As we come to the end of “PCS Season”, many spouses are currently changing gears from settling in to job hunting. If you are like me, you might need an occupational license to practice your chosen profession. This process can be expensive and even cost-prohibitive for some. Because I am involved in a few military spouse employment advocacy groups related to my profession, I learned two years ago that the military reimburses licensure costs due to a qualifying PCS event.
Did you know? If you require an occupational license to practice your profession, you may qualify for licensure reimbursement at your new duty station if you acquire the same level of licensure in the new state as you had in your previous state. For orders issued after December of 2019, spouses can submit for reimbursement for up to $1,000 in expenses related to licensure. You also have two years to submit for reimbursement.
The policy for the Navy is outlined here. In the summer of 2023, we moved from Florida to Virginia. To practice my profession outside of the federal system, I needed to apply for licensure by endorsement. My total direct cost out of pocket to transfer my license was about $250. I received my new license in Virginia in about a month and my spouse recently sent off the reimbursement form.
Here are some tips and tricks for a smooth reimbursement:
- Make sure you are applying for the same level of license that you held in your prior state.
- Save all your receipts electronically, and then back them up. I had a folder on my computer that then backed up to my cloud. You cannot apply for reimbursement until after you receive the equivalent license. Sometimes this can take months.
- Read the directions carefully for submitting. The directions changed between when I started the process and when we submitted the forms. Check here for any updates or changes related to the policy.
- Fill out the correct claim for reimbursement form. As of this writing, that is form Optional Form (OF) 1164. It can be found on the right hand column under “Submission Tools.”
- Use this handy checklist to keep track of what you need to submit and where it needs to go. Check and double check your list before submitting.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was updated in January of 2023 to allow for provisions related to licensure portability for service members and their spouses. If you are a spouse who has an occupational license, it can be helpful to keep yourself informed of any new legislation related to licensure.