What is JAG and how does it relate to Special Education?

JAG stands for Judge Advocate General, and the JAG Corps (sometimes just known as JAG) is the legal branch of the military. Officers in the JAG work as legal advisors to a specific command, but their services are also available to individual service members and their families. When a military family has a child with special educational or medical needs, the JAG officer can be an invaluable resource. Families can be advised on their legal rights with respect to their child’s education (including differences between public and Department of Defense schools), legal preparation for deployment, Supplemental Social Security (SSI) and estate planning.

In the Marine Corps, families who are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) get dedicated legal services through JAG:

“EFMP attorneys provide individual attorney-client representation for EFMP families primarily to obtain benefits and services for the exceptional family member (EFM) under state and federal education laws, including the IDEA and related disability laws and regulations benefiting individuals with disabilities. In addition to representation, EFMP attorneys provide advice on legal assistance issues unique to EFMP families, such as special needs trusts and landlord-tenant issues related to accommodations”  –Military OneSource,  The Marine Corps Exceptional Family Member Program Screening, Enrollment, and Assignment Process. (external link)

Parent Center staff may find this further resource helpful: Twelve Things Every JAG Should Know: Legal Issues Facing Military Families with Special Needs Children (external link).  It was prepared by the JAG Corps, US Air Force, and provides excellent examples and specific advice for military families who have a family member with special needs.