By Peter S. Gaytan
There are nearly one million unemployed veterans. That includes not only returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets who can’t find jobs, but also Vietnam, Cold War, and Persian Gulf War veterans who can’t find work or have been laid off in this troubled economy. While the national unemployment rate has slightly improved, the unemployment rate for veterans continues to climb.
Representative Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has introduced a companion bill to the omnibus Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (VOW). The new bill, Tax Credit to Hire Veterans Act, would provide a tax credit to any small business (including veteran-owned businesses) who hire unemployed vets. The tax credit is for capital equipment purchases. The bill is intended as an incentive to hire unemployed veterans, but also gives small businesses the opportunity to purchase capital equipment. Ideally, this will help those companies grow which will create more jobs.
The VOW Act of 2011 attacks the problem of veterans’ unemployment on multiple fronts. It enhances the current Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) for service members who are about to be discharged, including making attendance at TAP classes mandatory for all service members.
The VOW Act of 2011 will also enable 100,000 unemployed veterans of past wars to receive up to 1-year of Montgomery GI Bill benefits. This will give those veterans the opportunity to acquire the skills they will need to find employment in today’s global market. It also gives state governors flexibility in the funds they receive to help vets find jobs, and permits governors to use up to 25 percent of funding for direct training services for vets.
The VOW Act also provides additional benefits for National Guard and Reserve veterans, as well as provisions to permit veterans to obtain licensing and certification using the skills used during military service.
For more information on both bills, go to: www.veterans.house.gov/jobs
Peter S. Gaytan is the author of For Service To Your Country – Updated Edition: The Essential Guide to Getting the Veterans’ Benefits You’ve Earned (Citadel, 2011), available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers. He has served as an advocate in securing and protecting the earned benefits of America’s veterans for more than a decade. Gaytan is the Executive Director of the American Legion, the largest veterans service organization in America.
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