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AFAS offers new special needs assistance grant

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John Crampton
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

A new Air Force Aid Society resource has become available to the families of Airmen to make special needs accommodations more accessible.

As of May 2021, Airmen can apply for the $3,000 Special Needs Assistance grant to help relieve some financial burdens.

“The grant is really for us, as a unit in the Air Force, to have another means of preparing and making sure that we are ready as a team and able to fully function," said Tierra Jackson, community readiness specialist at Moody Air Force Base’s Airmen Family and Readiness Center. "One thing we all know is that if one member of our team has some type of stress on them, they're not able to function in our workplace. Therefore, our team is going to fall short. It’s to help our children, to help our loved ones, to help our whole families and then to help our whole Air Force.”

The grant allows families to access up to the full $3,000 amount over a five-year period, after which families can apply again for a new grant.

“Things can get very, very expensive as children with special needs get older,” said Windy Scott, Exceptional Family Member Program family support coordinator. “That's where this program is going to be a benefit to those that want to use it.”

The goal of the grant is to make important assistive devices and technology, as well as specialized activities and services, more accessible to families that might not be able to easily afford them.

“Say there's a family member within our community who has a wheelchair, but their parents cannot afford to buy a lift for their vehicle,” Jackson said. “This grant will help make that happen and make it possible for them to live their lives more freely.”

AFAS and the Air Force as a whole are endeavoring to make life easier for families facing the difficulties associated with having family members with special needs.

“It’s not just about a special needs grant, but the root of the grant is taking care of each other,” Jackson said.

To be eligible, applicants need to be on active duty, active guard reserve, guard or reserve on initial or continuation full time orders, or traditional guard or reserve on a long-term order. Applicants must also have dependents enrolled in the Air Force’s Exceptional Family Member Program. To apply, Airmen can visit under Standard Assistance or speak to specialists at the AFRC for more information.