Family Separation Allowance (FSA)
Army National Guard: Federal Active Duty
Benefit Fact Sheet
Family Separation Allowance (FSA) is payable to Soldiers with dependent Family members when the Soldier is required to be away from his or her permanent duty station for more than 30 continuous days in a TDY status and his/her dependents are not residing at or near the temporary station.
Army National Guard Soldiers who are assigned or deployed to locations where their dependent Family members are not authorized to accompany them may be eligible for FSA. Wounded Warriors may also be eligible for FSA.
The purpose of the FSA is to provide compensation for added expenses incurred due to enforced Family separation. Currently all types of FSA are payable in the monthly amount of $250. Soldiers serving in any grade with dependents are eligible for FSA as long as they meet the general requirements and one of the conditions of the three types of FSA. FSA applies to Soldiers serving inside or outside the United States but is not authorized when a Soldier performs duty at any station under permissive orders.
Effective October 1, 2008, FSA is also payable to both members of dual military couples (both are military Service members) when they reside together immediately before both being assigned to duty assignments that meet any of the conditions described below. The dual allowance continues as long as both members are in those assignments. When one of the members is no longer assigned to the FSA-qualified duty assignment, the other member continues to receive a single allowance until that member is also no longer in that qualifying assignment.
Types of FSA
There are three types of FSA which may apply to Soldiers:
- FSA-R (Family Separation Allowance--Restricted) which applies to the following conditions:
a) the transportation of dependents is not authorized at government expense and dependents do not live in the area of the Soldier's permanent duty station; OR,
b) the transportation of dependents is authorized but a dependent cannot accompany the Soldier due to certified medical reasons and the Soldier elects an unaccompanied tour of duty.
- FSA-T (Family Separation Allowance--Temporary) which applies when a Soldier is on temporary duty continuously for more than 30 days away from their permanent duty station and their dependents are not residing at or near the TDY station. This includes Soldiers who:
a) must perform TDY before reporting to their initial permanent duty assignment;
b) redeploy for a period of 30 days or less to the permanent duty station and then deploy again for a period of more than 30 days; dependents are not required to reside in the area of the permanent duty station for this to apply.
- FSA-S (Family Separation Allowance--Ship) which applies when a military member is on duty aboard a ship that is away from homeport for more than 30 days continuously; this includes the situation when a military member redeploys for a period of 30 days or less to homeport and then deploys again for a period of more than 30 days; dependents are not required to reside in the area of the permanent duty station for this to apply.
Depending on the type of FSA being received there are limitations that apply to visits by dependents that determine whether the allowance continues or stops:
- FSA-R: Soldier's dependents cannot visit the permanent duty station for more than three continuous months and the facts must clearly show that the dependents are visiting and not changing residence. If the visit extends beyond 30 continuous days, FSA will be stopped but started again on the day the dependents depart the permanent station. A Soldier is entitled to FSA-R even if one or more (but not all) dependents visit for longer than three months. The Soldier is paid FSA on behalf of the dependents that are not visiting or remaining for more than 3 months.
- FSA-T: Soldier's dependents can visit the temporary duty station for 30 continuous days or less. Facts must clearly show they are only visiting. If the visit is more than 30 days, the Soldier is not eligible for FSA for any part of that period; unless the visit is extended due to illness or another emergency when the allowance payment is limited to 30 days. Payment of FSA resumes the day the dependents depart the temporary duty station provided that the TDY period extends for more than 30 days beyond that date. A Soldier is entitled to FSA-T even if one or more (but not all) dependents visit for longer than 30 days. The Soldier is paid FSA on behalf of the dependents that are not visiting or remaining for more than 30 days.
- FSA-S: Military members continue to receive FSA as long as dependents visit the duty station or port for less than 30 continuous days. Facts must show that dependents are truly visiting. If the visit is longer than 30 days the FSA entitlement ends on the day before the dependents arrived; unless the visit is extended due to illness or another emergency when the allowance payment is limited to 30 days. A military member is entitled to FSA-S even if one or more (but not all) dependents visit for longer than 30 days. The Soldier is paid FSA on behalf of the dependents that are not visiting or remaining for more than 30 days.
Dual Military Couples
Married military members are both eligible to receive full FSA ($250 each for a total of $500) when they reside together with their dependents immediately prior to both being assigned to qualifying duty assignments. The dual allowance continues until one of the members is no longer assigned to a qualifying duty assignment. The other member will continue to receive FSA until no longer assigned to a qualifying duty assignment.
Wounded Warriors continue to receive FSA following their date of injury in accordance with the Pay and Allowance Continuation (PAC) Program that began May of 2008. Wounded Warriors continue to receive FSA without interruption when none or some but not all of his/her dependents can visit the temporary duty station for more than 30 days. If all dependents visit the Wounded Warrior for more than 30 days FSA stops until the dependents depart.
Definition of Dependents
If any of the following conditions exist the Soldier is not considered to be a military member "with dependents" for FSA entitlement:
- 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;
- The sole dependent is a Spouse legally separated or a Child(ren) in the legal custody of another person. The exception occurs when the Soldier has joint physical and legal custody of the Child(ren) and the Child(ren) otherwise would reside with the member at least 14 days each month but for the current assignment, the member shall be considered as a "member with dependents" for FSA entitlement;
- The Soldier has been awarded joint legal and physical custody of the Child(ren) as a result of a court ordered custody agreement or finalized divorce decree, which provides that the Child(ren) physically reside with the member less than 14 days during the month; or
The Soldier's dependent parent does not reside in a home, which the Soldier controls, supervises and maintains for mutual use when circumstances permit.
Applying for FSA
Soldiers must complete DD Form 1561 (Statement to Substantiate Payment of Family Separation Allowance) before the FSA entitlement can be started.
Department of Defense (DoD) Financial Management Regulation, chapter 27, Family Separation Allowance: http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/documents/fmr/Volume_07a.pdf
Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) allowances information: http://www.dfas.mil/dfas/militarymembers.html
For additional information on possible changes to this benefit as a Wounded Warrior, please visit the Wounded Warrior Pay section of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) website at:
Document Review Date: 1 January 2016