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Congressman Roscoe Bartlett Alerts Veterans to Apply Soon for Slots for Retraining Under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act

Press Release

Location: Frederick, MD

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett alerted veterans today to file for retraining slots under the new law, The VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Congressman Bartlett said, "Unemployed veterans over the age of 35 may apply for retraining benefits available for 2012 that are filling fast. Applications for 2013 slots are also now being accepted by the Veterans Administration (VA). Congressman Bartlett supported the new law which updates benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill. Congressman Bartlett has worked with colleagues on the three major modernizations of GI Bill education benefits: the Montgomery GI bill; post 9/11 GI bill and GI Bill 2.0.

Congressman Bartlett explained, "The VOW to Hire Heroes Act is an example of Members of Congress working across the aisle in the House, with the Senate on the other side of the Dome and with President Obama. This new law was initiated by Republicans, embraced by Democrats and expanded to include tax credits for hiring veterans and disabled veterans proposed by President Obama. The Veterans Administration (VA) is now accepting applications by unemployed veterans over the age of 35 for 45,000 slots for 2012 and 53,000 slots in 2013. These are new GI bill benefits for retraining in high-demand job sectors under the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) created by this new law. Funding is available for only 100,000 slots. It's vitally important for unemployed veterans to act quickly to take advantage of this opportunity. You can even apply online."

Congressman Bartlett added, "I worked with former Democratic Congressman Sonny Montgomery from Mississippi on updating the GI Bill for veterans soon after I was first honored by voters to represent them in the Sixth District of Maryland in the House of Representatives. This law is the basis for the new retraining benefits under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. I also worked on modernizing other aspects of the GI Bill, with Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from Long Island, New York with President George W. Bush for the post 9/11 GI Bill. Most recently, I worked again with Congressman Steve Israel and with Virginia Senator Jim Webb on the GI Bill 2.0."

Background about the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)/VOW to Hire Heroes Act

· Last year, Congress passed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which was signed into law in November.

· The VOW to Hire Heroes Act aims to lower the veteran unemployment rate (more than 700,000 veterans are currently unemployed), and put them on the path to find meaningful employment in today's tough job market.

· The cornerstone of the legislation is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, or VRAP.

· More than 2/3 of all unemployed veterans today are over the age of 35, and VRAP will specifically help those men and women.

· VRAP will provide nearly 100,000 veterans the opportunity to apply for up one year of the Montgomery GI Bill to pay for retraining or to learn new skills, for an in-demand job.

· The Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for VRAP. Congressman Bartlett said, all eligible unemployed veterans to apply today. You can apply online at: Benefits.VA.Gov/VOW/education or by contacting your state employment office.

· Eligibility requirements include:

· Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old

· Are unemployed

· Received an other than dishonorable discharge

· Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill)

· Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability

· Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program in the last six months

· Unemployed veterans should take advantage of this opportunity.

· There are only 100,000 available slots, 45,000 of which are available in 2012; 53,000 in 2013.

· In its first week, the VA has received almost 10,000 applications.

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