Oct 06 2015

Senators Offer Measure to Help Military Families

Bill will provide flexibility to families when duty station changes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) introduced the Military Family Stability Act of 2015, which will provide up to six months of geographic stability either before or after a service member’s permanent change of station report date. The bill will allow students to finish the school year or parents to be able to start or finish professional or educational programs.

“Our nation’s heroes do not serve alone and this is a great opportunity to help better take care of our military families,” said Blunt. “Too often spouses are forced to sacrifice their own careers to accommodate the needs of the military. More military spouses are working than ever before and abrupt relocations negatively affect military children in school. The buffer that this bill creates will allow military spouses to continue their employment or education for six months, and will allow the service member to move ahead of the family so the children can finish the school year. Along with my colleagues, I’m pleased to announce the introduction of this bill, which will add stability to the chaotic military relocation period that occurs every two-to-three years.”

Organizations that have endorsed the bill include: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), The American Legion, National Military Family Association (NMFA), The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), The Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Blue Star Families, and the Veterans Support Foundation.

“We’ve heard from our military families about the challenges they face when a service member is reassigned, and we need policies that better accommodate spouses with careers and children in school,” said Gillibrand. “The Military Family Stability Act would better serve the modern military family to give our service members, their spouses, and their children new resources and much-needed flexibility when they have to move. We owe it to them to pass this bill.”

Burr added, “I am pleased to support this important legislation that gives military families the flexibility they need during the difficult relocations they endure throughout their careers. This common sense bill makes transitions easier by allowing children to finish school and expanding job options for military spouses. I encourage my colleagues to support it.”

Hirono said, “Military families contend with many transitions as they move across the country and overseas in service to our nation. Often, spouses have to give up their careers because of the military’s schedule, and children have to start at a new school in the middle of the year. I’m proud to join Senators Blunt, Gillibrand, and Burr in this effort to allow families greater flexibility to meet their obligations while supporting our service members.”

When service members receive orders to relocate, their families face challenges: should they move their children in the middle of the school year; how will they cover the cost of relocating; and what to do about a spouses job opportunities? The Military Family Stability Act of 2015 will provide support for families that may choose to live apart from the service member so that a spouse can find a new job or children can finish out a school year to help ease this burden. It will provide families with greater flexibility in timing their relocation and greater peace of mind.