control of Their Finances
- Family Medical Leave Act Expanded for Military Families
- Senators Successfully Press to Provide Voting Assistance to Eligible Veterans
- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
- New Federal Recovery Coordinator Program Office Supports Severely Injured
- Agreement Assists Active Duty Service Members with Specialty Care
- Active Duty Overseas Receive More Urgent Health Care Options
- Spanish Language Debut on TRICARE
- On-Line Course Offers TRICARE Information to Reserves
- $100 Million Owed to TRICARE from Philippine Corporation for Fraud Conviction
- New Weekly Internet Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio
- Army Enrichment Camps for Children of Army Reserve
- The Department of Veteran’s Affairs Calls on Combat Veterans
- Citizenship Easier for Qualified Military Personnel
- 24 Hour 7 Day a Week Outreach Hotline for Families of Deployed Soldiers
- Automated Housing Referral Network to be Expanded Overseas
- Spouses Working Abroad for More Pay
- Army Spouse Chosen as Military Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse Magazine
- AAFES Sponsors Contest to Commend Military Spouses
- The Military StarSM Rewards MasterCard Made Even More Rewarding
- DeCA Website Offers Online Healthy Living Habits for Retirees
Nominations Now Accepted for the 2008 AUSA Newell Rubbermaid Volunteer Family of the Year Award
The AUSA Newell Rubbermaid Volunteer Family of the Year Award recognizes an exceptional Army family whose dedicated volunteer service significantly contributes to improving Army well-being and the well-being of the local community. The winning family will receive a trip to Washington D.C. for the Annual Meeting to receive their award, along with a cash prize and a gift basket courtesy of Rubbermaid, AUSA and GEICO.
Active Duty, Reserve Component, National Guard, Retiree and Army civilian families are all eligible for the award. Nominations must be submitted through AUSA chapters. However, we encourage family readiness coordinators, volunteer coordinators and anyone else that is aware of a deserving family to contact their local AUSA chapter leaders with information. To locate your nearest chapter please visit the AUSA Regional Activities page at http://www.ausa.org/chapters. For more information about the award, please visit http://www.ausa.org/webpub/DeptFamilyPrograms.nsf/byid/KCAT-6D5RZR.
AUSA Family Programs and the National Child Alert System Partner to Bring Military Families Discounted Rates
The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Family Programs and the National Child Alert System have come together to bring military families a 50% discount for the Child Alert System online membership and the USB program, which includes one year of online access at no additional cost. Military families must register at www.childalertsystem.com to receive the discount.
The National Child Alert System utilizes KidzCapsule, a secure online database to store your child’s information in the case of disappearance. The program also includes KidzBlast a feature designed to notify family and friends in the event of a missing child and KidzMaps, which includes maps of where your child is most likely to visit outside of the home. The entire program can be accessed via the worldwide web. Please access http://www.childalertsystem.com for more information.
New Guide Helps Military Families Take Control of Their Finances
Pioneer Financial Services, Inc., a division of MidCountry Bank, has produced a guide to help families cope with the financial stresses of military life titled, “Military Spouse Finance Guide: Financial Advice for the Homefront” with forewords written by Sylvia Kidd, Director of Family Programs, Association of the United States Army and U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Roger Stradley, (Ret), founder of USA Cares.
The guide draws on more than 20 years of serving the unique financial needs of military families and acts as a reference guide on the fundamentals of personal financial management. The book provides real-world information and easy-to-implement solutions for those who want to effectively manage their family’s finances. Some of the topics covered include budgeting, how to improve a credit score, deployment finances, PCS finances and debt management among others.
For more information on the guide, please go to http://www.militaryfinanceguide.com. AUSA Family Programs has a limited number of the guides available on a first come, first serve basis. Contact AUSA Family Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-907-2674 for your copy.
Family Medical Leave Act Expanded for Military Families
New language for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has extended coverage to employees who are caring for family members injured while on active military duty. The amended language allows employees to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave, or up to 12 weeks of leave in the event of a “qualified exigency.” The Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted in 1993 to grant family and temporary medical leave under certain circumstances. (Public Law 103-3) The Department of Labor has posted the new language at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/fmlaAmended.htm.
