Parenting and Children – Benefits
Raising a family can be costly. As a service member, you qualify for numerous family benefits that assist with the expenses of the necessary items – education, medical care and child care. Take advantage of all your military benefits, including adoption allowances and grants, to help pay for children’s expenses.
New Parent Program
The New Parent Support Program, staffed by nurses, social workers and home visitation specialists, provides many services including:
- Supportive home visits to expectant and current parents
- Prenatal and parenting classes
- Play groups
Tuition-free and reduced-cost education
The Department of Defense is committed to making sure all military children have the opportunity for a quality education. To that end, the department offers:
- 172 Department of Defense Education Activity schools around the world for school-aged military children. Eligible students can attend on a tuition-free basis.
- When it comes to paying for higher education, the GI Bill, in some cases, allows you to transfer education benefits to your family.
- TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health care program, is one of your most valuable military benefits that extends to your family. Family members must be enrolled in the DEERS system by the military member or "sponsor" to receive care.
- Check out TRICARE webinars to learn more.
Military child care programs
You can turn to the Department of Defense for quality, affordable child care options. These options – both on the installation and off – can put your mind at ease while you work. Contact your installation's child development center for more information on its child care programs and options.
- Thanks to the Department of Defense Adoption Reimbursement Program, you can claim up to $2,000 per child and $5,000 per calendar year in reimbursement for certain adoption expenses.
- Service members may to eligible for 21 days of non-chargeable adoption leave.
- Families adopting a child may qualify for a tax credit (up to $13,810 in 2018) to help offset adoption costs. If you can't use all the credit in one year, it may be carried forward.
Military OneSource specialty consultations
No need to pay expensive consultation fees for guidance on education, adoption, special needs or other parenting issues. Military OneSource offers free specialty consultations with experts trained in a variety of topics to address your issues. Consultants provide:
- Information about financial aid, scholarships, tutoring and colleges.
- Guidance on specialized doctors, medical-equipment resources and medical benefits for children with special needs.
- Information on military-related financial assistance for adoption and other adoption-related needs.
- Confidential support on a range of parenting issues for expectant parents and parents of children up to age 5.
Military OneSource also offers confidential non-medical counseling services via telephone, face-to-face or through secure live video session or online chat.
Military and Family Life Counseling Program
- Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors provide support to military children for a variety of issues, including low self-esteem, behavioral problems and changes at home. Contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center.
Kids aren’t free. You have a surprising number of benefits as a military family. See something you want to know more about or are curious about something not listed? Visit Military OneSource or call at 800-342-9647.