Our President and Veterans
In honor of President’s Day, we would like to spend some time talking about things that our President has done for our nation’s veterans. Much of this information is taken from www.vfw.org, the website for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. You can read their article here. President Obama has done a surprising amount for our nation’s veterans, and is acclaimed by many veterans to have done the most for them than any president since FDR. While the work that has been done for veterans by different presidents is difficult to compare – how do you compare Reagan’s work to change our nation’s views of Vietnam vets to Obama approving a higher budget for the VA – we can focus on what our current president has done for veterans.
Politifact keeps tabs on the president and keeps a running count on the promises about veterans that Obama has made and what ones he has kept. According to Politifact, Obama has made 15 promises about veterans, has fully kept 10 of them, compromised on 3 of them, has stalled on 1 and broken 1. For a politician, that’s not a half-bad record. Let’s take a look at the things that Veterans of Foreign Wars point out that Obama has done for veterans.
Transition GPS: Obama has worked to make big changes to the transition program that military members go through as they leave the military. Transition GPS includes a Pre-separation Assessment and Individual counseling, a 5-day Core Curriculum that includes a financial planning seminar, a workshop hosted by the VA to explain all of the VA benefits, and an employment workshop provided by the Department of Labor. It also includes Career-specific curriculum that veterans can volunteer for and takes an extra 2 days, and a CAPSTONE Event. But Transition GPS is only one of the things that Obama has done to help support our veterans.
In 2011, President Obama also signed into law two new tax credits for business that hire veterans. One is called the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, and the other the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit. A company can get an incentive of $5,600 for hiring an unemployed veteran and $9,600 for hiring a veteran with a service-connected disability. In addition to helping veterans get employed, Obama has also helped more veterans start businesses by giving over $3 billion in SBA loans to small businesses owned by veterans. Obama has worked to increase veteran access to reemployment services. Post 9/11 veterans can have access to a Veteran Gold Card, which gives them access to six months of personalized reemployment services including assessments and career counseling. Obama has also launched the Veterans Job Bank – which is like a veteran-specific version of indeed.com, challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans over three years, and has been involved as the federal government has hired more than 200,000 veterans since 2009.
Obama has also given record-levels of funding to the VA, and made it clear that our veterans’ benefits will be exempt from sequestration in case of budget disagreement. Obama signed an Executive Order that helps protect veterans from deceptive recruiting by educational instutions and have all the information they need to make informed educational decisions.
As far as veterans’ health is concerned, Obama has extended VA disability benefits to include veterans who have suffered from exposure to Agent Orange, and has established the RESPECT-Mil program with the DHCC, which is designed to screen and treat veterans for types of mental illness, most specifically, PTSD and depression. The program has screened and treated a huge number of veterans and done a great deal of good for the veterans it has worked with. Obama is also working to end veteran homelessness, prevent veteran suicides, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and support veterans with PTSD.
Whatever your opinion of President Obama, it is nice to be able to celebrate President’s Day with a president who is doing a great deal to help our nation’s veterans. Everyone here at Low VA Rates wishes you a happy President’s Day and we invite you to learn more about our nation’s current and past presidents and what they have done for veterans.