Reps. Kim and Stefanik Pass Bipartisan Effort in NDAA to Support Military Spouse Employment

June 13, 2019
Press Release

Reps. Kim and Stefanik Pass Bipartisan Effort in NDAA
to Support Military Spouse Employment

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) passed elements of H.R. 3191, the SERVICE Act, through the House Armed Services Committee as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. The bipartisan effort, endorsed by the National Military Family Association, would lower military spouse unemployment by making a key job training program accessible to additional military spouses.

“With nearly a quarter of military spouses unemployed, we simply cannot wait to take action to give them the help they need to find good paying jobs,” said Congressman Kim. “I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Stefanik to move this forward in support of our military families.”

The Spouse Employment Reciprocity and Vocational Instruction for Career Enhancement (SERVICE) Act would end restrictions on the Department of Defense’s My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program which make spouses ineligible when a servicemember gets promoted out of approved paygrades. By ending the eligibility limits, the SERVICE Act would give additional military spouses funding for up to $4,000 in tuition for certifications, licenses and associate degrees. These programs would help spouses find work often impaired when they move states and lose license eligibility due to reciprocity issues.

According to a recent report from the Department of Defense, active duty spouses face a 24 percent unemployment rate. That is more than six times the current national unemployment rate.

The full text of the passed language incorporated into the NDAA is below and can be found in Title VI, Subtitle D of the bill. The NDAA will now to go the full House for final passage.

Section 6XX—Modification to Authority to Reimburse for State Licensure and Certification Costs of a Spouse of a Member Arising from Relocation. This section would require the Secretary concerned to increase the maximum reimbursement amount to $1,000 and to do an analysis to determine if the maximum reimbursement amount for State licensure and certifications of a spouse is sufficient to cover the average costs of relicensing.

Section 6xx—Continued Eligibility for Education and Training Opportunities for Spouses of Promoted Members  This section would extend the eligibility for any spouse who is eligible for the My Career Advancement Account program and begins a course of study leading toward a qualifying degree, license, or certification, and would ensure they will not be subsequently made ineligible to complete their studies solely because the sponsoring service member has been promoted to a higher grade.