Begich, Hirono Offer Economic Relief for Alaska and Hawaii Military Families
U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Mazie Hirono today introduced the Service Members Permanent Change of Station Relief Act in response to requests for fairness from military families in Alaska and Hawaii who face steep moving costs for permanent assignments.
The bill increases the gas mileage reimbursement rate paid to families given a permanent change in station in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam and also provides reimbursement for military families in those areas to ship a second car during their move.
"It doesn’t make any sense that military assigned to Alaska and Hawaii should have to face unfair out-of-pocket expenses because of their assigned travel," Begich said. "Our men and women in uniform know that every dollar in a family budget counts. This bill offers a fix to make sure that we aren’t placing an unfair burden on those who already sacrifice so much."
“Right now, military families who are directed to serve in Hawaii or Alaska and depend on a second car are forced to pay the shipping costs to move that vehicle,” said Senator Hirono. “That’s a $2,000 expense that service members stationed elsewhere in the United States do not incur. This bill will fix this disparity and provide much needed relief to military families who move to Hawaii.”
Men and women in the military often move at the military service's direction - relocating themselves and their families to a new base every few years. The Senators pointed out those service members who get directed to move to a military base in Alaska from the Lower 48 are currently only reimbursed for shipping one vehicle.
Additionally, the gas mileage reimbursement rate for service members during a permanent change of station is currently just 24 cents per mile - nowhere close to the true operating costs or the amount reimbursed to service members on temporary duty assignments. The Begich-Hirono bill ups that reimbursement rate to 56 cents per mile during a permanent change of station, the same rate military members receive when using their personal vehicles while travelling to a temporary duty location.