On November 21, President Barack Obama signed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 into law – a piece of bipartisan legislation crafted to fight against unemployment among veterans.
Sponsored largely by Representative Jeff Miller, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the new act will strive to help a wide range of veterans secure and hold jobs, from young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Vietnam vets who have lost their jobs due to the economy, to disabled veterans who may face special barriers when seeking employment.
Specifically, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act will provide disabled veterans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits with up to one year of additional VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits. In addition, it will provide employers who hire veterans and disabled veterans with significant tax credits.
The new act will also expand the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which is designed to help returning military personnel successfully re-enter civilian life and find success in a competitive job market.
Finally, the new veterans’ legislation will ask the Department of Labor to examine how to better apply the military skill set to civilian jobs – and how veterans can secure the licenses and certifications they need for skilled positions more quickly.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.