Military families shouldn’t be a protected class

Now, I’m going to have a little vent about something, and some people will probably dislike it.

Almost every day, I have a military member, or military family member, tell me about some extraordinarily special privilege they should get because of their military status.  The most frequent are:

a) Military kids should get in-state tuition anywhere they want to go to college.

b) Landlords should just let military members terminate leases at any time, for any reason, with any amount of notice.

c) Credit card and loan companies should waive all interest for all military members anywhere, at any time.

Just the other day, a local business closed.  A friend posted the auction notice on Facebook, with the comment, “Good riddance to this business who didn’t offer veteran’s discounts.”


I just can’t understand why anyone would feel any of the things I’ve listed above.

Being a military member, or a military family member, does not make you so special that none of the usual rules apply to you.  Yes, there are laws that provide certain protections so that your military service is not an undue burden.  Yes, there are many generous companies that offer all sorts of amazing programs and discounts that may be available to military members, or veterans, or retirees, or family members. However, none of this means that military service should make you entitled to anything.

In particular, I often hear complaints that the existing legal protections don’t go far enough, and that the federal government should enact more protections, to the point where military members become a special class of citizen.   Is that what we’re all really looking for?  I don’t think so.

In a modern democracy, a military should be a reflection of the population as a whole, including those who are trying to finance college and sort out living situations and pay off debt.  Protections that level the playing field are good, protections that give military members special privileges aren’t.  They further divide the military from the civilian population, which isn’t good for anyone.  And they’re not necessary.  So can we please stop asking for them?

By Kate Horrell,

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  1. Rental contracts could seriously hurt military families who often don’t get a lot of notice about moves. And it’s hard to establish residency status for instate tuition when you’re moving around to meet the needs of the military, so those do make sense. However, I agree about the other; as a veteran, I’m no more entitled to “special discounts” than “seniors” are, or anyone else is. That said, when a business or vendor does so, I’m grateful for them. Credit cards interest free? Don’t think so; learn your own fiscal responsibility.

    1. Military kids have significantly more opportunities to obtain in-state tuition than civilian kids. They are permitted in-state tuition in their parent’s state of legal residency and in the state where they physically reside – that’s twice as much as a regular child. In most cases, they are permitted to retain that in-state residency even if their parents move (either on PCS orders or by choice.) And, if their parent is moved to a third state, they immediately gain in-state tuition there, too.

  2. Service members are not the only ones who benefit from these discounts. Businesses and organizations use the benefits they offer to receive a tax break. Therefore, it’s a ‘win win’ for them. They get the publicity and a financial benefit for reducing their product cost by 10% for 0.4% of their customers. I think it’s a disgrace for a service member to feel entitled to a discount. I also think civilians, who have never SERVED should not have a say about the men and women who SACRIFICED not receive discounts.

  3. It’s not just about trying to finance college. I have a drivers license and a rental property in one state, vote and a motorcycle registration in a second, a car registration in a 3rd, my kid graduated from high school in a dodea overseas high school and now I live in a 4th state. Exactly where DOES my kid get instate tuition? Keeping in mind that schools are mandated to accept a high percentage of instate, and that out of state can be $20k more per year than the $16k instate costs. Add to that, if my kid isn’t ready to be on their own-I have to pay out of state for the state I now live in?! I didn’t choose this, the Air Force did, and state license and registration laws did.

  4. A lot of service members I know never use military discount. Why would we? And the lease one. I have been through it. We had to fight them to let us out of it. I’m surprised that this person didnt complain about civilians getting to go on base. Want to make that open to the public too? Dont think so.

  5. What an idiotic opinion piece. The general public really has no idea what military families go through. No idea at all. Moving every three years, some of us get less than three years, rebuilding our lives in new cities, having to find new friends for ourselves and our children, new doctors who don’t know us, new schools, new jobs for spouses, not being able to invest in homes and other static property that would give us equity our more geographically-stable friends enjoy, spouses not being able to stay at jobs long enough to earn benefits and 401k fund-matching that 5-10 year employees enjoy, living in hotels or tiny apartments while house-hunting again, purchasing winter gear and snow tires and things we’ll never need in the future because of one 2-year stint at a northern station, weight limitations just to keep your job, forced vaccinations just to keep your job, moms giving birth alone when husband is deployed, holidays alone when stationed thousands of miles from family, no grandmas nearby and always needing to pay babysitters because we are so far away from family, raises frozen and jobs cut every time the government gets into budget trouble, landlords who–until military tenants were protected by law–tried to sue us for breaking a lease upon receiving deployment orders, fees to ship a pet overseas, our furniture lots or broken in dozens of cross-country moves. Anyone who says anything about military families feeling entitled to the few small breaks we catch here and there is, frankly, clueless.

    1. Perfect speech! You described what we go through entirely. I appreciate those who give us even if it is minimal discount. But this life isn’t easy.

