Dependents of military members who have been convicted of domestic abuse are eligible for compensation from the Defense Department.
The Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents program provides temporary monetary payments and military benefits to dependents of service members who were separated from the military due to a dependent-abuse or child-abuse offense.
The Basics of the Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents Program
The program, which began in 1994, provides a monthly tax-free payment equal to the amount of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) amount. Currently, this amount is around $1,300 a month, but it changes every year. The program also provides medical coverage and travel reimbursement, as well as on-base shopping privileges.
Many domestic violence victims are reluctant to report the abuse because they worry about losing their sole means of support. This is especially true for military spouses, who are often far from their relatives and the support that an extended family can provide. This program was developed to provide a monetary backstop that will provide some means of support to victims.
Congress, in enacting this program, hoped that providing some type of monetary support to victims of domestic violence would encourage those victims to stand against abuse.
The travel payments offered by this program allow domestic violence victims to leave the area and move on with their new lives. Shipment of household goods is also authorized.
These benefits are paid for a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 36 months.
Who Is Eligible?
The spouse and children who were the victims of abuse at the hands of a service member who was convicted of, or discharged from the military for, dependent abuse are eligible for this program.
Crimes that may qualify as "dependent-abuse offenses" include violent crimes such as sexual assault, battery and murder. This is not an all-inclusive list.
If the spouse remarries, the benefits end. The benefits also terminate if the spouse moves back in with the abuser.
Children under 18 are also eligible to receive benefits; their eligibility can continue until age 23 if they are full-time students.
Recipients must recertify their eligibility every year.
Along with the transitional compensation program, the DoD offers several other types of support to victims of domestic violence. These include:
- Help finding a safe house or shelter
- Legal assistance
- Access to other types of military and civilian assistance.
This assistance is usually available through an installation's Family Advocacy Program, legal assistance office or chaplain.
The program is covered fully in DOD Instruction 1342.24.
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