Senators Successfully Press to Provide Voting Assistance to Eligible Veterans
A new directive says it is the policy of the Veterans Health Administration “to assist patients who seek to exercise their right to register and vote.” Enacted in April, the policy requires that all VA facilities develop comprehensive voter registration plans and assist patients at veterans’ hospitals and nursing homes who are unable to leave a facility to register to vote and vote by absentee ballot. According to an Air Force Times press release, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California were both pleased that their efforts resulted in the new policy. More information about the directive can be found at http://www.va.gov.
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
Applications are being accepted for the Summer of 2008 for the free Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) sponsored by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and now includes EBV Bootcamps at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, Florida State University’s College of Business, and Mays Business School at Texas A&M. This rigorous and challenging bootcamp is open to Service members disabled as a result of their service supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom to teach the strategies needed to sustain an entrepreneurial venture. More information on this program can be found at http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv.
New Federal Recovery Coordinator Program Office Supports Severely Injured
Bolstering its commitment to improve services to those seriously injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its federal partners have marked a milestone with establishment of a promised new office and deployment of workers to key military treatment facilities. In coordination with the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services, the joint Federal Recovery Coordinator Program is designed to cut across bureaucratic lines and reach into the private sector as necessary to identify services needed for seriously wounded and ill service members, veterans and their families. Learn more at http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1499.
Agreement Assists Active Duty Service Members with Specialty Care
A memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs provides referrals to VA medical facilities for eligible Active Duty Service Members for healthcare and rehabilitative services for spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or blindness. The 2006 MOA was updated and refined effective January 2007 and has assisted 504 Service members for the first three months of 2008. To view the full release, please visit http://www.tricare.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=398.
Active Duty Overseas Receive More Urgent Health Care Options
The TRICARE Global Remote Overseas (TGRO) contractor, International SOS, has been directed to assist Active Duty Service Members with emergency and urgent care needs, even if they are in the vicinity of overseas Military Treatment Facilities (MTF). This expanded TRICARE coverage will close the gap for Active Duty Service Members requiring immediate medical assistance. To read the entire press release, go to http://www.tricare.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=399.
Spanish Language Debut on TRICARE
Spanish language versions of key healthcare information materials are now available at all TRICARE Service Centers or can be downloaded online. To view the full release, please visit http://tricare.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=392. To view it in Spanish, please visit http://www.tricare.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=393.
On-Line Course Offers TRICARE Information to Reserves
Members of the Reserve Component can access TRICARE information from anywhere in the world, at any time through the free on-line TRICARE University. Users can learn about topics such as medical, pharmacy and dental coverage, eligibility, TRS, and much more. The on-line course is designed in modules that allow users to learn at their own pace. To take the TRS course, log on to www.tricare.mil/tricareu, click “online training,” select the TRICARE Public course, and then TRS.
$100 Million Owed to TRICARE from Philippine Corporation for Fraud Conviction
Health Visions Corporation, a Philippine corporation was ordered by a U.S. federal court to liquidate its assets and pay over $100 million to the U.S. government in restitution, fines, and forfeitures for mail fraud related to TRICARE claims in the Philippines. The fraud took place during a six-year period beginning in 1998 and was uncovered by an investigation by the Defense Criminal Investigative Services, the investigative arm of the Department of Defense. To read the full press release, please go to http://www.tricare.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=397.
New Weekly Internet Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio
A weekly Internet radio show hosted by the Department of Defense debuted in May. The Military Health System’s “Dot-Mil-Docs” is broadcast every Thursday at 3pm on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Dot-Mil-Docs. MHS topics will range from advances in medical research to traumatic brain injury, suicide, and adjustment from deployment. To view the full press release, please visit http://www.tricare.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=391.
Army Enrichment Camps for Children of Army Reserve
Army Reserve children ages 8-16 are invited to attend a one week summer Army Reserve Enrichment Camp. This year, camps will be held in Alpine, Alabama; Barnstable, Massachusetts; Loreto, Minnesota; King, North Carolina; and Dallas, Texas. Each site hosts between 50-75 campers from the surrounding region. Campers will meet other Army Reserve children, learn about the unique factors of being an Army Reserve dependent, and enjoy many of the standard summer camp activities. For more information, or to register for camp, visit http://www.arfp.org/AFEC.
