The Second Lady of the United States – Karen Pence – announced a new campaign on September 25th that will allow military spouses reimbursement from the federal government for expenses connected with the cost of renewing an occupational license or certification. This new campaign is meant to encourage, elevate, and thank spouses for the part they play in their serving member’s military career. It is often said, and rightly so, that spouses are the “backbone” of their military family; the spouse that is left behind must pick up the pieces and keep the family going when the serving member leaves for a one-year deployment. The exact process for reimbursement is still being worked out at this time.
What will Occupational Licensing Portability Look like?
In the Department of Defense, they are working on a Military Spouse License Portability initiative where they encourage states to adopt one of three options for licenses issued by a different state:
- Issue an endorsement to an existing license.
- Provide a temporary license for spouses who do not qualify for an endorsement.
- Expedite the process of getting a new license in their new state of residence.
As of 2017, all 50 states were on board with at least one of the three options; many choose all three. The status of states is depicted below:
|Endorse + Temporary + Expedite||Endorse + Temporary||Endorse + Expedite||Expedite||Temporary + Expedite||Temporary|
|AL, AR, AZ, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, LA, MA, MS, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WY||CT, IA, KY, ME, NC, OH, WI, WV, WY||KS||NH||AK, CA, DE, MD, MN, NE, NY||IL, MO, MI, NJ|
Military Spouses are getting support from multiple sources
In another initiative from the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), they have entered into an agreement with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership to work with states to make it easier for military spouses to transfer occupational licenses between states. In the past, many of the states would not honor a license that had been issued by another state. You can visit veterans.gov/milspouses to see a mass of the license transfer option sof any state. The coding on the map summarizes the applicable state law currently in place, so the information differs slightly from the table above. Military spouses should always contact their new state of residence to find out the current law and policies in effect regarding the transferring of occupational licenses as it is rapidly changing under these three initiatives.
Not only is having to change a license expensive, but in most cases results in a delay in finding employment. These initiatives should help on both of these fronts.