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TRICARE Extended Care Health Option provides financial and other assistance to beneficiaries who qualify based on specific disabilities. It offers an integrated set of services and supplies beyond the basic TRICARE program used by military families. To be eligible, you must register for TRICARE ECHO and be enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program. This requirement is waived for Service members who are not offered EFMP enrollment. For the Air Force, enrollment requirements are waived for Guardsmen and Reservists, who remain eligible for ECHO in specified circumstances.

TRICARE ECHO provides benefits for the following products and services:

  • Rehabilitative services.
  • Training on how to use special education and assistive technology devices.
  • Institutional care when a residential environment is required.
  • Transportation to and from facilities.
  • Assistive services, such as those from an interpreter or translator, for qualifying beneficiaries.
  • Durable equipment, including maintenance.
  • Expanded in-home medical services through TRICARE ECHO Home health care.
  • ECHO respite care: 16 hours per month when receiving other authorized ECHO benefits.
  • EHHC Respite care: up to 8 hours per day, five days per week if homebound.

Learn more: TRICARE Extended Care Health Option

Air Force Respite Care

Air Force Respite Child Care provides active duty, Guard and Reserve families up to 20 hours per month per child of free care. Sibling care is also available at no cost. Service is typically provided in the child’s home but is also available in child care centers or licensed Family Child Care homes. Providers are recruited, screened and trained to provide care for children with special needs.

Eligibility criteria:

  • EFM children, birth through age 18, diagnosed with a moderate or severe special need.
  • Typically developing siblings, birth through age 12.
  • Airmen and Guardians stationed at participating Air Force location; geographical separations are eligible if child is located near a respite care site.
  • Active duty Airmen and Guardians, including Guard and Reserve, if activated for at least 31 days.

Requests for exceptions to policy may be made on a case-by-case basis.

Child Care Aware will connect the Airman or Guardian's family and interested providers to the local partner agency. The agency will work individually with each family to complete the necessary application and assist with connecting the family to a local respite care provider who can meet their needs.

Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

This program provides individualized personal support to Airmen and Guardians who are ill or wounded in support of combat operations.

Easter Seals

Easter Seals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for nearly 100 years. From child development centers to physical rehabilitation and job training for people with disabilities, Easter Seals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.

Fisher House Foundation

The Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes” to allow family members to be close to a loved one during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center.

Parent Centers

Comprised of parent training and information centers and Community Parent Resource Centers, the Center for Parent Information & Resources provides training and assistance to families of children with disabilities. These are funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs under the individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Air Force families can find Parent Centers in their state by using an interactive map with contact information.

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration has answers to questions about Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, and other monetary assistance programs. Families receiving SSI or other SSA-sponsored assistance must contact SSA before relocating to ensure continuity of benefits.

Military OneSource

This site is a central, trusted, up-to-date source for Service members and families to obtain information about all quality-of-life programs and services. Military OneSource has a team of highly qualified specialty consultants who specialize in the lifestyle of military families with special needs. The consultants can answer questions about family support, as well as questions about transitioning, post-secondary education, housing, moving, support for adults, and much more.

Virtual Military Personnel Flight

The virtual Military Personnel Flight is an online, easy-access resource where sponsors can obtain additional information about EFMP and other Air Force Personnel Center programs. Sponsors initiate the EFMP reassignment process via the vMPF.

Zero to Three

Zero to Three’s mission is to support the healthy development and well-being of infants, toddlers, and their families. The national, non-profit, multidisciplinary organization informs, educates, and supports adults who influence the lives of infants and toddlers.

Specialized Training of Military Parents

STOMP is the only National Parent Training and Information Center program for military families that provides support and advice to military parents regardless of the type of medical condition their child has. The STOMP Project hosts a LISTERV for military families and professionals to use to share ideas. This enables military families all over the world to connect, learn and help each other as they raise their children with special needs in military communities. Through STOMP, parents can learn about the resources available to them, and receive advice on educating their children and navigating the health care system. STOMP also offers workshops.

Armed Services YMCA

The Armed Services “Y” in your area provides access to emergency assistance support groups, counseling and transportation to medical appointments and therapeutic recreation outlets.

Special Care Organization Record

SCOR has multiple uses. It is designed as an organizing tool for families who have children with special health care needs. Use SCOR to keep track of information about your child’s health and care.

  • How can SCOR help me? In caring for your child with special health needs, you may get information and paperwork from many sources. SCOR helps you organize the most important information in a central place. This makes it easier for you to find and share key information with others on your child’s care team.
  • Use your SCOR to:
    • Track changes in your child’s medications or treatments.
    • List telephone numbers for health care providers and community organizations.
    • Prepare for appointments.
    • File information about your child’s health history.
    • Share new information with your child’s primary doctor, public health or school nurse, daycare staff and others.
    • Review the checklist prior to making a PCS move.