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The Exceptional Family Member Program: for Families with Special Needs

When your family member has special needs, you have an extra roster of must-do's to be a good guardian of your family. Think about enrolling in this program as one of them.

The Exceptional Family Member Program, EFMP, offers many benefits for military families. Here are just a few of the ways it can help guide you to the resources your family needs to thrive.

What is the program about?

It's all about helping your family navigate the medical and educational system, so you can have more peace of mind about your family member's care. We assist by:

  • Identifying and enrolling family members with special medical or educational needs.
  • Finding out what services are available at your present or new duty station.
  • Supporting your family with information, referrals and non-clinical case management to access services.

Each military service branch has EFMP resources. Here are links by branch:

EMFP offers two important kinds of help

The EFMP helps families in two big ways: by making sure special needs are considered during assignments, and by easing access to assistance wherever you are.

  • Assignment coordination: While military mission is always the driving force behind a service member's assignment, the Exceptional Family Member Program helps make sure that family members' documented needs are considered during relocations.

    This is important because access to appropriate medical and educational services may be limited in overseas and remote locations. With assignment coordination, you can be more assured that your family member will receive the care and support required, so you can focus more clearly on mission-related responsibilities.

  • Family support: This part of the program helps families identify and access programs and services. Family support providers can put you on the path to empowerment by:

    • Providing information and referral services for both military and community services
    • Helping you find and navigate programs in new locations.
    • Giving "warm handoffs" to the Exceptional Family Member Program at new locations.
    • Finding ways to bridge gaps in programs, services and supports
    • Informing you about local school and early intervention services
    • Providing non-clinical case management, including individualized services plans
    • Offering opportunities for families with special needs to connect
    • Helping families understand what is offered, how to determine eligibility and how to apply for benefits and entitlements

Has your family enrolled?

You should enroll if you have a family member with special medical or educational needs –a spouse, child or dependent adult – who:

  • Requires special medical services for a chronic condition such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  • Receives ongoing services from a medical specialist
  • Has significant behavioral health concerns
  • Receives early intervention or special education services through an individualized education program or family service plan.

Contact a Military OneSource special needs consultant if you have any questions about eligibility.

How do you get started?

  • Visit or call your local installation's Military and Family Support Center. Some installations also have EFMP Enrollment and EFMP Family Support centers. Find your nearest center at MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
  • Obtain paperwork from the Exceptional Family Member Program medical point of contact at your local military treatment facility.
  • Contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 and ask for a referral to a special needs consultant.

Learn more. Improve your family's strength and peace of mind.

To enroll, you'll need to complete forms to document medical and educational needs. You'll find answers to your enrollment questions, forms, contact information and much more in the EFMP Quick Reference Guide.

You can also learn more by subscribing to The Exceptional Advocate, an e-newsletter for families with special needs. Start today to improve your family member's quality of life and to help your family thrive.