Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) today introduced the Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act, legislation to ensure that veterans with service-connected disabilities – regardless of age – can prepare for, find, and maintain meaningful careers. Brownley is co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus’s Reinvesting in Our Returning Heroes Task Force, and this bill is the first plank of the Task Force’s veterans jobs agenda.
Currently, veterans with service-connected disabilities or other employment handicaps are able to receive career development services through the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program up to 12 years after they separate from the service. Sixty percent of veterans who are unemployed are over the age of 45, and the arbitrary 12-year limit means older veterans with disabilities aren’t able to receive the resources they may need for job market success. This issue was raised during the Task Force’s November 2017 veteran forum, and the Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act would address it by lifting the limit to ensure veterans have the flexibility to receive the support they have earned and deserve throughout their lifetime.
“We owe our veterans a great debt of gratitude for their service – especially those who come home with wounds of war,” said Brownley. “The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program provides critical job training, and there is no reason all veterans with service-connected disabilities shouldn’t be able to benefit from it. We need to ensure our returning heroes have the resources they need to succeed when they transition back to civilian life, and that includes the flexibility to receive career development support at any age.”
This bill is supported by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
Original cosponsors of the bill include House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), Vice Chair Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Reinvesting in Our Returning Heroes Task Force Co-Chair Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).
“Our veterans served their country and now it is our duty to now serve them,” said Crowley. “Congresswoman Brownley’s Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act will give our returning heroes the opportunity to seek meaningful employment and contribute their valuable skills and experiences to our communities.”
“Our veterans have put their lives on the line to protect America’s freedoms,” said Sánchez. “Disabled veterans, especially, have paid a steep price serving our country. We must honor our service men and women by ensuring they have the support they need to successfully transition back to civilian life and their new careers. The Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act upholds our promise to continue supporting veterans long after they separate from service. I applaud Rep. Julia Brownley and the members of the Democratic Caucus Jobs for America Task Force for their tireless efforts to ensure our country continues to support all who serve and sacrifice for our country.”