Members of the armed services who have come home face substantially higher unemployment rates than the government claims, an Iraq and Afghanistan advocacy group claims. And 37 percent of veterans surveyed say they know a fellow vet who committed suicide following deployment.
The report comes from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and stems from a wide-ranging survey of its members. In addition to a higher unemployment rate, the study concludes that vets are also facing poorer mental health support than the government claims as well.
“Nearly 17% of IAVA members are unemployed, which is eight percent higher than the national average as reported by the Department of Labor, says founder and executive director Paul Rieckhoff. “This information should be a wake-up call for all Americans. After 10 years of war, we’re losing a new generation of leaders to joblessness. Nearly 2.4 million veterans have been leading the way overseas. It’s time for us to welcome them back with jobs so they can continue leading here at home.”
In all, some 4,000 veterans replied to the study’s question. Among the findings:
The 16.7 percent unemployment rate is higher than the U.S Department of Labor rate of 12 percent.
Twenty four percent couldn’t find a job that matches their skill level, and 11 percent couldn’t find a job that matches their education level.
Half of the vets didn’t feel that bosses wanted to hire war veterans.
Most vets thought the GI Bill, which helps finance college educations was pretty good, but a bunch also complained of bureaucratic delays.
Most don’t think the mental health services are good enough. One-third got divorced or broke up with their spouse following deployment and the return home, and 25 percent said their children had emotional problems or trouble in school.