Military OneSource: Raising awareness, one bag at a time

mosThe Military OneSource EAP program is exactly that: a one-stop source of work/life services for active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, and their families. However, in spite of this plethora of services – ranging from non-medical counseling and health and wellness coaching to financial counseling and tax consultations – Military OneSource remains unknown to many people who could benefit from this unique program.

We’re hoping that’s about to change. On October 28, the federal government started promoting Military OneSource – which is managed by Beacon Health Options – by distributing free commissary bags with the Military OneSource logo, number and web address. The hope is that this kind of everyday exposure creates a new or deeper awareness of the program. After all, everyone needs to buy food, and most military personnel do it from their commissary – a military base’s store for food and other supplies.

Why the program is so important

Working for Beacon’s Federal Team has given me a much deeper appreciation for all that the U.S. military personnel does for our country. When I first joined the team, I took an in-depth cultural training to help prepare me for working with people in the armed services. However, that training didn’t hold a candle to the information I received when I participated in one of many government tours of the Arlington Service Center. It was there I learned, for example, that many people were unaware of Military OneSource’s many services.

Military OneSource offers services to Active Duty Military (including Guard and Reserve, regardless of their activation status), their eligible family members, and discharged or retired service members who are in their first 180 days of separation or retirement from active duty service.

Ironically, that lack of awareness is a backhanded compliment to the program’s depth of offerings. There are so many varied services that even today, after three years of working on the Military OneSource contract, I still periodically come across some new facet of the program.

Program bricks and mortar

Military OneSource offers services to Active Duty Military (including Guard and Reserve, regardless of their activation status), their eligible family members, and discharged or retired service members who are in their first 180 days of separation or retirement from active duty service. Those services include:

  • Health and Wellness Coaching
  • Non-Medical Counseling (face-to-face, online, telephonic and video)
  • Peer-to-Peer Support
  • Spouse Relocations and Transition Assistance
  • Language Interpretation
  • Document Translation Services
  • Financial Counseling
  • Tax Consultation
  • Free Tax Software
  • Access to free Educational and Marketing Materials
  • Work/Life Services
  • Adoption Assistance
  • Elder Care Assistance
  • Child Care Assistance
  • Special Needs Consultations
  • Spouse Education and Career Opportunities

Reading feedback submitted from our participants never fails to put me in the right frame of mind for work. However, it saddens me to think there is a spouse out there who is home alone, struggling with preparing for a move, child care, or just the normal stressors of having a significant other deployed, who does not even know about Military OneSource. Currently, in each state, consultants provide information about the program to eligible participants, service providers and military leadership via small and large group meetings, as well as Yellow Ribbon events and the National Guard. But it appears not to be enough.

I urge anyone who has friends or knows military families – including veterans and families who are within six months of leaving active duty – to mention the program when an opportunity presents itself. Further, some Beacon staff members qualify to receive services, so please take advantage of the program. Account executives may know of client companies with employees who also serve in a Guard or Reserve unit. Spread the word. As the bag says, you can call: 800-342-9647. Click: www.militaryonesource.mil.

You can connect with Military OneSource via these social media channels:

By mentioning the program and some of its services, you might help more than you know.

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