About Soldier Systems Center

Installation Guide

Army Community Service

Department of the Army ACS Center

Community Services Center crest
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday from 0730 to 1600
TEL: (508) 233-4798
FAX: (508) 233-4910
DSN: 256-4798

Mission Statement:

The Army Community Service Center is a comprehensive social service program designed to assist the Commander by identifying emerging social problems and to assist the community of military, retiree, civilian and family members at Natick Soldier Systems Center.

Natick SSC’s ACS Center provides outreach services and programs to facilitate mission-readiness and improve morale for soldiers and families.

ACS Services:

Relocation to Natick:

The ACS Relocation Readiness Program provides customized in and out bound assistance to all military and civilians. Services include, but are not limited to:

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Worldwide Military Relocation Information

There is plenty of relocation information available on the Internet, so we've looked around for some of the best sites and placed them all here together. You’ll find useful links for any move, military or civilian.

Information on Natick SSC and the local area is on our
Relocation to Natick section; the section you are currently in is made up of links to sites concerning world-wide relocation.

You may notice that some sites are listed in more than one category. Some sites are hard to categorize, so we’ve included multiple listings.

Before making a move, remember to request a sponsor.

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Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), in partnership with other military and civilian agencies, is designed to provide a comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary approach for medical, educational, community support, and personnel services to family members with special needs. An exceptional or special needs family member is defined as an adult or child with any physical, emotional, developmental or intellectual disability that requires special treatment, therapy, education, training or counseling. Identification and enrollment into the EFMP is MANDATORY for active duty Army, U.S. Army Reserve (active guard reserve or active duty exceeding 30 days), Army National Guard personnel serving under the authority of Title 10, United States and both soldiers who are members of the Army Married Couples Program. Department of the Army Civilians will identify dependent children with special education and medically related service needs each time they process for an OCONUS location where dependent travel is authorized at government expense.

Services include:
  • Resource information.
  • Information & referral assistance.
  • Respite assistance.
  • Family find activities.
  • Advocacy assistance.

Enrollment into the EFMP, per AR 608-75, ensures the needs of the family member are taken into consideration prior to the sponsor's reassignment. Enrollment, does not, however, ensure an automatic command sponsored tour OCONUS or ensure that the sponsor will not have to serve an unaccompanied tour. Active duty personnel with family members with special needs should contact the ACS EFMP Manager for more information. Family members are encouraged to visit or call and learn about the wide range of assistance offered.

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Family Advocacy

The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) at ACS is dedicated to the prevention of child and spouse abuse. The FAP staff strives toward the eradication of family violence through a number of education and supportive service programs.

Prevention and Education

  • Desk side briefing to Commanders within 45 days following assumption of command.
  • Annual training to troops on the dynamics of family violence and the availability of treatment.
  • Community classes on stress reduction, anger control and change management.
  • Community based prevention special events such as Child Abuse Prevention/Month of the Military Child, and Domestic Violence Prevention Month.

Parent Support Program

This program provides support and education services which enhance parenting and child management skills. The program teaches parents basic skills in physical care, protection, supervision and psychological nurturance appropriate to the child's age and stage of development. The program also helps provide parents with direct services, including hospital and home visits, information and referral and community support services and resources.

Victim Advocate

The Victim Advocate provides comprehensive assistance to victims of spouse abuse and educates personnel on the installation regarding effective responses to domestic violence on behalf of victims and at-risk family members. Services to victims of spouse abuse can include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Assistance in securing medical treatment for injuries
  • Information about resources available through both military and civilian programs
  • Education on the dynamics of family violence and the effects that witnessing such violence can have on children
  • Transportation
  • Pre-trial, trial and post-trial support
  • Application and coordination of the Transitional Compensation process

Reporting Identification of Abuse

By regulation, the primary focus of the FAP staff at ACS is education and prevention. This doesn’t mean, however, that treatment issues are neglected. The FAP Manger is the point of contact fro reporting and identification of abuse. We will ensure that appropriate referrals to treatment are made. The FAP Manager will work to provide the Natick community with a comprehensive program addressing all aspects of the issues surrounding family violence.

