Stefanik’s bipartisan bill would help military spouses gain employment prospects

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is cosponsoring a bipartisan bill to decrease the unemployment rate for the spouses of United States military service members.

“Under current law, a service member’s promotion deems military spouses ineligible for benefits that would improve their employment prospects,” Rep. Stefanik said. “Military spouses already face an unemployment rate six times higher than the national rate.”

Rep. Stefanik on June 11 introduced the Spouse Employment Reciprocity and Vocational Instruction for Career Enhancement (SERVICE) Act, H.R. 3191, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and cosponsor U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to make a key job training program accessible to military spouses regardless of the service member’s rank.

H.R. 3191 would end restrictions on the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) My Career Advancement Account program, which currently designates spouses as ineligible if a service member is promoted out of approved pay grades, according to a summary provided by Rep. Stefanik’s office.

“I’m proud to introduce this bill with Congressman Kim to get rid of a system technicality that further exacerbates this problem and will continue my record of supporting our military spouses and doing all I can to thank them for their incredible sacrifice,” said the congresswoman.

If enacted, the bill would provide more military spouses with up to $4,000 in tuition funds that could be used for certifications, licenses and associate degrees, according to the summary, and would require DOD to produce a study on how to improve the job training program.

The measure has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.