Skip to main content

EFMP Adults: Surveys, Support & Challenges

| ,

Exploring the Lack of Data and Support for Adults in Military EFMP

For the past three years, Partners in PROMISE conducted our annual special education surveys and heard from many adults enrolled in the military’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). Additionally, many of them are also parents of children enrolled in EFMP; highlighted was a lack of data collected on this population through their qualitative responses. Therefore, in 2022, we opened our annual survey to include Exceptional Family Member adults to better understand their unique experiences.

Moreover, there is very little publicity surrounding the lived experiences of adults enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program. This lack of attention was noted in a report sent to Congress in 2018[i]. According to an Army report, Exceptional Family Member Program Survey: Assessing the Needs of Exceptional Army Families, “41.9% (n = 1,268) [of survey takers] have a Spouse EFM” in 2019[ii]. Partners in PROMISE contacted the Office of Special Needs for dependency breakdown among EFMP enrollees. Unfortunately, at the time of publication, they did not have the authority to release these numbers. Consequently, the level of support and services may be insufficient without knowing how many adult military family members participate.

Supporting the Needs of Adult Family Members

According to a 2021 RAND study, “It is important to remember that children are not the only family members who might have special needs.” The needs of adult dependent family members could also require EFMP enrollment and be eligible for related support and services. Adults may have different needs than children or youth. For instance, spouses with disabilities may require greater assistance with education, employment accommodations, or vocational rehabilitation. However, it is worth noting that existing policies such as the Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) and department/service branch policies fail to address the varying services and coordination requirements that may be necessary for different family members with differing needs[iii]. Military OneSource provides a few resources[iv] that are designated to assist EFMP adults. The resources provide case management, mental health referrals, public benefits, and assistive technology.

Our Top Findings

  • EFMP adults have higher rates of not working or actively volunteering compared to military spouses.
  • Like children enrolled in the program, adults in EFMP face challenges accessing necessary medical care, with 59.62% reporting delays after a recent Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move.
    • 80% of those previously under mental health care experienced delays in accessing care after moving.
  • Over half of EFMP adults surveyed indicated they are unsatisfied with the Program.

Read the EFMP Adult Report Below

EFMP Adults – Partners in PROMISE 2022 Research Findings by Jennifer Barnhill
Adult EFMP hands surrounding handicap symbol.



Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *