Category Archives: Veterans

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.

Assault Rates and Implementation of a Workplace Violence Prevention Program in the Veterans Health Care Administration

Source: David C. Mohr, Nicholas Warren, Michael J. Hodgson, David J. Drummond, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Volume 53 Issue 5, May 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objective: This study examined the relationship between changes in assault rates over time and the implementation of a workplace violence prevention (WVP) program in 138 Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities.

Results: Training implementation was negatively associated with assault rates. Facilities with smaller bed sizes and without academic affiliates had lower assault rates.

Conclusions: Particular attention should be given to these dimensions because they may be associated with lower facility-level assault rates.

Veterans’ Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs

Source: Christine Scott, Carol D. Davis, Congressional Research Service, RS22804, February 26, 2010

From the summary:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers several pension benefit programs for veterans as well as their surviving spouses and dependent children. The most current pension programs available (for those meeting the eligibility criteria on or after January 1, 1979) are the Improved Disability Pension for certain low-income veterans and the Improved Death Pension for certain low-income surviving spouses or children of veterans. There is also a special pension for Medal of Honor recipients. This report describes these programs, including the eligibility criteria and current benefit levels. This report will be updated as needed to reflect legislative activity and changes to benefits or eligibility requirements.

Today’s GI Bill

Source:, 2009

Today’s GI Bill – also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill – went into effect in August 2009, making the reality of higher education more attainable than ever for today’s service members and veterans. The Bill significantly expands educational benefits available to those who have served since September 11, 2001, offering up to 100 percent tuition and fee assistance at institutes of higher learning; housing assistance; an annual stipend for books and school supplies; and the option to transfer benefits to immediate family members.

Today’s service members and veterans represent the leaders of tomorrow. The Post-9/11 GI Bill enables these men and women to pursue the higher education that, coupled with their unique experiences and skills, will position them to guide the United States through times of war and peace. is designed to assist service members and veterans by providing clear yet comprehensive guidance on the steps to making the most out of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The site is sponsored by the American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all of the nation’s higher education institutions, with generous support from Lumina Foundation for Education, committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college–especially low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners.
See also:

Educational Benefits For Veterans and Dependents of Active Duty Military

Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Memorandum, September 18, 2009

The purpose of this memorandum is to inform agencies of new educational benefits available to employees who are veterans and dependents of service members as a result of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post 9/11 GI Bill). The Post 9/11 GI Bill was passed into law on June 30, 2008, and is the most comprehensive educational benefit package since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. The new bill went into effect on August 1, 2009. This information is provided to help agencies promote the program amongst its eligible employees to increase their career development opportunities and to better the Federal workforce.

Veterans and dependents of service members on active duty can avail themselves of educational opportunities and funding offered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop skills and knowledge benefiting them and the agencies in which they work. With these benefits, veterans and dependents of service members on active duty may enroll in programs offered at colleges and universities, private career schools and other institutions of learning–without any direct cost to the agency.

Quality Initiatives Undertaken by the Veterans Health Administration

Source: Congressional Budget Office, Pub. No. 3234, August 2009

From the CBO Director’s Blog:
Today CBO released a study that examines the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA’s) experience with quality improvement and health information technology. The assessment also examines how VHA’s system serves its patients. The information contained in this report may prove useful to private-sector health providers who are working to improve the quality of care in their own facilities as well as to analysts and decision makers considering how veterans’ health care might be affected by proposals for health care reform.

Employment Situation of Veterans 2008

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDL 09-0271, March 20, 2009

The unemployment rate for all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces was 4.6 percent in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The jobless rate for those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces since September 2001 was 7.3 percent.

This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides official statistics on employment and unemployment in the United States. Data about veteran status and period of service are collected monthly in the CPS; these data are the source of the 2008 annual averages presented in this release. For more information, see the box note on page 3 and the technical note, which provides definitions of terms used in the text and tables below.

Returning Veterans and Disability Law

Source: Michael Waterstone, Notre Dame Law Review, Forthcoming, Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 14

From the abstract:
Federal laws and policies as they relate to the employment of people disabilities are at war with themselves. Antidiscrimination law, primarily through the Americans with Disabilities Act, is premised on the empowering idea that people with disabilities can and should work once discriminatory societal barriers are removed. But antidiscrimination law does not work alone. There is a separate sphere of social welfare policies that provides more affirmative forms of assistance to people with disabilities. These older programs contain significant work disincentives and are often conditioned on detachment from the labor force. These divergent views of disability and employment have contributed to the low success rate in moving and keeping people with disabilities in the workforce.

The federal laws and programs for veterans with disabilities demonstrate that a more coherent policy is possible. Federal employment policy for veterans with disabilities is more integrated and encourages workforce participation through both antidiscrimination law and social welfare policies. The occasion of the largest wave of returning veterans with disabilities in recent history, combined with the renewed need to create employment opportunities for all groups in light of rising unemployment rates, creates a unique opportunity to analyze what can be learned from this more coherent framework.