Veterans Hiring Benefits
Veterans Hiring Benefits
by Edward Diaz, ACP
Key Benefits to Hiring Veterans
- Tax breaks
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a deduction that business owners can get from hiring certain groups, including veterans. While the program initially ran until 2019, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 extended this tax credit to 2021. Also, it allowed employers to retroactively claim a tax credit for any veterans they hired after December 31, 2014.
- Salary subsidies during training
The VA has on-the-job training funds through the Veteran Readiness and Employment program. It subsidizes veterans’ wages so employers can pay them an entry-level wage during their training to offset onboarding costs. The VA subsidy slowly decreases as the veteran becomes more experienced and completes training.
- Salary reimbursement
The Private Sector Special Employer Incentive Program M28R.VI.A.7 (va.gov) is another VA benefit that reimburses employers for hiring veterans that meet specific requirements. This program can reimburse up to half of the employee’s salary for a maximum of six months, plus the cost of instruction, any loss of productivity that your business incurs during training, and any supplies and equipment. The SEI is designed for veterans who struggle to get jobs after serving, and eligibility is determined case by case.
- Free assistance
Another VA program you can take advantage of is the VA Non-Paid Work Experience Fact Sheet, which places veterans who want specific career training at registered businesses. Your business saves on labor costs because you do not pay participants directly, instead providing training and on-the-job work experience. At the same time, the VA gives veterans a monthly stipend for their participation in the program. This program is usually short-term.
- Improved accessibility
You may be eligible for free upgrades to your workplace to make it more accessible to any veteran you hire. The VA can pay for modifications to your workplace that not only makes it easier for disabled veterans to complete their work, but it also makes the workplace more accessible for all current and future employees. They can also provide accessible, free, assistive technology, and specialized tools, cultivating an equitable environment long beyond the initial hire.
Additional reasons include:
- Work ethic
Veterans often have an impressive work ethic. Learning to work hard and use determination to accomplish a goal is one of the primary skills everyone learns when they first enter the armed forces. They are highly focused on the tasks they need to accomplish and work well as a team, ensuring that everyone contributes their part to a successful project. Veterans may be used to working in uncomfortable, stressful situations, making them well-prepared for the challenges of a civilian job.
Because of the regimented structure of the military, veterans can bring impressive organizational skills to your business. They are used to setting a schedule and maintaining habits in the military, which they can apply to their work schedule. The high-pressure environment of the military means that veterans learn how to keep track of all their priorities so that everything they need to accomplish gets done.
Veterans have a high level of personal accountability and can encourage others on their team to be more efficient and dedicated to their work. In the military, making a mistake can have deadly consequences, so veterans are committed to taking responsibility for their behavior. They take their assignments seriously and strive for excellence, just like they did when they were working as a precise part of a team.
The military’s hierarchical structure means veterans are used to taking on extra responsibility and assuming leadership roles. They observed different leadership styles from their commanding officers and likely had leadership responsibilities themselves throughout their military careers. As a result, veteran employees have a high aptitude to grow in your company, mentor others and make strategic decisions.
Receiving tax credits for hiring veterans; review these basic guidelines and details:
People who qualify
Not all veterans qualify for the WOTC tax credit. Here are the situations that the WOTC currently covers:
- Veterans who have been unemployed for between four weeks and six months in the year before being hired
- Veterans who have a military-related disability and have been discharged from active duty in the last year before being hired
- Veterans who have family members receiving SNAP benefits for at least three months of their first year working at your business
- Disabled veterans who have been unemployed for over six months in the year before being hired
Businesses also need to employ the veteran for at least 27 weeks in a row before they can claim any WOTC tax credits; also, businesses may qualify for additional tax credits if a veteran fits more than one of these categories.
WOTC tax credit amount
The WOTC credit amount depends on how much the veteran works, ranging from $2,400 to $9,600. The highest tax credits are for disabled veterans through the “wounded warrior” credit.
Forms needed to apply for the WOTC tax credit.
To apply for these tax credits, businesses must fill out several forms and submit them to the IRS:
- Form 850 (within 28 days of the veteran’s first day)
- ETA Form 9061 or 9062 (if claiming multiple credits for the same employee)
- Form 5884 as part of the veteran’s income tax return
Finding veterans to hire
Businesses can find qualified applicants if you are interested in hiring a veteran for your team by contacting a local Veteran Employment Representative.
Go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website and select your state from the drop-down menu to find a representative in your area. They will refer you to available applicants and guide you through the process of signing up for VA support.