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Navigating the Spouse Professional License Reimbursement Program

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the enthusiastic social media posts … some branches of the military are now offering up to $500 reimbursement for spouses who hold a professional license when they PCS to a new state.  As a military spouse who works by day as an Occupational Therapist and has been licensed in 3 different states in 10 years, this was music to my ears!

But…the seasoned military spouse in my head wondered if it was too good to be true.

During my quest to get answers about this new program, I clicked what felt like link after link after link to ultimately read “contact your finance office family liaison.”

My what? How do you even find that person? And isn’t finance only open and operating about 2 hours a day?

To make my situation even more complex, my husband is in the Air Force and we are stationed as a detachment on a Naval Air Station. We don’t have any Air Force specific offices here, and everything “official” must go through our “home base.” You’re also supposed to make an in-person appointment with this person to get the process started.

As both a working military spouse and a working mom, I’m not really sure how this is supporting either situation. Insert obligatory eye roll. 

Through some additional help from our Key Spouse, who was also a licensed professional trying to seek answers, after several weeks, I received the contact information with someone at the Airman & Family Readiness Center. This person could actually give me black and white information … but would also not give me any direct contact information for the specific person at finance who I needed to talk to.

Sigh.

The first thing she did send me was a very comprehensive Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Program FAQs (1) list. If you think you may qualify for this program, this is a great place to start! There are A LOT of exceptions to this program, especially if your move is too/from OCONUS, is at the end of active duty, and whether or not it is your first license. Also, you need to have A LOT of documentation, with the receipts to prove it. One of the great claims of this program is that it can be backdated to 2017. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily have every receipt for something I paid for 2 plus years ago, let alone for all the little details required for me to get a new license including purchasing multiple transcripts,or sending board exam scores. All of which CAN be reimbursed, with the right documentation. All receipts must also not be paid BEFORE the authentication of PCS orders.

In addition to 4 different forms you must complete, you must also have a copy of your spouse’s PCS orders, and a copy of your current professional license from the state you are moving from. Once you have all of your ducks in a row, you can submit for reimbursement. 

During the lengthy and time consuming process it took for me to even find the right information or person of contact, I likened the process to filing a damaged household goods claim. Great that they offer the assistance, but they’re not going to make it easy, and they’re going to make you work for it!

I’ve ultimately decided that it’s not worth the time and effort for me to track down receipts more than a year old and try to coordinate with someone in a different state and time zone to get reimbursed a couple of hundred dollars this go around. However, I have learned what to do for our next PCS in order to take advantage.

Are you a professionally licensed military spouse who has successfully utilized the reimbursement program? I’d love to hear any tips or suggestions from a success story!

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