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Emergency Financial Assistance

Army Emergency Relief crest Natick SSC’s Army Emergency Relief office is located with Army Community Service in Building 14. Please call (508) 233-4798 to make an appointment.

Emergency travel cases will be seen on a walk-in basis from 0800-1600. If an emergency arises that cannot wait-until the next business day (usually emergency travel), contact the Security Main Gate at 508-233-4201 and ask them to contact the AER Officer.

AER can help active duty soldiers and their dependents, ARNG and USAR soldiers on active duty for more than 30 days and their dependents, retirees and their dependents, and surviving spouses and orphans of soldiers who died while on active duty or after they retired.

AER can usually help with emergency needs for:

  • Rent
  • Utilities (not including phone or cablevision)
  • Food
  • Emergency travel
  • Emergency POV repair
  • Upfront funeral expenses of parents, spouse, or child
  • Emergency medical or dental expenses

AER cannot help with:

  • Nonessential needs
  • Ordinary leave or vacation
  • Fines or legal expenses
  • Debt payments
  • Home purchase or improvements
  • Purchase, rental, or lease of a vehicle
  • Funds to cover bad checks
  • Marriage or divorce

How to apply for AER?

    Fill out DA Form 1103 (Application for Army Emergency Relief)-

    • Active duty soldiers needing assistance can pick up the DA Form 1103 at their unit, complete the form, and obtain the commander’s signature. You may also download and print DA 1103, if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader or you can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Applicants may also pick up forms at the AER office.

    • All applicants need to bring their military ID card and substantiating documents (car repair estimate, rental agreement, etc.).

      NOTE: The First Sergeant or unit commander must endorse fill out and sign Part IV of DA From 1103 on all applications for emergency assistance.

    • Complete information must be provided. Include complete explanation of reason for inability to meet financial needs.

    • All applications must be accompanied by the service member’s latest Leave and Earnings Statement.

    • Completed applications should be brought to the Army Emergency Relief Office at the Family Support Center in building 14, or faxed to (508) 233-4910, For telephone information call (233) 508-4798.

    Required Supporting Documentation

    Required supporting documentation varies from case to case. Requirements noted in the following paragraphs are a minimum standard. Other supporting documents may be required. If, for example, assistance is requested for basic needs (e.g. rent, food, utilities, low-cost POV repair), and the soldier is in full receipt of pay, the applicant will be required to explain why the basic expenses weren't paid, and provide receipts detailing how the money was spent instead.

      A written eviction notice from landlord.

      A written threat to foreclose.

      Written utilities cut-off notice(s).

      Written certification by the Commander/1SG that the soldier has no food or money.

      Assistance may be provided to cover bare necessities if the soldier did not receive all the pay and/or allowances to which he/she is entitled. This does NOT include deductions for fines, garnishments, pay advances, casual pays, etc.

      • AER will consider only those expenses not covered by medical/dental insurance.

      • Applications must include written statement(s) from the doctor(s) involved verifying that: the procedure must be carried out immediately and that payment is demanded in advance of treatment.

      • Applicant may be required to seek other sources of treatment which do not demand payment in advance.

      • proof of ownership.

      • proof of insurance.

      • If cost exceeds $500, service member must present 3 estimates .

      CRITICAL, EMERGENCY TRAVEL: Must be accompanied by:
      • Approved emergency leave.

      • Red Cross verification of the death/illness.

      • If the case involves a mother, father, brother, sister, child, spouse, or grandparents/uncle/aunt in loco parentis, the soldier can ask the Red Cross to request verification from a Red Cross near the victim.

      • If the case involves grandparents, aunts, or uncles not in loco parentis, then the soldier should have family near the victim contact their local Red Cross office. Red Cross can receive verification on grandparents, aunts, uncles, but cannot request it.

