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Submission For The Record of VETSFirst

Dear Chairman Flores and Ranking Member Takano:

VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association, wishes to express our strong support for the Servicemembers’ Choice in Transition Act of 2013 (H.R. 631). We ask that our below comments be submitted for the record of the April 10, 2013, Economic Opportunity Subcommittee hearing on pending legislation.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) plays a critical role in ensuring that separating servicemembers have the information they need to prepare for future education and employment opportunities. The content requirements detailed in H.R. 631 will ensure that these men and women receive a well-rounded program that includes the types of information they need throughout their transition process. Requiring information on service-specific pre-separation requirements, different pathways to employment, and the types of benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide them with a strong foundation for future success.

Although we fully support, H.R. 631, we believe that it would be strengthened by amending it to ensure that information about disability related employment and education protections is included in the TAP curriculum. Veterans who have acquired disabilities as a result of their military service need a basic understanding of the protections available to them under the law as they return to the workforce or seek out education opportunities. To ensure that this information is received by all those servicemembers who need it, we believe that it should be integrated into the curriculum about preparing for employment or education opportunities. Including this information in the TAP curriculum will provide disabled veterans with the specialized knowledge they need to ensure their success in navigating their future career goals.

Thank you for the opportunity to present our comments regarding H.R. 631. Please do not hesitate to contact Heather Ansley, Vice President of Veterans Policy for VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association, at (202) 556-2076, ext. 7702 or by e-mail at hansley@vetsfirst.org, if we can be of assistance.