Story by SrA Susan Roberts on 06/13/2019Many military spouses put their careers on hold as they follow their military spouses' careers, supporting them through life changes and permanent change of station moves around the world. With a new location every few years, spouses can have a difficult time maintaining employment and professional careers.
Air Force leaders have said that in order to retain quality Airmen in the service, the Air Force has to retain their families too. Recently, the Air Force made some changes to ensure civilian spouses have better opportunities while they support their military spouses' careers.
One Dyess Air Force Base spouse has already taken advantage of this new reimbursement program through the Air Force that offers up to $500 for re-licensure and recertification.
"The license I held prior to being in Texas was in South Dakota, so it made this process perfect for me to move here and get this financial assistance," said Jamie Lytton, Hendrick Medical Center physician's assistant, and wife of U.S. Air Force Maj. Travis Lytton, 7th Component Maintenance Squadron commander. "As I think about going to the next state, the nice thing is I can reuse this process. It's not just a one-time deal. It's every time you PCS, and that's a huge deal. That means I can travel with my husband and have that coverage financially."
This Total Force program, which includes active-duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen on Title 10 orders, will reimburse spouses up to $500 for relicensing fees, to include exams and registration, provided they meet the criteria for reimbursement.
While license and certification requirements vary by state, the military is looking to make the process as easy as possible.
"Some of the career fields we see military spouses struggling in are teachers, medical field workers and public service workers," said Deanna Dlugiewicz, Airman and Family Readiness Center flight chief. "This is something that's long overdue for our military spouses. It will keep families together and strengthen our military families."
In order to qualify for this financial reimbursement program, the Airman's PCS orders must be authenticated on or after Dec. 12, 2017, must be PCSing between stateside bases, to include Hawaii, Alaska, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories, and the qualifying relicensing costs must be incurred and paid after the date the member's orders are authenticated. Reimbursement is not authorized for moves to or from overseas, Career Intermission Program, retirement or separation from the Air Force.
Spouses must also be recertified within the same career field as their previous state's certification. The reimbursement will not cover costs for new certifications.
"The goal is for military spouses to keep their careers," said Dlugiewicz. "As spouses, we shouldn't have to lose our careers in the process, instead we should have careers right alongside our service members."
To apply for reimbursement on a state occupational relicense or recertification, contact the finance office at 325-696-4193. You must provide a copy of applicable PCS orders, a copy of your spouse's original state occupational license and the paid receipts for items required to obtain relicensing in the new duty location. The finance office will help you fill out the correct forms to receive reimbursement.
To find a full list of state occupation licenses, visit www.veterans.gov/milspouses/.
For more information, visit the Air Force Personnel Center website at www.afpc.af.mil/Benefits-and-Entitlements/Employment-Resources/.