Responding to a Request for Dependent Support In Bethesda, Part III

For example, if a marine is married with two minor children (3 dependents), then he or she will be required to pay either $699 per month as dependent support ($233 x 3 dependents), or ¾ of the BAH/OHA whichever is greater.  Assuming that the marine’s BAH is $2,500 per month, then dependent support would be $1,750 ($2,500 x ¾) per month (since it would be greater than the amount allowed under the chart ($699).  However, if the marine earned a total of $4,800 per month in pay and allowances, then support would be capped at $1,600 per month – since support cannot exceed 1/3 of gross total pay and allowances. 

If the same marine is providing a government housing unit and not receiving BAH, then the amount shown on the chart for three dependents applies ($699 per month).  It would be greater than ¾ of his BAH (as he is not receiving BAH while residing in a government housing unit).  Compare the USMC dependent support guidelines to the Navy’s which would require a payment of 60% of gross pay (about $2,880 per month) -- almost twice the one-third maximum allowed under the USMC guidelines.

Responding to a Request for Dependent Support:  In responding to a request for dependent support, the Marine may request a reduction or exemption from support if one of the following conditions exists:

 - Spouse’s Income Exceeds Marine’s Income. However, this does NOT relieve the Marine from providing support to minor children. 

- Spouse Abuse. The CO may reduce or excuse dependent support where the Marine is the victim of spouse abuse. The abuse must be established bya conviction, a permanent restraining order, or determination of the Family Advocacy Case Management Team that abuse occurred at a level II degree of severity or higher.

- Payment of Regular and Recurring Obligations of the Family Member Requesting Support. If the marine is paying debts of the dependents requesting support “of sufficient magnitude and duration as to justify a reduction or elimination of support” then the CO may reduce or excuse the support requirement. For example: if a marine is paying the auto insurance premiums for herself and her husband, then the portion of the auto insurance attributable to the dependent may be credited against the amount of support required.

Air Force:

Discussing the Air Force’s dependent support guidelines is a bit like talking about friendly ghosts.  There are no dependent support guidelines other than a general requirement that service members pay “adequate support to dependents”.  Like the other services, however, if there is a Court Order or Separation Agreement in effect then the Air Force requires its service members to pay support according to the Court’s Order or the parties’ Separation Agreement.

Also, the Air Force Instruction emphasizes that BAH with is intended for those providing support for dependents.  If the service member is not providing support to his or her dependents, then the Commanding Officer should reduce the BAH (to without dependents).  However, the Air Force’s policy toward dependent support guidelines seems to be reflected in the statement: “the Air Force has no authority to arbitrate cases of nonsupport or personal indebtedness." Para 3.1.2 of AFI 36-2906.