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14 Facts About Veterans' Struggles and Triumphs You Didn't Know

by Michael Higham, published

Every year on the 11th day of November, we formally stop to thank and remember those who serve our country. Some give all, but all give some and politics aside, the courage of military service is something everyone can appreciate.

But, our veterans do not always leave the military with the best circumstances in life. Some struggle, while others find great success. We should recognize some of the tough circumstances veterans face.

The Challenges Veterans Face

  1. About 13 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans. Around 39 to 53 percent of all homeless female veterans screened positive for military sexual trauma (MST).
  2. More than 85,000 veterans sought treatment last year in connection with military sexual trauma.
  3. According to the Pentagon’s report, an estimated 81 percent of military sexual assaults against men are never reported to military authorities, and just 5 percent of these attacks are reported to civilian law enforcement.
  4. Just 4.6 percent of the nearly 2 million eligible military voters cast a ballot in 2010 that counted. The circumstances of service make it difficult for members to participate in the electoral process.
  5. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a total of 297,875 service members had signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from October 2001 to March 2013. About 30% of Vietnam War veterans are diagnosed with PTSD.
  6. About 3.6 million veterans have a service-related disability in 2012. Disability levels are measured by percentage, and 881,981 had a 70 percent or higher disability rating.
  7. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the overall unemployment rate for veterans rose to 7.6 percent in January 2013, more than one percent above where it was last Fall but still below the national rate of 7.9 percent. But the total number of veterans unsuccessfully looking for work rose to 844,000.

Despite the struggles of veterans in the US, there is still a lot of positive news for veterans whether its the dedication Americans show each year through assistance or remembrance.

The Good News

  1. About 11.1 million veterans 18 years and over are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. Four out of five veterans 65 and over had more than one type of health insurance coverage.
  2. Over one million veterans and/or their family members have used the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill to attend college and pursue higher education. The Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 aids tuition and other expenses for those who served after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  3. In 2007, U.S. military veterans owned 2.4 million businesses, which accounted for 9 percent of all businesses nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These businesses generated $1.2 trillion, or about 4.1 percent of all business receipts nationwide, and employed nearly 5.8 million people. In FY 2013, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. Since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.
  4. Advancements in prosthetic and robotic limbs are making life after injury much easier for veterans who suffered the loss of a limb and other disabling injuries.
  5. The rise in PTSD since the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts prompted advances in medical treatment for the disorder. Several therapy methods and medicinal advancements have helped those who suffer.
  6. Americans continue to pay their respects to our veterans. The National World War II Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial both receive well over 4.4 million visitors every year.
  7. In 2010 alone, more than $291 billion was donated to Veterans charities according to the Giving USA Foundation.

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