Blue Star Families Top Concern: Pay and Benefit Changes

bluestarsurveyThe 2013 Survey by Blue Star Families lists changes in military pay and benefits as well as changes in military retirement benefits as the number one concern of more than 5,000 military families who responded.

This is the fourth year that Blue Star Families has collected data to assess the top priorities of military families and what can be done to support their goals. The information is shared with those who can help effect change like lawmakers and support groups from the local level all the way to the White House.

Here’s what military families ranked as their #1 issue (Percentage of Respondents Ranking #1):

  • 35% Military Pay/Benefits
  • 21% Change in Retirement Benefits
  • 19% Spouse Employment Opportunities
  • 16.4% Deployment Impact on Children
  • 16% Educational Opportunities for Children
  • 14% Services for Transitioning Out of the Military
  • 12% Op/Tempo Deployment
  • 11% PTSD/TBI/Combat Stress
  • 7.7% Rising Number of Suicides
  • 7.5% Service Member Educational Opportunities

Additional survey details of interest finds that 72 percent of responding military families rely on social media and say it is important for communicating with a deployed family member. And for the first time, Facebook surpassed email in popularity.

Financial stress is a major concern among military families with 65 percent reporting money problems linked to a spouse’s employment, uncertainty of military life and frequent moves.

You can read the full 54-page survey results here.


Washington Post: Military Benefits for Same Sex Spouses

Leon E. Panetta appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee during confirmation hearings June 9, 2011. (Defense Department photo)

Leon E. Panetta appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee during confirmation hearings June 9, 2011. (Defense Department photo)

As Secretary Leon Panetta prepares to leave the Department of Defense, the Washington Post is reporting that he plans one more major change in policy.

The Pentagon has decided to extend certain benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian personnel, according to officials and people notified about the decision, responding to the increasingly vocal appeals of same-sex couples in the military.

The military expects to announce the decision this week.

The new benefits were not identified by Pentagon officials, but the selection is limited by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. According to the Post story, the law prohibits effects more than 100 benefits.
Under Secretary Panetta’s term, the Pentagon has taken on two other major changes: ending the ban on openly gay military service members and expanding the role of women allowing them to serve in combat units.
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