In 2010, ACT Today! launched the first national campaign to bring awareness and access to care and treatment for children of military families with autism. Since its initiation, the ACT Today! for Military Families Program has received 312 applications for grants, and has funded 155 of these requests, a total of $185,000 in less than 2 years.
Last week, a federal judge handed military families a major victory in their pursuit of TRICARE coverage for ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy by ruling in a class action lawsuit that the Department of Defense's (DoD) policy of limiting benefits to active duty members was "arbitrary and capricious.” The case was remanded back to the DoD with instructions “that ABA therapy coverage be provided to Basic Program beneficiaries who otherwise qualify for reimbursement and such reimbursement be provided in compliance with the applicable TRICARE guidelines for the expenses incurred by qualified beneficiaries to acquire ABA therapy for their children." TRICARE can still appeal this decision, so we can't definitively declare a victory, but this is a significant milestone for families.
"ACT Today! for Military Families will continue to provide access to ABA therapy and other life supports," says ACT Today! Executive Director Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson. "This program remains a priority for us, and military families with children on the autism spectrum will continue to be served regardless of the outcome of the TRICARE case." She issued a call to action for donations by going to https://www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org/templates/inside/donatenow.aspx.
In addition, all funds from the 6th Annual ACT Today! Charity Golf Classic on August 27th in Westlake Village, Ca., hosted by “Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna, will benefit the program, and the public is encouraged to participate.
For more information, go to: http://act-today.org/golftournament.
ACT Today! will continue to monitor the outcome of all future decisions relating to the coverage of ABA therapy for military dependants both active and non-active.