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February 2016 Family Newsletter

Welcome to Army OneSource Family News - the monthly newsletter from Army Community Service (ACS) and Army OneSource (AOS), the Army's most comprehensive portal for Family Members.

IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE:

 
AER

Army Emergency Relief Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

Army Emergency Relief, or AER, has announced the opening of its scholarship application period. Applications will be accepted until May 1.

AER supports both the Spouse Scholarship Program, as well as the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program for dependent children. Scholarship specifics and applications are available on AER's website.

Army Fee Assistance Program for Child Care Moving Back to Contractor

A program that helps Soldiers with off-post child care expenses will begin transitioning from the Government Services Administration, or GSA, to a contractor, Feb. 22.

AFA Contractor
Commissary Savings

February Offers Plenty of Sweet Commissary Savings

Be it for the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day or whatever your heart's desire, service members and their families will find special in-store promotions and coupons, according to the Defense Commissary Agency's director of sales.

Free Tax Services Available to Military Members, Families

With the holidays now over, service members and their families might start looking toward another annual event, albeit one that generally garners far less excitement: filing taxes.

Taxes
Mental Health Help

Mental Health Series: How to Deal with Seasonal Depression

During the fall and winter months, many Americans enjoy holidays and family time, and anticipate a fresh start in the new year. At the same time, some find the holiday season and the new year challenging. During the changing seasons, many people experience the "winter blues," or seasonal depression, medically known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time very year.

Expanding Access to Education – GI Bill Feedback System

Investing in access to education will best prepare our military men and women to meet the needs of the 21st Century.

The GI Bill Feedback System is a centralized online reporting system that allows veterans, service members, and eligible dependents to report negative experiences with educational institutions. The VA serves as the intermediary to resolve complaints between the student and school. Submitted complaints may be reviewed by state and Federal law enforcement agencies including the Department of Justice.

Education Access
PTSD Children Books

Books Written by Army Vet Try to Explain PTSD to Military Kids

With two young kids at home, I was in a perfect situation to write “Why Is Dad So Mad?” In my first six years as a father, I read at least 1,000 children’s books, but I never found one that communicated the things I wanted to tell my oldest daughter. I thought a book that could explain PTSD to young military kids might do some good in the military community.

Astronaut Application Deadline Approaching Savings

Are you a Soldier who wants to reach for the stars? It is possible, and the deadline for applications is approaching.

Soldiers who want to be considered for the Army Astronaut Candidate Screening Board must complete the two-part application process by Feb. 18.

Become an Astronaut
Banned Licenses

Licenses from 5 States Banned at DOD Bases

Defense Department installations will no longer accept driver’s licenses from Illinois, Missouri and New Mexico as proof of identity for access control purposes, according to DoD officials. Non-enhanced licenses from Minnesota or Washington also are no longer accepted, the officials said. The driver's licenses remain valid for driving purposes, the officials noted.

OPM Announces a FEHB Program Limited Enrollment Period for Active Federal Employees

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will administer a Limited Enrollment Period for active employees enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. This Limited Enrollment Period will run from February 1, 2016 until February 29, 2016.

FEHB
AAFES Program

Exchange’s 2016 ‘Because of You’ Program Honors Military Families

Throughout 2016, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service will continue its Because of You program, expanding it to honor not only service members but also their families.

“Military families deal with unique challenges, including stress from deployments and frequent moves,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “The focus of the Because of You program for 2016 allows the Exchange to express gratitude for not only the sacrifices of active-duty service members, but also military spouses and children.”

Successful Vets Talk Struggles, Triumphs of Transition

When it comes to the military transition, the thought of moving into a completely new career with a different structure and people who might not understand your experiences can be daunting. A lot of service members come out of the military unsure of what they plan to do next, whether they’ve been in for three years or 30. But if you get the right help and use the skills you’ve built in the military, you can be a success.

Vets Transition
Family Readiness Leaders

Family Readiness Leaders Prep for South Korea Rotation

Family readiness leaders and volunteers, with 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, or ABCT, 1st Cavalry Division, are ramping up to ensure Soldiers and Families are prepared and supported during the brigade's nine-month rotation to South Korea.

Failure to Report Erratic, Unstable Employee Behavior Could Lead to Tragedy

Often, when tragedy strikes such as in the case of an active shooter event, co-workers, friends, or family members will come forward and say, "We saw some signs, some strange behavior, but didn't think anything of it."

By the time unusual or suspicious conduct is reported, it is already too late. The U.S. Army has been promoting a preventative measure in the iWatch program using slogan, "If you see something, say something."

Failure to Report
Scholarships

Application deadline nears for children scholarships

The time remaining to apply for one of the 2016 Scholarships for Military Children, each worth $2,000, is rapidly dwindling, as this year's Feb. 12 deadline approaches.

Applications, including the required essay, must be received at a military commissary by the close of business that day. They should be hand-delivered, but if that is not convenient, they can be sent to a commissary via the U.S. Postal Service or FEDEX/UPS. They cannot be faxed or emailed.