Erika Tebbens remembers her early years as a Navy wife, struggling to make ends meet at a new duty station near pricey Seattle.
College educated but unable to find a full-time job in her field, she settled into work as a part-time bank teller and, when she became pregnant, began worrying how the family would make ends meet.
"A civilian co-worker of mine informed me we would probably qualify for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. ... I was honestly shocked. I did not think that any military family in our country would [need to] apply for any type of government assistance," she said.
Tebbens and her new baby qualified for WIC. But later, unable to afford child care, the couple decided she would reduce her hours to one day a week so they could swap parental duties. With bills mounting, she applied for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, but was denied.
Tebbens is one of several advocates pushing to help military families in financial straits, supporting a proposed bill that would furnish a basic needs allowance for service members whose gross household income does not exceed 130% of the federal poverty guidelines.
The Marine Corps must update its parental-leave policies to give new moms and dads time with their newborns, the service's new top general wrote this week, including considering a full year's worth of leave for women who've had a child.
Marines should not be expected to choose between being the best parent possible and their career duties, Commandant Gen. David Berger wrote in his planning guidance released to the force Tuesday.
"These outcomes should never be in competition to the extent that success with one will come at the expense of the other," Berger wrote. "Our parental/maternity leave policies are inadequate and have failed to keep pace with societal norms and modern talent management practices."
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on ProPublica.
In patriotism-drenched promotions, press releases and tweets, TurboTax promotes special deals for military service members, promising to help them file their taxes online for free or at a discount.
Yet some service members who've filed by going to the TurboTax Military landing page told ProPublica they were charged as much as $150 — even though, under a deal with the government, service members making under $66,000 are supposed to be able to file on TurboTax for free.
Swab tests at residences in Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S. reveal in red the presence of lead in this undated handout photo obtained by FOIA from the US Army, received by Reuters August 15, 2018. (U.S. Army FOIA/Reuters)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new survey of military families living on U.S. bases found most are dissatisfied with their housing, often citing serious health and safety hazards – results that counter years of Pentagon reports claiming soaring satisfaction rates among military housing tenants.
Some Coast Guard families began receiving back pay Monday while bracing for the possibility that another government shutdown Feb. 15 could again leave them scrambling to cover bills and put food on the table.