Benefit Extension Programs
There are three programs provided by the military to extend benefits for beneficiaries who are losing their privileges due to age, divorce, Expiration, Term of Service (ETS), etc.
Continuation of Benefits for “Incapacitated” Children Beyond 21st Birthday
Sponsors who are applying for an ID card for an “incapacitated” unmarried dependent based on a serious medical condition diagnosed prior to their 21st birthday should contact the personnel in the Office Chief, PAD (Room 4C18, M-W-F, 8 AM - 4 PM) to request a medical statement from the “child’s” primary physician (assuming that physician is at WBAMC). This should be initiated approximately 3-6 months prior to the 21st birthday. The sponsor also must apply at Bldg 500, Fort Bliss ID Card Section, to receive forms to be completed to support the child’s financial dependency on the sponsor. Our staff in the Correspondence Section will help you get the medical statement; every other part of this process is conducted through Military Personnel. Incapacitation is defined by the military in Table 4-5, AFI 36-30026 (i).
Obstetrics Care for Former Service Members with Proof of Pregnancy Existing Prior to ETS
If a soldier is pregnant prior to her ETS date, she is entitled to medical care (pre-natal, delivery, and one post-natal check-up each for mother and baby (usually at 6 weeks). The newly civilian expectant mother should go to the closest military medical treatment facility to her new home to apply for these benefits. She will need to provide a copy of her DD Form 214, both long and short versions, and proof that the pregnancy existed prior to her ETS date. She will be provided a letter which explains her new benefits and which will be her ID to receive care at that facility. At WBAMC, this letter authorizing care is available at the Office of the Chief, Patient Administration Division, Room 4C18, telephone 915-742-2077, during normal duty hours.
Service members who are ETSing and who will require continuation of medical care during their pregnancy and delivery may contact the Office of the Chief at 915-742-2077 prior to their separation for answers to their questions. Only those who will be delivering at WBAMC need to apply here.
Secretary of the Army Designee Status
This program was developed to temporarily assist patients who have a serious medical condition and require Continuity of Care when their military-related benefits are about to cease suddenly (divorce, sponsor chaptered out, etc.). The patient may request Secretary of the Army Designee Status by contacting the Secretary at the Office of the Chief, Patient Administration Division, at 915-742-2077. She will collect your information and help you to get a medical statement from your WBAMC doctor. The approval process can be lengthy. Do not delay requesting status if you need it.
The purpose of the SA designee program is to provide continuity of care while transitioning from the military medical healthcare system to the civilian community.
The Secretary of the Army has determined that for pregnancy, continuity of care occurs after a woman has been seen in Army OB Clinics for at least 5 months. At this point some provider/patient relationship has been established that is best to be continued. However, if for example the patient has been seen for just 20 weeks or less, she will have been seen in an OB Clinic only once or maybe twice; the rationale is that there is considerable time remaining with which to establish an appropriate provider/patient relationship outside the Army healthcare system. The bottom line is that SA designee approval criteria are based on continuity of care and NOT length of gestation. Each facility is required to screen all future SA designee pregnancy requests and not forward to MEDCOM any requests where the above criteria are not met. NOTE: Some further consideration may be given in a case where the pregnancy is high risk and it might be difficult to find an accepting physician to take the case.