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12 23Thu11272014

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Back Local News Guam’s returning vets to receive financial assistance

Guam’s returning vets to receive financial assistance

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SEN. Aline Yamashita’s initiative to help the returning Guam soldiers reintegrate more smoothly into civilian life after their deployment has apparently paid off.

Guam officials recently received news from the federal labor department that returning Guam National Guard members will receive financial assistance as they transition back into civilian life if they are unemployed.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, more than 200 Guam Guard members and Reservists will be able to participate in the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX) program as they out-process at Camp Shelby, Miss. Guam Department of Labor officials will then work on the logistics and details of the program.

Yamashita introduced a resolution two months ago to start deliberations on Guam’s participation in the UCX program.

Her Resolution 261 seeks to have the U.S. Department of Labor consider Guam as a state in order to become a part of the federally funded UCX program.

“As the island community strengthens its efforts to identify the actual number of veterans who have returned to our island, this resolution is a step to provide similar opportunities to (those of) veterans who return to other home communities,” Yamashita said.

“In other jurisdictions, to include the States and Puerto Rico, Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers is provided to help veterans and families reintegrate into their communities. This resolution requested that our veterans be treated the same as other veterans,” Yamashita added.

UCX used to be available only in the U.S., the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

While this is a temporary fix to address the unemployment status of nearly half of the 600 returning veterans, Yamashita said it is something immediate to help veterans and their families, and to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.

“What a wonderful Christmas gift. We wish each unemployed soldier and airman the best as they find employment or as they enter training programs to prepare for employment opportunities,” Yamashita said.

The senator sent her thanks to all the federal counterparts who have worked and continue to work to help Guam’s soldiers and airmen.

Yamashita also commended local GDOL Director Manny Cruz for his persistence and Greg Massey, also of GDOL, for helping lawmakers and legislative staff understand the processes involved. She also thanked Lt. Col. Robert Crisostomo, of the Guam National Guard, for his work in helping Guam soldiers reintegrate into civilian life on the island.

The state of Mississippi has agreed to process the claims of the 200 eligible Guam Guardsmen and Reservists who will return from Afghanistan this month.

The local labor department will certify that eligible Guardsmen have registered with Guam’s Employment Service, so they may be processed through the Mississippi UCX program.

According to the Office of the Governor, all stakeholders are now working to finalize details about this process, so the information can be sent to the Guam soldiers.

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