U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-MD) today announced that they have co-sponsored legislation that would extend the 2011 VOW to Hire Heroes Act tax credit for employers who hire qualified veterans. The original bill, which was signed into law in 2011 and expires at the end of this year, allows employers a $9,600 tax credit for each unemployed or disabled veteran they hire. The VOW to Hire Heroes Extension, S.3536, would extend that tax credit through 2016.
"This bill is a jobs bill. Our men and women in uniform who fought on the front lines shouldn't have to wait in line for a job when they get home," Senator Mikulski said. "We have a sacred trust with those who have risked their lives so that we may live in freedom. Part of that sacred trust is making sure we provide them with the opportunity to support their families and lead successful lives. This legislation will help our veterans get jobs."
"Returning veterans have found it hard to get jobs because of the downturn in our economy," said Senator Cardin. "The VOW to Hire Heroes Act has worked because it has encouraged businesses to hire veterans in Maryland and around the nation. Our veterans, our economy and our businesses all benefit from this bill which helps create job opportunities for veterans. I support this bill because we cannot let these important tax credits expire at the end of the year."
Currently, to be considered a "qualified veteran," individuals must gain approval through a local employment agency, which can be an unnecessarily burdensome and time-consuming process for both the veteran and the potential employer. S. 3536 simplifies the process by modifying the Work Opportunity Tax Credit process to allow individuals to be considered "qualified veterans" for tax purposes if they simply provide a DD 214 and valid proof of unemployment.
The bill has been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Sponsors of the bill also include U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.).