Increasing numbers of veterans are returning from duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world only to face substantial obstacles in finding civilian employment. There are nearly 900,000 unemployed veterans in the United States. Overall, nearly one in twelve of our nation's heroes are unable to find a job.
Transitioning from the military into the business world can be a challenge for veterans and there are important accommodations employers can make to facilitate this transition.
- over 40,000 service members have been injured in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan
- over 300,000 have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression
- unemployment rate among all veterans was 8.3% and 12.1% for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan according to Department of Labor's 2011 unemployment report
Tax Incentives for Hiring Veterans
Starting in 2012 the VOW To Hire Heroes Act of 2011 makes available tax credits for employers hiring veterans. These returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits include:
|For hiring a veteran...||An employer gets...|
|unemployed for at least six months||a $5,600 credit on wages of $14,000|
|unemployed for at least four weeks||a $2,400 credit on wages of $6,000|
|with a service-connected disability and unemployed for at least six months||a $9,600 credit on $24,000 of wages|
|with a service-connected disability less than one year after having been discharged or released from active duty||a $4,800 credit on $12,000 of wages|
Many public and private employers are committed to the recruitment and hiring of veterans and wounded warriors. Veterans, with and without disabilities, have valuable skills and leadership qualities to bring to the workplace and 68 percent of organizations have hired a veteran during the past 12 months. To assist in hiring veterans with disabilities, EARN provides no-cost consultation and technical assistance to employers on a wide range of disability and veterans employment questions.
The Obama administration is encouraging the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. The Joining Forces initiative will lead this work with business and industry.
- The President has challenged businesses to commit to hire or provide training to unemployed veterans and military spouses.
- Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Accenture, JP Morgan, AT&T and many other companies and non-profits have already risen to the challenge and announced new commitments to training or employing veterans.
- Community health centers across the country are also encouraged to hire 8,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Federal Employment of Veterans
The President's Executive Order 13518, Veterans Employment Initiative and the Veterans' Hiring Preference support the hiring of veterans by federal agencies and the VOW To Hire Heroes Act of 2011 allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation from the military in order to facilitate a seamless transition to jobs within the federal government.
One-third of the federal government's new hires in the first half of fiscal year 2011 were veterans, according to President Obama's Council on Veterans Employment. 49,517 veterans were hired during the first 3 quarters of 2011, up from 32,825 during the first half of 2010.
- 25.6% of all federal hires were veterans
- 72,133 veterans were hired
- 23,140 of these were veterans with disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions about Veterans
Hiring Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities
- What do veterans with service-connected disabilities go through when leaving the military?
- What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)?
- How does USERRA differ from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
- Is a veteran with a service-connected disability automatically protected by the ADA?
- Are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) considered disabilities under the ADA?
- May an employer ask if an applicant is a "disabled veteran" if seeking to hire someone with a service-connected disability?
- What steps should an employer take if asking an applicant to self-identify as a "disabled veteran" for affirmative action purposes?
- Are there tax incentives for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities?
- Aren't there safety concerns and higher insurance rates associated with hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities?
- Are there reporting requirements after you hire a veteran with a service-connected disability?
- Where can I get assistance with translating military skills and training to match position requirements?
Managing & Accommodating Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities
- What should employers do if they suspect an employee is struggling with the effects of TBI and/or PTSD?
- Where can I get information about accommodating service members, veterans or others with PTSD and TBI?
- I recently hired a veteran with a service-connected disability who is an amputee with low morale. Where can I find support services?
Veterans with service-connected disabilities follow 1 of 5 tracks to employment when separating from the military. The track that they choose will determine the actions they must take prior to their separation. The five tracks are: reemployment with their previous employer; rapid access to employment; self-employment; employment through long-term services; or independent living services. Visit our How to Hire Veterans for more details about the 5 tracks.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA, 38 U.S.C. § 4301 – 4335) is a federal law intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other "uniformed services:" (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service. The federal government is to be a "model employer" under USERRA (38 U.S.C. § 4301). For more information on USERRA visit the Veterans' Employment & Training Service (VETS) Web site.
USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their military status or military obligations. It also protects the reemployment rights of those who leave their civilian jobs (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) to serve in the uniformed services, including the U.S. Reserve forces and state, District of Columbia, and territory (e.g., Guam) National Guards.
Both USERRA and the ADA include reasonable accommodation obligations; however, USERRA requires employers to go further than the ADA by making reasonable efforts to assist a veteran who is returning to employment in becoming qualified for a job. The employer must help the veteran become qualified to perform the duties of the position whether or not the veteran has a service-connected disability requiring reasonable accommodation. This could include providing training or retraining for the position.
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities with respect to hiring, promotion, termination, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA also prohibits disability-based harassment and provides that, absent undue hardship ("significant difficulty or expense"), applicants and employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation.
No. A veteran must meet the ADA's definition of disability. The ADA defines an "individual with a disability" as a person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. This definition of disability may differ from the definition used in other laws. For example, the term "disabled veteran" means an individual who has served on active duty in the armed forces, was honorably discharged, and has a service-connected disability or a disability that was aggravated during active duty, or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension because of a public statute administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a military department.
Are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) considered disabilities under the ADA?
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. Therefore, some people with TBI and/or PTSD will have a disability under the ADA and some will not. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Web site.
May an employer ask if an applicant is a "disabled veteran" if seeking to hire someone with a service-connected disability?
Yes. Although employers generally may not ask for medical information from applicants prior to making a job offer, they may invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify for affirmative action purposes. See EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Pre-employment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (1995).
What steps should an employer take asking an applicant to self-identify as a "disabled veteran" for affirmative action purposes?
If an employer invites applicants to voluntarily self-identify, the employer must indicate clearly and conspicuously on any written questionnaire used for this purpose, or state clearly (if no written questionnaire is used), that:
- the information requested is intended for use solely in connection with its affirmative action obligations or its voluntary affirmative action efforts; and
- the specific information is being requested on a voluntary basis, it will be kept confidential in accordance with the ADA, that refusal to provide it will not subject the employee to any adverse treatment, and that it will be used only in accordance with the ADA.
Information collected for affirmative action purposes must be kept separate from the application to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.
Yes, there are tax incentives for employers hiring and accommodating veterans with service-connected disabilities under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program. Employers receive tax credits when they hire veterans who have completed or are receiving rehabilitative services through the state or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or who are members of families receiving or have recently received food stamps.
Aren't there safety concerns and higher insurance rates associated with hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities?
There is no evidence indicating a correlation between hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities and an increase in insurance rates. In fact, evaluating and restructuring job functions and processes, as well as accommodating an employee when necessary, may increase overall safety ratings.
Yes, employers that are federal contractors and subcontractors must complete the VETS-100 Report.
Where can I get assistance with translating military skills and training to match position requirements?
The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a comprehensive database of occupational skills, knowledge and other characteristics - including those that veterans bring to the workforce. O*NET has online tools to help you align military education and training with your current position requirements. You can use O*NET's online tools, specifically their Crosswalk Search, to find occupations that match "Military Occupational Classifications."
What should employers do if they suspect an employee is struggling with the effects of TBI and/or PTSD?
Employers must realize that, once they hire a veteran with a disability, they are not alone. A wealth of support services exist to help them respond to the unique needs of their employees with disabilities or combat-related injuries. If available, a company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a good place to seek counsel and assistance for workers struggling with TBI, PTSD and other disabilities. And to learn the types of workplace accommodations they should implement, employers can call the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free consulting service that provides individualized worksite accommodations solutions and technical assistance regarding the ADA and other disability related legislation.
Where can I get information about accommodating service members, veterans or others with PTSD and TBI?
Employers can receive information about accommodating service members, veterans or others with PTSD and TBI from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free consulting service that provides individualized worksite accommodations solutions and technical assistance. Other information and support services are available from their local Vet Center, the National Center for PTSD, and the ADA & IT Technical Assistance Centers.
I recently hired a veteran with a service-connected disability who is an amputee with low morale. Where can I find support services?
