As I looked around the table at Military.com’s Spouse Summit, I found myself in a heated discussion with eight courageous, committed spouses, including a Military Spouse of the Year who cares for her husband who has a traumatic brain injury, a woman who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and another one who created an online blogging community for military spouses.
Our mission was simple – or was it? Rank 15 military family benefits from most important to least, cutting the 5 that we deem least important altogether.
My table was all women whose spouses have 6-10 years of service. The caregiver spouse voiced her desperation to keep non-medical counseling and other family service programs that have helped to guide her family. Some were ready to cut the Post-9/11 GI Bill for spouses and kids, while others thought it was more important than Basic Housing Allowance (BAH).
Most people raised their hands.
Though every cut hurts, it’s the slash after slash that leaves us bleeding. Whether I prioritize Commissary benefits over guaranteed pay raises or retirement benefits… it all comes out of the same place: our pockets.
“Why aren’t other government agencies doing this same thing? Having this same discussion?”
Are employees of the Treasury or the Federal Trade Commission having roundtable discussions about what benefits they’re willing to sacrifice to balancing the budget? Are they facing cuts at all?
Why does it feel like we’re on an island all alone, left to ration what little we have left? Why are we always putting ourselves on the chopping block?
What benefits do you think are most important? Share them with us in the comments or go a step farther – write to the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) and tell them your story!