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs Calls on Combat Veterans
The phone will be ringing at the homes of over 570,000 combat veterans. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs established a “Combat Veteran Call Center” and began making the calls to veterans to ensure they know about VA’s medical services and other benefits. Phase one will target veterans who were sick or injured while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to inform them they may have the services of a care manager to work with them. Phase two will target Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have been discharged from active duty and may not be aware of VA’s benefits and services. For more information, visit http://www.va.gov.
Citizenship Easier for Qualified Military Personnel
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has established an easier process to apply for citizenship specifically for military personnel serving in active-duty status or who have recently been discharged. Here are the general requirements and qualifications that must be met in order for you to become a U.S. citizen. These include:
Information about the naturalization process for military personnel is available through the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov.
- Demonstrating that you have good moral character
- Demonstrating knowledge of the English language
- Demonstrating knowledge of U.S. government and history (“civics”)
- Demonstrating attachment to the United States by taking an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution
24 Hour 7 Day a Week Outreach Hotline for Families of Deployed Soldiers
The Army Reserve Family Programs Outreach and Support Center is now available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to provide support and assistance to the family members of deployed Army Reserve Soldiers. Operators will connect callers to available resources and services. For additional information or questions, call 1-800-345-8248.
Automated Housing Referral Network to be Expanded Overseas
The Automated Housing Referral Network, a free website sponsored by the Department of Defense, is being expanded overseas beginning with bases in Europe. Currently the site offers housing referral information for Service Members who are seeking to find homes in the continental U.S. and contains listings for off-base rentals, on-base military housing, shared rentals, temporary lodging, and homes being sold by military members. The Network is located at http://www.ahrn.com.
Spouses Working Abroad for More Pay
A policy clarification by the Defense Department requires the military exchanges and all morale, welfare, and recreation activities to pay post allowance to more U.S citizens working overseas, which will include local hires. This will mean more money in the pocket of military spouses overseas who are working for military non-appropriated fund activities. Retroactive pay to December 2001 will be provided to those eligible. More information about this issue is available from the Air Force Times online:
Army Spouse Chosen as Military Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse Magazine
Michelle McIntyre-Brewer, the wife of an Army second lieutenant, was chosen by Military Spouse Magazine as the 2008 Military Spouse of the Year. Ms. McIntyre-Brewer, 29, has two young children, including a daughter born with a heart defect, and manages to volunteer at the United Service Organizations, Soldier’s List, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and the March of Dimes. At the award ceremony in Washington D.C., first lady Laura Bush offered a video message of thanks to Michelle, called her an inspiration and thanked all military spouses for their sacrifice.
AAFES Sponsors Contest to Commend Military Spouses
Military Spouses who have gone above and beyond to help deployed Service Members and their families can be nominated for the Patriot Family Salutes the “Military Spouse” Calendar contest sponsored by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). Essays of 300 words or less must be submitted by July 28, 2008 and nominees must be AAFES shoppers. Twelve winners will receive a $500 AAFES shopping spree and will have their nominating essays published, along with their photos, in a “Military Spouse” calendar what will be available in early November. A complete description of contest rules can be found online at http://www.aafes.com/Patriot_Family/videocontest.asp.
The Military StarSM Rewards MasterCard Made Even More Rewarding
Introduced in early 2008, the Military StarSM Rewards MasterCard has become more rewarding by combining the advantages of the existing Military StarSm private label card with the power of a Chase Rewards program. It provides the ability to earn two points per dollar for qualifying “on installation” purchases and one point per dollar for qualifying purchases made “off installation.” The new co-branded card incorporates flexible reward options that can be redeemed with as little as 2,000 points. For more information, please visit http://www.aafes.com.
DeCA Website Offers Online Healthy Living Habits for Retirees
Retirees can get online advice on healthy eating and living from Major Karen Fauber on the Defense Commissary Agency’s website. Major Fauber also writes a weekly online column. Learn how to lose weigh, get in shape, and maintain good health. Visitors to the site will find suggestions for eating healthy, nutrition tips, meal choices and have the opportunity to post questions. To visit the site, go to http://www.commissaries.com.