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Recent Actions & Accomplishments for Military Families

Military Families

The 111th Congress is addressing the needs of America's service men and women as well as those of their families.  While we salute our men and women in uniform for the courage and bravery that they exhibit in battle, we must also recognize the sacrifices of their families.

In recent years, the Congress has worked in a bipartisan manner to more closely analyze the needs of the family while military personnel are deployed; equally important, we need to make certain that families have the tools they need for transition when loved ones return home.  To date we have made progress in the key areas of jobs and the economy, health care, family support, housing and education.  More needs to be done as more troops are expected to be returning home in the coming years.


  • MILITARY PAY RAISE:  Provided all service members a pay raise of 3.5 percent in 2008 and 3.9 percent in 2009 and 3.4 percent in 2010. (2007-2009)
  • NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES:  Provided businesses a $2,400 tax credit for hiring unemployed veterans in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (2009)
  • DISABLED VETERANS ECONOMIC RELIEF:  Provided disabled veterans a payment of $250 to help make ends meet during this economic downturn in the Recovery Act (ARRA). (2009)
  • TAX CUTS:  Provided $1.2 billion in tax cuts for military personnel and families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and recovery rebates for military families. (2008)
  • FAIR PAY:  Authorized DOD to pay a portion of a second family separation allowance when both military parents are deployed simultaneously. (2008)  To help reservists called up for active duty avoid a pay cut, provided a tax credit for small businesses who continue to pay these National Guard and Reserve employees when they are called up to serve.  (2008)
  • VETS CORPS:  Established a first of its kind Veterans Corps to provide services to veterans and military families (ranging from building veterans houses, assisting with veterans' rehabilitation and assisting military families during deployments), as well as create volunteer opportunities for veterans to take advantage of their skills and experience and put them back to work. (2009)
  • ENHANCED SPOUSAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES:  Authorized tuition assistance and training opportunities for military spouses seeking careers that can be maintained as they move from station to station. (2008)  Established an internship pilot program for military spouses to obtain federal employment to provide them with opportunities in careers that are portable. (2009)
  • ENERGY JOBS FOR VETERANS ACT:  House passed H.R. 4592, to increase job opportunities for veterans by reimbursing employers for veterans' on-the-job training in the energy sector. (2010)
  • NATIONAL GUARD EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION ACT:   House passed H.R. 1879, to extend key reemployment rights to all of those called up for full-time National Guard duty, including those assigned to a homeland security mission. (2009)
  • VETERANS SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE & SERVICEMEMBERS PROTECTION:  House passed H.R. 3949, to require VA to ensure veterans-based small business preferences in federal contracts are targeted toward veterans, and relieves deploying and transferred service members from penalties for early termination of contracts for family cell phones, rental leases and car leases. (2009)


  • NEW GI BILL FOR COLLEGE:  Restored the promise of a full, four-year college education for about 2 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, making them part of the economic recovery.  Veterans can sign up now. More than 475,000 veterans have signed up for these benefits with over 240,000 veterans are attending college this spring.  (2008)
  • TRANSFERABILITY OF NEW GI BILL EDUCATION BENEFITS TO FAMILY MEMBERS for troops with 10 years of service, or six years of service with a commitment of four more.  (2008)
  • GI BILL EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN OF FALLEN SOLDIERS:  All children of service members who have died on active duty since 9-11-01 are eligible for the full education benefit.  Applications are now being accepted.  (2009)
  • STRENGTHEN EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR RESERVISTS:  Allowed Reservists on active duty to use enhanced education benefits for 10 years after leaving the reserves.  Reservists with three years of active duty service qualify for education benefits at 80 percent of the active duty rate.  (2007)


