Legislation introduced last week by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) would help alleviate the burden experienced by military spouses trying to maintain professional careers when their family moves to a new duty station.
The bipartisan bill would require DOD to reimburse military spouses up to $500 for licensing fees for each permanent change of station. The measure also would expedite license portability and require the department to look for ways to improve the military spouse unemployment and underemployment rate.
“Military spouses serve too — and my bill will help alleviate unnecessary stress and expenses, help ease the transition, and will give these spouses and their families some deserved predictability,” Stefanik said, according to a news release.
Fourteen members of the House, representing both parties, are original co-sponsors of the Lift the Relocation Burden from Military Spouses Act.
“With each government ordered move, military spouses incur high costs for recertification or licensure,” said Joyce Wessel Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. “This bill will help offset the cost of government ordered moves to ensure career-military spouses can seek a new licensure or certification and become employed at their new duty location right away.”
New York lawmakers recently addressed the issue of license portability for military spouses moving to their state. A measure approved in the Legislature last month will allow military spouses to receive a temporary six-month permit if they already have a license from another state, and a six-month extension to receive a New York-equivalent license. The bill is expected to aid in more than 50 fields, including medicine, architecture, accounting and social work, reported the Watertown Daily Times.
“That’s a great step in increasing some of the population of spouses and families that come to Fort Drum instead of staying in their current location,” said Fort Drum Deputy Garrison Commander Eric Wagenaar.