July 6, 2020 —
Each day, Coast Guard reservists are mobilizing to support COVID-19 operations. “We want reservists and families to feel connected to their Coast Guard community – the more connected people feel, the more resilient they’ll be,” said LCDR Veronica McCusker, the Coast Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program manager.
Coast Guard reservists should develop a Family Care Plan prior to deploying. This document will help you and your family prepare for your deployment and make decisions while you are away. A sample document can be found on the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Facebook Group and at https://www.reserve.uscg.mil/resources/.
As you complete your Family Care Plan and prepare to mobilize, check out these services, resources, and benefits that are available to support you and your family!
- The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program supports the well-being of mobilized reservists and their families as they navigate each phase of deployment. Through Yellow Ribbon events (currently being held virtually), service members and their loved ones are connected to resources before, during and after a deployment. These events and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Facebook Group create a meaningful space for camaraderie and communication with others experiencing similar life events. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program website offers free online courses featuring topics like deployment, stress management, parenting, communication, benefits, and more. (These online courses are also accessible to active duty members and families.)
- U.S. Coast Guard Work-Life offers a number of services and resources, including a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program, called CG SUPRT. CG SUPRT is available 24/7/365 and provides a wide-variety of free services, including non-medical counseling, financial consultation/money coaching, health coaching, legal services, education and career counseling for spouses, resource and referral services, and online tools.
- Chaplains care for Coast Guard personnel and families with dignity, respect and compassion, regardless of the individual’s beliefs, and make informed and professional referrals. Chaplains are available 24/7 to provide confidential counseling – including counseling for stress and relationships.
- Coast Guard ombudsmen connect families to their commands, the Coast Guard, and the many available resources! Ombudsmen are appointed by unit commanding officers to serve as official liaisons between the command and unit families. Ombudsmen communicate need-to-know information, provide resource and referral services, and advocate for family members. If you haven’t already, contact your ombudsman through the Coast Guard Ombudsman Registry (scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click “Contact Your Ombudsman”). It’s important that your ombudsman knows how to reach you and that you know how to reach them!
- TRICARE is the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families. TRICARE provides comprehensive coverage to all beneficiaries, including health, dental, pharmacy and special programs. Activating members can learn more here. A recent change to the Coast Guard’s Special Needs Program policy allows reservists who are eligible for TRICARE’s Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) to enroll in the Special Needs Program on a case-by-case basis to ensure access to services. If needed, subject matter experts are available to provide assistance with TRICARE benefit questions and concerns.
- Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) is the official relief society of the U.S. Coast Guard and provides emergency and disaster financial assistance, education programs and family support assistance. You’ll be amazed by the number of programs they offer! If you have questions or need assistance, contact your local CGMA Representative.
- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense program established to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component service members and their civilian employers, and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
- Coast Guard Legal Assistance Attorneys provide advice and counsel regarding personal legal issues and can assist with the preparation of a variety of legal documents – all at no cost. A legal services presentation and request form can be found on the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Facebook Group.
- Reservists may qualify for a wide range of benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This Summary of VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Members and Veterans provides detailed information.
- Through the milConnect website, service members and dependents can manage their benefits and records through a convenient self-service portal. Eligible individuals can update personal contact information, view health care coverage, transfer education benefits, and more! And, when you need a fast, accurate answer to a question about your benefits or records, check the milConnect Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Do you have questions about the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program or the resources available to reservists and their families? Please contact HQS-DG-LST-CG-Rfirstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.