During this difficult economic period, while all Americans are feeling the effects of the financial crisis, our military servicemembers, veterans, and their families are hit especially hard. The periodic relocations, mobilizations and deployments, and high unemployment rates throughout the country put a significant strain on our servicemember and veteran families. Schiff is dedicated to providing these families with economic assistance.
During the 111th Congress, Schiff supported the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act(S. 475), which was signed into law (P.L. 111-97) on November 11, 2009. This bill amended the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, revising specific provisions for spouses who relocate solely to accompany their servicemember serving under military orders. The legislation protects families from being disenfranchised or lose tax or other benefits due to moves that impact residency status.
Schiff is also a co-sponsor of the following legislation of the 112thCongress:
· Homeowners Assistance Program for Servicemembers(H.R. 237): Expands access to the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) for qualified members of the Armed Forces permanently reassigned during a designated mortgage crisis, allowing the Secretary of Defense greater flexibility regarding the dates of the availability of such assistance. Due to the nature of military orders, servicemembers and their families do not have the ability to "wait out" low property values--a problem that HAP addresses by providing financial assistance to qualifying families.
· Extend the Retroactive Stop-Loss Claim Period(H.R. 573): Extends the period of time during which claims for retroactive stop-loss special pay may be submitted until October 21, 2011. Stop loss is the DoD policy that retains servicemembers involuntarily beyond their established separation date, when needed. A 2008 bill (P.L. 110-329) required payments of $500 per month for servicemembers held under stop loss during fiscal year 2009. The 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-32) expanded the stop loss payments to all servicemembers and veterans who served under stop loss orders since September 11, 2001.
· Veterans Employment Transition Act(H.R. 865): Restores the work opportunity tax credit, which expired at the end of 2010, which provides a $2,400 tax credit for each veteran hired who has been discharged within the last 5 years, regardless of employment status. Allrecently discharged veterans with discharge paperwork showing 180 days of qualified active duty will be eligible, including men and women who were activated by their states as members of the National Guard.