If you’re in the military and considering adoption, you might wonder what adoption assistance is available for members of the military in North Carolina. Fortunately, there are a number of programs available to assist military members and their families who are interested in growing their families through adoption. You may be able to access significant financial assistance and social support services to help you before, during and after the adoption process. Here are some of the types of adoption assistance available to military families in North Carolina from our North Carolina adoption attorneys for military families:
Financial assistance for military families
The military offers significant financial assistance for military families that pursue an adoption. Active military members and their families qualify to claim financial assistance. The program includes reserve and National Guard members who are called to service for 180 days or more.
The federal government reimburses military families up to $2,000 to cover adoption-related expenses. You may use the reimbursement to defer the costs of pursuing an adoption including court costs and legal fees. If you adopt more than one child, you may claim up to $5,000 in adoption-related reimbursement each year.
The authority for the financial reimbursement program for military-family adoptions comes from Department of Defense instruction 1341.09. If both parents are in the military, only one parent may claim the reimbursement. If there’s another program that compensates parents for the same expenses, parents are ineligible to receive a second reimbursement through the program.
Adopting military parents can claim the military adoption reimbursement for children under 18. Infant adoptions, single-parent adoptions and inter-county adoptions all qualify. There may be other requirements to qualify like using an adoption agency to facilitate the adoption. Your North Carolina adoption attorney for military families can help you determine if you qualify for the reimbursement program and what you need to do to ensure your qualification.
To claim compensation under the program, you must complete Department of Defense form 2675, Reimbursement Request for Adoption Expenses. You have until two years after you finalize the adoption to make the request. If your deployment impacts your ability to make a request for reimbursement, you may be able to extend the two-year requirement. Along with form 2675, you must submit a copy of your active duty status and your adoption decree.
You must verify your qualifying expenses. You may claim expenses like legal fees, placement fees, counseling costs and birth expenses. Travel expenses and the costs of new bedding and toys are not covered.
Order adjustments to accommodate the adoption process
One of the most important steps in any adoption is the home study. Home studies are required in almost all adoptions. The purpose of a home study is to make sure that the proposed adoptive home is a good fit for the child.
If you have a deployment scheduled, you can delegate some tasks to your spouse or to another trusted party using a power of attorney. A power of attorney gives someone else the authority to sign documents on your behalf. With a power of attorney, your representative can complete some tasks for you in your absence.
While you can take care of some of the adoption paperwork using a power of attorney, you must be present for the home study. Fortunately, your command may help you adjust your orders if you notify them of the adoption and your adoption timeline. The military may offer adoption assistance by allowing you to modify a deployment or other assignment in order to accommodate the adoption process.
Medical coverage for your adopted child
Adopted children qualify to participate in the TRICARE medical insurance program. They may fully participate in the program as all other children of military parents may participate. Even though they qualify for TRICARE benefits like other children of service members, their enrollment in TRICARE is not automatic. You must file paperwork to notify the military that you have a new family member. In some cases, you may be able to receive medical assistance for a child who is placed in your home before the adoption is complete.
When you adopt, you may qualify to take a non-credited adoption leave. You may receive up to 21 days of leave for your adoption. It’s important to make a timely leave request and keep your commanders informed about your adoption plans and timelines so that they can help facilitate your leave and other assistance.
The federal adoption tax credit
In addition to the federal reimbursement credit available just for military families, military families adopting in North Carolina may also qualify for federal adoption tax credits. The federal adoption tax credit reimburses adopting families for adoption-related expenses up to $13,570 as of 2017. If an adopting family doesn’t use all of the credit in one year alone, they may roll the credit to the next year for up to five years.
The federal adoption tax credit operates a bit differently than the credit that’s available to only military families. Unlike the military family subsidy, you may use the federal tax credit for travel expenses. The tax credit is not refundable, so you can’t claim more than your total tax liability. There’s no credit available for adopting the child of your spouse.
Child care tax credits
Adopting parents in the military may qualify to take advantage of tax credits that defer the cost of child care. Parents can claim a percentage of their child care expenses as a tax credit. The tax credit applies until the child reaches a certain age unless the child remains under a disability. In addition to tax credits for child care, the military may have resources for child care for military families.
New parent military support
The military offers parent support for all new parents. You may take advantage of programs in place that help you ease the transition and address any difficulties. The family services program at your military installation can help you find the programs that meet your needs.
State of North Carolina monthly subsidies
Military families that adopt in North Carolina may be eligible to receive adoption subsidies. North Carolina has a program to help parents defray the costs of caring for a qualified child after an adoption. To qualify, the child must be in a category that the government considers high need to find an appropriate adoptive family. Children must be adopted from state care. If your child qualifies, they may receive an adoption subsidy each month until they reach the age of majority.
Military adoptions in North Carolina
There is significant financial assistance available to military families in North Carolina who adopt. Military families who adopt qualify to take advantage of a federal reimbursement up to $2,000 per child that’s only available to military families. In addition to the federal reimbursement program, you may qualify to take advantage of tax credits and the North Carolina adoption subsidy program. There are also family service programs that help parents find the social and emotional supports that may assist them with adoption. Bobby Mills can help you determine what programs you qualify for and what you should do in order to take advantage of the programs that are available to you as you add to your family through adoption.