Washington, D.C. – As the nation celebrates Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Joint Economic Committee Chairman Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged Congress to take actions to strengthen the employment prospects of military spouses, including passing legislation he introduced that would defray the professional certification costs faced by military spouses when they have to move and transfer or renew a license as a result of their spouse’s service in the military.
Each year, as part of their service to the country, thousands of servicemembers receive Change of Station (PCS) orders to relocate. Servicemembers and their families move much more frequently than the overall population: between 2007 and 2011, spouses of servicemembers were almost 14 times more likely to have moved across state lines than civilian spouses and ten times more likely than all other households. (See chart) The frequent moves require that military spouses change jobs often, and many spouses face new certification and licensing fees that can be several hundreds of dollars.
“On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we recognize the important work military spouses do every day for their families and our nation,” said Chairman Casey. “Military spouses are often the unsung heroes, supporting their families during deployments and organizing moves to new locations. It’s hard enough to regularly pick up, move your family, get kids set up in school and find work. Confronting new licensing and certification fees each time makes it even more difficult to make a successful job transition. The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act will help ease the transition to a new location by making it easier and less costly for military spouses to find a new job after a move.”
The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act (S. 697) would provide a tax credit up of to $500 when a family moves due to a Change of Station order and the spouse is required to renew or transfer their license. Nearly 35 percent of military spouses work in professions that require licenses and certifications. The top three occupations for military spouses – teachers, childcare workers and registered nurses – each require licenses or certifications. The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act is supported by the National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families of America, National Guard Association of the United States and the Reserve Officers Association.