Asked Questions (FAQ)
FAMILY READINESS GROUPS (FRG)
What is the
difference between FAC and FRG?
The FAC is the Family Assistance Center. There are seven
coordinators who each run a regional Center. These FAC’s
were established by the Family Program Office specifically
to assist families of
deployed Guard members. They serve as the point of contact for
help with any type of problem families may have. They are trained
staff available to help you solve your problems or direct you
to the appropriate program or agency. FRG is a Family Readiness
These groups are led by volunteers who are most often family
members or community members of a local unit. FRG’s provide
a necessary form of mutual support among families. They also
between the unit and the families and are an excellent source
of information for all family and Guard members. The FRG leaders
with the FAC coordinators to facilitate the support of Guard
families and to promote communication and coordination within
of Command and the Chain of Concern.
Who is my chain of
concern? Chain of command (concern vs. command)
Your Chain of Command consists of Guard personnel including
the Battalion/ Squad Commander, Unit Commander & Officers,
Rear Detachment Officer and Family Assistance Center Coordinator.
Some reasons you may need to utilize the Chain of Command are to
report information from or to a deployed soldier or to update roster
information. Keep in mind that the Rear Detachment Officer is your
1st point of contact for the Commander during a deployment.
Your Chain of Concern is comprised of volunteers such as spouses,
family members, community members, or retired Guard personnel.
These volunteers will assist
the Chain of Command in supporting the FRG membership and achieving unit
can be a “member” of an FRG group?
A Family Readiness Group includes all members of a unit
and their families. This includes but is not limited to spouses,
parents, significant others,
children, friends, retirees and relatives. Participation is voluntary.
How often should our FRG put out a newsletter?
non deployed status)
Newsletters have long been the most effective means of communication
for FRG’s and have usually been mailed monthly or quarterly,
depending on the amount of information that needs to be passed
on to the families. If your unit is deployed you will most likely
need to be produced monthly. If your unit is not deployed, there
may not be as much “news” to pass along and therefore
you may only need to send it out quarterly. Your group can decide
the frequency so that you can meet the needs of your families.
You may also contact your Family Assistance Center Coordinator
for more guidelines and ideas for your FRG newsletter.
I have not been contacted by my husband’s unit FRG since
he has been deployed,
each soldier goes through an SRP. At the SRP the soldier fills out
a “Soldier Data Sheet” and
other than spouse lists a primary Point of Contact (POC). The
Primary POC will be the one who is contacted by the FRG and FAC. This
would be responsible for passing any information on to the
other family members or friends. Sometimes changes happen in between
the time a soldier goes through the SRP and when they deploy
marriage, birth) and someone may not be listed as a POC on
the data sheet. If there is an error or oversight it is the soldier’s
responsibility to inform the Family Program Office of any
changes. Please remember that information is only given to the Primary
POC to ensure the safety and security of the soldier and the unit.
I hear of
other FRGs hosting wonderful events,
how come my unit’s
FRG does not have these?
Each unit, situation and group of people are unique. There
is no “cookie cutter” FRG. The needs and direction
of the FRG is unique to each group. What works for one doesn't’t
necessarily work for the next. If you hear of a group having
an event that interests you, talk to the FRG Chairperson to find
about hosting that event for your own group. Poll your group
and find out if there is interest and then get volunteers to
the event. Some factors that may affect the success of an event
are: interest, location of families, and participation.
the absolute no-no’s in fundraising?
DO NOT exceed $1000.00 at any one time in the informal
fund account. DO NOT represent yourself as part of a military
government organization when fundraising. DO NOT ask for
When in doubt, ask you Family Assistance Coordinator or
the State Family Program Office.
Can FRGs accept
Yes, an FRG can accept donations or gifts provided that
the gift is unconditional, or with “no strings
donations must be unsolicited. FRG’s can
only solicit for “product”.
Keep in mind that at the end of the year your account
balance can not exceed $1000. If you currently
have or expect at
to have more than $1000 this money must be used
for events and activities within the year.
Are FRGs private
or non-profit organizations?
