What does the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) do for my family?

EFMP, a Service run program, serves service members within DoD who have children with special needs, including autism. EFMP is mandatory for all active duty service members who have family members with special needs, and enrollment is required immediately upon identification of a family member’s qualifying special need.

There are two primary functions of EFMP: a personnel function for administrative and management purposes and one that provides a range of family support.

Each military branch implements EFMP differently, and even some of the program’s goals vary from branch to branch. However, the main goal is to ensure that family members with special medical or mental health needs are not sent to assignments where the MTF or facilities in the surrounding area cannot meet their medical needs. This is not to say that the service member will not be sent to such assignments, but the families should always be in a location that can meet their exceptional family member’s needs.

To that end, EFMP maintains documentation of a family member’s special needs and uses that information to make personnel assignments consistent with the needs of the family and the availability of required services. For specialty care, each branch sets its own standards for what a workable radius is for monthly or weekly care. For example, if an EFM has a bimonthly appointment with a specialty doctor that is a two-hour drive away, this might still be considered supporting the family. If a family does not feel their current assignment meets their EFM’s needs, they can put in a request for an EFMP move.

The family support function includes case management, supplying information regarding a family member’s specific needs to agencies that provide managed care support. However, EFMP typically does not contact providers or support agencies directly; families are responsible for doing that themselves. When considering available medical care in an area, EFMP offices may take into account waitlists (which can extend into years at some locations), quality of care, or the number of providers available. This service is not meant to hurt the service member’s chances of being promoted, but rather to ensure the family members have access to the care and services they need. Many children with autism need weekly therapies and mental healthcare—some of the most difficult care to access when moving to a new area.

EFMP is not required to take into account area schools or the special education needs of families. This issue has continually been brought up by advocates across branches, as families are sent to areas where the schools that cannot support their children’s educational needs or behavioral issues resulting from their autism. Refer to the Education section for information on how to manage school transitions during PCS moves.

It is tremendously helpful for you to find out as quickly as possible what services are available through your service branch EFMP and specific duty station. Helpful resources for this can be found at:

The process for enrolling in EFMP differs slightly across branches, but to ensure access to proper care, enrollment is mandatory if the child or family member is identified as having a special medical or educational need, including autism. Each installation has an EFMP office that processes enrollments. The required forms are:

DD Form 2792
Exceptional Family Member Medical Summary for medical issues only, and;

DD Form 2792-1
Exceptional Family Member Special Education/Early Intervention Summary for educational issues.

Remember: enrollment primarily supports the personnel function. For treatment matters and EFMP family support, the service member and spouse will need to consult with the medical and family support centers respectively. For contact information on EFMP offices in specific locations, visit the Resource Directory or follow the Military Installations link on DoD’s Military OneSource Web site.

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