Murkowski Champions Flexible Spending Accounts for Military Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today urged President Obama to promptly extend flexible spending accounts for military families so they can help pay out-of-pocket child care and health care expenses.

A provision included in the recently enacted Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization bill calls on the Department of Defense to make such accounts available to military members. Murkowski signed on to a bipartisan Senate letter to Obama urging him to work with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to ensure that service members are “promptly extended this important benefit.”

“Members of Congress, members of your staff and nearly all federal civilians have access to these accounts,” the 18 senators wrote (see attached letter). “However, the Department of Defense has elected not to extend this benefit to uniformed service members. We find it troubling that a federal civilian working in the Pentagon has access to a flexible spending account, but a service member does not.”

Flexible spending accounts allow a family to contribute its own pre-tax dollars to help pay out-of-pocket child care and health care expenses. These accounts would help military families with the cost of childcare, co-pays and deductibles, braces, over-the-counter medication, glasses and contacts, corrective eye surgery and premiums for dental coverage, among other costs.

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