    2. I agree with everything you said. I can’t wait for my husband to get out because it’s taking a toll on my health. 12 years of Marine Corps life has left me and my kids always in survival mode. Whenever we catch a break, even a small one, we are always so grateful. The person writing this article either hasn’t been through many hardships as a military family or is one of the special cases where they know the right people so they get to go and do whatever they want or live close enough to friends and family that they’re not feeling the burden.

    3. An absolutely well written glimpse on the military life and all we endure! I was civilian for 33 years of my life before my husband and I got married on the way to our next duty station. I’ve been a military spouse for 5.5 years, when my husband passed away while at work. However, my husband served 23 years of his life in the only job career he has ever held in the US Navy.
      During the 8 years we were together I’ve learned a great deal about giving up everything to follow him (my career that I got my masters in, my job at the time, my own dream job, everything I owned in my apartment at the time, not to mention my family and friends). Learning how to pick up and start over at each new place, something I wasn’t familiar with at all?! Not to mention the struggles of my new military medical benefits and doctors…definitely not the same in the outside world?! I’ve also learned that this lifestyle is not for the week at heart….the daily struggles while living alone with your spouse deployed, along with the stresses of setting up a household by yourself, learning how to fix things, going through medical struggles without a spouse or family members close to help or comfort you when you need it most…are just a few of the ongoing many, that in the civilian world I took for granted.
      How many civilians do you know that constantly worry if their spouse is coming home on a daily basis? (Other than those in law enforcement, fire and search in rescue.) The stresses for our service members are just as equal to or higher than those of the spouse! Working longer hours in a thankless job with no yearly raises. Every day putting themselves in harms way bc they love their country and their family they are protecting, along with their military family by their side. Not to mention the budget cuts for them to be able to do their jobs correctly and in a timely manner!
      Having said this and seen even more both civilian, with family from each generation in the military starting from WWI to the present and as a Naval Officers Spouse…..I personally feel that our military men and women past, present and future are not entitled to anything from discounts to benefits. They aren’t entitled to them bc they’ve earned them! My husband would’ve been the first to tell you that he didn’t go into the military to be praised for it, or to be given anything he didn’t feel that he earned and deserved for his years of service….However, he did feel that he deserved the respect that he earned defending our great nation and that a little recognition for it was greatly appreciated! He loved what he did and if asked again, he would do it with no hesitation at all! Our veterans and current military men and women and yes, their families deserve what they have earned for their years of service and sacrifice!
      I am now one of 64,000 military widows across this great nation, who know all to well the sacrifices that have been made….and that final sacrifice for God and country. Until you’ve been through that military funeral and been handed that folded flag, that once covered your beloveds coffin….you can’t begin to understand what we spouses and family members go through?! It was hard enough to receive my own folded flag….but it was all I could bear to watch my 2.5 year old son receive his folded flag and know that he will never know his father?! So NO, I don’t feel that as a military spouse I’m entitled to anything….I do however feel that I deserve what my husband earned through his 23 years of service…honor, commitment, courage and yes…his life for his country. I’m sure even in the civilian lifestyle one would want the same?
      There’s a difference between asking for a hand out and asking to recognized for what one has earned. If the military was that easy to be in, then there would be more people than less than 2% of our nation currently serving!

  6. To Late Hostel, I really think you exaggerated this read, We military families don’t ask for discounts because we feel we are special. We ask just like anyone would ask if the had a special going on, or if we were Senior 55 years or older, or any other category. Why cut coupons? to get a discount. We don’t feel entitled. We do however qualify for welfare only because our spouses don’t get paid what our Civilian counter parts for similar jobs.
    It’s people like you that don’t appreciate the sacrifice of our military. If you haven’t served, stay quiet.

  7. You’re so ignorant with all this shit, we don’t feel special that none else, we have to move every 3 to 4 years, without family, start all over again, our children have to start school all over again , make new friends is that easy for you?? We are no special but we are not the same so if you don’t know what it’s like to be a military family stay quiet..

  8. Please educate yourself about the reality of how you benefit from servicemembers’ sacrifices. You sound completely ignorant and most ungrateful for the freedom you receive.

