Survey: Military Families Still Concerned About Pay, Benefits

Airmen with family

Pay, benefits and retirement issues are still the top worries for military families, according to new results from an annual military lifestyle survey.

The survey results, expected to be released at a press conference today, divided the issues down by type of respondent. As in 2013, active duty spouses, veterans and service members all named pay and benefits and retirement changes as their two biggest issues, according to a summary released to 

But the groups split dramatically when naming their third biggest issue. Active duty spouses said the impact of deployment on children is third, while veterans pointed to the disability claims backlog. Meanwhile, active duty personnel identified military lifestyle uncertainty.

"As the military downsizes, the past year has touched military families and has shown that uncertainty is one constant in the military lifestyle," wrote Deanie Dempsey, wife of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Demsey, in the summary's introduction. "Understanding why people choose to serve, why they stay in the military, and how they can successfully transition as veterans is essential to ensuring the sustainability of voluntary military service." 

The survey, conducted annually since 2009, examines a broad range of military family issues and topics. For example, the survey also found that 62 percent of all respondents said they have no confidence in the federal government, while only 23 percent said they would recommend military service to a young person, Deborah A. Bradbard, Blue Star Families' director of research and policy, wrote in a recent Washington Post report.

About 6,200 people took the Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which was conducted online in February by Blue Star Families and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Seventy-percent of those were military spouses, with the bulk of those married to active duty service members. Over 60 percent of respondents were between 25 and 44 years old. Eighty-three percent of respondents were female, and 83 percent of those had children. partnered with Blue Star Families for distributing the survey. Additionally, Ward Carroll, the former editor of, and Susan Fallon, vice president of business development for Monster Government Solutions, the lobbying arm of's parent company Monster, sit on the Blue Star Families advisory board.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at

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