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November 13, 2013
By Army Family Action Plan

FORT BENNING, Ga., (Nov. 13, 2013) -- Below are the top issues in the medical and dental, force support and family support categories discussed at the annual Army Family Action Plan conference Oct. 29-31. Issues are submitted by Soldiers, Family members and Department of Defense civilians with the purpose of improving quality of life.

Medical/dental
Supplemental dental coverage for eligible beneficiaries
Current dental coverage does not adequately cover dental procedures for Family members and eligible beneficiaries. The provided coverage can result in costly out of pocket expenses. These expenses cause Families to neglect needed dental care resulting in deterioration of oral health
Recommendation: Provide the option to purchase supplemental care to cover elective dental procedures.

Dental options for retirees
Retirees pay more for dental insurance with no options and no immediate coverage. This causes the retirees to neglect their dental coverage, which results in poor oral health. Retirees should be given premium options with supplemental insurance with tiered premium options. Retirees pay three times the amount as their active duty counterparts and half the pay.
Recommendation: Provide dental care tiers that are similar to the federal employee dental plans.

Force support
Centralized training database for Soldiers and DA civilians
A centralized database to provide notification and tracking of mandated training for Soldiers and DA civilians is not available. The lack of a centralized database prevents tracking of training received that follows Soldiers and DA civilians in each PCS move or reassignment. It also prohibits a timely notification of training needed. The requirement of repeating training reduced the available manpower of Soldiers and DA civilians.
Recommendation: Develop and implement a centralized training database for Soldiers and DA civilians

ATM fees in the Sand Hill training areas
Columbus Bank & Trust is charging non-ATM member ATM transaction fees to initial entry training Soldiers on Sand Hill that are above the industry average for financial institutions on military installations. According to the "Report of on base financial institutions study of operations and fees," the industry average for non-member ATM fees is $2.33. CB&T charges $3. Soldiers who are not members of CB&T must pay the higher ATM fee because only CB&T ATM's are available on Sand Hill.
Recommendation: Provide ATMs on Sand Hill with bank transaction fees equal to or less than the industry average.

Service for Soldiers in the Medical Evaluation Board process
Soldiers not assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion receive an initial MEB brief but do not receive individualized transition services. Soldiers assigned to the WTB are afforded individualized assistance programs to include on the job training, job fairs, transitional assistance and prioritized access to care standard. The lack of a standardized process provides WTB Soldiers with an advantage over Soldiers not assigned to the WTB who are transitioning out of the military through the MEB process.
Recommendation: Provide a standardized service and education program for all MEB Soldiers regardless of unit of assignment.

Family Support
Retention of Family Readiness Support Assistants
Commanders are not able to retain FRSAs because of fiscal restraints. FRSA's ensure that policies, regulations and guidelines are followed by command and Family readiness groups.
Continuity is lost in units that do not retain FRSAs.
Recommendation: Authorize division and brigade commanders to fund FRSA positions.

Recreational sports program for moderate to severe Exceptional Family Member Program Family members.
The availability of recreational resources for moderate to severe EMFP children varies from duty station to duty station, depending on both installation and local community resources. There are no Child, Youth, School Age Services recreational programs that appropriately accommodate the diverse physical and psychological abilities of EFMP children.
The social, physical, emotional and developmental needs of the EFMP population are not being met due to lack of standardized recreational programs and opportunities Armywide.
Recommendation: Provide at least one recreational sport per season specifically designed for moderate to severe EFMP children.

Child care for severe special needs children
There are no facilities on Fort Benning providing child care for children with severe special needs.
The only option for military Families is one off post organization with limited space available. The limited or non-availability of child care for children with special needs impacts Soldier mission readiness due to Soldier and Family stress.
Recommendation: Establish and staff a facility to accommodate care for children with severe special needs.