Editorial by Connie Pillich who represents the 28th District in the Ohio House of Representatives and is a candidate for Ohio State Treasurer.
Making ends meet on active duty is not easy. I should know: I had just turned 23 when I was first assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base.
I expected to confront the unexpected there – things like 24-hour drills, briefing my wing commander, the Klaxon going off.
I found out quickly the “unexpected” also included fixing my car’s windshield wipers after they broke.
It took a month before I could afford to buy them.It took less than a week to figure out how to finance my bed – and more than a few months before I could completely pay it off.
I learned quickly how to apply for my first credit card. It took only a few trips to the auto repair shop to learn how quickly it maxed out. And the stress that comes with that.
But that’s the reality our service members and their families face. And unfortunately they stare down countless others.
The most recent Department of Defense study says working military spouses lose six to nine months of salary per relocation.
Imagine moving to a new state and immediately staring down the unemployment line.
Worse yet, imagine finding out you don’t qualify – a reality for Ohioans, where unemployment guarantees to military spouses are not permitted by law.
About 35 percent of trailing spouses require licenses for their profession. They relocate wondering if and when they’ll find a new job. Should they really have to fear being legally allowed to do their work as well?
But they move anyway. For their family. Without complaint.
As a veteran I know there’s no way to end the upheaval that military families face.
As a legislator I know our government could make life just a little easier.That’s why I introduced legislation which recognizes a military spouse’s license in Ohio, assuming he or she meets Ohio’s regulations for the same certification.
That’s why we are fighting to make sure our military spouses qualify for unemployment, even if it’s only for the six months it might take to find a new job in a new state.
There’s so much more we can do.
We can make sure our veterans know they are eligible for the Ohio Veterans bonus.All we have to do is put space on their income tax returns so they can identify themselves.
We can make sure they enroll in financial literacy courses, helping them plan for their futures and solve problems before they become crises.
I’m not saying we can make life in the armed services easy. It never is. But if we can make things just a little better for our military families, we can make a big difference.