By Hank Coleman
Posted in Articles
Unlike many civilian employees, the United States military provides a reimbursement of some expenses associated with adopting a child either from America or abroad. Members of the military have up to one year of the time their adoption is finalized to request the reimbursement of costs associated with the adoption. While military adoption benefits will not cover the entire cost of a private adoption, military adoption assistance does help families offset some of the costs of bringing home a new child.
Federal law allows for the reimbursement of up to $2,000 in adoption expenses per child. There is also a yearly cap of $5,000 that a service member and his or her family can receive if they adopt more than one child in the same calendar year. There are specific types of costs that members of the armed forces can qualify for with the military adoption reimbursement. For example, members of the military are eligible to be reimbursed for: public and private agency fees, placement fees, required costs for new parent counseling if required by the adoption agency, legal fees, court costs, charges for temporary foster care, and medical expenses for the biological mother and baby. However, there are several costs that are not eligible to be reimbursed, such as: travel costs, clothing, toys, and other similar items.
Members of the military must use a qualified adoption agency, or a state or local government when adopting. Members of the U.S. armed forces are allowed to use independent, private, and stepchild adoptions, as long as they have gone through the U.S. court system to be validated. There is also a requirement for members of the military to have previously served for at least 180 days on active duty to qualify for the reimbursement. The adoption has to have taken place while the military member was on active duty, and the family has up to one year from the date the adoption was finalized to claim benefits.
Like most formalities in the military, there is quite a bit of paperwork that the family must complete in order to receive their military adoption benefits. For domestic adoptions, the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine must apply for the military adoption reimbursement. The family must also show receipts for all adoption expenses that they are claiming for the reimbursement. The military member must also show all court documents to the military finance office to prove that the adoption has been finalized. Parents will also be required to show proof of the adopted child’s citizenship in the form of a Green Card, Visa, or U.S. passport.
The United States military adoption reimbursement is a great tool for parents to recapture some of their incredible expenses from adopting a child. While the military adoption benefits are not exactly large when compared to the overall cost of adoption, which can run the rate of a new car, every little bit helps. The military adoption reimbursement program is a great way to chip away at the expenses associated with adding a new member to the family.
Hank Coleman is a Captain in the U.S. Army, freelance writer, and the founder of several personal finance websites such as Military Money Might and Money Q&A. His writing has been featured on The Motley Fool, Military.com, and many others. You can follow him on Twitter at @HankColeman.