RAND on Veterans' Issues

As veterans return home and adjust to civilian life, they and their families face new challenges and many communities struggle to meet their unique needs.

Rigorous research is essential to addressing the challenges facing veterans and to finding long-term solutions. RAND research explores key issues concerning veterans such as health and well-being, education, employment, and family support.

Health and Well-Being

Some veterans suffer combat-related injuries, including mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and traumatic brain injury. Quality health care is critical as veterans return to their communities. RAND explores the physical and mental health needs of veterans as well as the treatment systems available to address them, including care delivered by the VA and community providers, and informal care provided by families and friends.

Education

The post-9/11 GI Bill was the largest expansion of veterans' education benefits since passage of the original GI Bill in 1944 and gives veterans the opportunity to move ahead in civilian careers. RAND has examined its initial implementation challenges and the complexity of administering the benefits, and recommended ways higher education institutions can help veterans use their benefits and adapt to life on campus.

Employment

U.S. veterans return from service with proven practical and leadership skills, so why is unemployment among them so high? RAND has analyzed return-to-work policies and programs for those with service-related injuries, as well as employer tax credits designed to encourage veteran hiring. A new study finds that even employers who are committed to hiring veterans struggle to understand how military experience translates to the skills needed for civilian jobs.

Family Support

Families of injured service members and veterans endure significant strain as they provide critical support when service members come home. There are 5.5 million spouses, siblings, parents, children, and friends devoted to the care of those injured fighting America's wars, and often their own needs are neglected. A recent RAND study quantified military caregivers' needs and recommended ways for policymakers and others to meet them.

  • The Impact of Deployments on Military Marriages

    The evidence linking combat deployments directly to poorer marital functioning has been sparse and contradictory. Although marital satisfaction among military couples declined from 2003 to 2009, the divorce rate among them remained steady.

  • Insights from the Deployment Life Study

    Experiences during a service member's deployment can have a profound impact on how families fare during the reintegration period. But for many experienced military families, functioning eventually returns to pre-deployment levels.

  • Faith-Based Organizations and Veteran Reintegration: Enriching the Web of Support

    Faith-based organizations (FBOs) are an important resource for veterans as they readjust to civilian life. Interviews with FBOs reveal how they address diverse areas of veteran health and well-being, and suggest ways to better integrate them into the web of support.

  • Getting to Know Military Caregivers and Their Needs

    There are millions of military caregivers—wives, husbands, siblings, parents, and friends—caring for U.S. service members and veterans who are wounded, ill, or injured. These caregivers help their loved ones live better-quality lives, but their own needs may go unmet.

  • The RAND Military Caregivers Study

    The RAND Military Caregivers Study focuses on caregivers of wounded, ill, and injured U.S. military servicemembers and veterans.