WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Jodi Palmer knows frequent moves are just a part of Navy life. Countless hours, she says go into preparing for a military move. It’s a drill she knows all too well as the wife of Cmdr. William Palmer.
The family recently moved across country, their sixth permanent change of station (PCS), after a tour in Norfolk.
Her husband was slated to take command of Fleet Readiness Center Northwest. Getting the family moved there in one piece was her job. This included finding a way to continue her own career as a nurse.
“For those spouses that have an established career that requires re-credentialing or re-licensing in a new state, it has previously been an expensive and time consuming task on the PCS ‘to do’ list,” she said.
All that changed this past year when the Navy started reimbursing the cost of re-credentialing after a permanent change of station move to a new state.
“As a registered nurse, I am so thankful for a career that has portability but it does come with a cost,” she said. “The military spouse reimbursement program has taken away the added expense and worry that is associated with each move and the realignment of my career.”
The Navy is now upping the ante by raising the maximum reimbursement to $1,000. In addition, the program has been extended by Congress another two years – now allowing reimbursements to be paid through December 2024. Additionally, the Navy has also widened the eligibility options. Spouses who held a professional license at a previous duty station but chose not to renew their license at succeeding duty station are also eligible now for reimbursement.
Current estimates show that a third of military spouses have jobs that require state-issued credentials to work. Since the program kicked off last June, the Navy has reimbursed nearly 200 Sailors for the cost of their spouse’s credentialing costs, which also includes any required testing.
According to Navy statistics, the majority of reimbursements are for healthcare licenses. Education credentials are a distant second place.
“This is an incredible benefit for families and spouses – it’s one less expense they don’t have to absorb – they can get reimbursed with it,” said Ron Ates, a branch head within the pay and personnel department at Navy Personnel Command.
“The more the word gets out about this, the more Sailors can be reimbursed – we want to see more Sailors take advantage of this benefit,” Ates said.
It’s the military member who actually submits their spouse’s expenses to the Navy, Ates said. That’s a legal thing. Payment directly to the Sailor’s bank account takes, on average, just four days.
The maximum reimbursement level depends on when the service member’s orders were issued.
Orders issued from Dec. 12, 2017, through Dec. 19, 2019, qualify for the original reimbursement policy of up to $500. The new $1,000 cap will be in effect for those with orders issued on or after Dec. 20, 2019.
The fine print says these payments can be made provided the Sailor is on permanent change of station orders that take their family from one state to another.
The move must also authorize dependents to relocate with the service member – and they must physically make the move, too.
The spouse must also have worked in the profession requiring certification at their previous duty location and be able to prove it.
Filing a claim is simple. Sailors must fill out a claim form OF1164 and send it through encrypted email to MyNavy Career Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also included must be receipts for license or certification indicating state to state member and spouse relocation along with proof of the old certification as well as the recertification.
For Elizabeth Neuendorff, wife of Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ryan Neuendorff, getting reimbursed for her educator license transfers eliminates the frustration of having to pay for the recertification process.
“Each new move until my husband retires will continue to cost us,” she said. “With each transfer, I spend a few hundred dollars transferring my teaching and principal’s license -- I hope to see this reimbursement program continue for years to come. It’s been a huge benefit for us.”
For complete eligibility information and application procedures, read MILPERSMAN Article 1754-040: https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/1700Morale/Pages/default.aspx.
The Spouse Licensure Reimbursement policy supports the Navy Family Framework objective to expand and improve the experience for Navy spouses and families. Other efforts include improving family programs and websites, developing an official MyNavy Family website, providing ombudsman registry access to command leadership spouses and increasing the availability of live webinars and self-directed learning activities.
Navy family members and spouses can also download the MyNavy Family App can for free from the Navy App Locker, https://www.applocker.navy.mil. The app combines the resources of more than 22 websites to connect Navy spouses and families to information and resources when and where they need it.