In this Edition... Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You
…but what you can do for your country, or state, or neighborhood. In this edition, we are focusing on those members of society who make major sacrifices to keep us safe, from military members serving overseas to firefighters who risk life and limb by running into burning buildings. Their contributions to society should never be overlooked. The Department does its part to recognize these everyday heroes by providing assistance to military families who are forced to move, helping veterans find jobs, and administering Missouri’s Line of Duty Compensation Fund.
November: Military Family Month
Earlier this month, President Obama declared November 2011 as Military Family Month in order to recognize the “resiliency and generosity” of those families whose loved ones serve to protect our nation and provide a sense of security for Americans in their everyday lives. In doing so, the federal government encourages citizens to support these families, as many military spouses are each day single-handedly taking care of children while also bearing the burden of concern for their loved one’s safety. Additionally, earlier this year, the Obama Administration implemented the Joining Forces Initiative in order to “enhance learning opportunities for our military children, champion our military spouses as they advance their careers and education, and providing better mental health counseling to heal the wounds left in war's wake.”
In Missouri, House Bill (HB) 136 went into effect in August 2011, to honor the sacrifices made by spouses of military men and women who must move their homes after their husbands or wives have been transferred to a new duty location. HB 136 allows workers who must quit their jobs to relocate to be with their active military spouses to receive unemployment benefits while they look for work. Furthermore, these spouses can receive a temporary license to practice their occupations or professions in Missouri. With this legislation in place, Missouri is able to support not only military troops, but also provide them with some peace of mind by helping support their families. Watch a special video about two Missouri military families that have benefitted from this new law. So far, there have been 29 determinations written under the new trailing spouse law.
If you are a military spouse you can contact the Missouri Division of Employment Security and file an unemployment claim. You can also file a claim online at the Department’s Division of Employment Security webpage.
Citizen Soldiers on the Job in MO
Making the transition from a job in the military to a job in the civilian workforce can be challenging, but the state of Missouri is invested in making the transition as seamless as possible. .
The Missouri Show-Me Heroes program coordinates among veterans groups and businesses to connect returning service members with careers. So far, nearly 1,500 Missouri firms have signed a pledge to give veterans (including National Guard and Reserve members) high consideration when filling available positions.
Recently, members of employer support programs as well as representatives from numerous Missouri firms held a video conference with Senator McCaskill to discuss hiring improvement options and the possible necessity of federal law. The State of Missouri’s Department of Education’s Veteran Education and Training section has close to 300 active on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs.
When applying for a job with the state of Missouri, being a veteran can add 5 or 10 preference points to your final score. For those interested in applying, visit www.ease.mo.gov.
Returning from war or leaving the military life can be a difficult adjustment, but former armed forces members have many skills and bring priceless experiences to the table. Employers can serve their country by hiring those who put their lives on the line protecting it!
Line of Duty Compensation
Those in the armed forces are not the only ones laying their lives on the line everyday to ensure the safety of Missouri citizens—emergency response personnel such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMTs also take huge risks to ensure the safety of Missourians.
In order to provide a safety net for their survivors should these emergency responders be killed in the performance of their jobs, the Missouri Legislature established the Line of Duty Compensation Fund. Upon approval by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), a $25,000 death benefit is available to the survivors of emergency response personnel who are killed in the line of duty.
“By no means could this money replace those individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the well being of our neighborhoods and communities. But we hope this small token can assist with the financial hardships families experience when losing a loved one,” says Department Director Larry Rebman. “This is an important service for our state to provide to support the heroes in our community.”
Since the creation of the fund, eight claims for compensation have been filed and three have been approved for payment. For more information about the fund, or to file a Line of Duty Compensation Claim, visit the DWC Benefits Available page.
Each year, Missouri commemorates all those workers who lost their lives on the job in a Workers Memorial Day.