The Military and Adoption Expense Reimbursement

Growing your family through adoption can be expensive, but the Military Adoption Reimbursement program can help offset some of that expense. Read on to learn more about the program and additional benefits available through the military.
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Military Adoption Expense Reimbursement
Table of Contents
  1. Does The Military Reimburse for Adoption?
  2. Adoption Expenses That Are Eligible for Reimbursement
    1. Unqualified Expenses
  3. Applying for Reimbursement
  4. Additional Benefits When Adopting
  5. I’ve Started the Adoption Process, Now What?

Are you considering adopting a child? Maybe you’ve started the process and are curious if the military will help cover any of your adoption expenses.

Under the Military Adoption Reimbursement program, you may be eligible for financial assistance for your adoption.

Does The Military Reimburse for Adoption?

Yes, the military does reimburse for adoption. 

Military members who adopt a child younger than 18 can claim up to $2,000 per adopted child but cannot exceed $5,000 per year for qualifying adoption expenses.

If you are a dual military family, only one family member can be reimbursed for the adoption expenses. Under the military adoption reimbursement program, a dual military family cannot receive reimbursement of more than $5,000 in a calendar year. 

Adoption Expenses That Are Eligible for Reimbursement

If you’re planning to adopt or have already started the process, you’re likely wondering what types of expenses are covered by the program. 

Typically, the following expenses are covered:

  • Public and private agency fees — both nationally and internationally 
  • Placement fees 
  • Court costs and other legal fees
  • Temporary foster care charges
  • Medical expenses for the biological mother and newborn baby may also be covered

Unqualified Expenses

Unfortunately, not everything you’re paying for will be covered under the military adoption reimbursement program.

Travel Expenses: If you’re traveling to finalize your adoption, especially internationally, the costs can add up quickly. Although they are not covered under the military’s adoption program, you may be able to fundraise to help cover some of those costs. 

Adopting a Spouse’s Child: If a service member is adopting a spouse’s child, those costs will not be covered by the program because the child is already a member of your home. Adoption is a legal formality necessary to create the parental relationship between the child and the family member.

Illegal Adoptions: Adoptions must be done legally in order to be covered by the military adoption program.

Basic Needs: Aside from those expenses, basic needs, such as clothing and toys, are not covered under the adoption reimbursement program.

Applying for Reimbursement

In order to receive reimbursement, the service member must be on continuous active duty for a period of at least 180 days. Your adoption reimbursement request must be submitted within one year of the final adoption decree. 

To apply for reimbursement, the service member needs to fill out DD Form 2675, “Reimbursement Requests for Adoption Expenses.” 

When you submit the form, you will also be required to submit the following: 

  • Court documents proving the adoption
  • Copies of any receipts you are seeking reimbursement for
  • Proof of child’s U.S. citizenship if they are born in a foreign country

Additional Benefits When Adopting

When adopting a child, military members may not realize they are entitled to a few other benefits.

Deployment Deferment: A single member, or one member of a dual military couple, is eligible for a six-month assignment and deployment deferment. This means that the military member can stay in their home station during the period immediately following the date that the child is placed in the home. This deferment is optional and can be waived if the military member chooses.

Extra Leave: If the service member is eligible for the Military Adoption Program, he or she may also be eligible for up to 21 days of additional leave (this doesn’t count as regular leave) under Public Law 109-163. If the family is dual military, only one member of the household is eligible for this special leave. 

Mutual Assistance Loans: In some cases, military members may apply for a mutual assistance loan from the military relief organizations at their home installation. Be sure to talk with your assistance office about these loans, as there are stipulations regarding what will be reimbursed and what is considered a tax credit.

I’ve Started the Adoption Process, Now What?

Once the adoption has been finalized, military members should enroll their new child as a dependent in DEERS

Children younger than 18 who are placed in the home of a military service member by an adoption agency are considered dependents. They will be considered when travel and transportation allowances are determined and become eligible for military health benefits under Tricare.

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