Senate Bill Would Give Surviving Spouses More Access to Career Resources

Senate Bill Would Give Surviving Spouses More Access to Career Resources
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Surviving spouses of servicemembers who died on active duty or due to a service-connected disability would gain access to free job counseling services under a bipartisan Senate proposal.


[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Senators to Support Enhanced Career Counseling for Military Survivors]


Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) recently introduced the Gold Star and Surviving Spouse Career Services Act (S. 3746), which would allow surviving spouses to receive career counseling from specialists within the Department of Labor’s Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP).


“After the terrible loss of a service member, we must do everything that we can to support their families,”  Hassan said in a Feb. 7 press release announcing the bill’s introduction. “This bipartisan bill is a commonsense way to help address the challenges that surviving spouses can face in their careers, and we must continue working to support our service members and their families.”


In the same release, Cassidy noted the importance of supporting these spouses with meaningful action, not just sentiment.


“We often thank the wife or husband of those serving overseas for their sacrifice,” he said. “If we really mean this, then a Gold Star spouse should be able to continue to access the services that they accessed when their husband or wife was alive.”


DVOP, housed within Veterans Employment and Training Services at the Department of Labor (DOLVETS), provides state-level funding to hire specialists who provide individualized career services to eligible veterans and spouses experiencing significant barriers to employment. The program is not currently available to the more than 450,000 service-connected surviving spouses across the country.


[UPDATED MONTHLY: MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Corner]


Surviving spouses can have lower incomes in the years following a servicemember’s death due to barriers such as psychological effects and time demands preventing full participation in the workforce, studies have shown. Providing support to surviving spouses through expanded eligibility for DVOP services will not require additional funding, according to Department of Labor officials.


MOAA recognizes the unique challenges of surviving spouses and continues to work to enhance ways to help this community. We appreciate Senator Hassan’s focus on improving employment opportunities for military spouses at all stages; as an original co-sponsor of the Military Spouse Hiring Act and a supporter of the SECURE 2.0 Act, the senator understands the significant impact military service has on the entire family.


[ACT NOW: Urge your Lawmakers to Co-Sponsor the Military Spouse Hiring Act]


Please join MOAA in our efforts to improve access to career counseling services for surviving spouses by asking your elected officials to co-sponsor the Gold Star and Surviving Spouse Career Services Act.


Surviving Spouse Resources From MOAA

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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.