Category Archives: Veterans

The Use of VA Disability Benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance Among Veterans

Source: Janet M. Wilmoth, Andrew S. London and Colleen M. Heflin, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, WP#2013-6, February 2013

From the abstract:
Although there is substantial functional limitation and disability among veterans of all ages, relatively little is known about veterans’ uptake of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (DI). This project uses data from the 1992, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine veterans’ participation in VA and DI programs. The results indicate that the majority of veterans do not receive VA or DI benefits, but veterans’ use of these programs has been increasing over time. A higher percentage of veterans receive VA compensation only, which ranges from 4.9 percent in 1992 to 13.2 percent in 2008, than DI compensation only, which ranges from 2.9 percent in 1992 to 6.7 percent in 2008. Furthermore, the rate of joint participation in these two programs is low, ranging from less than 1 percent in 1992 to 3.6 percent in 2008. Veterans experience relatively few within-panel transitions between VA and DI programs. Overall, the likelihood of any disability program use is higher among veterans who served during multiple time periods, are older, black or Hispanic, currently married, and have less than a high school education. Among users, the likelihood of any VA use in contrast to only DI use is higher among veterans who served since 1990, are younger, Hispanic, highly educated, and currently married. Among users, variation in the likelihood of any DI use relative to only VA use generally mirrors variation in the likelihood of any VA use, although there are differences in associations with race/ethnicity, education, and marital status.

Uninsured Veterans and Family Members: State and National Estimates of Expanded Medicaid Eligibility Under the ACA

Source: Jennifer Haley and Genevieve M. Kenney, Urban Institute, March 2013

Analysis of the 2008–2010 American Community Survey (ACS) indicates that 535,000 uninsured veterans and 174,000 uninsured spouses of veterans—or four in 10 uninsured veterans and one in four uninsured spouses—have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and could qualify for Medicaid or new subsidies for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most of these uninsured—414,000 veterans and 113,000 spouses—have incomes below 100 percent of FPL, and will therefore only have new coverage options under the ACA if their state expands Medicaid. However, fewer than half live in states in which the governor supports their state participating in the expansion, while the majority live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid or have not yet decided whether to expand. The extent to which uninsured veterans and their family members with incomes below the FPL will have access to new coverage options under the ACA will depend on whether they live in a state that adopts the Medicaid expansion.
See also:

Military Caregivers: Cornerstones of Support for Our Nation’s Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans

Source: Terri Tanielian, Rajeev Ramchand, Michael P. Fisher, Carra S. Sims, Racine S. Harris, Margaret C. Harrell, RAND Corporation, Research Reports, Document number RR-244-TEDF, 2013

From the abstract:
Military caregivers are an essential part of our nation’s ability to care for returning wounded warriors. Far too often, their own needs are neglected. The RAND Corporation and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation collaborated on a first, exploratory phase of a larger research effort regarding this demographic and its needs. The paper explores what is known about the number and characteristics of military caregivers, describes the roles and functions they perform, and highlights the effect of caregiving on their own well-being. Most existing literature on family caregivers is heavily focused on an older population caring for persons with chronic conditions or dementia. By comparison, research on military caregivers is scant, and there are notable differences that make this population unique: Military caregivers are spouses with young children, parents with full- and part-time jobs, and sometimes even young children helping shoulder some of the burden. Government services available to this population are in their infancy; community service organizations offer diverse services but they are generally uncoordinated. This paper lays the groundwork to inform policy and program development relative to the unique needs of military caregivers.

Veterans and Homelessness

Source: Libby Perl, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, RL34024, February 4, 2013

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and as the number of veterans increases due to these conflicts, there is concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. The 2007-2009 recession and the subsequent slow economic recovery also raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans….

IAVA 2012 Member Survey

Source: Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, 2012

2012 findings include:
– Our members’ unemployment rate was almost 17% – significantly higher than the 12.1% average unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans in 2011
– Almost half (49%) of unemployed members did not feel that employers were open to hiring veterans
– More than 50% of our members are interested in starting a business in the next 3 to 5 or 6 to 10 years
– 37% of IAVA members personally know someone they served with or another Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has committed suicide
– 2/3 of our membership do not think troops and veterans are getting the care they need for mental health injuries, including combat-related stress or military sexual trauma
– Almost 1/3 (31%) divorced or broke up with a long-term partner as a result of deployment and the return home
– 1/4 of IAVA members with children said their child had emotional problems (25%) or had problems in school (24%)
– 60% of our membership does not think the military/ Department of Defense is doing a good job of reaching out to troops and veterans regarding their mental health injuries and care, and less than half (49%) think the VA is doing a good job of reaching out to troops and veterans regarding their mental health injuries and care
See also:
Veteran unemployment up slightly in 2011
Source: Steve Vogel, Washington Post, March 21, 2012
Returning military members allege job discrimination — by federal government
Source: Steve Vogel, Washington Post, February 19, 2012
Berry calls for ‘zero tolerance’ for federal USERRA violations
Source: Steve Vogel, Washington Post, March 29, 2012

