This week in military community & family policy 03 sept 2010


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This week in military community & family policy 03 sept 2010

  1. 1. This Week in MC&FP September 3, 2010 ___________________________________________________________ We didn’t need Hurricane Earl to remind us that September is National Preparedness Month, but here we are! Let’s use this time that’s set aside every year for all of us to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies – steps that can save lives, property and heartache. This year, most of us in MC&FP have experienced a number of natural disasters including flooding, tropical storm systems, a minor earthquake, tornadoes, and severe winter weather. We’ve seen first-hand the need for personal preparedness. There is no better time to plan for emergencies than National Preparedness Month. Those who are prepared recover faster and can work together to help others. So what does it take to be ready? Not a lot of effort! Start by gathering these four essentials: A family emergency plan Three days' food that doesn't need refrigeration Water – one gallon per person per day Hand-crank or battery-powered radio and extra batteries The experts remind us that emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility between individuals, families, businesses and communities. Do your part during National Preparedness Month. For more information, see Have a safe Labor Day holiday and a good week. Take care. Your MC&FP Team Please note: Some hyperlinks in this text are lengthy, sometimes extending more than one line. For best results, cut and past the entire link into your Web browser. DoDEA „Kicks Off‟ School Year With Focus on Student and Staff Wellness When planning meals and snacks, we need to teach young children about making healthy choices by explaining how ‘grow-and-go’ foods will help them feel good and have fun at school. Grow-and-go foods are foods high in complex carbohydrates, good sources of protein, include vitamins and minerals and a moderate amount of fat. The Defense Commissary Agency has a partnership with DoDEA to share suggestions for parents on packing lunches and snacks that are grow-and-go foods. See: Staff wellness programs provide opportunities for the school faculty to engage in a wide variety of leisure time physical activities geared to adult interests and fitness readiness as well as nutrition education, physical fitness education, stress management and weight management. Providing policy, tools, and resources to further enhance the quality of life of service members and their families.
  2. 2. This Week in MC&FP September 3, 2010 DoDEA to Provide Special Educational Materials to Military-connected Schools DoDEA will provide free special education products for educators through a new initiative for military- connected schools. The program, sponsored by DoDEA’s Educational Partnership Branch, includes 16 special education training modules and is available for any school supporting military families. The modules cover a broad spectrum of topics including mediation and conflict resolution, classroom behavior management strategies and effective strategies for students with mathematic difficulties. There is also a module on autism spectrum disorders. Schools that serve military families will soon be able to order the training modules by visiting DoDEA’s Educational Partnership at Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Highlights Opening of New Accessible Playground Isabel Hodge and Mininia Hawkins, from MC&FP’s Office of Special Needs, were among the dignitaries who attended the ribbon cutting for the new accessible playground at Fort Meade on September 1, 2010. The funding to support this project was provided by OSD. The ceremony was well attended by exceptional family members and leadership within the Fort Meade community. The accessible playground is a layout of specifically selected playground equipment connected and arranged in a manner that is barrier free and supports child development. DoD funding has supported playground construction for 40 military installations stateside and overseas. Blue Star Museum Program 2010 Concludes Labor Day The last unofficial weekend of summer is also the last weekend for military families to enjoy free admission to Blue Star Museums. Nine hundred and twenty museums across the country joined this summer-long program, which has provided military families with free cultural and educational opportunities at museums nationwide. Blue Star Museums is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families, a national, non-partisan, non-profit network of military families. See and Save the Date! DoD/USDA 2011 Family Resilience Conference “Forging the Partnership” Mark your calendar now to be in Chicago on April 26 - 29, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency. The interagency conference, Forging the Partnership, will bring together professionals from DoD and USDA and will build connections, competency and the capacity of our agencies and programs. The conference will feature keynote speakers, current youth and family research presenters, interactive workshops and computer labs. The call for proposals will be published in early fall and registration will open sometime in January. We’ll keep you posted. For more information, see Page 2
