Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Moving Within Germany Part 1: Kaiserslautern Housing Brief & Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Screening

We knew we would be moving within Germany at some point not long after we got to Heidelberg in November 2011 as it was scheduled to close in August 2013. I had written about the process of moving to Germany on military orders and decided to write about moving within Germany on military orders as well. I had heard we might going to a few different places before we finally got the orders for Sembach, which is part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC). But, since Sembach has no housing, we would have to live elsewhere.

A rainbow over Vogelweh Family Housing, taken from the balcony of the building we eventually ended up in.

Housing Brief
When we were close to our PCS (permanent change of station) date, we went to a housing brief at Kleber where we were told a wealth of information about finding off post housing and the way that waiting lists work and so forth. Whether it was their intent or not, they made finding housing off post sound like a big pain in the rear, and at the time we thought we only had about a year and a half left, so it seemed even less worth the hassle. We also were told we’d only have so long to find housing and they wouldn’t consider a landlord not accepting pets a good reason to turn a place down. I thought that was a little ridiculous since we don’t want to give up our dogs and they don’t want people to abandon their pets. We already knew both dogs would be welcome in military installation housing. Given all that, we leaned toward staying on a post or base.

Our decision to stay on base was cemented by finding out that our wait time would be short. If we had been coming from the States or had been extended as part of our PCS, the wait times would have been longer. If I recall correctly, at that time, the wait was running over a year for Ramstein and only slightly less for Vogelweh and Landstuhl. Since our DEROS (date of expected return from overseas) wasn’t getting updated with the move (though we did later get an extension by choice when my husband reenlisted), we got bumped to the top of our list. We had the option to request Ramstein, Vogelweh, or Landstuhl, or to take whichever came first. We picked Vogelweh because it’s midway between Ramstein and Sembach (which would be convenient for my husband for work and if we went to Ramstein to shop) and also gave me more opportunities to find work for myself that would be within an easy commuting distance. I ended up finding a job on Landstuhl, which was also about the same distance from where we live as Ramstein and Sembach. The lady had also told us that the apartments on Vogelweh are bigger. I’m not sure if that’s true as  I haven’t been inside one, but the one we ended up in was nice. I’ll tell you more about getting our housing in a future post.

EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) Screening
Prior to moving to Germany, I’d had to do an EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) screening. I was surprised to learn that another screaming is required for a move within the same overseas country. The reason I have heard is that they want to make sure that any required specialists one might see are available wherever the family might go. (An example I have heard is that someone with a child with a heart condition isn’t going to be put in a city where the family might be 50 miles from a hospital since the child wouldn’t make it on time in an emergency). It was basically the same process as before, just filling out answers to a questionnaire, going over them with a doctor, confirming that I have no ongoing medical condition that requires a specialist or that if I see a specialist, it’s not regularly. In my case, I was not recommended for EFMP enrollment, so I had to do nothing further in the process. A copy of the record stays with the doctor for a year and two were given to me, one for my husband to take to his S1 (personnel office) and one to keep in case that copy gets lost.

Next time I’ll tell you about getting our housing offers and the apartment we picked.

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