“Who is a Veteran?” — Basic Eligibility for Veterans’ Benefits

Source: Christine Scott, Congressional Research Service, R42324, January 23, 2012

A broad range of benefits are offered to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and to certain members of their families by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Among these benefits are various types of financial assistance, including monthly cash payments to disabled veterans, health care, education, and housing benefits. Basic criteria must be met to be eligible to receive any of the benefits administered by the VA.

For a former servicemember to receive certain VA benefits, the person must have active U.S. military service for a minimum period of time and meet nature of discharge requirements. Some members of the National Guard and reserve components have difficulty meeting the active duty and length of service requirements. However, a member of the National Guard or reserve components who is activated for federal military service and serves the full period of activation is considered a veteran for purposes of VA benefits.

The GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-202) recognized the service of one group of civilians, the Women’s Air Forces Service Pilots, as active service for benefits administered by the VA, and it also established that the Secretary of Defense could determine that service for the Armed Forces by a group of civilians, or contractors, be considered active service for benefits administered by the VA.

This report examines the basic eligibility criteria for VA administered veterans’ benefits, including the issue of eligibility of members of the National Guard and reserve components.

Beyond the Weekend

Source: Erin Johansson, American Rights at Work Education Fund, February 2012

New data reveals how unions benefit communities, consumers, employers, and employees.

As the assault on workers’ rights reaches a fever pitch, positive messages about unions are few and far between. To push back against this trend, American Rights at Work Education Fund has produced and funded five new reports revealing that the benefits of workers’ collective action extend far beyond themselves–and even beyond their workplace. Topline findings from these reports have been compiled in our latest release, Beyond the Weekend.

Key findings featured in this new publication include the following:

– Frontline union healthcare workers are collaborating with hospital administrators to find real solutions that improve patient care and control costs.
– Partnerships between union-represented teachers and school administrators are boosting student achievement in schools that serve disadvantaged families.
– Union members’ pensions are funding public and private projects that create good American jobs.
– Building trades unions are partnering with community groups to create new career paths for veterans, workers of color, and women.
– Childcare providers are gaining new skills and resources through their unions to improve how they care for children of low-income families.
See also:
Community Workforce Provisions in Project Labor Agreements: A Tool for Building Middle-Class Careers
Source: Maria Figueroa, Jeff Grabelsky and Ryan Lamare, Cornell University ILR School, October 2011
Partnerships in Education: How Labor-Management Collaboration Is Transforming Public Schools
Source: Abigail Paris, American Rights at Work Education Fund, May 2011
Creating Good Jobs for Our Communities: Pension Dollars at Work Source: Michael Wasser, American Rights at Work Education Fund, March 2011
How Labor-Management Partnerships Improve Patient Care, Cost Control, and Labor Relations
Source: Peter Lazes, Liana Katz and Maria Figueroa, Cornell University ILR School, February 2012
The Impact of Training on License-Exempt Child Care Providers in Washington State
Source: Gary Burris and Allyson Fredericksen, Economic Opportunity Institute, February 2012.

Veterans and Homelessness

Source: Libby Perl, Congressional Research Service, RL34024, July 14, 2011

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans….
Congress has created numerous programs that serve homeless veterans specifically, almost all of which are funded through the Veterans Health Administration. These programs provide health care and rehabilitation services for homeless veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans programs), employment assistance (Homeless Veterans Reintegration program and Compensated Work Therapy program), and transitional housing (Grant and Per Diem program) as well as other supportive services. The VA also works with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans through the HUD-VA Supported Housing Program (HUD-VASH). In the HUD-VASH program, HUD funds rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers while the VA provides supportive services. In addition, two newly enacted programs focus on homelessness prevention through supportive services: the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and a VA and HUD homelessness prevention demonstration program.

Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One issue is ending homelessness among veterans….A second issue is the concern that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are at risk of homelessness may not receive the services they need. Efforts are being made to coordinate services between the VA and Department of Defense to ensure that those leaving military service transition to VA programs. In addition, concerns have risen about the needs of female veterans, whose numbers are increasing. Women veterans face challenges that could contribute to their risks of homelessness. They are more likely to have experienced sexual trauma than women in the general population and are more likely than male veterans to be single parents. Few homeless programs for veterans have the facilities to provide separate accommodations for women and women with children.