  3. 3. This Week in MC&FP September 3, 2010 September 11th National Day of Service is Fast Approaching This annual event is an important opportunity to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks by giving back to our communities. To get an early start, visit the 9/11 National Day of Service Web site to learn more: at You can also search for grassroots service events at the ServiceNation Web site: Fantasy Football Starts September 12th – Don‟t Get Left Out! Morale, Welfare and Recreation free online fantasy football season begins Sept. 12 – register now to play! Currently, more than 2,000 teams have registered. 1,096 Navy 265 Marines 369 Army 134 Coast Guard 165 Air Force The participant with the top score at the end of the season will win a trip to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Texas. In addition, all participants will have a chance to win the national contest, with a grand prize of $100,000! The contest is open to all active duty personnel, their family members, retirees, reservist, National Guard, DoD and Coast Guard civilians. Registration and all drafts must be started by Sunday, Sept. 12 at 8 a.m., EDT. Each player can field as many as 60 teams, each of which will draft and play a full season of fantasy football games against 11 Fantasy Football Professionals, including Joe Namath, MVP of Super Bowl III. For more information, see DECA Delivers DeCA is delivering the benefit at the following Guard and Reserve locations: Sep 9-11 Grissom Air National Guard Base Grissom, Ind. Sep 10-11 98th Training Division Rochester, N.Y. Sep 10-12 Ellington Field Houston, Texas Sep 11 Guard and Reserve North Fargo, N.D. Sep 11-12 Guard and Reserve Frankfort, Ky. Sep 11-12 Williamstown Armory Williamstown, W. Va. In the News • From the American Forces Press Service -- First Lady, Dr. Biden Urge Troop, Family Support Just days after the combat mission in Iraq ended, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, reminded Americans that their commitment to military families must carry on. See: • From DoDEA – Back to School! Take a look at the DoDEA Europe Web site for some first day school photos. See: Page 3
  4. 4. This Week in MC&FP September 3, 2010 • From the Pentagon Channel’s Around the Services – ‘Back-to-School in DoDEA’ See: • From the American Forces Press Service – Operation New Dawn and Combat Pay The change from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn does not affect Iraq's status as a combat zone; only a revised or new Executive Order would change this. Additional entitlements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait or other countries in the Arabian Peninsula combat zone or direct support areas are not tied to troop levels. Rather, the additional entitlements members receive are based upon a location's designation as a combat zone or direct support area. See: • From the Federal Emergency Management Agency – “Ready Kids” The Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages everyone to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. Even kids! Ready Kids is a Web site packed with information and games to help kids and their families better prepare in the event of a disaster. Learn how to create an emergency kit, read the latest Ready Kids comic and meet the Mountain Lion Family to learn how they prepare for every situation. You can even graduate from Readiness U and get your very own certificate. See: Financial Tip of the Week Know the New Consumer Credit Rules Starting August 22, new rules may result in interest rate reductions as well as limitations on some fees for credit cards. Here’s a look at the three major provisions of the new law: Interest Rates: If your credit card’s interest rate has been increased since January 1, 2009, the new rules require issuers to evaluate whether the reasons for the increase have changed and, if appropriate, to reduce the rate. Issuers must also perform a review every six months on accounts that receive a rate increase. The review should determine if changes in key factors (such as cardholder credit risk, payment history, and market conditions) give reasons to reduce the rate. The catch in this is two words, ‘if appropriate.’ The final decision is left with the card issuers. Fees: The new rules also protect card users from unreasonable late payment and other penalty fees. Issuers can only charge one fee for a single event or transaction that violates the cardholder agreement. The late payment fee can’t be more than $25 or more than the cardholder’s minimum payment. However, if one of the last six payments was late, issuers can charge up to $35. The rule also eliminates inactivity fees. Credit card companies can no longer charge fees for not using your card. Gift Cards: The new rules apply to all store and merchant gift cards, as well as cards for general use, such as a Visa gift card. These rules include: Page 4
