This week is the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which is recognized nationally every December 7th as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and established by Congress in 1994 (but it is not a federal holiday).  There are very few veterans left who saw active duty in World War II, but there are many younger veterans who have been brave enough to serve our country and may even be found on your workforce roster. You probably do a good job keeping your employees up to date on their benefits menu, but how do those employer-sponsored benefits coordinate with their military benefits? 

The average HR manager may have little understanding of those VA benefits, and amazingly, over half of America’s veterans themselves have very little or no understanding of the VA benefits due them, according to a McClatchy Newspaper analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs survey data.  These veterans are eligible for a wide range of benefits, such as the VA medical system, education funding, life insurance, and home loan programs.  The VA says it is working hard to boost benefits awareness, and a new law now mandates that all departing service members will go through a series of benefits sessions, where in the past participation in these sessions was voluntary.  The VA has also stated they will begin to offer monthly webinars to educate veterans about their available benefits, so keep an eye out for further details so you can share the webinar information with your own employees.

These VA benefits can also be beneficial for your employer.  By helping a veteran navigate the complexities of the VA’s education program, you can assist those employees obtain their college degree and in return have a more educated workforce.  If your company is one of the few who still offer retiree medical coverage, it may save the cost of having them on the policy. The VA coverage most likely will be less costly for the retiree too.

If you don’t want to put the time and effort into understanding these benefits yourself, another alternative is to bring in an unbiased financial professional who can incorporate VA benefits into a benefits workshop for your group. After all, these veterans worked hard for our country and many made significant sacrifices. The least we can do is to make sure they at least understand the benefits that they’ve earned.