      • Deceased was a member of the soldier or spouse’s immediate family.

      • Written, itemized statement of costs from the funeral director (AER can assist only with reasonable, essential expenses).

      • AER will request that other immediate family members share expenses.

      • AER will request service member seek additional charitable contributions to offset this expense.

      • Funeral homes provide no-interest payment plans for non-internment expenses.

      • AER will cover the cost of the room and food only.

      • Aid is a one-time, one-night at a time, although special circumstances will be considered.

      • If paperwork is not filled out in advance of the service, the soldier must go to AER the first working day following the service, to process paperwork for the loan.

      AER can only assist if Red Cross has not, or if Red Cross was unable to provide enough assistance to cover all essential expenses. (For example, AER may be able to help the applicant with initial housekeeping expenses if his/her present residence is no long habitable, but we cannot provide funds to replace furnishings.)

      • Spouse should bring application form and his/her valid ID card to AER Office.

      • AER Officer will verify service member is not being considered for discharge, and ensure the soldier knows of the emergency and agrees to the loan.

      • A Power of Attorney is used only as a last resort.

      • AER Officer will notify service member’s Commander and/or 1st Sgt.

      • The AER loan officer will contact the soldier and unit commander before recommending approval or disapproval.

Click here to download AR 930-4 (PDF format)

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Financial Readiness Program

What is the Consumer Affairs and Financial Readiness Program?

The Consumer Affairs and Financial Readiness Program (CAFAP) is offered by the Natick SSC’s ACS Center to provide assistance in the management of personal finances, budgeting, savings. CAFAP also offers assistance with consumer related issues.

Who is eligible for the program?

Spouses, family members and civilians based at Natick SSC can participate in this program.

What Services can you expect from the program?

  • Individual and group assistance in budgeting, debt management, and savings plans.

  • Instruction in personal financial strategies.

  • Individual counseling, support and agency referral.

  • Use of the Computer Resource area. The computer is a helpful tool for self-directed financial planning, debt and savings analysis, and on-line educational resources.

  • Mandatory, Beginner’s and Intermediate Personal Finance and Debt Management Classes.

  • Community information

Financial Education and Training:

    First Termer’s Finance (90 minutes)
    • Preparation of a Personal Budget
    • Cost of Credit and benefits of avoiding debt
    • Balance Checkbook Exercise
    • Introduction to the Thrift Savings Plan
    • Learn about Emergency Financial Assistance

    Money Management - Healthy Credit -Basics of Financial Health (90 minutes)
    • Develop Personal Financial Goals
    • Guidelines for a Personal Budget Guidelines
    • Effective Use of Credit
    • Get your Credit Reports
    • Life Benefits of Money Management

    Military Emergency Assistance (20 minutes)
    • Army Emergency Relief
    • Air Force Aid Society
    • Navy Marine Corps Relief
    • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
    • Eligibility
    • Qualification
    • Supporting Documentation
    • Application Procedures

    Introduction to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) (20 minutes)
    • Tax deferral features
    • Contributions
    • The funds and historic returns
    • Withdrawal method, your age and potential penalties
    • Borrowing from your TSP account
    • Examples of compounded growth
    • How to enroll

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Employment Assistance

Employment Services provides family members and soldiers the opportunity to gain valuable job skills, self-confidence to market themselves in today’s competitive job market, and push in the right direction to find available employment.

The following services are available to assist family members in finding employment in the Natick area:
  • Job Referrals
  • Resume Writing Assistance
  • Computer, fax, telephone, and copy machine access
  • Information on the local employment market
  • Website links to potential employers

These seminars, and more, are available at Hanscom Air Force Base
  • Career Planning
  • Resume Writing
  • Interviewing Techniques

For appointments, information, or seminar registration, please call the ACS office.

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This page last updated on 7 October 2003.