Monday, November 15, 2010

Non-Command Sponsored in Korea

As this is a new blog and I am still introducing myself, I wanted to let you know where we are. We live in Songtang (Peyong Teck) South Korea - right off Osan Air Base. My hubby is stationed over here. It was never our original intention to live here. We originally requested a remote so that we could get stationed overseas. It worked - While stationed at Langley AFB we got our remote and our follow on to Aviano Italy. I decided to take the kids home to Texas to spend time with my family before we went overseas for 5 years. Then we suffered a close death in the family, and while my husband was home on emergency leave, we decided that I would take the kids and return with him. We were originally going to go with him at the start of the tour, but my family had talked me out of it. In 2 weeks we put all our stuff in storage, got plane tickets, mailed a few really important things and packed 2 suitcases each. - I think we are still recovering from this!

I think to answer the questions I will start from here with some of the most common questions. Know that these answers apply to the Air Force only - I am not sure about the Army.


I am a dependent spouse. I am no longer active duty. I can travel and live anyplace I want to. I do not need orders to move. They are nice but not necessary. I get benefits WHEREVER I choose to live, Virginia, Texas or Korea. The military (all branches) honors this. Your spouse is now paid BAH based on your location, this includes overseas. So if you choose to move overseas, you will receive OHA (overseas housing allowance) on your closest location, not their base. I know this because my hubby is not at Osan, he is at Kunsan. We receive OHA for Osan because that is where we live. We also receive our full utility allowance. What we do NOT get because we are not on his orders is full COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) . He receives partial cola, but here in Korea, the need is not that great. Because we still live 50 miles away from him, we still get family separation pay. This combined with partial COLA more than makes up for not getting full COLA. As of winter 2010 (and for the foreseeable future) NCS (non-command sponsored) dependents are NOT authorized on base housing - and to be honest with you I would prefer to live off base. Housing is in 3 huge apartment towers. Not what I would like to live in.


My children and I are on a space available basis. When we arrived on base we went to the hospital tri-care office, updated our address and were placed on Tri-Care Standard. This is the 80/20 plan. If I choose to see an off base provider - I will pay 20% up to my 1000.00 cap for care. I am still authorized to see a provider on base, on a space available basis. There is an appointment line that I call after 10am to make a same day appointment. I can go to the ER and will be seen just like anyone else.

Recently I have seen an infulx of complaints about medical care on base. Many junior personal seem to think it is base specific. For example - the hospital here at Aviano sucks. It takes at least a week to get an appointment when I call. News flash - THIS IS EVERYBASE!!!!!! Cannon, Langley, Edwards. Even if you find an off base provider who takes Tri-Care prime, it can take up to a week for an appointment. My 7 year old got his 6 month check up at almost 9 months 5 years ago at Nellis because there were no well baby appointments. He lived.


This is the big one for us. I have a 2nd grader and a 9th Grader over here. (My teen daughter decided to stay in the states and wait till we left for Italy.) We had to be prepared to home school - period. I called, border line harassed the High School to see about availably. I was told (over the summer) that I needed to place their names on a waiting list. When school started and all of the numbers of the command sponsored were in they would go down the waiting list in order to let kids have slots available in category order ~ We are category 3
Here is a link to help understand this better
For the High School there was no problem. They have just built a new one and are under their numbers. The elementary school was another issue. It is bursting at the seams. They are overcrowded and running out of room. Even children NCS who were allowed in last year were not allowed this year. There is simply no room till about 6th grade. My oldest goes to school and we home-school my youngest. I promise to dive into this on a whole other post.

As I stated earlier my husband lives 2 hours away. His base is really small. A few pilots bring their family NCS, but that is about it. We would have been able to do it, but there is no school there for my teenager and there is really no community to support me. We choose to live in Osan and he commutes every weekend. There are so many people here in the exact same situation we are in. I have great support community here.
Living over here NCS is not hard. It sometimes takes some "creative solutions" but that can be said of any overseas assignments.
Korea is not a 3rd world country. They are the most wired country in the world. Millions of people live here without the aid of the US military. Coming over here without orders is not that difficult and worth every moment.


Melissa said...

I am so glad to have found your blog. We are planning on coming to Korea NON-CS once this school year is completed. I will have to homeschool my two girls for the first time. I have one that will be in Kindergarten and one in 6th grade. I am a little nervous about the move and the new changes, but reading your blog has eased some of my fears. Thanks, Melissa

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