NEITHER! FRGs should not seek to become a private or
non-profit organization in order to avoid the $1000
limit. A private
or non-profit organization and an FRG are not one and
because an approved
FRG can not be a private organization. An FRG operates
under the guidance and direction of the Army and Air
is authorized support from them. Private or non-profit
organizations can not
receive a great deal of support from the military.
fund raisers work best for an FRG and what fund raisers do not work?
It is difficult to say which fund raisers will work and
which ones will not because every FRG is different.
Your FRG can
be whatever you would like it to be based on the
needs of your families
the desired events and activities you would like
to sponsor. You will find that your own community contacts will
fundraising opportunities that are not necessarily
available to other groups.
If you are looking for some jumping off points you
may contact your Family Assistance Coordinator or any other
you may have networked with.
SERVICE MEMBER PAY
What is myPay?
MyPay is a great new tool to help members of America’s
military, Defense civilians, retirees and annuitants manage their
pay. This self-service tool, lets people make changes to their
pay account information online, view and print leave and earnings
statements, view and print tax statements and make updates to
their bank account and electronic fund information from anywhere
LES is incorrect. He is not getting the appropriate allowances,
can help me fix this?
You can always contact the Family Assistance Center to help
solve the problem. The FAC Coordinator can get in touch with
Finance to make sure the problem is corrected or get an answer
as to why
the problem is occurring. There are various allowances based
Is it okay for
an FRG to use email as the only source of communication between the
No. It is not okay to utilize email as the only source. Email,
while very convenient and often times the fastest and easiest
way to relay information, is sometimes unreliable. The telephone
is used to relay information to unit families regarding delays
in unit returns, emergencies, situations related to Federal or
State mobilizations and serves as “rumor control.” As
you pass on this information to the families it is important
to make sure that they have received it. You never know if there
a technical problem on the other end of your email or even if
a family member has checked their email recently. The information
is usually too important to rely on email. It is always best
make “live” contact with the family via a telephone
In the event of
an emergency, how do I reach my soldier?
The best and quickest way to reach you soldier when there is
an emergency that
he/she needs to be informed of is through the Red Cross. They have
an existing system for this particular family need and will follow
through to make sure that you communicate with your soldier. For
all Massachusetts Military Emergency Calls you may contact the
Red Cross by calling 1-888-737-4306 ext# 909 or ext# 910
What do we do with children during meetings?
The members of your FRG have many options open to them. It depends
on where you hold your meetings, what time of day, how
many children, how old are the children, etc. We encourage you
a priority because they will most likely be facing their
own issues due to a deployment or separation. You may even start
youth committee which can arrange for special activities
or events for children during your FRG meetings. For assistance
events or activities you may contact the Youth Program
Coordinator or refer to the resources available to you such as
My husband is
deployed and I am trying to refinance our home, but the bank is telling
Power Of Attorney (GPOA) is not enough, that I need a Special
POA (SPOA). What are they talking about?
Although a GPOA includes banking, many banks are reluctant
to accept a GPOA. It is better to have a SPOA with the bank
number(s) annotated on it or any other information regarding
the refinance. Also you should call the bank and confirm
that the SPOA
will be accepted. Some banks may have their own form that
they want you to use. If you are having difficulty with a
like this you may contact you local Family Assistance Center
in order to referred and assist you adequately in these matters
if your soldier is already deployed.
When can Legal Assistance
All military services have legal assistance officers available
to assist families with legal problems during periods
of active duty. Generally, the military services offer limited
to Guard and Reserve members during inactive duty training
periods to prepare legal documents such as wills and
powers of attorney
needed in the event of an involuntary call to active
duty. For Further information, contact your regional Family Assistance
CIVIL RELIEF ACT (SCRA)
When does the
SCRA protect me?
Most SCRA protection begins the day you receive your orders
to active duty. As a practical matter, you should be ready, and
expect to present a copy of those orders to whomever you ask
for some right or benefit under the Act.
A person experiencing
problems with civilian employment or reemployment may contact
the National Committee for Employer Support of the
Guard and Reserve (NCESGR) for assistance. Their toll free
number is 1-800-336-4590.
