This Week In Military Community and Family Policy 05 Feb 2010 Pdf
1. PLEASE PASS TO ALL PERSONNEL
2010 Scholarship for Military Children Program
Deadline for 2010 Scholarships for Military Children is Feb. 17
All applications for the 2010 Scholarships for Military Children
Program must be turned in to a commissary by close of business Feb. 17.
The following people are eligible to apply: dependent, unmarried
children, younger than age 21 (age 23 if enrolled as a full-time
student at a college or university) of active duty personnel,
Reservist, Guard and retired military members, survivors of service
members who died while on active duty, or survivors of individuals who
died while receiving retired pay from the military. Eligibility is
determined using DEERS, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting
System, database. Applicants should ensure they, as well as their
sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current ID card.
The applicant must be planning to attend, or already be attending, an
accredited college or university full time in the fall of 2010, or be
enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a
four-year program. Applicants should prepare to submit an essay on the
following topic: "You can travel back in time; however, you cannot
change events. What point in history would you visit and why?"
Military Saves Campaign 2010
The 2010 Military Saves Campaign will kick off with Military Saves
Week, scheduled from 21-28 February 2010. This annual campaign is
conducted jointly by the Department of Defense (Military Community and
Family Policy and the Military Services) and the Consumer Federation of
America (CFA), an official DoD Financial Readiness Campaign non-profit
partner. The goal of Military Saves is for Service members and
families to make a personal commitment to saving their hard-earned pay
for emergencies, for their near- and long-term financial goals, and for
retirement. In taking positive action to save, they will avoid common
financial pitfalls that confront many Americans, and most importantly,
in ensuring they are financially ready, they will also be mission-
ready, enabling commanders to support both current and future military
• Service members and family members are encouraged to go to
www.militarysaves.org and register to take the “Saver Pledge”. This
pledge states that members will commit to saving and encourage others
to do so as part of a military savings “community”.
• Conducted concurrently with the Military Saves Campaign will be
the Military Youth Saves Campaign, an effort targeted at military
children and youth to improve their financial literacy.
• The Military Services are planning promotional events to raise
awareness and participation in Military Saves at installations around
the world to include financial fairs, guest speakers, fun runs,
commander proclamations, “saver drives”, and others.
Commissaries offer gift vouchers
2. The Defense Commissary Agency is offering gift vouchers at all of its
254 commissaries. These vouchers are available in $25 denominations.
Anyone may acquire gift vouchers; however, only commissary authorized
patrons may redeem them. Vouchers are available at commissary customer
service areas, cash offices and from cashiers at full-service checkout
lanes. There is no limit on the number of vouchers someone can
purchase. However, to make large purchases of more than $1,000 in
vouchers at a time, you must notify the store at least one week in
advance. This allows commissaries to maintain enough vouchers for other
customers. No additional fees will be added to the cost of purchasing
or redeeming a voucher.
The President’s FY 2011 budget proposal includes a provision to provide
$439 million to build 10 new Department of Defense Education Activity
Schools. This measure, directed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates,
is part of a major, five-year effort to renovate or replace 103 of the
schools by 2015.
DoDEA joins the annual celebration of National African American History
Month, also called Black History Month, this month. This event is
celebrated each year in our schools in the month of February to
recognize and appreciate the contributions African Americans have made
to this nation in their struggles for freedom and equality. See our
website celebration at www.dodea.edu
DoDEA superintendents will participate in a working meeting on February
7-11 in Phoenix, Arizona, in conjunction with their attendance at the
American Association of School Administrators' Conference. The meeting
will focus on the theme "Making Connections for Continuous
Improvement." The purpose of the meeting is to build capacity,
strengthen leadership, making continuous improvement resulting in
increased student achievement.
Many DoDEA schools joined communities across the world in participating
in Job Shadow Day <http://www.jobshadow.org/> , the kickoff to Job
Shadowing 2010, a year-long initiative. On February 2, participating
DoDEA students got an up-close look at how the skills they learn in
school are put into action in the workplace. They shadowed a workplace
mentor as he or she went through a normal day on the job. Job
shadowing inspires children to be enthusiastic about their studies by
showing them the correlation between what they learn in school and how
it is used in the workplace.
