Serving Those Who Serve

On September 30th, 2010, the President signed the extension of the Retroactive Stop Loss Benefits out to December 3, 2010 giving the remaining ~86,000 servicemembers 6 extra weeks to submit their claim.  The President sent a personal message two weeks earlier encouraging our servicemembers to accept the money they rightly deserve.   This special benefit was established to recognize and compensate military members whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009.  Eligible members or their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.   To apply, or for more information, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to Defense.gov/stoploss .

Getting our Veterans on a solid career path is also a high priority, as the First Lady made clear earlier this month when she challenged America’s employers to tap the potential of veterans and military spouses.  And yesterday marked a new initiative taking up this challenge and furthering the Department of Labor's efforts to serve Veterans and military spouses.  Department of Labor’s Deputy Secretary Seth Harris has partnered with Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue on this exciting new program.  Today, with Ray Jefferson, Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training (VETS), they launched a 14-state pilot program that will help Veterans find meaningful employment to those returning home after serving our Nation.  By leveraging a network of state and local chambers, this effort will expand on the Chamber's existing "Hiring Our Heroes" initiative, which focuses on the employment of wounded, ill, and injured Veterans and easily augment the number of successful programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. This program between the Chamber and Labor will educate employers on the value of hiring Veterans and military spouses and will help connect employers with this exceptional talent pool.  States that have been chosen to participate in the pilot are; Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, New jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode island, Texas, and Virginia.  As pilot state programs are fully established and meet expectations, a nation-wide implementation will be considered.

Michael Harasimowicz is Director, Personal and Readiness, National Security Staff
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