Army Family Separation Pay: What it is and How it Works

When I look back on what I think were some of the most difficult times while serving in the Army, it wasn’t the hard work or the difficult person I would have to work with or for. No, the most difficult part was being separated from my family.

The Army understands that family separation is difficult. In most cases, there can be added costs. The member who has been separated may be the one who takes care of the children, mows and does lawn care, house repairs, or any number of other tasks that other people within the family structure cannot do. This may mean hiring outside contractors which can lead to financial burdens.

Yes, the separated member is getting a steady paycheck from the Army, and they are probably sending a large portion of this back to pay bills, but the Army felt that the family deserves more to pay for those items the separated member usually handled while at home.

In today’s post, I am going to explain Army Family Separation Pay: what it is and how it works. It is an added benefit for Army service members to guarantee their families are comfortable while the service member is gone.

What Army Family Separation Pay Is

When a service member is forced to deploy or be located to another duty station, be it within or outside the United States, dependents of that service member may be entitled to Army Family Separation Pay. Again, I state dependents. If a service member is single and has no dependents, there is no eligibility for the Army Family Separation Pay.

Conditions that create possible eligibility for Army Family Separation Pay are;

  • The service member is on Temporary Duty (TDY) away from their permanent duty station for an extended period of time. If the member’s dependents do not live near the TDY station, the dependents may be entitled to Army Separation Pay.

  • The service member has been sent to a permanent duty station, but the government will not authorize transportation for the member’s dependents at the government’s expense. This situation could entitle the dependents to Army Family Separation Pay.

  • The dependent has authorization to travel with the service member to their permanent duty station, but because of medical reasons, they are not able to travel to that location. This situation could be a reason to authorize Army Family Separation Pay.

  • The dependents are residing within the vicinity of the permanent duty station, but due to conditions they are relocated to a safer location, this could be a reason for Army Family Separation Pay.

  • There could be other situations that would create eligibility. A service member should consult their chain of command, and possibly fill out the form DD 1561 and let the government determine if the service member’s dependents are eligible for Army Family Separation Pay.

You can download a copy of DD 1561 here.

Another case that has come to light is when a married couple are both service members and are separated to different duty stations. In a case such as this, both members are normally entitled to Army Family Separation Pay.

How Army Family Separation Pay Works

When any of the situations above are met, and the government has entitled the service member’s family to Army Family Separation Pay, the payment will be $250 per month, or prorated to $8.33 per day To the service member’s dependent/s.

A person is not considered a dependent if:

  • They are institutionalized for more than 1 year.

  • The dependent does not reside in a home that is under the service member’s control and supervision.

  • The dependent is legally separated from the service member, or the service member’s children are under legal custody of a different person. This would be an exception if children are under joint custody.

If dependents visit the service member’s permanent duty station more than 3 continuous months, they are not entitled to Separation Pay. If a dependent stays at or near the permanent duty station with the service member for more than 30 days, they will not be entitled to Army Family Separation Pay for that period.

Some Faqs

  • Retired Army service members are not eligible for Army Family Separation Pay.

  • Army National Guard members are eligible for Separation Pay if under Federal orders.

  • Army National Guard members are not eligible for Separation Pay if under State orders.

  • and, Army National Guard members who are drilling are not usually entitled to Separation pay, unless the annual drill will last for more than 30 days.

  • All the above coincides with Army Reserve members too.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, the best way to determine if you and your dependents are eligible for Army Separation Pay is to read this completely, and if you are still wondering, fill out the form DD 1561 and submit it to your service personnel office. You may want to consult your leaders, or if you have any questions about Army Family Separation Pay, you can post your question below, and we will do our best to find an answer.

We would love to hear your comments both positive or negative about the Army Family Separation Pay. What are your experiences with it. Please post them below, and thank you for visiting.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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