Victims of abuse can feel isolated and discouraged. For the families of military service members, this isolation can be more intense because they often live far from extended family and friends. If you've bravely decided to leave an abusive relationship, transitional compensation is a financial benefit that can help you move and get back on your feet. To be eligible for the benefit:
- You must have been living in the home of and married to the service member.
- Your service member must have been convicted of a dependent-abuse offense.
- Your service member must have been either separated under a court martial sentence, sentenced to a forfeiture of all pay and allowances by a court martial for a dependent abuse offense or administratively separated, at least in part, for a dependent-abuse offense.
A dependent-abuse offense must be listed as a reason for the separation or forfeiture, although it does not have to be the primary reason.
What you need to know
If you're eligible to receive transitional compensation benefits, there are some important aspects of the benefit you should know.
- Amount of the benefit: The compensation amount is based on the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, which changes annually. Current amounts can be found at the Department of Veterans Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation website.
- Length of the benefit: The transitional compensation is available for the longer of 12 months or the unserved portion of the service member’s obligated active service. Compensation will not extend beyond 36 months.
- Maintaining eligibility: You will become ineligible for compensation and benefits if you remarry or move back in with the former service member while receiving benefits.
- Recertifying eligibility: If your compensation is available for more than 12 months, you will be required to recertify your eligibility for transitional compensation annually.
- Travel and transportation allowance: You may also be eligible to receive the travel and transportation allowance along with the transitional compensation benefit. This allowance helps abused spouses or parents of abused children who need to move away from the abuser for safety reasons and can be used to cover travel expenses and the cost of shipping household goods.
- Other benefits: As part of the Transitional Compensation Program, you may be eligible for other benefits including medical care, exchange privileges and commissary privileges.
Transitional compensation is one of the many resources available to you as a victim of domestic abuse. Your installation's Family Advocacy Program or legal assistance office can help you apply for transitional compensation and provide you additional information on legal topics such as divorce. Your installation's Family Advocacy Program is another great source of support, with victim advocates who can:
- Help you develop a safety plan for you and your family
- Help you find a safe house or shelter
- Provide counseling
- Accompany you to a medical exam or court appearance
- Refer you to additional military and civilian resources
Remember that as a victim of domestic or child abuse you are not alone. There are resources available to provide information and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.