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Military families to get new benefits from Gillibrand-backed bill

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y.
Susan Walsh

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said this year’s annual defense spending bill will increase pay for troops and ease the financial burden on military families.

Service members will get a 4.6% boost in their paychecks and more money to cover the cost of moving and housing.

“Unfortunately, enlisted members’ salaries are not always sufficient to meet the needs of a growing family," Gillibrand said in a virtual news conference this week. "What's more, spouses are often unable to support that income because they face high rates of unemployment and underemployment.”

Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, said the bill will also increase access to mental health care and make it easier for troops to get doctor referrals.

“Many families in our military system have been forced to wait one, two or even three months after moving to see their new primary care manager,” Gillibrand said.

Such delays can be especially harmful to families with children who have special needs.

The bill establishes a pilot program to reimburse travel expenses for child care providers, and another program to test out ride-share services on remote military bases.

The price tag on this year’s bill is a massive $858 billion. It’s expected to pass the Senate this month.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.