Assistance for Service Members and Their Families
It is sometimes more difficult for the families of Reserve and National Guard personnel to access the same facilities and support networks that are provided to the families of other active duty servicemen and women. This page is intended to serve as a services center for those service members and their families.
If you need further help, or if you have any trouble getting the assistance you need from the organizations listed below, please call Congresswoman DeLauro's New Haven office at (203) 562-3718.
Make Legal Preparation
- Establish or update a power of attorney
- Establish or update your will.
Here are community resources that may be of assistance in finding an attorney to speak with.
- Legal Services Network in Connecticut
- Attorney Referral, from the CT Law Libraries
- Connecticut Legal Services
- U. S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps
- Pro bono attorneys are available in Connecticut through Statewide Legal Services: (800) 453-3320
- New Haven County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: (203) 562-5750 (Note: there is a $25 consultation fee.)
- Submarine Base New London Legal Assistance office: (860) 694-3741
Make Financial Preparations
- Make sure that your spouse or trusted agent has access to your bank accounts.
- Update your family budget.
- Many civilian soldiers take a pay cut when called to active duty.
- Make a budget so that your family is prepared.
- Review your life insurance policies.
- Recent legislation has increased the amount of Servicemen's GroupLife Insurance coverage for which service members become eligible upon activation.
- As of September 1, 2005, you may be eligible for up to $400,000 of coverage. You should check any other commercial life insurance you have to find out if your life insurance policy excludes paying if you are killed in war, or military service.
Know Your Rights
Review the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2004. Click here to read it. This legislation provides financial protection to members of the Armed Forces during deployment—ensuring that you cannot be evicted, suffer undue increases in credit card interest or mortgage rates, and may provide you with an automatic extension for filing income taxes.
It is very important that you and a spouse of trusted friend are familiar with this legislation so that you know your rights and how to protect them.
- Make sure that your family is familiar with TRICARE. Click here to read about it.
- Make sure that your family's military ID cards are current and will not expire during your deployment.
- If you have children, notify their school that you are being deployed. Teachers and administrators will know to watch out for signs that the child is struggling.
- Do not try to go it alone.
- Deployment is a stressful time for each and every member of your family.
- There is no shame in seeking counseling to deal with the many issues that arise before, during and after deployment. Please contact my New Haven office (203-562-3718) if you need help.
Helping Families Stay in Touch
Free phone cards are available for members of the military deployed to Iraq or Southwest Asia. Due to high demand, the cards may take 4-6 weeks to be delivered. For more information, click here.
Operation Child Care is a program designed to support the short-term child care needs of active National Guard and Reserve members.
The Hero Miles program was started to provide free round trip tickets donated by the American public to the almost 500 soldiers arriving each day from Iraq on R & R Leave last fall. This public response helped persuade Congress to change the law and beginning January 1, 2004, the Pentagon now pays for these domestic flights for the soldiers. Hero Miles tickets are now used to fly family members of wounded soldiers to U.S. military hospitals and be at the bedside of their loved ones. In general, soldiers should check with their command for ticket eligibility. Unfortunately, many more soldiers need tickets than are available, so tickets will usually be made available to those with the greatest need or the most severe financial burden, or at random. For more information, click here.
For extreme financial emergencies, click here to contact the American Red Cross.
Getting Information to Troops in the Field
The American Red Cross provides a 24-hour a day communication link between military personnel and their families during an emergency. It is uniquely equipped to provide an exclusive worldwide communications and support network that serves as a lifeline between military service members and their families.
For the American soldier and his or her family, the Red Cross is the connection to home, relaying urgent information—a family crisis, a death in the family, a financial emergency, or a joyous birth. For the Third Congressional District, click here to contact the American Red Cross.
Purchasing Body Armor
Many families have purchased body armor for their deployed service members. The Department of Defense is required to reimburse you for these expenses. Click here to download the reimbursement form.
Returning to Work
After deployment is over, it is imperative that Reservists are aware of the laws governing their re-entry into civilian life. A non-technical description of your legal rights, along with sample letters to your employer can be found here.
Additional information is available from the CT DOL Office for Veterans Workforce Development.
The need for counseling is common among families whose loved ones are deployed, or who have just returned from service overseas. Feelings of sadness, frustration, or even anger, are perfectly normal, but it is often helpful to share these feelings with a mental health professional.
For families coping with the extended deployment of a relative, there are a number of resources in our community to look to for mental health care. You can also call my New Haven office at (203) 562-3718.
- Yale Child Study Center
- University of Connecticut Guide to Mental Health Resources
- Mental Health Association of Connecticut
- Veterans and Military Services
To find out about local services and jobs, visit www.warriorgateway.org.