I have heard about
lowering my interest rates to 6% on loans. How do I do this?
A. You may be entitled to have the interest rate on some of your
loans reduced to 6% for the time you are on active duty. There
are a number of special requirements. You need to talk to a Legal
Assistance Attorney to ensure you are eligible. You may be eligible
if you and your loan meet the following conditions:
• You took out the loan during a time when you were not on any form
of active duty in any branch of the military.
• The interest rate is currently above 6% per year.
• Your military service affects your ability to pay the loan at the
regular (pre-service) interest rate. Generally this requirement
means that you make less money in the military than you made
as a civilian. There are some special legal issues here - you should
be ready to talk to your Legal Assistance Attorney about your
entire financial situation.
• You notified the lender in writing with a copy of your orders.
What about the
lease on my apartment?
I live alone and I will not be there. I want to let my apartment
go and put my furniture in storage. Can I get out of my
lease? Generally - yes. If you have a lease for a house, apartment,
or even a business location, you may be able to get out of the lease
when you come on active duty. Here are the requirements:
• You originally signed your lease when you were not on any form
of active duty.
• You have received your orders to active duty.
• You gave written notice to your landlord that you want to terminate
your lease and a copy of your orders. You will still have
to pay rent for a short while. Your landlord can charge you rent for 30
days after the date your next rent is due, after the date
you give your written notice. Example: You give notice on 15 December. Your
next rent is normally due 1 January. The landlord can make
you pay rent until 31 January. The key is to get the written notice
in the landlord's hands just as soon as possible.
I have to go to court on a lawsuit that came up over an auto
accident last year. Can I get the lawsuit delayed?
If you are a party (one of the people suing or being
sued) in a civil case (not a criminal case), the court
must grant you
initial delay of 90 days upon your request explaining
how your military duties materially effect your ability
to appear, your
date of availability, and a letter from your commander.
Generally, your commander will have to show that military
duty is keeping
you from going to court. This is a tricky legal area
- I recommend you have your civilian lawyer contact
a Military Legal Assistance
Attorney to discuss the best way to proceed in your case.
am self-employed and I have health coverage that is pretty expensive.
Can I stop my health coverage?
What will happen when I get off of active duty and
I try to start it again - will I still be covered?
As long as you
on active duty, your health care needs are covered
by the Military's medical facilities. In addition, your
eligible for coverage. You may want to suspend your
If you do this, the SCRA will require your civilian
insurance company to reinstate your coverage when you get off
active duty. They
have to write you a policy. They cannot refuse to cover
Will I have to pay
state income taxes on my pay while I am on active duty?
If your home state taxes military pay, you will
have to pay those taxes. If you get assigned to
legally be a "domiciliary" of your home
state. The state to which the military assigns
you cannot tax your
If you moonlight, they can tax that pay - just
your military pay is exempt.
What is the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)?
Reemployment rights with a civilian employer are protected
under chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code. This
law, better known
as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment
Rights Act or USERRA, provides a broad range of civilian
USERRA provides protection to anyone absent from a position
of civilian employment because of uniformed service if:
1) Advance written or verbal notice was given to the
2) The cumulative length of absence(s) does not exceed
5 years; and
3) The person’s character of service was not adverse.
Why do I
need to have an updated Military ID card?
ID cards are used to obtain exchange, commissary and
certain morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) privileges.
cards will authorize appropriate medical, commissary, exchange
and MWR benefits
and privileges for the period of active duty specified
the members’ orders.
Family members and eligible dependents are required
to report to an ID Card facility in order to be issued
Ask your command or unit Regional Family Assistance
Center for a list of ID Card facilities in your area.
We are going to be moving,
who should I update with my new information?
The most important place to update your information
is DEERS. If your soldier is deployed and unable
to update this information
for you, you may need the help of your Family Assistance
Center. It is also a good idea to update this information
with the Family
Program Office, the Family Assistance Center and
the Family Readiness Group. This way you will be sure to
receive any pertinent information
regarding the unit or family events and activities.