What you should know....
FIRST! | RESPITE CARE IS NOT CHILD CARE.
While often confused (and for a good reason), you cannot use Respite Care as child care if the military is providing the subsidy. This means you cannot work, get an education, or sometimes even leave the house if you are using respite care (in most instances). Child Care on the other hand, can be used for work and furthering your education.
SECOND! | THIS PAGE IS GEARED TOWARDS FAMILIES WHO ARE EXPLORING WHAT CARE LOOKS LIKE FOR THEIR EFMP CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME.
This page will give you basic accessibility information on both child care and respite care. This is not an exhaustive source of information, just an outline of your options to save you time in your journey.
DO YOU HAVE AN EFMP CHILD WHO NEEDS CHILD CARE?
RESPITE CARE BY BRANCH
Do you have an EFMP child and YOU need respite care?
This will be updated soon to encourage standardization; at this time, you can find individual requirements through your branch of service.
The U.S. Army rolled out a new website for families to enroll in EFMP directly. Respite Care through the Army is capped at 25 hours per month. The Service Member must be active duty or on Title 10 orders while actively enrolled in EFMP. The EFM must be Level 3 or Level 4 and reside with the service member. Respite care providers are selected and screened by the Department of Army Headquarters (DAHQ). You can apply for Respite Care if qualifying through the portal above.
Air Force/Space Force
Representation did not return requests for information, the following information was obtained through a series of third-party resources and confirmed by those within the program.
Respite Care through the Airforce is capped at 40 hours per month and must be active duty. Guard and Reserve members can apply for this care if activated for at least 31 days. Siblings are included at no additional cost. This care can be in the families home or in certain licensed centers. To be eligible for this care, the EFM must be between the ages of birth and 18, as well as diagnosed with a moderate or severe special need. If a sibling is to be included in these 40 hours of care, they must be under the age of 12. The Airmen must be stationed at a participating Air Force location; in the cases of a geographical separation, the child must be located near a respite care site. *The Air Force currently handles their own respite care and a search portal is not available. The Air Force Medical Service still refers to Child Care Aware, which is outdated and inaccurate* If your family is facing a unique situation that you feel should qualify, you can request an exemption to policy through your local command. Please contact the Family Child Care Coordinator who will work with DAF Services staff at 1 (800) 443-4828.
The Marines EFMP Respite Care program offers eligible enrolled families up to 20 hours of monthly reimbursed respite care. Sibling care is not prohibited and is an agreement between the family and the provider. Family members must be under 18 years old to qualify. Families can select their providers, including friends or family members with the required skills and experience, and are approved by USMC EFMP. These providers must have medical certification or licensure.
You will find your geographic location and contact the respective office to get started. See the contact information here
Respite Care through the Navy is capped at 40 hours per month. The Sailor must be on active duty (or a Reservist on active duty orders) and enrolled in the EFMP program. The child must be currently residing with the Sailor and must be a category 4 or 5. The Navy currently runs its Respite program through Child Care Aware of America. You can access more information by emailing NavyEFMPrespite@usa.childcareaware.org. The accessibility of this resource depends on funding and availability. Navy CYP authorized Child Care Aware of America to allocate funding to local agencies providing the care. https://www.navycyp.org/outreach/efm-respite-care
TRICARE INSURANCE RELATED RESPITE CARE
TRICARE ECHO PROGRAM
The Tricare ECHO Program offers supplemental services to Active Duty Family Members who meet the following criteria:
- Must have a qualifying mental, developmental, or physical disability
- Must be enrolled in EFMP and register for ECHO with their regional contractor to be eligible for ECHO benefits (regional contractor contact info).
- Must be pre-authorized by your regional contractor before obtaining ECHO services
ECHO HOME HEALTH CARE (EHHC)
This is not child care or respite care. This care is subject to co-payments, and all ECHO benefits combined cannot exceed $36,000 per year
- Must be homebound
- The child in consideration must require skilled services beyond the level of coverage that TRICARE Home Health Care Prospective Payment System (THHCPPS) provides.
- Require frequent interventions that their primary caregiver normally provides
- Have a case manager who periodically assesses their needs and required services
- Have a physician-certified plan of care that details the services that are to be provided
- Must have a referral or prescription from your primary care manager
- Your physician, case manager, and regional contractor must review your plan every three months or if there is a change in condition
If the EHHC care is offered in the family's home, you could qualify for Respite Care to receive temporary relief for up to 8 hours per day and 5 days per week.
EHHC RESPITE CARE
If you are the primary caregiver of a beneficiary, you may qualify for EHHC Respite Care up to 8 hours per day, up to 5 days per week. This is not child care; siblings are not eligible, and you cannot work or use this time to further your education.
- Must be homebound and require frequent care
- Cannot be used in the same month as ECHO’s respite care which is capped at 16 hours per month
ECHO RESPITE CARE
ECHO Respite Care is limited to 16 hours a month in which any other ECHO-authorized benefit is being used
Eligibility requirements include the following (information can be found at this link under Related Downloads):
- Must be an Active Duty Family Enrolled in Tricare Prime, TRICARE Select, US Family Health Plan, TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP), or TOP Select. This care is also available to National Guard and Reserve members who have been activated for more than 30 days Family members may be eligible under the Transitional Assistance Management Program, family members of former service members who were victims of abuse, or family members of a deceased active duty sponsor
While this is not the comprehensive list of eligible conditions, they may include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Moderate or severe intellectual disability
- Serious physical disability
- Extraordinary physical or psychological condition of such complexity that the beneficiary is homebound
- Diagnosis of a neuromuscular developmental condition or other condition in an infant or toddler (under age 3) that is expected to precede a diagnosis of moderate or severe intellectual disability or a serious physical disability
- Multiple disabilities, which may qualify if there are two or more disabilities affecting separate body systems
ADDITIONAL EFMP RESOURCES
Every state varies on eligibility and accessibility, you can find your state contacts here
If you quality for medicaid you can check for special waivers to assist with the cost and access of Respite Care. These are state specific.