HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Air Force members are required to meet their financial obligations in a proper and timely manner. This includes financial support to family members.
Airmen are required to comply with financial support provisions of court orders as well as signed written support agreements. In the absence of any such order or agreement, Airmen are still required to provide adequate support for their family members. Failure to do so could subject an Airman to administrative or disciplinary action to include recoupment of allowances or even being criminally charged with Failure to Obey a Regulation.
Unfortunately, what constituted “adequate support” had not been defined, until recently.
On July 30, 2018, AFI 36-2906, Personal Financial Responsibility, was republished with significant revisions defining and clarifying what type of support Airmen are required to provide family members and under what circumstances.
As before, Airmen are still required to comply with court orders and written agreements. But now, in the absence of an applicable order or agreement, the updated AFI requires Airmen to provide support to each family member in accordance with a “pro-rata share” formula.
A pro-rata share is determined by dividing a member’s “applicable non-locality basic allowance for housing at the with dependents rate” by the number of dependents to be supported. Note that a member’s full BAH is not used in this calculation. Rather, the non-locality BAH, which may be a new concept to many, is used.
An E-5 with dependents stationed at Hill AFB may receive $1,317 a month, for BAH, taking into account that it may be more expensive to live in the Salt Lake-Ogden area than other locations.
However, the non-locality portion of that BAH for an E-5, no matter where stationed, is only $972 a month.
All BAH rates, including the non-locality rates can be found easily online at https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.
For example, a staff sergeant lives out in town with his wife and their two children. He also has an older child from a previous relationship who is living with the other parent in another state. The other parent calls the sergeant’s commander complaining about non-support.
Absent a court order or signed written agreement to the contrary, the staff sergeant would be required to provide support for his older child in the amount of $243 a month, or a quarter of his non-locality BAH.
Should he separate from his wife and other two children, he would be required to provide the remainder of his non-locality BAH, that is $729, a month, to them as support.
The pro-rata share formula under certain conditions may exclude particular family members from the calculation, to include those who are incarcerated, those who are active-duty servicemembers, those who have committed domestic abuse upon the Airman, or a spouse who makes more money than the Airman.
Under certain circumstances, a commander may relieve an Airman of a support obligation to a spouse after providing support under the AFI for 18 months and meeting other conditions. If the family is living in government family housing, the Airman may not be required to provide any further support.
Many of the new rules under the AFI may be complex and difficult to understand. Whether you are an Airman or a dependent family member, and want to know what may be required in your situation, contact the base legal assistance office at 801-777-6626 to schedule an appointment with one of our legal assistance attorneys.