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Shutdown cuts off MyCAA; mixed bag for other family programs

Oct. 1, 2013 - 03:07PM   |  
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No requests for financial assistance for military spouses under the My Career Advancement Accounts program will be approved until further notice because of the government shutdown, according to a report scheduled to be posted on DoD Live.

Spouses who had already received approved financial assistance through the MyCAA program before Oct. 1 will have their approved requests honored so that their schools will be paid and they can attend class, according to Rosemary Freitas Williams, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, in a column.

MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of $4,000 with an annual fiscal-year cap of $2,000 for eligible spouses of active-duty service members in paygrades E-1 to E-5, W-1 and W-2 and O-1 and O-2.

Williams also noted that education centers for service members and family members will be closed — including counseling services, testing centers, learning centers and computer labs. Tuition assistance also will not be authorized or granted for new classes, she said.

As for other family services, it’s a mixed bag and in many cases will depend on the installation’s policy. For example, operation of child development centers, family support centers, and family advocacy programs will be determined by each installation.

However, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs that are necessary to support “excepted activities” will continue — such as dining facilities, physical training and child care activities necessary to support readiness.

Other programs:

■The Military and Family Life Counselor program will continue. If counselors are unable to get onto an installation, they will work offsite.

■The Military OneSource website and call center will continue to operate 24 hours a day. Visit www.militaryonesource.mil or call 800-342-9647. It provides information and referral, and counseling and other services.

■Department of Defense Education Activity schools will remain open.

■Commissaries overseas will remain open. Stateside commissaries, to include those in Alaska and Hawaii, will close after Oct. 1. They are staying open today to reduce the amount of perishables such as meat, produce and dairy on the shelves.

■Military exchanges, which don’t rely on taxpayers dollars as commissaries do, will remain open worldwide.

“We are working with the military services to keep as many doors open as possible during the government shutdown, operating within the fiscal guidance passed down from the highest levels of DoD leadership, so families may continue to be empowered and thrive amidst these most recent challenges,” Williams wrote.

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