The happiness and fulfillment of adopting a child often comes at significant financial expense for the adopting parents. Fortunately, for service members who are considering adoption or have recently adopted a child, the Department of Defense offers valuable benefits through its Adoption Reimbursement Program. Before you adopt, find out whether you're eligible and what kinds of benefits you may receive.
Adoption Reimbursement Program eligibility
To qualify for benefits through the DoD Adoption Reimbursement Program, service members must meet the following requirements:
- Be on active duty for at least 180 days
- Adopt a child under the age of 18
- Adopt through a qualified adoption agency or other source authorized to place children for adoption under state and local laws
- Submit a claim within one year of the adoption finalization and before the service member is discharged from the military
The Adoption Reimbursement Program will reimburse eligible service members for the following "reasonable and necessary" expenses. Keep in mind, however, that "reasonable and necessary" fees do not include travel costs incurred for the adoption or any expenses associated with an adoption arranged in violation of federal, state or local laws. They can include the following:
- Public and private adoption agency fees, including fees charged by an agency in a foreign country
- Placement fees, including fees charged to adoptive parents for counseling
- Legal fees, including court fees, for services that are unavailable to service members
- Medical expenses, including hospital expenses of the adoptive child's biological mother or a newborn infant to be adopted, medical care given to the adoptive child/children before the adoption, and physical examinations for the biological mother of the child to be adopted
- Temporary foster care charges when payment of such charges is required before the adoptive child can be placed
Applying for reimbursement
To be reimbursed for expenses through the Adoption Reimbursement Program, your application for reimbursement must be submitted within 365 days of the final adoption decree. Your personnel office may be able to help with the form and additional required paperwork. You will need the following documentation:
- Reimbursement Request for Adoption Expenses. To request reimbursement, you will need to fill out a DD Form 2675. The form is available in your personnel office or online. Submit this form, along with the other required documents (below) to your personnel office.
- Documentation and receipts. You will be required to substantiate all expenses with receipts or cancelled checks. In addition, you must provide verification that the adoption is final and that it was arranged by a qualifying agency.