Top State Issues For Military Families Identified

Many service members and their families benefit from the multitude of state laws passed each year. Who is responsible for working at the state level to address the specific needs of military families?

The answer to that question is the Defense State Liaison Office. The DSLO, located in Washington, D.C., was established in 2004 by the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. At that time, the department did not have processes to resolve state issues for service members and their families. DSLO was established to “level the playing field” and remove barriers for service members and their families. As the department continues to transform service member and family support programs, DSLO also provides an opportunity to forge new ways of addressing requirements and aligning support with the programs implemented by states and communities.

The DSLO team is made up of 11 professionals to include eight regional liaisons, remotely located throughout the country who work hand in hand with their respective state legislators. Members of the DSLO team have established relationships with state lawmakers that will continue to reap dividends for years to come.

In the past seven years, DSLO has been responsible for assistance in the passage of more than 530 laws in all 50 states, impacting a range of state statutes. Initiatives championed by DSLO have included the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children, enacted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia; credit for military training and experience toward professional licenses for separating service members in 47 states; license portability (other than teachers and attorneys) for military spouses in 50 states; unemployment compensation eligibility for military spouses in 47 states; child custody protection in 50 states; and veteran’s treatment courts in 44 states.

Because of these accomplishments and their vast and sustained success, the DSLO team was recently presented the Office of the Secretary of Defense Group Achievement Award.

Each year DSLO consults with the personnel community throughout the Department of Defense to develop a list of 10 key issues. The key issues for 2017 include Medicaid waiver eligibility for family members with special needs, child abuse and neglect identification and reporting, teacher certification portability for military spouses and pro bono legal representation for military families. A detailed list can be found on the USA4 Military Families website.

DSLO works to address new issues as they arise and welcomes input from service members and their families.

DSLO is proud to help service members and their families and looks forward to making life better for those who serve their country.

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