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US Marine Corps Slashes Respite Care Benefits for Exceptional Family Members


If you are a Marine Corps family enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program and you receive benefits for respite care, things are going to be a lot tighter come October 1, 2013. The Exceptional Family Member Program is designed to help military members with disabled or developmentally delayed or autistic dependents, whether children or spouses.

The Marine Corps announced that families enrolled in the EFMP designated as level-of-need (NoD) 1 and 2 will be kicked out of the respite program. For those in levels 3 and 4, the maximum benefit of 40 hours per week will be reduced to 20 hours.

The criteria for determining the level of need follow:

Level One. Includes EFMP families with children 12 years old or younger with mild special needs.

Level Two. Includes EFMP families with children 18 years old or younger with moderate special needs that require a higher level of respite care than provided at the Installation CDC.

Level Three. Includes EFMP families with children 18 years old or younger with severe special needs that require trained support from providers to stay safe in their home.

Level Four. Includes EFMP family members of all ages, with profound special needs who require nursing care services as documented by qualified medical providers, to stay safe in their home.

The respite care benefit was initiated in 2008 to take some stress off of Marine families caught between the challenges of frequent deployment and the need to provide care for family members. The Marine Corps says that as it transitions to peacetime levels of funding and since deployments are less frequent, there is less need and fewer resources available to fund respite care.

Respite care allows primary family caregivers a break from the direct care responsibility.

In addition, the Marine Corps announced that after October 1, they will no longer fund age typical sibling reimbursement, and that adult EFMs (exceptional family members) will no longer receive age typical reimbursement for their children.

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