  • REDUCED RED TAPE AT DOD: Created the Wounded Warrior Resource Center to serve as a single point of contact for service members, their families, and primary caregivers to report issues with facilities, obtain health care, and receive benefits information. (2007)
  • ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS FOR SMOOTH TRANSITION FROM DOD TO VA:  Congress called for and President Obama announced the creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic record to provide troops with a single, accurate, and paperless medical record from enlistment through retirement -- key to cutting costs, eliminating errors, and providing seamless care.  (2007, 2009)
  • MILITARY HOSPITALS:  Have provided $2.3 billion for new hospitals that serve military personnel and their families at Fort Benning, Fort Riley, Fort Hood, Camp Pendleton, and Camp Lejeune since 2007 (in the FY08 supplemental, the FY09 Milcon-VA appropriations bill, and ARRA).
  • LOWER COST, BETTER QUALITY MILITARY HEALTH CARE/BAN HEALTH CARE FEE INCREASES:  Protected military families from increases in TRICARE co-pays and deductibles, and restored over $1 billion in military health care funding. (2008)  Prohibited TRICARE fee increases for one year to stop Defense Department proposal to increase inpatient hospitalization charges for military retirees and families by $110-a-day.  (2009)
  • PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE:  Established a series of Preventive Health Care Projects, and waived co-payments for preventive services for all TRICARE beneficiaries. (2008)
  • EXPANDED HEALTH CARE FOR RESERVISTS:  Expanded TRICARE health coverage to reserve members and their families for 180 days prior to mobilization, instead of just 90 days. (2009)
  • POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER:  Required a comprehensive DOD policy to address traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions; established DOD Centers of Excellence on PTSD and TBI to improve treatment, research, training and rehabilitation; guaranteed a VA mental health assessment within 30 days of request; and expanded hiring of mental health professionals. (2007) Established mandatory, confidential one-on-one mental health screening for all returning veterans. (2009)
  • HISTORIC FUNDING FOR QUALITY VA HEALTH CARE:  Have increased veterans' funding by $23 billion (more than 60 percent) since January 2007 -- including the largest single increase in the history of the VA.  These increases have resulted in:  VA hiring nearly 17,000 doctors and nurses, adding 145 Community-Based Outpatient Clinics and 92 Vet Centers for local mental health screening and counseling, and making health care available for 266,000 Priority 8 veterans (who make less than $33,000 per year) by the end of 2010.  (2007-2009)
  • TIMELY AND RELIABLE VETERANS HEALTH CARE FUNDING:  Authorized Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance.  Provided advance appropriations of over $48 billion for VA medical in 2011.  This will ensure reliable and timely funding.  (2009)
  • WOMEN VETERANS' HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT:  Expanded and improved VA health care services for the 1.8 million women who have bravely served, providing up to seven days of care of newborn children of women veterans for the first time in history, and enhancing treatment for sexual trauma and PTSD for women at the VA. (2010)


  • CAREGIVERS FOR WOUNDED WARRIORS:  Provided help to family members and other people that take care of disabled, ill or injured veterans, such as training, counseling, and respite care, and eliminated copayments for catastrophically disabled veterans. (2010)
  • FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE FOR FAMILIES OF SOLDIERS WOUNDED IN COMBAT:  Provided 6 months of unpaid, job-protected leave to the spouse, parent, child, or next of kin of service members who suffer from a service-connected injury or illness. (2007)
  • CHILD CARE FACILITIES:  Invested in expanding child care spaces on military bases by roughly 20,000 since 2007, including $239 million in the Recovery Act. (2007-2009)
  • MILITARY FAMILIES SUPPORT:  Made key investment in family advocacy programs, which provide military families with access to child psychologists, child care, financial counseling and other support to help cope with the disruption and stress common with military life. (2009)
  • MILITARY FAMILY READINESS:  Established a Military Family Readiness Council to enhance and improve support services for families of soon-to-be deployed servicemembers and required DOD to develop comprehensive policy and plans to support military families before, during and after deployment. (2007)  Required DOD procedures to ensure an adequate family care plan is in place for a single military member with dependents and dual military couples with dependents. (2008)
  • MILITARY SPOUSES RESIDENCY:  Gave military spouses the ability, like service members, to keep or change residency when they move from station to station -- eliminating the need to file tax returns for multiple states or change vehicle and voter registrations at each move.  (2009)
  • MILITARY FAMILIES TAX DECREASE:  Established a special survivor indemnity allowance in a first step toward ending the Military Families Tax, which unfairly penalizes about 55,000 survivors of those who died from service-connected injuries.  These widows lose most of their survivor benefits if they also receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits (because their spouse died of a service-connected injury).  Congress increased the allowance to $150 per month in 2014 and doubling it to $310 by 2017. (2007, 2009)
  • STOP LOSS PAYMENTS:  Provided 185,000 troops who have had their enlistments involuntarily extended since 9/11/01 with $500 per month for their service under stop-loss orders. (2009)


  • QUALITY FAMILY MILITARY HOUSING:  Worked to eliminate inadequate military family housing, using both government construction and public-private partnerships, resulting in a $24 billion investment in family housing more comparable in standards with private homes. 
  • HELP FOR MILITARY HOMEOWNERS HARMED BY THE HOUSING CRISIS:  Expanded DOD's Homeowners Assistance Program and provided $555 million in FY 2009 and $323 in FY 2010 to help military families forced to sell their homes at a loss because of orders to relocate, or wounds incurred on deployment. (2009)
  • HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR RETURNING VETERANS:  Prohibited home foreclosures for nine months after military service; increased the VA home loan limit; enabled more veterans to refinance their existing high-risk loans through VA home loans; and made thousands of veterans eligible for low-interest loans. (2008) House passed H.R. 3976, to extend protections safeguarding veteran homeowners from foreclosure immediately following deployment. (2010)
  • END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS ACT:  House passed H.R. 4810, to strengthen successful comprehensive programs for homeless veterans through investments, with special attention to the needs of homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children. (2010)