U.S. Army soldiers cheer as U.S. President Barack Obama signs H.R. 3230, the Veteran's Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014

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November 10, 2014

Research Drives Ongoing Support for Veterans

U.S. Army soldiers cheer as U.S. President Barack Obama signs H.R. 3230, the Veteran's Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, on August 7, 2014

Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

On November 11, we honor the service and sacrifices of America's veterans. But as they return home and adjust to civilian life, veterans and their families face new challenges and communities struggle to meet their unique needs. Rigorous research is essential to addressing these challenges and finding long-term solutions. RAND explores key issues concerning veterans such as employment, health and well-being, family support, and education.

Employment

Veteran job fair table, photo by Russell Sellers/U.S. Army

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.

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Health and Well-Being

Man at doctor's office, photo by svetikd/iStock

Some military personnel suffer combat-related injuries and many suffer from mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety, 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 system available to address them, including care delivered by the VA and community providers, and informal care provided by families and friends.

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Family Support

Soldier hugs her husband after an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan, photo by Sgt. Kimberly Hackbarth/U.S. Army

Military families endure significant strain during deployment and they also need help 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.

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Education

Man studying in a classroom, photo by carlofranco/iStock

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.

More on veterans' education »