United States Military Pay and Benefits
Family Separation Allowance (FSA) is payable only to members with dependents. Basically, family separation allowance is payable when a military member is forced to be away from his/her dependents for longer than 30 days, due to military orders.
There are two types of FSA: type I and type II. Both types are payable in addition to any other allowance or per diem to which a member may be entitled. A member may qualify for both types for the same period.
When most people think of "Family Separation Allowance," they are thinking of Type II. It is payable when a military member is forced to be separated from his/her dependents for longer than 30 days and is a set amount of payment each month. Type I, on the other hand, is payable when a military member is forced to be separated from his/her dependents and must live off-base. In this case, the member is paid an additional "housing allowance" in addition to any housing allowance he/she may already be receiving to provide housing for his/her dependents.
Family Separation Allowance Type I
The purpose of Type I FSA is to pay a member for added housing expenses resulting from enforced separation from dependents when the military member must live off-base at the new location.
- Family Separation Allowance - Is payable to each member with dependents who is on permanent duty outside the United States or in Alaska who meets all of the following conditions:
- Transportation of dependents to the permanent duty station or to a place near that station is not authorized at government expense.
- Dependents do not live at or near the permanent duty station.
- Adequate government quarters or housing facilities are not available for assignment to a member, and the member is instructed to reside off-base.
Family Separation Allowance Type II rates are the same as Overseas Housing Allowance, (OHA) rates (without dependents).
Family Separation Allowance Type II
Type II FSA provides compensation for added expenses incurred because of an enforced family separation under any one of the following conditions:
- Transportation of dependents (including dependent acquired after the effective date of orders), is not authorized at government expense and the dependents do not live in the vicinity of the member's home port/permanent duty station.
- The member is on duty aboard a ship, and the ship is away from the homeport continuously for more than 30 days.
- The member is on TDY (or temporary additional duty) away from the permanent station continuously for more than 30 days, and the member's dependents are not residing at or near the TDY station. It includes members who are required to perform a period of the TDY before reporting to their initial station of assignment (such as basic training and technical school/AIT/A-School).
The amount of FSA Type II, payable is $250.00 per month.
Military Married to Military
FSA-II is payable to a member married to another member regardless of whether the member has any non-active duty dependents when all other general conditions are met, and provided members were residing together immediately before being separated by reason of execution of military orders.
Not more than one monthly allowance may be paid with respect to a married military couple for any month. Each member may be entitled to FSA-II within the same month, but both cannot simultaneously be entitled. Payment shall be made to the member whose orders resulted in the separation. If both members receive orders requiring departure on the same day, then payment will go to the senior member.
If a member meets the requirements for credit of FSA-II, but entitlement is precluded by an existing entitlement status of the spouse, then the second member may if still qualified, immediately become entitled to FSA-II upon termination of the spouse's status. The couple may qualify for sequential entitlements to FSA-II provided military orders keep them continuously separated.
To qualify for a subsequent entitlement to FSA-II, a married member couple, no longer separated by reason of military orders, shall reestablish a joint household and reside together.
Dependent Separation Requirements
A member is not considered "a member with dependents" for FSA-II entitlement when:
A. The sole dependent is placed in an institution for a known period of over 1 year or for an indefinite period which may be expected to exceed 1 year.
B. The sole dependent is a spouse legally separated or child(ren) in the legal custody of another person. Exception: When the member has joint physical and legal custody of child(ren), and the child(ren) otherwise would reside with the member, but for the current assignment, the member shall be considered as a "member with dependents" for FSA-II entitlement.
C. The member's dependent parent does not reside in a home, which the member controls, supervises, and maintains for mutual use when circumstances permit.
Temporary Social Visits by Dependents
Family Separation Allowance, Type I, and FSA Type II when member is on a PCS Assignment where Dependents are not authorized to travel at Government Expense: Credit continues to accrue while the member's dependents visit at or near his or her permanent station, but for no longer than 3 continuous months. Facts clearly must show that the dependents merely are visiting (not changing residence) and that the visit is temporary and not intended to exceed 3 months. If, for unforeseen reasons (due to illness or other emergency), a bona fide social visit extends beyond 3 months, stop credit for FSA at the end of the 3-month period.
If the visit initially is intended to exceed 3 months, stop FSA credit the day before the dependents arrive at the member's permanent station. Credit is again authorized on and after the day that the dependents depart from the permanent station. A member is entitled to FSA-I and/or FSA II, however, even though one or more (but not all) dependents visit for longer than 3 months if the member is entitled on behalf of the dependents who are not visiting the member.
Family Separation Allowance, Type II, when member is TDY: Credit continues to accrue to a member whose dependents visit at or near the temporary duty station continuously for 30 days or less. Facts must show the dependents merely are visiting. If the visit exceeds 30 days, the member is not entitled to FSA for any part of the period, unless the visit is extended because of illness or other emergency. Under such circumstances, payment of the allowance is limited to 30 days. Entitlement to FSA resumes on the day that the dependents depart the temporary duty station if the member's TDY extends for more than 30 days from that date.
Entitlement to FSA exists if one or more(but not all) of the dependents visit for longer than 30 days if the member otherwise is entitled on behalf of the dependents who are not visiting the member.
Family Separation Allowance, Type II, when member is assigned to a ship, deployed away from home-port: Credit continues to accrue to the member whose dependents are visiting at or near the duty station (or any port) continuously for 30 days or less. Facts must show that the dependents merely are visiting. If the visit exceeds 30 days, entitlement to FSA ends on the day preceding the date of dependent arrival, unless the visit is extended because of illness or other emergency. Under such circumstances, payment of FSA is limited to 30 days.
Entitlement to FSA exists if one or more (but not all) of the dependents visit for longer than 30 days if the member otherwise is entitled to FSA on behalf of the dependents who are not visiting the member.
Dependents Reside Near Duty Station
Family Separation Allowance does not accrue to a member if all of the dependents reside at or near the duty station. If some (but not all) of the dependents voluntarily reside near the duty station, FSA may accrue on behalf of those dependents who do not reside at or near the duty station. Consider dependents as residing near a duty station if the member actually commutes daily, regardless of distance.
Consider dependents as residing near a duty station if they live within a reasonable commuting distance of that station, whether or not the member commutes daily. A distance of 50 miles, one way, is normally considered to be within reasonable commuting distance of a station; however, the 50- mile rule is not inflexible. Unusual conditions may permit a determination that dependents do not live within a reasonable commuting distance, even though the distance involved is less than 50 miles one way.
In a situation where the distance is less than 50 miles, but the time required to commute one way by commonly used route and method of transportation would exceed 1-1/2 hours, the dependents shall be considered as not residing near the member's duty station unless the member actually commutes daily.
If dependents are authorized concurrent travel with the member to the duty station and are subsequently authorized to reside at a point over 50 miles from member's duty station for personal reasons, rather than as a result of military restriction on dependents' travel, FSA entitlement does not accrue.
For detailed information about Family Separation Allowance entitlement, see Department of Defense (DOD) Pay Regulation, Volume 7A (Active Duty & Reserve Pay), Chapter 27-- Family Separation Allowance (FSA).