  5. 5. This Week in MC&FP September 3, 2010 o Limits on expiration dates the money on your gift card will be good for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. Money added or loaded on to the card must also be good for at least five years. o Replacement cards. If your gift card expires and there is unspent money, you can request a replacement card at no charge. o Fees. The law bans dormancy, inactivity and service fees on gift cards unless there has not been any activity for twelve months and the issuer clearly discloses all fees on the packaging. In those cases, consumers can only be charged one fee per month. o Some states have stronger state laws for gift cards and these will remain valid. Many states do not allow fees or expiration dates. In California, a card with cash value of $10 or less may be redeemed for cash. Spouse Tip of the Week Quick Tips for Spouses of Service Members Coming Home Your spouse's deployment return can bring both joys and challenges. These tips can help: Plan a special homecoming. You might want to make a welcome-home banner or a special meal. Make a back-up plan, just in case. Your spouse may be exhausted, so be ready to adjust your plans if you need to. Understand that it's normal to feel out of sync with your spouse at first. Both of you have grown and changed during the separation. Ease into intimacy. It's not easy to regain physical and emotional closeness after stressful situations. Be patient with yourself and your spouse. Fatigue, confusion, and worry can lead to short tempers. Spend time talking together. Sometimes it's easier to reconnect if you talk while doing something else together, like taking a walk or working out. Expect your children to test the rules now that both parents are home. Set aside time with your spouse to come up with an approach you both agree on. Enjoy life. Make time in your schedule for activities you enjoy as a couple and as a family. Know when to seek help. If you, your spouse, or other family members are feeling signs of stress, physical or emotional, it's important to seek expert help – the earlier the better. Contact your installation's family center, the Department of Veterans Affairs at and toll-free at (800) 827-1000), or Military OneSource at; toll-free at (800) 342-9647. Your Family Support Center can give you information and support on many issues that affect service members and their families. And Military OneSource, a free 24/7 service from DoD, available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families, provides information and referrals plus face-to-face counseling. Call (800) 342-9647 or access Military OneSource Tip of the Week Quick Tips for New Military Spouses Some quick tips to help you with military spouse benefits: Get a copy of your marriage certificate and keep it with other important documents. Ask for it from the city, town, or county clerk's office where your wedding took place. Page 5
  6. 6. This Week in MC&FP September 3, 2010 Ask your spouse to enroll you in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. This lets you receive medical and other benefits. Links to the DEERS site and contact information can be found on the TRICARE site, http:// Obtain a military identification card from the ID card facility. You will need it to receive military spouse benefits and to gain admission to installations, exchanges, and commissaries. Memorize your spouse's Social Security number. You will need it for all sorts of paperwork and forms. Learn how to read your spouse's Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). It tells you how much pay, allowances, and leave time your spouse has. Visit or to learn more. Learn about the military's health benefits. Visit to learn about the three options available under TRICARE, and ask your spouse for enrollment information in the United Concordia Dental Plan, Visit your installation's Family Support Center. It can give you information about relocation, local job and volunteer opportunities, and much more. Be sure to ask about the new spouse orientation program. Register your vehicle on the installation. Check with the Provost Marshall or Military Police to see what documents you'll need. Ask your spouse to list you as a beneficiary on his or her Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy. This is also the time for your spouse to update his or her record of emergency data sheet (DD Form 93). Learn the lingo . o DEERS: Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System o LES: Leave and Earnings Statement o TMA: TRICARE Management Activity o SGLI: Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance Your Family Support Center can give you information and support on many issues that affect service members and their families. And Military OneSource, a free 24/7 service from DoD, available to all active-duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families, provides information and referrals plus face-to-face counseling. Call (800) 342-9647 or access Nutrition Tip of the Week Fruit Smoothies for Breakfast! Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast with 1 cup fortified soy milk and ½ cup fortified orange juice to get almost half the calcium you need for a day. For more information on making healthy and nutritious food choices, check out the Commissary’s website at Parenting Tip of the Week Having a Baby or Adopting? Register your newborn or adopted child in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System – DEERS – as soon as possible. Registering your child in DEERS is separate from enrolling your child in any TRICARE program option and is the first step to ensuring your child is eligible for TRICARE benefits. If you have not registered your child in DEERS within one year – 365 days – of his or her birth or adoption, DEERS will show "loss of eligibility" on day 366, and your child will no longer be eligible to receive TRICARE benefits until he or she is registered in DEERS. For more information, see #### Page 6