A proposal on Capitol Hill to significantly cut the monthly housing allowances for married couples who both serve in the military is making many in Hampton Roads see red.
The proposal, part of a 2016 defense spending bill passed in the Senate, would cost affected couples more than $1,000 a month for off-base housing. Under the bill, only one person would be allowed to receive a housing allowance instead of both. If approved, the limitation would not kick in until a couple moves to a new duty station.
Air Force Lt. Col. Kristi Church, whose husband, Rick, has the same rank, said the measure “is kind of a smack in the face” for those who chose to make the military a career.
The couple, who live in Virginia Beach with two children, are stationed at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk. But should their next assignments require a move, “our standard of living is going to change,” Church said. “We made decisions based on the fact that we both have O-5 (lieutenant colonel) incomes.”
The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act is being negotiated in Congress. It is a complex policy bill that addresses ship construction, weapon systems and almost all things related to defense. The version passed in mid-June by the Senate includes a provision that cuts the housing allowance, beginning Oct. 1 for some.