As our Armed Forces return from their tours of duty, they are often met with severe economic challenges as they transition back into civilian life.
According to research, there are alarming rates of unemployment amongst our Veterans:
- Vietnam Era Veterans: 236,000
- Cold War Era Veterans: 258,000
- Persian Gulf War Era Veterans: 182,000
- Iraq and Afghanistan Era Veterans: 192,000
While there are a great deal of benefits for the Veterans themselves, there are tax incentives available to small businesses for hiring Veterans. The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act was introduced in 2011 and includes the following components and helpful links for Veterans and employers:
Benefits for Veterans
- Expanding Education & Training: To begin moving veterans out of the unemployment lines, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 provides nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors, from trucking to technology. It also provides disabled veterans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits up to 1-year of additional VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits.
- Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): Too many service members don’t participate in TAP and enter civilian life without a basic understanding of how to compete in a tight job market. Therefore, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act makes TAP mandatory for most service members transitioning to civilian status, upgrades career counseling options, and job hunting skills, as well as ensures the program is tailored to individuals and the 21st Century job market.
- Facilitating Seamless Transition: Getting a civil service job can often take months which often forces a veteran to seek unemployment benefits. To shorten the time to start a federal job after discharge, this bill allows service members to begin the federal employment process by acquiring veterans preference status prior to separation. This facilitates a more seamless transition to civil service jobs at VA, or the many other federal agencies that would benefit from hiring our veterans.
- Translating Military Skills and Training: This bill also requires the Department of Labor to take a hard look at how to translate military skills and training to civilian sector jobs, and will work to make it easier to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.
- Veteran Gold Card Post-9/11 veterans can download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.
- My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.
Benefits to Employers
- The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.
- Employers may post employment opportunities through the Veterans Job Bank