MOAA, Military Coalition on Capitol Hill to Address Military Spouse Unemployment

MOAA, Military Coalition on Capitol Hill to Address Military Spouse Unemployment
Military spouses and other job seekers attend a career fair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on March 3, 2023. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Jordan Lazaro/Air Force)

Next week, MOAA and fellow members of The Military Coalition (TMC) will unite on Capitol Hill and urge lawmakers to co-sponsor a bill bringing new, meaningful support to military spouses fighting a cycle of unemployment and underemployment.


For more than a decade, military spouses have grappled with an unemployment rate of 20% or higher, attributed to the challenges posed by frequent, mandatory moves. The Military Spouse Hiring Act would include military spouses as a qualifying group within the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program, encouraging employers to hire them, reducing unemployment rates, and offering them valuable career opportunities.


[TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Legislators to Support the Military Spouse Hiring Act]


Military spouses serve alongside their servicemembers, facing the unique and often daunting challenges of military life. Frequent moves, deployments, and the demand for flexibility make it difficult for military spouses to establish and maintain successful careers. Resulting unemployment and underemployment creates financial strain and limited opportunities for professional growth. The Hidden Costs of Military Spouse Unemployment, a report from Hiring Our Heroes, details some of the negative long-term impacts, such as lost retirement savings.


WOTC, established by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1996, incentivizes employers to hire individuals from specific target groups who often face significant barriers to employment. However, military spouses have been consistently overlooked in this program, despite their exceptional skills, resilience, and dedication. This bill would fix this oversight.


A History of Advocacy

For years, MOAA and other TMC members have been at the forefront of advocating for military spouse employment. Through their collective efforts, these organizations worked together on legislative changes to support the professional pursuits of this community which sacrifices so much.


Significant effort and funding have gone into addressing military spouse unemployment, but it persists. That is one reason MOAA has consistently advocated for the inclusion of military spouses in the WOTC program – instead of common programs designed to enhance a spouse’s employability, this legislation incentivizes businesses to hire them.


Passing the Military Spouse Hiring Act would allow spouses to walk into an interview armed with the incredible skills they bring to the table … and a WOTC-eligibility document. Addressing the continued high unemployment rate is going to take a multipronged approach – this is just one angle.


Join Our Efforts

MOAA and TMC need your help to solve the military spouse unemployment crisis. Take five minutes to contact your lawmakers from the comfort of your own home. Visit MOAA’s Legislative Action Center and ask your representative and senators to support the Military Spouse Hiring Act.


Every voice matters, and collective action can bring about meaningful change.


The upcoming visit to Capitol Hill by MOAA and TMC represents a significant milestone in the ongoing battle to reduce military spouse unemployment. The nation has come a long way toward creating an environment that recognizes and supports the talents and contributions of military spouses, but there’s work to be done.


Support Military Spouses

Donate to The MOAA Foundation and support MOAA’s efforts to help military spouses in their career journeys.

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About the Author

Jen Goodale
Jen Goodale

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