Each November, we pause to recognize Veterans and honor their service and sacrifice during war and peace. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost 5 million veterans are living with a service-connected disability, that is a disability that resulted from disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active service. Another 9 million are over 65 and may have age-related disabilities. These veterans and their families may be at higher risk of unemployment, housing insecurity, and poor health than their peers without disabilities.
Part of NIDILRR-funded research includes topics related to veterans with disabilities and their families, and has investigated issues across health, employment, and community participation, including these current and recently-completed projects:
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center: Develop and Evaluate Rehabilitation Technology and Methods for Individuals with Low Vision, Blindness, and Multiple Disabilities includes research to develop and Evaluate Rehabilitation Technology and Methods for Individuals with Low Vision, Blindness, and Multiple Disabilities, including returning veterans who may have vision loss.. Check out the discussion of changing populations, including Veterans, and how to approach and address visual impairments in rehabilitation settings from the RERC’s state of the science conference.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Caregivers of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) Service Members with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) evaluated the impact of Problem Solving Training, a telehealth-based CBT intervention, for military family caregivers. Learn more about some early results from the project published in a recent Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation article (abstract).
Studying Treatments and Effectiveness of Prosthetic Systems (STEPS): Utilizing a Regional Collaborative Longitudinal Outcomes Database (CLOUD) examined veterans and civilians living with amputation to compare and contrast physical and psychosocial outcomes between the two populations in an effort to link prosthetic and orthotic treatments, devices, and supports to patient outcomes.
Improving Money Management Skills in Veterans with Psychiatric Disabilities evaluated $teps for Achieving Financial Empowerment ($AFE), a pilot-tested, stakeholder informed intervention grounded in principles of psychiatric rehabilitation designed to develop money management skills and informed financial judgment among veterans with psychiatric disabilities. Learn more about results from this trial (abstract).
In addition to these projects, the ADA National Network and its regional centers can assist Veterans with disabilities in understanding their rights under the ADA and other civil rights legislation (PDF). These centers also assist employers in understanding their responsibilities and identifying best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining Veterans with disabilities in their workforce. Explore ADA National Network resources for Veterans with disabilities and employers.
We searched our collection of NIDILRR-funded publications and products for Veterans and their families, in addition to those linked above:
- A family member’s guide to the impact of work on veterans’ benefits (PDF). (Rehabilitation Research and Training Center [RRTC] on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities.)
- Experiences of Veterans with amputation: An exploration of work and life post-injury and Experiences and employment of Veterans with amputations (webcasts hosted by the RRTC on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities).
The NARIC collection includes more than 240 articles, books, reports, and multimedia items from the grantee community about or for Veterans with disabilities and their families. If you are interested in more research in this area, NARIC’s collection includes more than 1,500 articles, books, and reports produced in the US and internationally.
Outside of the NIDILRR community, there are many resources available to Veterans with disabilities and their families, including:
- The Department of Veterans Affairs offers financial benefits and housing grants for those with service-connected disabilities. The VA also has a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program which offers services for both Vets and dependent family members, and programs for home care, assisted living, and attendant care. The VA’s Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Services provide interdisciplinary care, advanced medical devices and assistive technology, adapted sports programs, and ongoing supports for Veterans with limb loss, traumatic brain injury, and other disabilities.
- The National Paralysis Resource Center has collected resources for Vets living with paralysis on costs, insurance, and benefits; support networks for veterans with paralysis, stories from vets and their families, and much more.
- The Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor works with and supports a number of initiatives that provide training and employment services to veterans and returning service members with disabilities, including Veterans.gov.
- Check out employment resources gathered by Career One Stop, a service of the Department of Labor, including job centers, vocational rehabilitation programs, entrepreneurship programs, and more.
NARIC’s information specialists are available by phone, email, Facebook, and chat to assist Veterans with disabilities, their families, and other advocates in identifying programs and services in your community.
To Veterans and their families, from all of us at NARIC: Thank you for your service.