Jeremy Hilton Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee

Write Your State Representative!

Later this week Jeremy Hilton, the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year and dedicated advocate for military families caring for special needs children, will be testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee. At a time when CKMAA has great traction on the Hill, this testimony highlighting the unique challenges that military face in their endeavors to provide for their exceptional children comes with excellent timing.

I have a great respect for Jeremy Hilton and the tireless efforts he puts forth on behalf of families like mine and the tens of thousands of military families doing their best with limited resources in raising special needs children.

With his permission I have posted the written account of the testimony that he will provide later this week. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him as he works share the plight that many of us endure. Go Jeremy!

Hilton Senate Testimony 20 June 2012

In advocacy,

Mike

Caring For Military Kids with Autism ACT (CKMAA) Perspective

Here is a great post about the CKMAA that I stumbled across. As a military service member I can appreciate both of the benefits and areas of improvement in organizations such as EFMP, ECHO, Tricare and others. There is much good, but there is also much that needs vast improvement on.

This a a great outside perspective on an inside issue that for sure, I believe, to be very relevant.

Some changes can be made with little pain or increase in budgets. Beginning with the passage of the CKMAA would be a huge boost in the right direction to correct some of the coverage deficiencies and stigma associations that exist for military families living with autism.

Here is a brief snippet of the post and a link to read the whole thing.


Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act- Why It Matters To All of Us

About two years ago I met a family who just moved to our school. Their child had a severe speech delay and developmental issues. Upon meeting the mother, I asked about her provider. “What? Provider for what?” After explaining that she was eligible for a minimum of behavioral, speech, and occupational therapy for her child and may qualify for more, she looked shocked. I told her about what we were doing for our girls, what we were getting through ECHO (the military’s supplementary insurance program), and what she needed to do. She said, “ECHO? Wow, that must be something new. I will look into that. My husband just won’t let us apply for EFMP.”

For those of you lucky enough not to understand the acronyms, EFMP stands for Exceptional Family Member Program. This basically puts your family member in a “level of care” category based on the needs of that family member. The military then decides, based on this category, where they can and cannot send the service member. Or, so they say.

EFMP carries with it a stigma that many service members cannot separate from. It means that this person really cannot (or should not) go anywhere and do anything. It is hard to get the qualifications needed to promote to the next level and pay grade if you can’t go anywhere and do anything. It could mean the difference in retiring at 20 years or 30 years. It could mean thousands of dollars more a month in retirement for the rest of the service member’s life. Many people don’t want to take the risk. As a result, their child does not get the help and services they need. Such was the case with the family I met.

I am sure that those of you on the outside may ask yourself, “How could someone let this happen?” or “How could you simply….

Please click HERE to open a new window and read the rest of the post.

In Advocacy,

Mike