Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), and Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) announced that they have introduced the Military Spouses Job Continuity Act, legislation that would help military spouses more easily re-enter the workforce by offering a tax credit to any military spouse who has to renew or transfer a professional license due to a military Change of Station order.
"When a military family is asked to move as part of their service to our country, the government should doing everything possible to make that transition seamless," Senator Casey said. "This tax credit would reduce one of the burdens military families face when they move. Congress should pass it right away."
"Our men and women in uniform are only as strong as the families who support them," Sen. Moran said. "Military spouses deserve the opportunity to seamlessly transition employment and continue working in their licensed career fields when moving across state lines. The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act reduces military families' financial burdens due to relocation by offering a tax credit to military spouses who must renew or transfer professional licenses."
"These men and women uproot their families and relocate in order to meet the needs of our national defense. In the process, military spouses face tremendous hardship and often have to put their careers on hold," Rep. Cartwright said. "This legislation only addresses some of the many sacrifices made by our nation's military spouses, but in a time when our economy is struggling, jobs are scarce, and people are having trouble making ends meet, this legislation would alleviate burdens on families whose service keeps our nation safe."
"Our all-volunteer force is built around strong families that share the sacrifices of deployments and frequent moves. I am pleased to continue and promote this commitment to the men and women that serve our nation by easing the burden as spouses work to maintain the professional credentials they have strived hard to acquire. This bill is a small but important step in our efforts to strengthen our military, our families, our economy and our nation," Rep. Wittman said.
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. Approximately 85 percent of military spouses either work, or desire to work, outside the home and nearly 35 percent of these require licenses or certification. At the end of 2012, there were 27 states that moved toward "state-to-state transfer of credentials" best practice legislation, made policy changes, or showed where the state has policy supporting the desired outcome
The bill is endorsed by the National Military Family Association, the Military Officers Association of America, the National Guard Association, and the Military Spouse JD Network.
The National Military Family Association: "We appreciate your leadership by introducing the Military Spouse Job Continuity Act. Our Association was pleased to work with your office to draft this important legislation for military families. Military spouses are financially disadvantaged by government ordered moves and your legislation helps offset the expense to obtain a new license or credential when a military family is relocated to a new duty station. Often a military spouse must obtain a new license in the new state before they can begin to work, which puts an additional strain on the family finances. Your legislation will greatly reduce the financial burden military spouses' face when they move from state-to-state."
The Military Officers Association of America: "MOAA applauds Senator Casey's strong support of the Military Spouse Job Continuity Act of 2013," MOAA President and CEO Norb Ryan said. "By allowing a $500 credit against income tax for amounts paid by military spouses for new state licenses, this bill alleviates some of the financial burden military families face from frequent moves from duty station to duty station in different states."
National Guard Association of the United States: "NGAUS strongly supports the Military Spouse Job Continuity Act which will go a long way in easing the ongoing career disruptions experienced by our military spouses whose indispensable support of the military and our country must never go unrecognized. They also serve."