Well, that’s how I have grown to see it. EFMP is supposed to be the Exceptional Family Member Program for those of us affiliated with the military. And although, I know that my son, and myself, are Exceptional, the people I have met that represent this program are a JOKE. More like, Extreme Frustration of Mass Proportions.
The actual “mission” of EFMP within the military is to “improve the quality of life of families that support a member with a disability.” (MCO 1754.4B) This could not be further from the truth. The STRESS, confusion, and anxiety they have caused my family in the past few months has been unimaginable. My husband received orders for our family to move overseas and he was supposed to check in to his new unit no later than May 19. Here we are on May 2, and the clearance for our family has YET to be given. We can’t schedule movers until the paperwork has gone through, and right now, the wait for movers is at 3 weeks. So, looking at a calendar, you can see the stressful situation we are in currently.
Knowing the purpose of EFMP, you would think that our family may be a priority to an EFMP Coordinator, especially during the PCS (Permanent Change of Station) process. That’s not happening. Our paperwork started the first week of March. Two months later, our Coordinator has replied to my emails with complete neglect. I ask questions, and I end up getting a robotic reply without an answer.
I have been incredibly patient through this whole process. I tried to let these people do the job they are intended to do. But now? I’ve had enough. I can not sit back any longer, my family is on the line and I am PISSED.
My boys are asking me EVERYDAY when we are moving. Their schools need to be informed when they are going to be withdrawn. And our dog began his 180 day quarantine 60 days ago. I am done waiting and letting our life be in this state of uncertainty. If our paperwork is not completed and answered by this week, my husband will be FORCED to go overseas for a year “unaccompanied” leaving myself and our boys here to wait.
The WHOLE reason we are enrolled in this EFMP sham, is because I have anxiety and so does my eleven year old. I have dealt with the military’s BS for the past 13 years. My husband has been deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF/OIF) MULTIPLE times, as well as deploying on a MEU every 3 months for an extended period of time. My point of telling you this is so you are aware that we have been stressed before. We have been put through hell multiple times and we come out strong on the other side. I am FULLY aware what is expected of me as a military wife, after all, “if the marine corps wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one.” But at some point, it would be nice to be seen as a person and family, instead of seeing us as just another number.
I have seen stories of the help that EFMP has provided and I know they can actually help families with assistance for disabilities. My issue is that, my son and I are on the lowest level of the “EFMP level”. Since we are at “Category I” it is known that the only reason we are in this program is for “monitoring purposes for medical or educational needs.” I get it. I believe if you are classified as Category I, you should have an option to discharge yourself or child from the Program. You know, the whole thing that my husband fights for… our freedom? BUT this is “mandatory” and now they have caused us significant delay. I guess they see us as ‘low priority’. We fill out the SAME paperwork as someone in Category IV, we go through the SAME process as any other person in EFMP, yet we are stuck BECAUSE of this paperwork.
Maybe EFMP should rethink their ‘mission’ or choose to enforce it as a fact by HELPING EFMP members. Interesting concept? Hardly.