One of the biggest challenges associated with being in a military family is having to frequently move, an issue which is especially prevalent as many servicemembers and their loved ones prepare for the arrival of permanent change of station (PCS) season this spring. There are many obstacles that come with moving, ranging from emotional challenges to financial issues, and in an effort to help reduce the stress of the move, Montana Senator Jon Tester is sponsoring legislation to make the process easier.
Military spouses often face the greatest obstacles associated with a PCS because it can have a significant impact on their ability to find a job. Having to move so frequently often requires them to earn new licenses or certifications depending on the state. In fact, an estimated 35 percent of military spouses have a job that requires them to have some sort of certification. Tester's bill would offer a tax credit to this portion of the military community in the hopes of making the transition to a new location that much easier.
"Serving our nation is a decision that involves entire families, and we need to make sure we support everyone affected by a career in the military," Tester said. "This bill will support military spouses as they adjust to their new surroundings and make staying in the military an easier choice for American families who already sacrifice so much."
A significant need
Tester's bill addresses a significant concern among military families. In fact, an estimated 1 million servicemembers have to change location each year, something which has taken a substantial toll on the unemployment rate among military spouses. According to the Department of Defense (DOD), the unemployment rate for that particular demographic stands at about 26 percent – significantly higher than the civilian population.
Other challenges as well
Finding work in a new environment is one obstacle, but there are many others associated with a PCS. This is especially true for families who have children. Youngsters in the military community have to grapple with challenges like disruptions in schooling. The average military child will have to attend between six and nine different schools by the time they graduate from high school, according to the University of Pennsylvania.