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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 27, 2022

Nursing mothers on temporary orders to be reimbursed for breast milk shipping and storage 

By Nicole Bertrand, MyCG Writer

Nursing mothers on temporary duty (TDY) under official travel orders can now get reimbursement for costs related to shipping and storing breast milk. This new policy, which went into effect on April 7, extends this benefit to active duty and reservist members. Civilians were approved for this in October 2021.

Members can expect to see this update to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) May 1, allowing up to $1,000 per TDY order for reimbursable costs. This will help offset costs and allow mothers to continue pumping while away from home, enabling them to transport the breast milk back to their children. Each time a member who is also a nursing mother travels on orders, she is eligible for this benefit.  

Expenses may include reasonable commercial shipping fees, excess baggage, disposable storage bags or non-durable containers, cold shipping packages, refrigeration, and transport. In order to claim these expenses on your travel claim, save your receipts. 

“This new JTR Regulation reinforces the military’s overall family support for both active and reserve in the Coast Guard,” said Webb Moore, the compensation chief in the Office of Military Policy.

The Joint Initiative Workgroup presented research regarding shipping costs per week:

  • Shipping within the continental U.S - $279
  • Shipping from the continental U.S. to outside the continental U.S. - $579

Granting nursing mothers reimbursements began as a joint service initiative that started in February of 2021. This new policy was approved by the Military and Civilian Advisory Panel under JTR. JTR implements policy and law to establish travel and transportation allowances for uniformed service members, to include all six armed services as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps., Public Health Service Commissioned Corps., Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees, and others traveling at the DoD’s expense.

Prior to this policy’s enactment, the Coast Guard was the only service that offered reimbursement of breast milk shipping and storage expenses. Coast Guard Mutual Assistance - a non-profit organization that provides financial aid to the entire Coast Guard family - has been reimbursing members up to $750 per calendar year for breast milk shipping and storage expenses.

If a member wants to turn down temporary duty due to maternity-related issues, she can do so without penalty thanks to another family-friendly measure. In February, the Coast Guard enacted a deferment policy authorizing members to postpone deployment during pregnancy and 12 months after birth.

Temporary duty cannot last more than 180 consecutive days. However, a member can be TDY more than 180 days a year, provided they are not consecutive. There is no limit to the number of times a member can be on TDY in any given year. 

To benefit from this policy, you will need to claim expenses on your travel claims when returning from your trips. Each unit has an administrative office that you will work with to complete the TDY travel claim and file for reimbursement. 

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