Finally, spouses get their due (and help)

Eric Dehm
July 12, 2018 - 3:14 pm

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alex A. Quiles)


When a military family moves, service members have a job waiting for them. Their spouses often do not.

When a military family is preparing to transition to veteran status, service members have counseling services, TAP classes and more available to assist them. Their spouses do not.

When veterans look for work post-service there are government benefits and programs that help them in the search. For their spouses, there are not.  

That's all about to change, thanks to provisions that Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) worked to get into the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act. As the son of a WW2 and Korea veteran, Perdue tells he understands the importance of taking care of military families both during, and after, their service. The provisions aim to address a number of concerns faced by military and/or veteran spouses including:

  • Preferential hiring for federal agencies similar to what veterans currently receive. 
  • Financial assistance for job training.
  • Financial assistance for re-credentialing in a new state.
  • Expanded access to childcare
  • Access to transition counseling such as TAP class when leaving the military. 

The Senator says he believes it's not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do as well. When a service member comes to that fork in the road where it's time to decide on making it a career or heading to the civilian world, Perdue says there are factors that can push things in the military's favor so that valuable experience isn't lost. And there has been improvement in recent years in many areas, such as special forces.

"Part of that is the fact that more attention is being paid to the family unit," Perdue says. "Look, we have a lot of work yet to do. We lose good men and women every year because of potential retirement plan inaccuracies and healthcare concerns, school concerns, employment concerns. The military has awakened to the fact that we don't just employ the person in uniform, we employ the entire family."

Perdue is also reaching across the aisle to work alongside Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) to create a pilot program addressing traumatic brain injuries. He's also introduced recent legislation aiming to curtail what he calls the "black market" surrounding the sales of Purple Heart Medal by second-hand vendors. He says he's committed to ensuring that the veteran and military communities know that Congress is working for them. 

"There are four words: we have your back," Perdue says. "...people in uniform need to know the people back here fully support them, honor them and appreciate the sacrifices they're making."

To listen to the full interview with Sen. Perdue, click Play below. To listen later, click Share and select download from the available options.

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