Voluntary acknowledgement of paternity

  • Published
  • By Stephanie Weymouth
  • 28th Force Support Squadron Alutiiq customer service team lead
As of March 27, uniformed service sponsors are now eligible to voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child born to unwed parents in order to facilitate entitlements of military benefits to children affected by this policy.

Previously, these children could only be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System under two circumstances: pursuant to a judicial determination of paternity or pursuant to a determination that the child is living in the household of the member and is dependent upon the member for more than 50 percent of his or her support. In coordination with the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, the policy expanded to include the children of members who sign a legally-binding Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.

A state-recognized Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, along with a birth certificate, can now be presented for enrollment. Each state maintains a procedure to allow a father to voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child born to unwed parents. The state where the child and mother are located will normally be where the acknowledgement will originate from. The sponsor will then present the notarized form to the nearest identification card issuance facility to have the child added to DEERS for dependent child status.

The sponsor has 60 days from the date of enrollment to voluntarily disenroll a child whose relationship was established under VAP criteria. After 60 days, the child's eligibility is established and falls under established child criteria. Disenrollment after 60 days will not occur, even if based on a court document, unless that document was generated as a result of fraud committed by the mother. As such, it is very important that the sponsor be sure the child is his.

Should he discover the child is not his, he must take action by the 60th day in order to disenroll the child; 61 days or later, the child remains his dependent. To attempt to disenroll an enrolled child using the VAP, the sponsor must visit the legal office and acquire a signed affidavit to present to the issuing facility.

For more information about this policy, please contact Ms. Weymouth, 28 FSS Alutiiq Customer Service team lead at (605) 385-2434.