Today’s new veterans have access to generous and flexible education benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. But it is difficult to determine the effectiveness of these benefits and who is using them. Additional research could help address these gaps and improve understanding of veterans’ needs.
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.
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.
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.
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.