For many people, it is that time of year again, PCS season. PCS means opportunities for new friends, travels, experiences and in some cases new challenges. Some will be going to their long awaited dream assignment, while others will have to wait.
But what if a dream assignment turned into a nightmare because dependents could not get their specialized medical or educational needs met?
In an effort to make sure that does not happen, Department of Defense Instruction 1315.19 establishes criteria and procedures for Special Needs Family Member Travel Overseas at Government Expense. DOD requires the identification of family members with medical and educational special needs. The goal is to ensure appropriate services are available for family members at the gaining installation. Civilians who have family members with special needs may also be processed.
If any of the criteria are met, documentation through forms DD 2792 or 2792-1 is required. For Air Force families, the documentation is submitted to the Ramstein Family Advocacy Program office located on the third floor of Bldg. 2121. Documentation is reviewed and a notification letter is submitted to the MPF. A ‘Q’-code is then placed next to the sponsor’s name. The next time the member is due to PCS, the ‘Q’-code will initiate the steps needed for an appropriate assignment location.
When the ‘Q’-coded servicemember is notified of a PCS, additional forms will need completion. These include DD Forms 2792 or 2792-1; AF Form 1466 and AF Form 1466 DO (age 2+ and PCS to OCONUS). Completion of the forms can be started as early as six months prior to DEROS. The family member relocation clearance coordinator or special needs coordinator can tell you what forms apply to your specific situation.
All family members accompanying the sponsor to the new OCONUS duty station will require an in-person interview prior to orders being issued. For stateside assignments, only the family member with the special need will be interviewed. Families with identified special needs will have their completed paperwork sent to the gaining base. The gaining base has 14 calendar days to make a recommendation for travel based on the services available in the area. In some instances, the gaining base will not be able to address a medical and/or educational need. Thus, another assignment location will be sought.
Unavailability of services may mean being unable to go to that dream assignment. Ensuring availability of specialized services is so important that the DODI states a “Servicemember who fails or refuses to provide the required information, or who knowingly provides false information, may be subject to disciplinary action for offenses under Article 92 (failure to obey a lawful order or regulation or dereliction of duty) or Article 107 (false official statement), in violation of the UCMJ. In addition to UCMJ disciplinary action, the servicemember may also be subject to administrative sanctions, to include denial of command sponsorship.”
For questions regarding criteria, eligibility and the assignment process, please contact Family Advocacy Program at 479-2370 or Kari Sharp, Army EFMP Program Manager at 489-8358. (Courtesy of Ramstein Family Advocacy Office.)