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New Benefits for Unemployed Veterans On the Way

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Credit: Concerned Veterans for America

According to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 900,000 unemployed veterans in the United States. The unemployment rate is highest among those returning from Iraq, who are experiencing 12.1% unemployment, much higher than the national average. In fact, the unemployment rate of veterans has generally remained 3 points higher than that of equivalent age groups of civilians.

In response to the high jobless rate of veterans, Congress passed the bipartisan “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” in 2011. The program, which has been signed into law by the President, is set to be implemented starting on July 1st.

The overall purpose of the Act is to create a seamless transition from military to civilian occupations for struggling veterans. It attempts to translate worker’s skills more easily from one sector to the other.

Many businesses are still reluctant to hire veterans. A new report from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), executed in-depth interviews with 69 American companies about the challenges in hiring veterans. According to the report,

“Employers say that deciphering the acronyms that make up veterans’ experience is too complex. Veterans themselves have trouble explaining how their military experience can be adapted to the business world, and many businesses simply don’t know enough about military hierarchies and culture.”

The “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” has added provisions to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provides subsidies for employers hiring disadvantaged workers like veterans, by adding to the categories of veterans who qualify. Although veterans who benefit must meet certain qualifications, according to the IRS, the tax credit for employers can be as high as $9,600 per qualified veteran for for-profit employers or up to $6,240 for qualified tax-exempt organizations. The Act will allow employers to claim the WOTC for veterans hired before the start of 2013.

Along with expanding the provisions of the WOTC, the Act provides new educational benefits for unemployed veterans. Through the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the Act offeres up to 12 months of training assistance for out of work veterans. The training will be provided for high demand occupations, from trucking to technology, and veterans participating in the training program may be provided with 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits. To qualify for the program the veteran must be between 35 to 60 years of age, and not have received a dishonorable discharge, among other criteria.

The Act will seek to combat the disconnect between veterans and civilian employers through education and training that is badly needed. With substantial cuts to military spending looming, providing extra services for returning vets has been criticized. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs however, makes clear that the Act will not increase the national deficit in any way and is entirely paid for.

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

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The latest initiatives to hire veterans are great. But one has to wonder how can we keep programs like this going? As it is now young veterans have an unemployment rate of 29%, and with the May jobs report only turning out a very small number of jobs (http://1.usa.gov/GDq1fm) , will things like the Vow To Hire Heroes Act work as a sustainable plan? The short term gain from this could be good, but we will need another strategy as we keep bringing more troops home.


No Revenues {especially private capital investments for economic growth, free market capitalism, not being followed} = Still No Sacrifice = That's Called 'Support' For The Troops = DeJa-Vu all over again!!

Now a decade and counting, told to go shopping, use patriotic meme's and symbols of support and wave them flags, added to the previous decades of under funding the VA, while the peoples reps Still try and lay blame on the Agency, after rubber stamping wars and costs of and those represented cheer on these wars!

While the wealthy and other investors garner their booty, still, from both and many have the chutz·pa to call themselves more patriotic{?} then others wrapped in those false flags, using false slogans and various cheap symbols of and then seek one day events or parades to wave all that patriotism, call it "Supporting the Troops", then go home and either ignore or forget about those that actually sacrificed for the country!

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71

Dan Richards
Dan Richards

I think one thing that should be noted, is that when you get the GI bill, that unlike out grandfathers and great grandfathers, you now have to pay into it. I do not think, especially during times of war, and even when not in, that anyone that joins the service should have to pay in. This would make it much easier for them to get funding for school. I had heard back in the Seventies, when we first heard of it, of many people refusing to get it, because their parents and grandparents did not have to pay for it.

Second any Vet should have a hirer push to be hired over anyone with equal training because of their service to the Country. The Government should not have to pass any bill to get assistance for them to be hired.


The job market is already difficult. A resume of a veteran should not take precedence over someone with the same skill set, for the bias of solely service to his country. Yes, a great service by these Americans has been performed, however, this notion is not fair to other hard workers with applicable training and work experience.

Matt Metzner
Matt Metzner

I'd be interested to learn more about the training service members receive prior to being discharged. The tax credits are a nice step toward employing veterans, but we should be assisting them prior to discharge as well.