Senator Udall Unveils VOW to Hire Heroes Extension Act to Help More Veterans Find Jobs

Bill extends, streamlines hiring incentives for disabled and unemployed veterans

U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he has reintroduced legislation to extend and streamline hiring incentives for unemployed and disabled veterans. The VOW to Hire Heroes Extension Act of 2015 would renew and extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provided employers with tax credits for hiring unemployed or disabled veterans until its expiration in 2014. Udall said the bill is good for veterans, businesses and New Mexico’s economy. For example, some veterans have been overlooked for jobs because they have limited private sector experience — but their skills and discipline make them valuable, fast-learning employees.

Udall is a longtime champion of initiatives to hire veterans. The first piece of legislation he successfully passed in the U.S. Senate expanded tax incentives for employers who hired recently returned veterans. Udall cosponsored the original VOW to Hire Heroes Act to build on that progress, and it was signed into law in 2011. This new bill would renew and extend the program so more unemployed and disabled veterans can find good jobs.

“Transitioning out of military service and back to the civilian workforce can be daunting, especially for veterans who were disabled overseas,” Udall said. “Our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and we owe it to them to help make sure they can transition smoothly back into civilian life. I was proud to champion the original VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which helped thousands of veterans apply their valuable skills to civilian positions. Extending this program will show that our country remains committed to veterans and their families, while helping businesses find good employees and boosting New Mexico’s economy.”

The VOW Act would extend the program through 2018 and simplify the WOTC application process to ensure that paperwork hurdles do not create disincentives that prevent businesses or veterans from taking advantage of the important benefit.

Specifically, the VOW Act would:

– Extend the veterans hiring tax credit for 3 years.
– Simplify the certification of veterans’ status.
– Make the credit available against payroll taxes in certain circumstances.
– Ensure parity for tax exemptions in U.S. territories and possessions.
– Require the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor to report annually to Congress on the cost-effectiveness of the credit increasing veterans’ employment.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is leading the legislation, which is also supported by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.-26) introduced the House companion legislation of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.