Families with loved ones and relatives serving in any branch of the U.S. military can receive information and support from the National Military Family Association. It provides comprehensive information as well as referrals to other supportive organizations.
National Military Family Association (NMFA) Overview
The NMFA could not be more militarily oriented. Instead of hiring just any qualified business professionals to manage and oversee its operations, its entire staff and board are comprised of parents, spouses and other members of military families, past and present. They are the voice of the families with loved ones either currently serving in the military or with past service careers. Whether families need help with benefits, program access and enrollment, or just general assistance in finding answers to questions and concerns regarding the military, the NMFA can help.
The NMFA mission statement is, "To fight for benefits and programs that strengthen and protect uniformed services families and reflect the Nation's respect for their Service." This bold undertaking helps thousands of families throughout the world cope with the rigors of having a family member dedicated to protecting our nation, concurrent with being an integral part of a family unit with which he has minimal contact and from whom he is physically separated for months or years at a time.
The National Military Family Association was established in 1969 by a small group of military wives who were concerned about the welfare of their widowed friends and relatives. They were instrumental in organizing and promoting the efforts that resulted in the establishment of the Survivor Benefit Plan, which became law in 1971. Since that initial victory, the organization has tirelessly worked to obtain the optimum benefits and considerations that military families deserve.
Goals and Accomplishments
In their more than 40 years of operation, the NMFA has been instrumental in several efforts to reap benefits for military families in many different areas: healthcare, education, relocation, career planning and childcare, and deal with post-military issues such as injuries, acclimation of former soldiers into civilian life and families in transition.
Whenever legislation that affects the military is up for discussion or a vote by Congress, the NMFA is there. They testify about various issues, providing input only those with military family ties could have enough knowledge of to influence lawmakers. On more personal levels, they encourage military families to voice their opinions and concerns and become advocates for their specific concerns and goals.
No problem is too menial or small to take to the NMFA. They provide telephone and email support on any questions military families may have regarding how certain legislative decisions may affect their benefits, how to take advantage of educational opportunities like scholarships and grants, what healthcare options are available and tips on managing household finances that are often limited and sometimes erratic. The NMFA can provide some ideas for financial assistance for military families.
Family Support Issues
Military families are under more stress than other families because, besides dealing with traditional family issues and challenges, they have to cope with the pressures of repeatedly saying goodbye to spouses, children, siblings and other relatives and friends. In addition, they have the burden of being out of touch with service members for extended periods of time and having to make decisions by themselves regarding careers, housing choices, child rearing, financial management and formal education options. The NMFA is staffed with helpful people who have first-hand experience at dealing with and resolving all of these issues.
United We Stand
Military families are conventionally stoic and may be reluctant to ask for help from outside sources. The NMFA prides itself on being a friendly and approachable resource to give military families the practical and emotional support they need in an effort to make them as strong and united as their members who are serving our country.