Veterans Continue to Face Economic Strain Post-Shutdown

Veterans Continue to Face Economic Strain Post-Shutdown

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Veterans Continue to Face Economic Strain Post-Shutdown

10.1 Percent Unemployment for New Vets in September; VA Claims Backlog at 423,560

NEW YORK (October 22, 2013) – Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans was 10.1 percent in September, a slight increase from 10.0% in August.   For the veteran population overall, unemployment also increased from 6.2% in August to 6.5%.  

Another government report, released by the Department of Veterans Affairs yesterday, showed  that the number of Americans in the claims backlog (waiting more than 125 days) is 423,560, or 58.5% of total claims.  IAVA’s interactive tool, The Wait We Carry, shows the human face of many veterans who are still in the backlog and affected by the long wait.

“10 percent unemployment for post-9/11 veterans is too high. And there are still far too Americans stuck in the VA claims backlog,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “The shutdown is over, but our veterans still face very real economic and emotional challenges. As we approach the last Veterans Day before the end of the war in Afghanistan, veterans need our nation’s support.”

Since the shutdown, IAVA has continued to call for a renewed push to reduce the backlog, and supports the newly approved reinstatement of mandatory overtime, which played a key role in lowering the backlog by 31 percent since March. Since the shutdown ended, IAVA and other Veterans Service Organizations are urging Congress to approve advance appropriations for all of VA. One-year advance funding for VA health care was critical during the shutdown. The Putting Veterans Funding First Act would fully fund all of the VA one year in advance, and allow veterans’ benefits and many programs to be protected from future government shutdowns.

“The shutdown hit our community hard, and there is no guarantee they won’t get hit again if there is another shutdown in January. It’s vital that we secure advance appropriations to fund all of VA and to protect critical veterans services and support,” Rieckhoff added.

To support veterans transitioning from combat to career, IAVA connects veterans with resources and potential employers. IAVA has organized employment readiness events, working with employers including Google, LinkedIn, Pimco, Lincoln Center, Advertising Week, Cisco Systems, and Futures, Inc. 

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator. 

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