Monday, August 15, 2011

Schwartz on Veterans

from the inbox, a note from Congressional Rep. Allyson Schwartz:

As the daughter of a Korean War veteran, I am very passionate about the country’s responsibility to help provide veterans with the medical, educational and career benefits they need. As a member of Congress, I have led the way on legislation to improve benefits for our service men and women.

Last week, President Obama announced new initiatives to provide greater job opportunities to the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I strongly support his efforts to lower veteran unemployment through hiring tax credits, private sector commitments, and reforms that improve the way we prepare, train, and educate service members for life after the military. I commend the President for these initiatives to strengthen our commitment to our brave men and women in uniform. These veterans bring a set of unique skills and training that would add value to American companies.

This proposal is similar to legislation introduced in my first year of Congress. The Veterans Employment and Respect Act (VERA) offered tax incentives to employers who hired unemployed veterans. This bill was signed into law in 2007 by then-President Bush and strengthened by President Obama in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

My district offices can also provide many resources for veterans and has successfully assisted more than 1,500 veterans with VA benefits.

Through the Wounded Warrior Program, I employ a Marine and Iraq War Veteran, Mike Gabriel, on my staff as a full-time veterans' constituent service representative.

Mike assists constituents with obtaining official copies of separation documents, replacing medals, questions related to the Washington Crossing Cemetery, and issues with the Veterans' Administration or military. He can also provide resources to veterans seeking assistance in areas related to education, employment, training and business opportunities.

To provide even more assistance, my Philadelphia office began offering an exciting new service in May. Joseph Buckley, an accredited veteran service officer from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is available every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist you or a loved one with the submission of new VA claims. He is also able to answer eligibility and paperwork questions for constituents. Veterans do not need a membership with the VFW to participate in this service.

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