By Terri Lynn, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Managing Editor, Nov. 11, 2015 – To celebrate Veterans Day, many stores and restaurants offer veterans free meals and special discounts. What many people don’t know is “how veterans feel about serving in the military, and how they are treated for their service to our country.”
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a leading veterans service organization with nearly 1.3 million members, just released the findings of a landmark study.
While veterans of all generations have a positive view of their military service, only one-in-five feel the government treats veterans well and less than half believe they receive the benefits and support they were promised.
The DAV Veterans Pulse Survey, nationally representative of America’s 22 million veterans, is the largest, most comprehensive assessment ever taken to reveal how generations of veterans from World War II through post-9/11 view their military experience, benefits and overall quality of life.
“The survey shows veterans of every generation are proud of their military service and believe it had a positive impact on their life, even though many paid a price,” said Marc Burgess, DAV CEO and national adjutant. “Yet the results also point to major gaps in the support, health care and disability benefits they receive. It also reveals challenges many younger veterans face finding employment. It’s clear our government and country need to step up and keep the promises made to America’s veterans.”
The DAV Veterans Pulse Survey also found meaningful differences between the attitudes and experiences of post-9/11 veterans and those who served in earlier eras, as well as between men and women.
Highlights of the survey findings include:
Views on Impact of Military Service; Challenges Faced Upon Return to Civilian Life
Eighty-four percent of veterans believe their military service had an overall positive impact on their life.
Nearly eight in 10 would, if they had to do it all over again, repeat their service.
Only 38 percent of veterans feel they had the support needed when re-entering civilian life. Veterans identify the challenges of daily living, such as employment, finances and housing as the biggest hurdles they faced upon leaving the military.
On Promises Made to Veterans, Treatment by the Federal Government and Public
About half of veterans feel the promises the government made to them as a veteran have been kept.
Only 22 percent agree the federal government treats veterans well; 53 percent feel the public treats veterans well.
Just 44 percent of veterans report they have received the health, disability, financial and education benefits they were promised.
Only 18 percent believe disabled veterans have received the benefits they were promised.
Eighty-seven percent of veterans agree the federal government should provide a health system dedicated to the needs of ill, injured and wounded veterans; half of the nation’s veterans do not feel the government is living up to its promise of providing quality, accessible health care to veterans.
Post-9/11 Veterans: Adverse Health Effects; Difficulty with Jobs, Relationships
Many post-9/11 veterans report their time in the service had an adverse impact on their health: 37 percent say it had a negative effect on their physical health and nearly 28 percent say it had a negative effect on their mental health.
Post-9/11 veterans are more likely than veterans from other service eras to report that, upon leaving the military and becoming a civilian, they had a difficult time with relationships with their spouse or partner, children, or parents and family members.
Post-9/11 veterans are also much more likely to report that finding meaningful employment after leaving the military is difficult – 36 percent say it was tough.
Views from Women Veterans: Respect Levels Vary, Daughters Encouraged to Serve
Fifty-six percent of women veterans do not believe they receive the same respect and appreciation as their male counterparts; while only 34 percent of male veterans think women do not receive the same respect as men do.
Forty-four percent of female veterans would encourage their daughters to serve in the military, while only 34 percent of male veterans would.
Eighty-five percent of veterans say they appreciate it when someone they do not know thanks them for their service.
Conducted for DAV by global research firm GfK utilizing KnowledgePanel®, the largest online panel representative of the United States, The DAV Veterans Pulse Survey was completed by 1,701 veterans. It is a national probability sample representative of the entire population of veterans in the United States. The margin of error is +/-2.9%.
The full report of survey results can be viewed HERE.
DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans of all generations and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; linking veterans and their families to employment resources; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with nearly 1.3 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.