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Spouses can recoup licensure fees after PCS, PCA

The License Reimbursement program allows Airmen’s spouses to recoup up to $1,000 following permanent changes of station or address. Licenses and certifications that qualify for the program vary by state, but the program covers a variety of qualifying costs including exam and registration fees, background checks and more. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Marcus Hill)

The License Reimbursement program allows Airmen’s spouses to recoup up to $1,000 following permanent changes of station or address. Licenses and certifications that qualify for the program vary by state, but the program covers a variety of qualifying costs including exam and registration fees, background checks and more. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Marcus Hill)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Service members and their spouses have the opportunity to save money following permanent changes of station or address through the Department of Defense’s Licensure Reimbursement Program. 

The LRP, which went into effect May 17, 2019, allows Airmen spouses to recoup up to $1,000 in reimbursement for re-licensure or recertification when they move to a different state.

“As military spouses, we do so much in assistance of our service members,” said Colleen Rastellini, 50th Security Forces Squadron budget analyst. “We follow them, we support them when they’re home or away. We literally pick up our lives and our families’ lives and move from location to location. This expense is something we have no control over. We have to pay for this if we want to continue working in our fields.”

Prior to the LRP, a pilot program reimbursed spouses up to $500 for recertification and re-licensing. Depending on a spouse’s career field or how often an Airman PCSes, however, the re-licensing and recertification process can be costly.

“From the different articles that I’ve seen, it can cost anywhere from $150 to more than $1,500,” she said. “Before this became a reality, [re-licensing and recertification costs were] out of pocket every time you PCSed. Some states are better than others and will let you work on your previous license for a period before changing over. Other states are not.”

To qualify, the program requires the following from service members:

  • Airman is issued PCS/PCA orders
  • Movement of Airman’s dependent is authorized at government’s expense
  • Airman PCS/PCA to another state (includes Alaska, Hawaii, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories)
  • Cost must be incurred and paid after the date of the Airman’s PCS/PCA orders are authenticated. (Airman must file a claim within 24 months of the date the orders are authenticated)

“Anytime you can save a dollar, then absolutely do so, especially during COVID-19,” Rastellini said. “I think for younger Airmen, it’s even more important to have this.”

The act permits multiple uses as long as Airmen and their spouses meet guidelines. Licenses and certifications that qualify for the program vary by state, but the program covers a variety of qualifying costs including exam and registration fees, background checks and more.

“It’s an outstanding program and there are a lot of military members who pay a lot of money when they move,” said Melvin Castile, 50th Force Support Squadron community readiness specialist and answers any questions Airmen have regarding the program. “There are a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.”

Having the benefits of the DoD paying for those expenses is an opportunity where Airmen should take advantage. Rastellini hopes to see an influx of Airmen using the program. 

“If we don’t utilize this, it will go away and I’d hate for that to be the case,” Rastellini said. “So many spouses fought for this to become a reality. This is so beneficial, not just to Airmen, but DoD-wide.”

Airmen can get information on how to apply by contacting Castile at melvin.castile@us.af.mil or Rastellini at colleen.rastellini@us.af.mil. For more details about the program, visit veterans.gov/milspouses.

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