MOAA-Backed Bill Would Make Spouse Licensure Support Program Permanent

MOAA-Backed Bill Would Make Spouse Licensure Support Program Permanent
Military spouses take part in a 2019 job fair at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Photo by Giancarlo Casem/Air Force)

Almost 4 in 10 military spouses work in a profession requiring licensing or certification. These spouses are disproportionately affected by state-specific licensure requirements, causing delays and gaps in employment after military moves.

 

Although the Defense-State Liaison Office (DSLO) works to develop interstate compacts for a variety of professional fields including nursing, physical therapy, teaching, social work, and dentistry/dental hygiene, the progress is slow. States such as Utah and Alabama are leading the way with legislation enacted to support numerous interstate compacts, but states like New York and California are severely lagging behind with no compacts enacted to date. You can check the status of all 50 states by visiting the DSLO website.

 

[STATE-BY-STATE BENEFITS: MOAA's Military State Report Card and Tax Guide]

 

Relicensing costs add up quickly with PCS moves every two to three years. The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorized the reimbursement of qualified relicensing costs up to $500, including exam and registration fees. The FY 2020 NDAA raised the maximum reimbursement amount to $1,000, but this program has a sunset date of Dec. 31, 2024.

 

Earlier this year, Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) joined Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) to introduced the Military Spouse Jobs Continuity Act (H.R. 7840) – legislation permanently authorizing the military spouse licensure reimbursement program.

 

Military-mandated moves are not going to stop, and with the continued high rate of unemployment among military spouses, the permanent establishment of this program is a must.

 

[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your House Member to Support the Military Spouse Jobs Continuity Act]

 

“Although DSLO continues to make progress with interstate compacts for many professions, the more than 30% of spouses who work in licensed or credentialed fields still face significant issues when transferring across state lines,” said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), president and CEO of MOAA. “The reimbursement program is an important measure to help mitigate these burdensome fees until reciprocity is reached for all licensed/credentialed fields across all 50 states.”

 

Cartwright has long been a champion for the military spouse community, originally introducing the Military Spouse Job Continuity Act in the 113th session of Congress and in subsequent sessions until its inclusion in the FY 2018 NDAA.

 

Contact your representative today and urge them to support H.R. 7840 to permanently authorize the military spouse licensure reimbursement program.

 

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About the Author

Jen Goodale
Jen Goodale

Goodale is MOAA's Director of Government Relations for Military Family Policy and Spouse Programs.