Today, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, targeted at helping unemployment veterans find work. It is estimated that about 850,000 veterans are currently unemployed with tens of thousands returning from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next few months.
The following provisions are included with the new legislation:
- Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) mandatory for service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure 21st century jobs through resume-writing workshops and career counseling.
- Helps veterans translate their military skills and certifications into similar jobs in the civilian work force.
- Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits for education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools.
- Provides disabled veterans up to one year of additional vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits.
- Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.
- Authorizes tax credits of up to $5,600 for businesses that hire veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks but less than 6 months.
- Authorizes tax credits of up to $9,600 for businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.
The new law, which creates tax breaks for companies that hire jobless veterans, is the first proposal from Mr. Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill to be signed into law. The remaining parts of the package have not gained any Congressional support, however, largely due to Republican pushback.
In addition to its tax breaks for businesses, the new legislation strengthens job training and counseling programs for unemployed
veterans. The new law, which takes effect in 2013, also repeals a 2006 law that would have required the federal, state and local governments to withhold 3% of their payments to contractors.
The tax credits for hiring veterans will cost the government an estimated $95 million — a tiny fraction of Obama’s overall jobs plan. The credits would be as much as $9,600 for companies hiring disabled vets who have looked for work for more
than half a year. The size of the credit would be based on the worker’s salary and how long the worker was unemployed.
Erasing the withholding requirement for contractors would reduce federal revenues by an estimated $11.2 billion over the coming decade. It would be paid for by making it harder for some elderly people to qualify for Medicaid by changing the formula used to determine their eligibility. 11.21.2011.