Target: Sloan Gibson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Goal: Don’t cut long-term unemployment benefits for struggling veterans
Many veterans, especially disabled and young veterans, have a difficult time finding employment in the United States after they return from military service and must depend on unemployment benefits provided by the government. A recent cut to unemployment benefits and a Congress that is slow to respond means that 285,000 veterans will be going without long-term benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
Congress allowed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to expire, which gave benefits to workers who had been out of work for 26 weeks or longer. It is estimated that about one in ten of these recipients were veterans. When the program was initially retired, approximately 130,000 veterans who had served their country were cut off from support. That number has now increased to 285,000. In total, the cut has affected more than 3 million unemployed people.
Senators tried to reach a deal to extend unemployment benefits, but Republicans blocked its passage and Congress continues to fight over what a new plan should look like. While our government argues, over 200,000 unemployed veterans are struggling to support themselves. There are many arguments on both sides of the aisle about the appropriate way to support the unemployed in the United States. In the case of unemployed veterans, the government should undoubtedly have programs in place to provide guidance and support because many of the country’s unemployed veterans are disabled or they are young and cannot find meaningful employment in a still struggling economy. The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to step in and ensure that veterans continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Dear Secretary Sloan Gibson,
Congress recently allowed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to expire, which gave unemployment benefits to over 200,000 long-term-unemployed veterans. Congress attempted to pass legislation extending unemployment benefits but was met with gridlock and and continues to fight over how to organize this program. While Congress fights, 285,000 veterans who have served their country are cut off from support, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Unemployed veterans should receive support from the government when they face economic difficulties. This is especially important because many of the country’s unemployed veterans are disabled from their service or they are young and cannot find meaningful employment in a still struggling economy. Please create safeguards for veterans that ensure they can continue to receive unemployment benefits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dolovis via Wikimedia Commons