  9. I grew up in the military along with I am sure quite a few dependants, then I joined the military and now my kids are in the military.
    You are the type of person I wouldn’t have wanted my dad to die for or my sisters and I to have sacrificed our time in the service for or my children to risk thier lives for.
    But my family did and still do sacrifice for you and the likes of people like you. Unappreciative, rude, disrespectful , to name a few adjectives that come to mind.
    On top of the stress of going to bat(war) for you , the military family, dependant children, active duty member, etc also has to fight within that system to move up the ranks to provide even the basic needs for themselves LIKE YOU.
    You remind me of the place I just moved from, those people felt the same as you and felt comfortable stealing military benefits from veterans that EARNED them.
    You didn’t indicate if you were the military member or not.
    Call me 3013771875

  10. I want to address the credit situation. My husband and I had a credit score in the high 700’s. We have always paid our bills on time and have no late pays on our credit history. However, we moved back to the states after an overseas tour and had to purchase everything again. In doing so our credit was run many times. Cell phones, cars, a home, etc. Think about starting completely over and how many times your credit will have to be run, and how many items you purchase on credit. For the normal person this is done over a period of time. But we sold everything when we went to Korea and had to re-establish our residence. Our credit took a serious hit. Our credit score dropped almost 100 points in one month because of this. So as far as credit cards not charging interest, I can get behind that. Why should my credit take a hit because I moved under Government orders? I still have not paid a bill late. I am still fiscally responsible yet my credit score appears as if I have become reckless. If I were to apply for a credit card now my interest rate would be ridiculously high.

  11. Kate had an interesting background. Military spouse, etc… while I do agree that no one is entitled or should be a special class of citizen, I do know that today’s military is ALL volunteer. I am coming at that statement from 31 years of service. I bet I whitnessed no one ever say that they were entitled to anything, but the benefits were welcomed. We, as the US people do owe our military something. They volunteered to serve, they were not and still are not drafted. Having three children myself all older and through college, it would be nice to see the in-state tuition. My kids were force to learn about the state the lived in for those crazy end of year tests…so why not offer a break in college? Kate, thanks to your spouse for serving, thank you for being a spouse of a military member, but the wording in your article is off base at best and sparks the feelings in military folks like me that you really don’t care about us or our families. God bless.

  12. This piece was obviously written to start more unwanted drama and attention. As for military families, I do believe they are entitled to some protections to level the playing field: a) Military kids should get in-state tuition anywhere they want to go to college. No and no one is asking for this. However, military dependents should be offered in state tuition for the states both of their parents hold residency; any state that child lived in during high school where they fell in love with said local universities and the state their service member parent is stationed in. As a mom of a soon to be senior in high school who has just applied to 8 colleges in three different states because of his parents residency, military service and locations, it is a bit overwhelming and unfair, and will ultimately come down to each schools decision to grant in state and the costs at the end of the day. This is not my sons fault and he would rather have lived in one place and not moved 11 times in 17 years. How can you expect military dependents to identify with any said state and pay out of state tuition because it was never their choice to move around so much. This is something non-military kids do not even have to think about; they easily have an in-state choice. My goodness, we can’t even get our children’s high schools classes to transfer from state to state let alone identify with 1 state within 4 years of high school! b) Landlords should just let military members terminate leases at any time, for any reason, with any amount of notice. Again, no, and no one is asking for this. However, upon orders relocating said military member, then yes, there should be some expectation to terminate lease without fault due to orders. I believe this is all that was ever asked for and has been provided. c) Credit card and loan companies should waive all interest for all military members anywhere, at any time. Another shockingly no for anywhere and any time except during transitions such as a PCS. having moved 14 times in 23 years, the military does not over the entire costs of the move yet we are moving for the military. So yes, a little break on interest during a PCS helps ease the extra costs of said move. Try moving back and forth overseas where you can only ship one car and have to rent a car on one end that is not paid for for a up to a month! Or ditching all of your items the military certainly will not move overseas. At least with a stateside move you can stuff as many of these items into your car and pray they don’t leak and spill on the long trek across the country in an effort to save a few bucks and not buy an entire pantry or cleaning cabinet at the next duty station. This article is the exact type of negativity military members and their families do not need.


    1. Alison, your son is legally entitled to in-state tuition in your state of legal residence and the state in which you actually live – twice as many places as a civilian student.

  13. Well, I wish all of those applied to us, but they are lied made by people who imitated this post. When we get our order there are times we do not know until last minute notice, so if our order reads we are moving this week we are moving this week, we should not be penalized for paying whole month of the next month’s rent. My son had to pay $44,000k in his first year of college just because we do not have established states, and I can go on. I can no longer do the job I am trained to do because we move a lot; but I am not complaining but just want to justify that we do loss a lot by being in the military but that’s what happened when we volunteer to service what’s irritating is people who seat around doing nothing like the girl who posted this article and who has no idea what we go through as military family.

  14. I agree with all you have said you put it out there! After 27 yrs as a military wife we never expected anything we came in when it was all old school we were a crew a team ,a family we were there for each other. My family never expected anything but the civilian world never did and never will understand what we go through. My hubby stood ever day for his fellow brothers he had their back and they had his! They volunteered for this we’re proud to serve!! I remember old days each paycheck was $250 get by on that! Then my husband came back from a deployment sick and he passed. The only family I had ever known walked away from me and my girls! So now I am torn where does my allegiance lie? All I have left for family are my daughters. No we don’t ask for anything we don’t deserve

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