Navigating Benefits

Offering the Right Benefits for Veterans

  • Veterans make up 8 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population of individuals age 18 and over

  • Employers must offer the same benefits to veterans as they do to non-veteran employees under two laws: the ADA and the USERRA

  • Veterans want job opportunities that offer above-average salaries and training opportunities

Posted by December 12, 2018

Does your organization offer strong benefits for veterans? If not, it should. This growing sector of the population contributes valuable skills and diversity to the labor market, which is something that all employers should consider as they recruit talent.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “In 2017, 20.4 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 8 percent of the civilian population age 18 and over.” Of these veterans, jobless numbers were very low, dropping from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent by the end of last year—which shows that companies value the contributions veterans are making toward the nation’s business growth.

In order to attract and retain veteran employees, employers need to be sure that they are prepared to offer benefits that are appropriate for them. Here’s how you can help your organization update its offerings accordingly.

Evaluate What Benefits to Offer Veteran Employees

Veterans are entitled to many benefits from the government as a result of their service. However, sometimes there can be gaps between the benefits offered and barriers to accessing them.

For example, military veterans are eligible to receive medical care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but they must enroll in the VA Health Care System in order to receive treatment. The benefits offered by the VA are not considered to be health care insurance, however, so if veterans must receive care at any other facility, it’s their responsibility to pay for it. A health care plan with low copayments would appeal to a veteran seeking employment at your organization.

Another aspect to consider is that eligible veterans are able to obtain educational support following their completed service. While the amount of this financial assistance varies, employers can offset the cost of veterans’ education with programs that supplement the benefits they already receive.

Consider the Benefits Veterans Want/Need Most

When updating a compensation plan to include benefits that are appropriate for veterans, it can be helpful to think about the challenges they typically face when re-entering the workforce. According to a 2016 iCIMS survey, the top reasons that prevented veterans from taking a job included unsatisfactory salary and benefits offered as well as a lack of training or education to handle the work.

When veterans return to the civilian world, many are often disappointed by the lack of structure and opportunity they find in the workforce. Employers can do their part by offering benefits to veterans that include clear career paths (along with opportunities for ongoing training).

In order to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life, a family-focused work environment—paired with flexible work arrangements—can be a great benefit. Employers are required to accommodate all workers who have disabling conditions, and extra flexibility is appreciated by veterans who may be receiving treatment for mental illness or injuries sustained during their service.

Explore the Laws Associated with Offering Benefits for Veterans

The contributions that veterans are making to the civilian workforce are plentiful. Their unique technical and problem-solving skills (as well as their ability to lead others) make veterans ideal for many roles.

It’s important to state up front: As an employer, you must offer the same benefits to your veteran employees as you do to civilian employees. Excluding anyone from benefits based on military service or any disability sustained during service is discriminatory under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) supports organizations’ efforts to provide employment opportunities that veterans are qualified for, regardless of any disability they may have.

The pros of offering benefits for veterans include:

  • Attracting and retaining veterans for civilian employment.

  • Helping veteran employees feel more adjusted and productive.

  • Some benefits could overlap with military benefits.

The cons of not offering benefits for veterans include:

  • Violation of several employment laws meant to protect veterans.

  • Veterans miss out on opportunities to stay healthy, get training and be productive.

  • The organization could be viewed negatively by the public because veterans aren’t treated well enough.

When offering benefits for veterans, make sure to evaluate all of the potential challenges that your company may encounter. In most cases, the pros of offering benefits to veterans will far outweigh any potential negatives.

Interested in taking steps to further support and engage your fellow colleagues? Consider the different benefits your organization could offer by exploring United Concordia Dental’s website.

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