The National Amputation Foundation, Inc. (NAF) sponsors an Amp-to-Amp program. Amputee members of their organization visit new amputees to build morale by sharing their experiences. NAF provides information and a list of support groups for every state. Individuals can also receive booklets and pamphlets of special interest to the amputees.
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)<http://www.cwt.va.gov/>
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program that supports work-ready veterans in competitive jobs and consults with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs. Services include job matching and employment supports, vocational case management, work site and job analysis, assistive technology, reasonable accommodations, and ADA regulations compliance.
Wounded Warrior Project<http://wtow.woundedwarriorproject.org/>
The Wounded Warrior Project's mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors who incur service-connected wounds, injuries and illnesses (physical or psychological) on or after September 11, 2001. The Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors to Work program assists veterans with the transition back into the civilian workforce. Employers interested in this program can post jobs and review the resumes of qualified veterans with disabilities.
A service of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs's (VA), VetSuccess provides resources that allow employers to find veterans with (and without) disabilities by posting available positions and by working with Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment staff (VR&E) to find qualified candidates.
Hire Heroes USA <http://www.hireheroesusa.org>
Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) works with corporate partners to provide career placement services to veterans from all branches of the military, especially those injured or disabled in Iraq or Afghanistan. HHUSA will match the required skills and location of each position with those of veterans in their database and present qualified candidates for companies' consideration.
National Resource Directory<http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/>
The National Resource Directory provides resources for employers on recruitment of veterans, including sourcing job candidates and assistance on workplace accommodations and supports.
Recruit Military <http://recruitmilitary.com/employers>
Recruit Military is a veteran-owned and-operated firm specializing in military-to-civilian recruiting and provides resume search and job posting resources for employers. Recruit Military uses online and offline products to connect employers, franchisers, and educational institutions with men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, veterans who already have civilian work experience, members of the National Guard and reserve forces, and military spouses.
OPM: Federal Hiring Flexibilities Resource Center<http://www.opm.gov/strategic_management_of_human_capital/fhfrc/default.asp>
This OPM guide provides information on using Federal Hiring Flexibilities, Appointing Veterans, the Direct-Hire Authority, Student Employment, Excepted Service and Category Rating. This resource page offers information on the hiring of people with disabilities through Schedule A and the Veterans Hiring Preference for federal agencies.
Hero 2 Hired <https://h2h.jobs/employers>
This Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program provides information, job posting capabilities, and recruiting assistance to employers interested in hiring veterans, including guidance on tax credits.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Information<http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/>
This resource provides information from the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment & Training Service, including an introduction to rules and regulations related to employing veterans, fact sheets and access to the USERRA elaws Advisor, an interactive-tool that answers questions about the rights and responsibilities for employers.
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Directory<http://www.dol.gov/vets/aboutvets/contacts/main.htm#RegionalStateDirectory>
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists provide employment services for eligible veterans with and without disabilities, with an emphasis on serving those who are economically or educationally disadvantaged. Employers interested in recruiting veterans can use this directory to find the specialist in their area who can refer veterans for employment.
Enable America <http://www.enableamerica.org/>
Enable America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing employment among the 54 million Americans with disabilities. Employers interested in hiring people with disabilities can find resources on disability employment (such as Disability Employment 101), become involved in their local community, stay up-to-date on events, and post jobs.
America's Veteran <http://www.fedshirevets.gov/>
This Office of Personnel Management (OPM) resource provides information for federal Human Resource professionals on how preference and special appointing authorities for veterans operate within the federal personnel system. Visit OPM’s "VetsInfo Guide" for more information.
America's Heroes at Work<http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/>
America's Heroes at Work provides information to support employers of returning veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Resources available on the web site include answers to Common Employer Questions, Presentations & Training Tools, Fact Sheets and other Helpful Links.
Helmets to Hardhats<http://www.helmetstohardhats.org/>
Helmets to Hardhats is operated under a contract with the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans’ Employment. Helmets to Hardhats connects trades and other employers in the construction industry with qualified veterans. Employers can create an account to post career opportunities and search the Helmets to Hardhats database for highly qualified veterans. Employers seeking disabled veterans can post jobs directly to a special section of the website as part of the Helmets to Hardhats Wounded Warrior program.