WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2007) - Families of deceased active-duty Soldiers can receive an extended level of support from a long-term care program the Army launched 18 months ago, the program's chief said.

The Army Long Term Family Case Management program provides long-term support to Families of fallen Soldiers by helping them through the often painful and sometimes arduous steps toward receiving benefits and various other types of support, Lt. Col. Nora Linderman, program chief of Army Long Term Family Case Management, told online journalists and "bloggers" in a conference call yesterday.

"My team and I are constantly listening to Families, learning what they need and enhancing and expanding our program accordingly so that we can do whatever is required," she said.

Casualty assistance officers generally avail themselves to Families at the early stages of the mourning process, at least through a fallen Soldier's interment, Lt. Col. Linderman said. But in the months and years following the loss of a loved one, unresolved issues and questions often surface regarding benefits and support services, she said.

To address such issues, a support coordinator with Army Long Term Family Case Management contacts the Family about six months following the loss of a loved one. The coordinator maintains an "open dialogue" with Family members for as long as they find it helpful, Lt. Col. Linderman said.

The program also follows congressional legislation that pertains to benefits programs offered to Families of deceased Soldiers and posts the information on its Web site, www.altfcm.army.mil.

Launched in February 2006, Army Long Term Family Case Management already has helped more than 5,000 Families identify benefits to which they're entitled, Lt. Col. Linderman noted.

"Being able to be there with a support structure for the Families through the months and the years after the loss is a wonderful step in the right direction," she said. "I encourage anyone who has suffered a loss to lean on us."

Information about Army Long Term Family Case Management is available on the program's Web site or by calling a support coordinator at 1-866-272-5841.

(John J. Kruzel writes for the American Forces Press Service.)