The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) monitors all legislation affecting veterans, alerts VFW membership to key legislation under consideration and actively lobbies Congress and the administration on veterans issues. With VFW’s own priority goals in mind, combined with the support of 2 million members of VFW and its auxiliaries, our voice on “the Hill” cannot be ignored!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Senate Introduces Veterans’ Employment Bill

This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, introduced a comprehensive veterans’ employment package designed to extend and improve upon veterans’ employment benefits included in the 2011 VOW to Hire Heroes Act.

One of the key VFW-supported provisions included in the “Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act of 2013, or S. 6, is an extension of the highly popular Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, or VRAP, which offers one year of additional GI Bill-style education benefits to unemployed veterans between the ages of 35-60.

VRAP is scheduled to expire in March 31, 2014, meaning any of the 99,000 veterans approved to participate in the program will no longer be able to receive benefits, even if they are actively enrolled in an approved program.

Through Reid’s bill, VRAP would be extended through March 2016 and 100,000 additional veterans will be able to apply to participate. The bill also extends VA vocational benefits for wounded service members through December 2016 and reauthorizes appropriations for collaborative grants to assist with veterans’ training, mentoring and placement programs.

The bill also builds on the VOW to Hire Heroes Act by directing Department of Labor to develop a single, comprehensive veterans’ jobs portal, commissioning grants for states to hire veterans as first responders, establishing an veterans’ employment threshold for certain government contractors, and improving USERRA protections for members of the National Guard and Reserve.

The VFW was a champion of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act in 2011, and has worked to ensure that veterans who wished to enroll in VRAP could succeed. VFW also pushed for many of the additional reforms, which garnered bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, during the last Congress.

S. 6 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, where the VFW will be closely watching its progress. Check back regularly for updates.

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  1. I am a Life Member, and currently serving in Afghanistan. I have never heard about VRAP, and as I am almost out of "Post 911 G.I. Bill" benefits, I will have to leave college. I am only 2 semesters short of graduating and becoming a teacher (I hope). How can I find out more about this program, and if I qualify? Fraternally Yours,
    SGT. Steven W. Todd
    VFW Post 823 (Jackson, MI.)

  2. Sgt Steven Todd. once you have exhausted regular GI Bill benefits, you will qualify for the "VRAP". the VA has information directly. or you can contact your current schools Veterans Representative (part of their administration) and ask about it there.

    1. Check with your local Disabled American Veterans service officer and chapter as well

  3. Try for Pell Grants as well.

    MSG P
    Ft Bragg, NC

  4. Since you're currently serving is there Tuition Assistance available that would allow you to keep your remaining Post 9/11 benefits for that final push?

    Also be sure to check your states VA benefits.

  5. A Republican lawmaker this week added to the immigration-related legislation now before Georgia's General Assembly when he filed a bill aimed at blocking illegal immigrants from collecting unemployment benefits here.

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  6. Unfortunately I did not learn of this program til the summer 2013 and started classes not long thereafter. It seems as if conceptually this was a great idea, but implementation and structure are incorrect. Hopefully the extensions will be passed so those unemployed vets as myself will be able to complete our programs instead of having them cut short and be worthless

    1. I agree . I only by chance found out about it . I have heard of a low participation rate as being a concern. I will only be halfway done Mar 31st. Without the program ...your right, these last semesters have been in vain. Encourage your Representatives in Congress.


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