MWR Conducts Customer Satisfaction Survey
3. The Defense Department conducted the first military-wide survey to
assess Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs during August
2009. Almost 25 thousand active duty Service members had an
opportunity to rate customer service, operation hours, facility
condition, and quality of services provided among other items responded
to the survey. The result was an overall DoD customer satisfaction
index score of 69 based on a 0-100 scale with 0 the worst and 100 the
best possible. The scores do not represent “percent satisfied”;
instead the scores represent the average rating of three customer
satisfaction questions on a 0 to 100 scale. Seven MWR programs were
rated for customer satisfaction. The Library Program scored the
highest score with 74 and the other MWR programs followed with their
respective scores: Single Service Member Program (73), Outdoor
Recreation (72), Recreation Centers (72), Leisure Travel (72), and
Automotive Skills (72), and Fitness Program (69). Although it is
preferable not to make sweeping comments about scores, broadly
speaking, scores in the 60s may be characterized as "fine but could use
work," in the 70s as "good job but keep working on it" and in the 80s
as "excellent - keep it up." The survey findings also indicate that
MWR satisfaction has the greatest impact on “readiness.” Taken
together, these findings suggest that improvement in Outdoor Recreation
and Fitness programs will have the highest impact on the overall
satisfaction with MWR and consequently on the “readiness” outcome. The
Customer Satisfaction Index Survey is an important tool for developing
MWR strategic plans, and as future funding justification for
improvements to the MWR fitness and outdoor recreation programs to meet
service member and family needs. The second DoD MWR CSI Survey will be
conducted in 2010.
Exceptional Family Member Program. The OSD Exceptional Family Member
Program managers met with the TRICARE regional office Nurse Consultants
for Case Management/Special Needs to discuss issues related to support
for military families with special needs. The meeting provided the OSD
staff the opportunity to describe the programs and resources currently
available to families with special needs, including specialty
consultations through Military OneSource (1-800-342-9647). The TRICARE
representatives explained their roles in supporting military families
with special needs. The next step will be a joint meeting with the
TRICARE regional case managers/special needs and the OSD/Joint Service
EFMP working group meeting.
Financial Education DoD Policy Reminder
In support of the upcoming Military Saves Week (21-28 February 2010),
many installations are planning events to promote savings awareness and
participation. DODI 1344.07 “Personal Commercial Solicitation on DoD
Installations” contains guidance for the conduct of education programs
onboard installations by outside entities. The DODI states that
“under no circumstances shall commercial agents, including
representatives of loan, finance, insurance, and investment companies,
be used to provide educational programs on military installations.”
Additionally, if the installation intends to utilize a non-government,
non-commercial organization expert in personal financial affairs, with
4. appropriate disclaimers, the organization may provide free financial
education services if expressly requested by the installation commander
and approved by a Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed civilian
official of the Military Department in question. Consult the DODI for
Installations are encouraged to engage their on-base financial
institutions (banks and credit unions) to provide free financial
educational services. Per the DoD Financial Management Regulation
(FMR DOD 7000.14R, Vol 5, Chapter 34), “on-base financial institutions
shall make basic financial education counseling and services available
without charge” and the installation commander must review any
educational curriculum prior to delivery to Service members.
Amplifying guidance is contained in the FMR; also, consult your
specific Service’s financial education policies for additional details.
Parenting Tip of the Week
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in
the United States. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a
coronary event, and about one every minute will die from a coronary
event. It’s up to the family to help children overcome hurdles to good
health. The American Heart Association recommends the following tips to
help children develop healthy habits:
1. Get the whole family active. Plan times for everyone to get
moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just
play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and
the time together.
2. Limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a
sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for
obesity and cardiovascular disease.
3. Encourage physical activities that children really enjoy. Every
child is unique. Let children experiment with different activities
until each finds something that he or she really loves doing. They’ll
stick with it longer if they love it.
