Today, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill joined Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in introducing legislation that would help military spouses more easily re-enter the workforce after a relocation. The Military Spouses Job Continuity Act offers a tax credit to any military spouse who has to renew or transfer a professional license due to a military Change of Station order.
"Military spouses are forced to move frequently in support of their spouse serving in uniform, and the cost of new professional certifications is just one of the many expenses involved," McCaskill said. "I'm pleased to support legislation that helps make it easier for military spouses, more and more of whom are highly educated and who pursue independent careers, to maintain their professional credentials and support their families in this economy."
Other co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Ted Kaufman (D-DE) and Roland Burris (D-IL).
"In order to maintain a highly effective force, we not only have to take care of the men and women in uniform, but also their families who patriotically share the sacrifices of military service," said Casey. "The Military Spouses Job Continuity Act will help ease the transition of relocation for families and allow military spouses to more easily re-enter the workforce."
"Our military spouses deserve not only the thanks of a grateful nation, but all of the help and benefits we can provide. This legislation is a common sense step to reduce the costs associated with the red tape our military spouses confront as they move and work to further their careers," said Murray.
"This bill is a common sense step to help lessen the burden of relocation on military families," said Nelson. "By making it easier for military spouses to continue their professional work in another state, we're easing the limits that frequent relocation can place on the families that support our men and women in uniform."
"With every change of station, the families of our men and women in uniform are asked to make many sacrifices -- including in their professional lives," said Kaufman. "The tax credit established by the Military Spouse Job Continuity Act is one way we can help ease their transition process and recognize the sacrifices military spouses make in their service to our nation."
More than 1.1 million active duty service members in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy received Change of Station orders from 2008 to 2009. With the frequency of Change of Station orders, most military spouses are already limited to career paths that allow them to follow their spouse. This legislation decreases this barrier for military spouses after relocation and helps them more easily re-enter the workforce by providing a tax credit of up to $500 when a military family moves across state lines.
The tax credit would be applicable for the renewal or transfer of a professional license in a range of fields including child care, nursing and health services, all of which are common occupations of military spouses.
U.S. Representative Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) introduced the House version of the Military Spouses Job Continuity Act (HR 4693) earlier this year.
The National Military Family Association has endorsed the Military Spouses Job Continuity Act.