Family Separation Allowance

Soldiers need to be highly mobile. As situations develop, troops may need to be relocated at a moment's notice. The United States tries to support its soldiers by providing benefits to their families during deployment. The family separation allowance is a benefit available to active duty regular army troops that are required to be away from their permanent duty station for more than 30 continuous days where their dependents are not residing at or near the temporary station. Read on to learn more about the types of family separation allowances and who qualifies.

Who Qualifies?

Family separation allowances are only available for military members with legal dependents. Dependents are typically limited to spouses and minor children that share a primary residence. Long-term romantic partners and fiancées are typically not considered dependents. Adult children are typically not dependents (except in limited circumstances, such as where they have a serious disability.) An elderly parent may also qualify as a dependent immediate relative. Other relationships typically do not qualify as dependent immediate relatives.

There are also circumstances in which a person whose relationship might otherwise qualify does not. Benefits also may not be available in situations where a soldier and their spouse are legally separated, a minor child is in the legal custody of another person, or the dependent relative has been institutionalized for a year or more.

Where both spouses are enlisted in the military and are both assigned to qualifying duty assignments, they may both claim and receive family separation allowances. This allowance continues until one of the members is no longer assigned to a qualifying duty assignment.

Types of Family Separation Allowance

There are three different kinds of family separation allowances available to the dependent family of soldiers.

  • Restricted - Available where dependent travel at government expense is not authorized and the family does not live in the soldier's permanent duty station or transportation is authorized, but the dependent cannot accompany the soldier for certified medical reasons and the soldier elects an unaccompanied tour of duty;
  • Temporary - Available where soldiers on temporary duty are sent away from their permanent duty station for more than 30 days and their dependents are not residing at or near the temporary duty station.
  • Ship - Available where the soldier is on duty aboard a ship and is away from home port for more than 30 days.

Family Visits

Since family separation allowances are intended to relieve some of the difficulty that arises when soldiers are separated from their families, there are circumstances in which a visit from that family member may result in the termination of the benefits. As a general rule, family visits of less than 30 days do not impact the eligibility for family separation allowance.

Where a visit lasts 30 or more continuous days the benefits are typically terminated, though they resume when the dependent departs. Family separation allowances continue for any dependents that do not visit during this period.

Learn More About Family Separation Allowances

Soldiers protect our country and our freedoms, but even they can use a hand protecting their own interests. A lawyer can help enlisted service men and women ensure that they receive the full benefits their service entitles them to. Our directory can help you locate a military family law attorney in your area.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified military law attorney to help you with military-related issues.