JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
At a young age, when your parents are sick, it is hard
to comprehend what it means and how it will affect them. When I turned 14, I
had no idea how drastically my life would change after finding out my Mom had
Although it took many doctors and several years, in 2003
my mom, Mary, was diagnosed as a brittle Diabetic, but due to the extended
amount of time it took to figure out what was wrong with her, it would later
lead to extensive health problems.
Throughout my younger years, my mom kept the severity
of her disease well hidden. All I knew was that her body didn’t work the way
mine did, and that I had to make sure she checked her blood sugar when she
wasn’t feeling well.
When 2010 came
along, my mom was married and relatively healthy, or so it seemed. At that point
I had just graduated high school, and I felt comfortable enough to move on and
start my own life by joining the U.S. Air Force.
Through the years that followed, I would talk to my
mom every day and occasionally took a trip to visit or vacation with her.
In 2015, I invited her to visit me for Thanksgiving in
Virginia, where I am stationed, since she had never been here before. On the
day she arrived, I was both nervous and excited to tell her that I would be
deploying in April. Since my mom and I
have always been close, it was easy for me to detect that something was very
wrong when I asked her if she could watch my dog for a few months while I was
away. After a long talk, she expressed to me that she was having extensive
marital problems and no longer felt safe, so instantly I asked her to move in
Most of the time when children move out, they never
imagine living with their parents again. For me, this was a must. A few weeks after
her visit, she moved to Virginia to live with me and this was when I realized
just how bad her health had gotten.
With everything piling up, from her medical bills to
preparing for deployment, I was struggling and needed to find a way to make my
mom a secondary dependent.
My first step was talking to my first sergeant. She explained
that it takes a lot of work to make someone a secondary dependent and referred
me to the finance section for more information.
After taking her advice, I visited finance where they
directed me to the Defense Finance and Accounting Services website.
It was difficult to get all of the paperwork finished,
especially while being thousands of miles away, but I owe a large thank you to
the people within my office for helping my mom while I was away.
Now, three years later, I have received helpful hints to
make the process a little easier.
Make sure to apply for the correct type of
Be aware if you are applying for Base
Allowance for Housing, or if the dependent needs a Common Access Card.
You must reapply every year, so make sure
you keep track of when your application is due.
The individual must be unemployed for one
The majority of the process can now be done through
the DFAs website, which for me was very user friendly.
I am also very grateful, as a service member, that the
military is able to help me provide the necessary medication, medical attention
and everyday necessities my mom needs.
If interested in secondary dependency, visit https://www.dfas.mil.