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Q. When my spouse deploys, can a family member, such as my mom, a grandmother or aunt, come live with me to offer support during the deployment?

— KMC in the KMC

A. Mother’s Day is an especially good time to think about how your family would manage if Mom is deployed, or how Mom can get some help when Dad is deployed. Yes, you can have a family member or friend come and stay with you during a deployment. If you wish your visitor to have access to your base or post, you can obtain a long-term pass at the visitors’ center, as long as he or she has a valid passport.

If you live in military housing, you will also need to get permission from your housing office. You will first need to get the visitor’s pass to show that you have approval from Security Forces. You will also need to fill out a form at housing to indicate that your spouse is deployed. Having visitors in base housing is limited by regulation, usually to about 30 days. Exceptions are made for deployments, but this is the military, so paperwork is involved.

Passport limitations are important also. In Germany, where you live, your visitor must get permission ahead of time from the government to stay longer than 90 days. Every country has different regulations, and you can find out what they are at www.travel.state.gov. Look for International Travel and Foreign Entry Requirements.

Q. My husband is separating from the Air Force this fall, and our second baby is due just days before his final date. What if my delivery comes just one day after his official separation, or even a week? Will TRICARE still cover our medical costs?

— Jenna M., Germany

A. In most cases, TRICARE eligibility ends at midnight on the day of separation, so if your little one arrives at 12:01, your costs might not be covered.

However, there are some exceptions under the Transitional Assistance Management Program, which will provide up to 180 days of additional coverage, said George Woodward of TRICARE- Europe. Your delivery could be covered if:

• Your spouse was involuntarily separated from active duty.

• Your spouse was a member of the National Guard and Reserve and is being separated from active duty after being called up or ordered in support of a contingency operation for an active duty period of more than 30 days.

• Your spouse was separated from active duty after being involuntarily retained in support of a contingency operation.

• Your spouse was separated from active duty following a voluntary agreement to stay on active duty for less than one year in support of a contingency mission.

“Eligibility for TAMP is determined by your service branch,” Woodward said, “not by TRICARE.” He suggested a fact sheet on the TRICARE Web site, which you can access at www.tricare.osd. mil/Factsheets/viewfactsheet.cfm?id= 317

If you do not qualify for TAMP, there is another option. The Continued Health Care Benefit program is not part of TRICARE, but provides benefits similar to TRICARE Standard, Woodward said. You must pay premiums for this coverage, and you must enroll within 60 days of your spouse’s separation from active duty.

To find out about the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, go to www.humana-military.com/chcbp/ main.htm. Mom and baby will need care after delivery, so you need to have a health care plan in place.

To all military moms, whether you are downrange, at home on dual-parent duty while dad is deployed, or keeping the home fires burning between deployments — I think that covers all of us — a very happy Mother’s Day!

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She and her family live in Germany, where her husband is stationed at Ramstein AB. Send questions or comments to her at spousecalls@stripes.com.

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