38 CFR § 17.390 - Reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses incurred by certain veterans.

prev next
§ 17.390 Reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses incurred by certain veterans.

(a)General. A covered veteran may request reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses incurred by the veteran in the adoption of a child under 18 years of age.

(1) An adoption for which expenses may be reimbursed under this section includes an adoption by a married or single person, an infant adoption, an intercountry adoption, and an adoption of a child with special needs (as defined in section 473(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 673(c))).

(2) Reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses may be requested only for an adoption that became final after September 29, 2016, and must be requested:

(i) No later than 2 years after the adoption is final; or,

(ii) In the case of adoption of a foreign child, no later than 2 years from the date the certificate of United States citizenship is issued.

(3) In the case of adoption of a foreign child, reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses may be requested only after United States citizenship has been granted to the adopted child.

(4) Reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses may not be made under this section for any expense paid to or for a covered veteran under any other adoption benefits program administered by the Federal Government or under any such program administered by a State or local government.

(b)Limitations.

(1) Reimbursement per adopted child. No more than $2,000 may be reimbursed under this section to a covered veteran, or to two covered veterans who are spouses of each other, for expenses incurred in the adoption of a child. In the case of two married covered veterans, only one spouse may claim reimbursement for any one adoption.

(2) Maximum reimbursement in any calendar year. No more than $5,000 may be paid under this section to a covered veteran in any calendar year. In the case of two married covered veterans, the couple is limited to a maximum of $5,000 per calendar year.

(c)Definitions. For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Covered veteran” means a veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment.

(2) “Qualifying adoption expenses” means reasonable and necessary expenses that are directly related to the legal adoption of a child under 18 years of age, but only if such adoption is arranged by a qualified adoption agency. Such term does not include any expense incurred:

(i) For items such as clothing, bedding, toys and books;

(ii) For travel; or

(iii) In connection with an adoption arranged in violation of Federal, State, or local law.

(3) “Reasonable and necessary expenses” include:

(i) Public and private agency fees, including adoption fees charged by an agency in a foreign country;

(ii) Placement fees, including fees charged to adoptive parents for counseling;

(iii) Legal fees (including court costs) or notary expenses;

(iv) Medical expenses, including hospital expenses of the biological mother and medical care of the child to be adopted; and

(v) Temporary foster care charges when payment of such charges is required before the adoptive child's placement.

(4) “Qualified adoption agency” means any of the following:

(i) A State or local government agency which has responsibility under State or local law for child placement through adoption.

(ii) A nonprofit, voluntary adoption agency which is authorized by State or local law to place children for adoption.

(iii) Any other source authorized by a State to provide adoption placement if the adoption is supervised by a court under State or local law.

(iv) A foreign government or an agency authorized by a foreign government to place children for adoption, in any case in which:

(A) The adopted child is entitled to automatic citizenship under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1431); or

(B) A certificate of citizenship has been issued for such child under section 322 of that Act (8 U.S.C. 1433).

(d)Applying for reimbursement of qualifying adoption expenses. An application for reimbursement must be submitted on a form prescribed for such purpose by VA. Information and documentation must include:

(1) A copy of the final adoption decree, certificate or court order granting the adoption. For U.S. adoptions, the court order must be signed by a judge unless either State law or local court rules authorize that the adoption order may be signed by a commissioner, magistrate or court referee. The covered veteran must submit a full English translation of any foreign language document, to include the translator's certification that he or she is competent to translate the foreign language to English and that his or her translation is complete and correct.

(2) For foreign adoptions, proof of U.S. citizenship of the child, including any of the following:

(i) A copy of Certificate of Citizenship.

(ii) A copy of a U.S. court order that recognizes the foreign adoption, or documents the re-adopting of the child in the United States.

(iii) A letter from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which states the status of the child's adoption.

(iv) A copy of the child's U.S. passport (page with personal information only).

(3) For U.S. adoptions, documentation to show that the adoption was handled by a qualified adoption agency or other source authorized by a State or local law to provide adoption placement. Acceptable forms of proof that the adoption was handled by a qualified adoption agency include:

(i) A copy of placement agreement from the adoption agency showing the agreement entered into between the member and the agency.

(ii) A letter from the adoption agency stating that the agency arranged the adoption and that the agency is a licensed child placing agency in the United States.

(iii) Receipts for payment to the adoption agency, as well as proof, (e.g., a copy of the agency's web page), of the agency's status as a for-profit or non-profit licensed child placing agency.

(4) For foreign adoptions, documentation to show that the adoption was handled by a qualified adoption agency. In addition to the forms of acceptable proof that the adoption was handled by a qualified adoption agency listed in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, the documentation must also include:

(i) A document that describes the mission of the foreign agency and its authority from the foreign government to place children for adoption; and

(ii) A placement agreement from the adoption agency or letter from the adoption agency stating the specific services it provided for the adoption.

(5) Documentation to substantiate reasonable and necessary expenses paid by the covered veteran. Acceptable forms of documentation include receipts, cancelled checks, or a letter from the adoption agency showing the amount paid by the member. Receipts from a foreign entity should include the U.S. currency equivalency. Reconstruction of expense records is permissible when the original records are unavailable and the covered veteran submits a notarized affidavit stating the costs.

(6) Checking or savings account information to facilitate VA providing reimbursement to the covered veteran under this section.

(e)Failure to establish eligibility. If documents submitted by a covered veteran in support of an application for reimbursement do not establish eligibility for reimbursement or justify claimed expenses, VA will retain the application and advise the covered veteran of additional documentation needed. All requested documentation must be submitted to VA within 90 calendar days of VA request.

(f)Authority. Authority to provide reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses incurred by a covered veteran in the adoption of a child under 18 years of age expires September 30, 2018.

(Approval for information collection under this section has been requested from the Office of Management and Budget)
[83 FR 9212, Mar. 5, 2018]