Standing by Military Families

The Federal Budget

Having emerged from the worst recession in generations, the President has put forward a plan to rebuild our economy and win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competitors and creating the jobs and industries of tomorrow. But we cannot rebuild our economy and win the future if we pass on a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren. We must restore fiscal responsibility, and reform our government to make it more effective, efficient, and open to the American people. The President’s 2012 Budget is a responsible approach that puts the nation on a path to live within our means so we can invest in our future – by cutting wasteful spending and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. It targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to winning the future: education, innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure. And it proposes to reform how Washington does business, putting more federal funding up for competition, cutting waste, and reorganizing government so that it better serves the American people.

Defending our country are the men and women of our military. They and the families that love and support them deserve a grateful Nation’s support. To stand by military families, the Budget will:

Boost Funding for Family Support Programs. The readiness of our troops relies on the strength and stability of the families that support them. The President’s Budget supports servicemembers and their families as they answer our Nation’s call to service.  Overall, the Budget provides $8.3 billion to support military families including  $1.2 billion to expand availability for affordable, high-quality child care services and maintain quality youth programs and $1.5 billion for expanded counseling and assistance services, from financial counseling to transition and relocation assistance, and to help families meet the challenges brought on by repeated deployments and family separations.

Back the Nation’s Troops. Today’s servicemembers make up the most elite and proficient fighting force in the world and their strength depends on the strength and stability of their families.  The Budget includes funding for a 1.6 percent pay raise for military service members, as well as a variety of monthly special skill-based payments, enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, and other benefits. In addition, included in the $8.3 billion, the Budget shifts $73 million from the Oversees Contingency Operations budget to the base budget to support stability and adequate resources for important family support programs over the long-term. 

Care for Wounded, Ill, and Injured Servicemembers. The Administration sustains ongoing efforts to provide high-quality medical care to the over 9.6 million servicemembers, retirees, and their families.  This includes support for wounded warrior transition units and centers of excellence in vision, hearing, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other areas to continuously improve the care provided to wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers.  The Budget provides $52.5 billion for the overall Military Health System, which includes construction of military hospitals and clinics, pay for military medical staff, as well as accrual contributions for future Medicare-eligible beneficiaries; A projected $677 million to provide care for TBI and psychological health; and $415 million for continued support of wounded, ill, and injured medical research, to include psychological health and TBI/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  To ensure beneficiaries receive treatment in state-of-the-art hospitals and clinics, the Budget plans for completion of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and funds construction of the Fort Bliss hospital replacement, and ambulatory care centers at Andrews Air Force Base and Lackland Air Force Base. 

Support Psychological and Cognitive Needs. The Budget includes $6.0 billion to enhance the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ability to provide the best possible specialized care for Post-Traumatic Stress, TBI, and other mental health needs in addition to funds provided to the Department of Defense (DOD). The Budget makes possible collaborative programs between DOD and VA that target psychological health, research new evidence-based approaches, and increase outreach to veterans. To assist military members and their families with the effects of deployment and trauma-related stress, the Budget supports a new $10 million Military Families Initiative to increase access to mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The new Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) initiative will encourage States and communities to develop action plans and coordinate services to comprehensively address the behavioral health needs of military members and their families.

Increase Employment and Job Training for Veterans and Military Spouses. The 2012 Budget provides $261 million for the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service, which is a $5 million (2 percent) increase over the 2010 enacted level. Of the increase, $2 million will be used to expand the Transition Assistance Program, including improvements which make employment workshops more accessible to retiring Reserve and National Guard members, as well as spouses of separating service members.  In addition, $3 million of the increase will be used to expand grants under the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program.

Expand Benefits for Veteran's Caregivers. The President's Budget provides $208 million for the implementation of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010.  The new caregiver benefits and services include training adapted to the veterans' individual care needs, a direct stipend payment, and health care and mental health services.  These benefits will enhance the standard of care provided to veterans who need ongoing care through the retention of better trained and more qualified caregivers.

Combat Veteran Homelessness. The President's Budget invests $939 million to continue the expansion of VA services for homeless and at-risk veterans. These funds will combat veteran homelessness through collaborative partnerships with local governments, non-profit organizations, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor.

Help Military Families Make Smart Financial Choices. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 established an Office of Service Member Affairs within the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  As part of this Office’s statutory mandate, it will conduct education and outreach efforts tailored to service members and their families covering financial products and services.