Veterans Affairs: Better Understanding Needed to Enhance Services to Veterans Readjusting to Civilian Life
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Why GAO Did This Study. Over the next 6 years, over 1 million servicemembers are expected to leave the military. As was the case with past generations of veterans, the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging for post-911 veterans as well. Over the last several years, veterans struggles to successfully readjust to civilian life have been the subject of numerous Congressional hearings. Providing support and services for transitioning veterans is a key issue facing the nation. This report examines what is known about 1 the extent to which veterans experience difficulties during their readjustment to civilian life and 2 how VA assists veterans in their readjustment, as well as what challenges and opportunities exist. GAO conducted a literature search, interviewed VA and DOD officials, and held eight nongeneralizable discussion groups with a total of 45 veterans and family members. GAO also conducted interviews with relevant officials at VA facilities in four states. GAO selected these sites based on diversity of military service branches in a local area, geography, a high concentration of veterans, and proximity to VA resources. What GAO Recommends GAO recommends that VA take ssteps to better understand the difficulties faced by readjusting veterans and use this information to determine how best to enhance its benefits and services for these veterans. VA concurred with GAO s recommendation and described its recent efforts and plans for improvement.
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