Hire Heroes Act creates new benefit for unemployed veterans

March 23, 2012 12:55 pm
VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 creates new benefit for unemployed veterans


Veterans, this week let’s introduce you to a new program just approved by Congress and signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.

Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program for unemployed veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Labor are working together to roll out this new program on July 1. The new program will provide retraining for veterans hardest hit by current economic conditions.

The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans. To qualify, a veteran must:

• Be at least 35 but no more than 60

• Be unemployed (as determined by the Department of Labor)

• Have an other than dishonorable discharge

• Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (for example, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)

• Not be in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability

• Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program

VRAP is limited to 45,000 participants during fiscal year 2012, and to 54,000 participants from Oct. 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certification, and train the veteran for a high demand occupation.

Warriors, this program is in its infancy, and I will start taking names and getting information from those veterans that are potentially eligible. It starts on July 1 and it is limited in numbers. I am working closely with Dan Easlon, of WorkSource Oregon Employment Department, to get more information from the Department of Labor.

Easlon is the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program adviser for WorkSource Oregon and does a great job at finding veterans employment in Northeast Oregon. Easlon can be reached at 541- 963-7111 ext. 231. He can also brief potential employers on the tax breaks and wage assistance re-imbursement incentives available to them.

I can be reached at 2301 Cove Ave., La Grande. Please call 541-962-8802 to set up an appointment.


Byron Whipple is the Union County veterans service officer.