4. Set specific goals and limits, such as one hour of physical
activity a day or two desserts per week other than fruit. When goals
are too abstract or limits too restrictive, the chance for success
5. Don’t reward children with food. Candy and snacks as a reward
encourage bad habits. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.
February is American Heart Month. For more information about American
Heart Month, including nutrition tips and facts about heart disease,
please visit the Center for Disease Control at
Financial Tip of the Week
First-Time Homebuyer Credit: Members of the Military and Certain Other
5. The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, which
was signed into law on November 6, 2009, extends and expands the first-
time homebuyer credit allowed by previous Acts. The new law:
• Extends deadlines for purchasing and closing on a home.
• Authorizes the credit for long-time homeowners buying a
replacement principal residence.
• Raises the income limitations for homeowners claiming the credit.
Under the new law, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a
binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30,
2010 and close on the home by June 30, 2010. For qualifying purchases
in 2010, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on either
their 2009 or 2010 return.
For the first time, long-time homeowners who buy a replacement
principal residence may also claim a homebuyer credit of up to $6,500
(up to $3,250 for a married individual filing separately). They must
have lived in the same principal residence for any five-consecutive
year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the
replacement home is purchased.
People with higher incomes can now qualify for the credit. The new law
raises the income limits for homes purchased after November 6, 2009.
The credit phases out for individual taxpayers with modified adjusted
gross income (MAGI) between $125,000 and $145,000 or between $225,000
and $245,000 for joint filers. The existing MAGI phase-outs of $75,000
to $95,000 or $150,000 to $170,000 for joint filers still apply to
purchases on or before November 6, 2009.
Several new restrictions apply to homes purchased after November 6,
• Purchasers must attach a properly executed settlement statement
to their return.
• No credit is available if the purchase price of the home exceeds
• The purchaser must be at least 18 years old on the date of
purchase. For a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age
• A dependent is not eligible for the credit.
• The new law gives the IRS broader authority to deny first-time
homebuyer credit claims, without having to first audit a taxpayer’s
return. Known as math error authority, this authority applies,
retroactively, to credits claimed on original and amended 2008 returns,
as well as to claims yet to be filed.
Additionally, there are new benefits for members of the military and
certain other federal employees:
• Members of the military and certain other federal employees
serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal
residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit. Thus, an eligible
taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal
residence on or before April 30, 2011. If a binding contract is entered
into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on
the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the
Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are
eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if
married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official
extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days
6. during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before
May 1, 2010.
• In many cases, the credit repayment (recapture) requirement is
waived for members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign
Service and employees of the intelligence community. This relief
applies where a home is sold or stops being the taxpayer’s principal
residence after December 31, 2008, in connection with government orders
received by the individual (or the individual’s spouse) for qualified
official extended duty service. The credit is still allowable even if
this happens during the year of purchase. Qualified official extended
duty is any period of extended duty while serving at a place of duty at
least 50 miles away from the taxpayer’s principal residence (whether
inside or outside the U.S.) or while residing under government orders
in government quarters. Extended duty is defined as any period of duty
pursuant to a call or order to such duty for a period in excess of 90
days or for an indefinite period.
Question and Answer
Q. Are both spouses required to be overseas for the requisite time
period in order to qualify for the 2011 extension to claim the credit?
A. Only one spouse must be overseas on official extended duty for the
requisite amount of time for either spouse to be eligible for the 2011
extension of time to purchase a principal residence and claim the
. Commanders can request support and resources from the Joint
Family Support Assistance Program by calling the Joint Family Resource
Center at 1-888-256-9920.
. Military OneSource:
This free 24-hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is
available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their
families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide
range of issues, including financial issues. You can reach the program
by telephone at 1-800-342-9647 or through the Web site at
We are pleased to announce Military OneSource (MOS) is providing free
tax filing services and free tax consultations to military service
members and their families during the tax season. Visit the website or
call the phone number above for more information.
Have a great week. Your MC&FP Team!